English pronunciation can be complicated and difficult to learn, especially for those whose native language does not share similar sound system. Over the centuries, English has developed a mix of vowels and difficult-to-diagnose sounds, many of which are foreign to non-native speakers. One common example of this is the “missing s”.
The “missing s” occurs when an “s” sound should be attached to the end of a word or syllable, but it is missing. The most common example is the “s” that should be in the possessive form of a word: for instance, the word “ship’s” should have an “s” at the end. For some reason, however, the “s” is often not pronounced in English, especially in certain dialects.
The “missing s” also occurs in certain verb forms. For instance, the “-ing” ending is frequently pronounced in a single syllable, such as “go-ing”, instead of the two syllables, “go-in-g”. This can be especially difficult for non-native speakers, who tend to pronounce all “-ing” endings exactly as they are written.
The best solution to the problem of the “missing s” is twofold. First, non-native speakers must understand that English pronunciation is quite different from their native language and must be studied as its own entity. Second, English learners must practice diligent listening to native English speakers in order to pick up on subtle differences in pronunciation. With enough listening and practicing, the elusive “s” will soon reveal itself and become second-nature.