Like "election" and "situation", their phonetic symbols are /ɪˈlekʃn/ and /ˌsɪtʃuˈeɪʃn/. Their common part is that when we pronounce them, at first we vibrate our throat, then stop when we pronounce ʃ, and vibrate again when pronouncing n.

I almost always still vibrate my throat when I pronounce ʃ. If I try to force myself to stop vibrating correctly, the pronunciation is awful and rusty.

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    Are you talking about what linguists call voicing, which one can understand as the difference between speaking a word (voiced) and whispering it (unvoiced)? May 15 at 13:12
  • So far as I know, /ʃ/ is always unvoiced for native Anglophones. Myself, I don't think I'm capable of "voicing" it in the initial position. I'm assuming the distinction here is between assure (unvoiced) and azure (voiced). May 15 at 13:15
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    What's your native language? Having tried the pronunciations I sometimes end up with a devoiced or slightly lately-voiced /n/, but a voiced /ʃ/ seems wrong. (Polish has /ʒ/ - technically /ʐ/, but sometimes palatalized - as a very distinct sound from /ʃ/, so I might be biased on this). May 15 at 13:31
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    @TimR Okay, terminate after the [eɪ] makes the pronunciation more easy. May 15 at 14:16
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    @MaciejStachowski I was thinking perhaps OP didn't quite hear or feel the difference between the final consonant in 'egg' and 'speck'.
    – TimR
    May 15 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


Yes the /ʃ/ is unvoiced. You do voice /ɪˈle/ but the /k/ and /ʃ/ are unvoiced. The final "/n/" is voiced.

It is hard for me to voice the /ʃ/ to /ʒ/ without also voicing the /k/ to /g/.

I clearly pronunces "...ation" differently from "asian", the latter has a voiced consonant in my dialect. Also Confucian confusion, but more pairs of words like this are rare and the words do sound "similar".

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