pronunciation: -tion, -sion or -cian, --- the same?

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Hinata Sama

Senior Member
Chinese
-tion, -sion or -cian, all of them are pronounced the same? <-----Topic added to post by moderator----->

Hi, friends.
I am watching a video on youtube, A British lady says that these endings as in title
are pronounced as "shun". But for some words, such as "decision", dictionaries show a zh sound.

So, what do you think? Is she correct? Would you consider it substandard English if I pronounce all of them
with the sh sound?

<-----Directions to video removed by moderator (Florentia52)----->
 
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  • Aloyalfriend

    Senior Member
    Persian-Iran
    There are just a few exceptions I was able to find of words pronounced differently:
    , Apprehension,Compulsion,Ascension,Mansion,Pension,Pretension.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I think -tion and -cian are always pronounced with a "sh" sound (at least I can't think of an exception), but -sion can be pronounced with either sound, depending on the word (tension vs. decision). And yes, pronouncing decision with a "sh" sound would be incorrect.
     

    Hinata Sama

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I think -tion and -cian are always pronounced with a "sh" sound (at least I can't think of an exception), but -sion can be pronounced with either sound, depending on the word (tension vs. decision). And yes, pronouncing decision with a "sh" sound would be incorrect.
    Thanks, do you think you have heard a large number of native English speakers pronounce decision with a sh sound though?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    -sion has the voiced sound [ʒ] after a vowel: decision, vision, intrusion, fusion, explosion, invasion, Asian, Malaysian, etc. It is voiceless like -tion, -cian after consonants, as in Aloyalfriend's examples in #2. After the letter <r>, which is silent in accents such as mine, it's variable. I have [ʒ] in 'version' and 'Persian' but not in 'immersion' or 'torsion'.

    I believe there is some variation in geographical words such as Asian and Persian.
     
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    Hinata Sama

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Note that cation isn't at all like the others, it's cat-ion to rhyme with flat-iron.

    And, unlike Entangledbank, I'd pronounce version with a 'sh' sound.
    Do you pronounce "decision" with a sh sound or zh sound? I asked a British friend today. He told me he pronounces it with sh sound.
    I just want to have a bit more samples.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    After the letter <r>, which is silent in accents such as mine, it's variable. I have [ʒ] in 'version' and 'Persian' but not in 'immersion' or 'torsion'.

    I believe there is some variation in geographical words such as Asian and Persian.
    And, unlike Entangledbank, I'd pronounce version with a 'sh' sound.
    :eek: This must be a British-American difference!

    In American English, all of these words ("version," "Persian," "immersion," "Asian," and I'm assuming "torsion," which I've never heard before) are always pronounced with a [ʒ] sound - at least I've never heard them pronounced any other way.

    I suspect the variability is a British English feature.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    :eek: This must be a British-American difference!

    In American English, all of these words ("version," "Persian," "immersion," "Asian," and I'm assuming "torsion," which I've never heard before) are always pronounced with a [ʒ] sound - at least I've never heard them pronounced any other way.

    I suspect the variability is a British English feature.
    Both the US dictionary (Random House) and UK dictionary (Collins) in the WRF definitions have both sh and zh for version. I think there may be more variability than you have experienced - with both AE and BE having,well, both versions :D
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    -sion has the voiced sound [ʒ] after a vowel: decision, vision, intrusion, fusion, explosion, invasion, Asian, Malaysian, etc. ...

    I believe there is some variation in geographical words such as Asian and Persian.
    I often say Asian with a sh sound /ˈeɪʃn/ and Malaysian/Indonesian/Austronesian/Melanesian with a z sound.

    But anything written -sion after a vowel gets [ʒ] from me.
     

    Jagorr

    Senior Member
    Russian, Belarusian
    What would you say to -tion words being pronounced with a [ʒ] sound?
    It is dissolution pronounced with a [ʒ] by a seemingly AmE speaker that has taken me by surprise. Is it a case of phonetic transposition from words like immersion, decision etc. that is not standard?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    What would you say to -tion words being pronounced with a [ʒ] sound?
    It is dissolution pronounced with a [ʒ] by a seemingly AmE speaker that has taken me by surprise. Is it a case of phonetic transposition from words like immersion, decision etc. that is not standard?
    Dissolution with a [ʒ] would definitely sound odd to me. Are you sure the speaker wasn't saying disillusion?
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - US
    What would you say to -tion words being pronounced with a [ʒ] sound?
    It is dissolution pronounced with a [ʒ] by a seemingly AmE speaker that has taken me by surprise.
    I would be surprised too. That word is normally pronounced with the unvoiced [ʃ] sound. But there are many different dialects (ways of speaking). And people often make mistakes when speaking. This seems like a small mistake to me.

    Why is it small? Because English has both phonemes ( ʃ , ʒ ) but doesn't use them to distinguish words. There aren't any word-pairs that only differ by that one sound difference. For that reason, I probably wouldn't even notice the difference. Yes, it's a mistake. But not a big mistake.

    Is it a case of phonetic transposition from words like immersion, decision etc. that is not standard?
    I don't think so. American children are not taught how to pronounce written words. Instead, we are taught how to write spoken words.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    ... English has both phonemes ( ʃ , ʒ ) but doesn't use them to distinguish words. There aren't any word-pairs that only differ by that one sound difference.
    Well, there are a few (though there definitely aren't many:thumbsup:). Confucian - confusion would be one minimal pair; I think my dissolution - disillusion would be another, at least for some speakers.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Going back to torsion, unlike all the others, I've only heard it with the sh sound.

    In American English, all of these words ("version," "Persian," "immersion," "Asian," and I'm assuming "torsion," which I've never heard before) are always pronounced with a [ʒ] sound - at least I've never heard them pronounced any other way.
    That's also the only pronunciation shown in the dictionary for both AE and BE.
     

    Jagorr

    Senior Member
    Russian, Belarusian
    Dissolution with a [ʒ] would definitely sound odd to me. Are you sure the speaker wasn't saying disillusion?
    Yes, the word came up in the following context:

    "following Soviet victory and subsequent dissolution, the Allied Nations most likely appropriated Soviet tech."

    It is a video game that is being discussed, not the real historical events. The native speaker is real, though.

    I have also noticed that the speaker pronounces subsequent as [ˈsʌbzəkwənt].
     
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