I've long noticed that when it comes to pronouncing words containing an "s" sound, their are those that pronounce it softly and those that pronounce it sharply. I have always wanted to put a name to the latter condition. Does anyone know what this is called?

- While whispering in a quiet room, people that speak this way can be heard by a regular "siss siss siss" sound, as they sharply pronounce each word containing an "s" sound, audible despite attempts to be unheard.
- Words such as "issue" and "controversial" are pronounced with a sharp "sss" instead of "sh". E.g. "controverSSSial iSSSue" vs "controverSHial iSHue" (admittingly this one could be more geographic in origin).
- Elongation of sharp "s" sounds, especially at the end of words. E.g. "issuesss".

I'm certain there is a name for this. Some might call it simply being eccentric, but I suspect there is a proper linguistic term, which is what I'm interested in foremost.


Sibilance is the word you're looking for.

  • Thank you! Now I finally have a name for this almost indescribable thing :D – irwazr Jul 9 '15 at 11:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.