Sz is a digraph of the Latin script, used in Hungarian, Polish, Kashubian and German, and in the Wade–Giles system of Romanization of Chinese.
In Polish orthography, sz represents a voiceless retroflex fricative /ʂ/. Although being a different consonant, it is usually approximated by English speakers with the "sh" sound. It usually corresponds to ш or š in other Slavic languages.
Like other Polish digraphs, it is not considered a single letter for collation purposes.
sz should not be confused with ś (or s followed by i), termed "soft sh", a voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative /ɕ/.
Examples of sz
obszar (help·info) (area, territory)
płaszcz (help·info) (coat, cloak)
Tomasz (help·info) (Thomas)
świeca (help·info) (candle)
iść (help·info) (to go)
sierpień (help·info) (August)
In Kashubian, sz represents a voiceless postalveolar fricative /ʃ/, identical to the English "sh".
- These examples are Kashubian words that use the letter sz, with the English translation following.
- szãtopiérz = bat
- szczawa = sorrel
- szczãka = jaw
- szczëka = pike
- szerszéń = hornet
Sz is the thirty-second letter of the Hungarian alphabet. It represents /s/ and is called "esz" /ɛs/. Thus, names like Liszt are pronounced /list/ list.
In Hungarian, even if two characters are put together to make a different sound, they are considered one letter (a true digraph), and even acronyms keep the letter intact.
Hungarian usage of s and sz is almost the reverse of the Polish usage. In Hungarian, s represents /ʃ/ (a sound similar to /ʂ/). Therefore, the Hungarian capital of Budapest is natively pronounced (/ˈbudɒpɛʃt/), rhyming with standard English fleshed rather than pest.
There is also a zs in Hungarian, which is the last (forty-fourth) letter of the alphabet, following z.
These examples are Hungarian words that use the letter sz, with the English translation following:
- szabó = tailor
- szép = beautiful
- szikla = rock
- szőke = blonde
- szülő = parent
- szusi = sushi
In German, it was used to represent /s/ after "long" vowels, later contracting to the ß ligature.
In the Wade–Giles system of Romanization of Chinese, ⟨sz⟩ is used to represent the syllabic /s/ with the "empty rime". See Wade–Giles → Empty rime.