One of the main differences between the pronunciation of ‘z’ and ‘s’ is that ‘z’ is pronounced as a voiced consonant, while ‘s’ is pronounced as a voiceless consonant. This means that when you pronounce ‘z’, you use your vocal cords to produce the sound, while when you pronounce ‘s’, your vocal chords do not vibrate. This difference in vocal cord use can be felt by placing your hand on your throat while making the sounds – you should feel a vibration when you pronounce ‘z’, but not when you pronounce ‘s’.
Another difference between the pronunciation of ‘z’ and ‘s’ is where you place your tongue. ‘Z’ is typically pronounced with the tip of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth (right behind your front teeth), while ‘s’ is typically pronounced with the tongue touching the bottom of the front teeth.
It’s important to note that there are many exceptions to these rules, and that the pronunciation of ‘z’ and ‘s’ can vary depending on the word and the accent of the speaker. For example, in some accents, ‘z’ may be pronounced as a voiceless consonant similar to ‘s’, and in others, ‘s’ may be pronounced as a voiced consonant similar to ‘z’.