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I tried youtube, to understand the sound but am unable to distinguish among the two. Any help would be appreciated.

  • You have to post the links to the videos (links to the moment in question, please). The s varies a lot depending on dialect. – Janka May 15 at 1:47
  • Please check this video, he explains it pretty well: youtube.com/watch?v=hpfznEvimLc – Janka May 15 at 1:51
  • Although the video might be confusing once he starts talking about dialects – infinitezero May 15 at 7:57
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    Are you familiar with spoken English? The sound that “z” makes in English, e.g. in zoom, is a »stimmhaftes s«, because your vocal chords are actually involved in making that sounds (hence »stimmhaft«), whereas the sound that “s” makes, e.g. in some, is a »stimmloses s«, which is just the hissing sound without your vocal chords doing anything. – Raketenolli May 15 at 8:45
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    @akshitbhatia Okay, then Reketenolli's advice suits you. It is the difference of z in zoom vis à vis s in sound. – Christian Geiselmann May 16 at 10:38
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Since you asked in English, I'll assume you are familiar with English pronunciation. The English words for "stimmlos/stimmhaft" are "unvoiced/voiced". The English voiced "s" is generally written as "z", if you pronounce it you should feel a vibration in your throat.
Pairs of English words with unvoiced/voiced "s" are:

  • sue - zoo
  • see - zee
  • sink - zinc

German has the same unvoiced/voiced "s" ("s" can be either voiced or unvoiced, "ss" or "ß" is always unvoiced). The usage is different (and dialect dependent) , but that has been covered elsewhere on this site: Wann wird das stimmhafte "s" gesprochen?

  • Might be worth adding that it's never voiced in the end of a word or before a voiceless consonant. – sgf May 15 at 13:12
  • Okay. Thanks for relating this to english. Now I can better relate the stimmhafte alphabets in english and german. Great explaination. – akshit bhatia May 15 at 16:57
  • Nice minimal pairs! – Christian Geiselmann May 16 at 10:39

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