At what age do native speakers of English master these sounds?

1. z sound and its rules/exceptions

2. -ed sound (past tense)

Thanks a lot for your help.

May 27, 2019 4:35 AM
Comments · 3
Once you're able to differentiate between voiced and unvoiced finals as native speakers do (with all the secondary articulations), those "rules" function automatically and inevitably. So, very young -- it's not even an issue.
May 27, 2019
Oh, so it's a spelling / reading question. Natives just learn it by listening (you need to learn how we really distinguish "voiced" and "unvoiced" finals), but there are some "secrets". Your first few examples are just random; the spelling or pronunciation has gotten "corrupted" over the centuries. Here are some thoughts about the other ones.

Choose Vs Goose: Verb root ends in /z/, noun in /s/. Also applies to /v/ versus /f/ (believe / belief), etc.

Excuse Vs Useful: Verb versus noun. Note that both "excuse"and "use" end in unvoiced consonants as nouns, voiced consonants as verbs. Advice / advise, house / house, bathe, bath, teeth, teethe, etc.

Has Vs Gas: Verb versus noun. 

Reason Vs Awesome: Morpheme boundary. Awesome = awe + some (compare to "awful", awe-inspiring"). "Reason" is not analyzed as two morphemes in English.

By the way, if you mix up voiced and unvoiced continuants in English, you'll probably still be understood. Unlike in French. I'll have the "poisson", not the "poison" thank you very much ;)
May 28, 2019

@Phil Thanks a lot for your help.

I'm curious to know how native English speaking children differentiate these words,

Phase Vs Base

Please Vs Increase

Cheese Vs Geese

Exercise Vs Promise

Choose Vs Goose

Excuse Vs Useful

Has Vs Gas

Reason Vs Awesome

I have 3 pronunciation/accent reduction books but none of them really tell Z rules and exceptions in details.

May 28, 2019
Language Skills
English, Other
Learning Language