Z & J & ZH– Spoken American English Accent Pronunciation

Posted On: June 3, 2014

J  —  Z  —  ZH 

These three sounds in American English have some similarities, but also key differences. 
Z & J & ZH– Spoken American English Accent Pronunciation

J & Z & ZH Similarities

  1. Teeth almost touching
  2. Tip of tongue touches behind top teeth

J – Stop sound – Can’t be sustained

Z & ZH 

  1. Can be sustained as long as you can hold your breath
  2. Has a buzzing or vibration in vocal cords

J & ZH – Lips round and come away from the face

Z – Lips flat along face

See some tips on J & Z from Rachel on YouTube.

In this video, blog owner and coach Jennifer Kumar helps you understand the specific similarities and differences between Z and ZH and J – with common pronunciation errors and ONE commonly mispronounced word by some and tips to overcome that.

The ZH is also in the word Azure

Upon completing these exercises, you may want to try the exercises for Z and S. Helping you to pronounce and identify the Z and S sounds will be easier after reading the post and watching the videos linked here.

Author Jennifer Kumar is a native American English speaker living in Cochin, India. She provides communicative English lessons to Infopark based companies and clients. Check out the Present on Virtual Teams with Confidence program or contact her here.  

Related Posts:  
Tips for reducing your accent for the R sound in English    
Pronunciation tips for TION and SION endings   
B and P – Getting the sounds right!  

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Original publishing date: 6/14, updated 5/2020

Clipart adapted from




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