As in "dogs" and the suffix "-es". I have learned later that the ending should be voiced, while everywhere I hear native speakers pronounce them voiceless. However, I followed the book and pronounce them voiced, but then people seems not understand me.

  • This a problem of modern linguistics. It is impossible to codify speech perfectly. Only with familiarity can an epidemic of misunderstanding be brought under control.
    – Bread
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 19:55
  • 1
    My husband learned English while being partly deaf. Whenever he said dogs, he said; dos, you couldn't hear the g. If you do not pronounce the g in dogs, you can't say the word properly and people will not understand what you mean. "Look at all the dos out there!" means nothing.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 20:14
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Does "fathers" in RP exclude R and unvoice the S?
    – herisson
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 20:17
  • See also Are “whores” and “horse” homophones?. The words "dogs" and "docks" are not homophones, but the former doesn't necessarily have a fully voiced [z] sound.
    – herisson
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 20:18

1 Answer 1


Unlike languages like Standard High German, English does not systematically devoice voiced obstuents in word-final position. In phrase-final position or before unvoiced consonants, however, the voicing is considerably reduced.

Thus the voiced z-sound in

This place is going to the dogs.


dog’s collar

is far less articulated than in

dogs of war

In other words, if you hold two fingers on your throat where you can feel the vocal chords vibrating, you should still sense the vibration in the first two examples, but it will be neither as strong nor as long as in the third.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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