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Tips on pronouncing tsu/dzu properly.

Dismantle
Asked 7 years ago
I want to be able to speak at native pace while properly pronouncing odd characters. I want my listener to be able to distinguish my つ from my す and my づ from my ず. For example: moon - つき like - すき It's easily confused with a neutral American accent. A word that concerns me with づ is つづく. I believe that means to continue. In that particular case I would like advice on how to recognize the sound. For the main point, I just want advice or exercises on pronouncing the tsu and dzu sounds distinctively. ありがとう!

I apologize for the formatting. I submitted via phone and had paragraphs, but the site reformatted it.

Dismantle
Commented 7 years ago

Though it's not necessarily in the spirit of online learning tools such as this, a little linguistic study and practice wouldn't hurt. つ and す originate in the same parts of the mouth but should feel different, in much the same way that the final sound in 'cats' feels different from the final sound in 'cass'. The /s/ in す is a 'fricative' (a sound produced by making a very narrow space in the mouth for air to go through, like 'th' in 'three'--it's called a 'fricative' because of the 'friction' of the sound), while the /ts/ in つ is an 'affricate', a combination of a stop and a fricative (a 'stop' being when the flow of air is, well, stopped); an affricate begins with a stop, and then opens into a fricative, like the 'ch' in 'church'. If you practice producing the Japanese sounds with that in mind (especially if you exaggerate the affricate a little bit until you are familiar with the feel), you should notice a difference. The ず/づ divide is not present in modern Tokyo dialect Japanese, however, so つづく is pronounced like 'tsuzuku' in modern Tokyo Standard. Depending on where your sensei is from (and how old they are!), you might learn to distinguish between ず/づ/じ/ぢ (the 'yotsugana' 四つ仮名), or you may not. My early teachers learned in/were from southern Japan, where the yotsugana are all distinct, so I have 4 separate sounds (it's the only part of my normal accent that isn't 100% Tokyo, lol), while in Tokyo Standard, there are only two--ず and じ (with づ and ぢ being pronounced the same as ず and じ). In Northern Japan, all 4 come out sounding the same! (This is because 'u' and 'i' are the weakest vowels in Japanese, so often get devoiced--consider 'たくさん' and 'ちかい', which when pronounced by natives come out as 'taksan' and 'chkai'. Thus, in northern dialects, all 4 sounds come out with a devoiced vowel, and therefore sound the same). This is all SUPER pedantic, though--I've been speaking and studying Japanese for about a decade now, and I didn't learn about this stuff until I went to Japan and specifically took a Japanese Linguistics course. If your primary worry is about your す and つ sounding the same, just exaggerate the stop a little bit more, to get the sound on your tongue properly.

Katie
Commented 7 years ago

Know someone who might be able to answer this question?

4 Answers

0
Votes

You could always press the play button so you hear it over and over till you remember it.

Miyako
Answered 7 years ago

I remember it. It's more about producing it.

Dismantle
Commented 7 years ago

0
Votes

I hear what you are saying, (no pun intended lol) and I agree, I too would like to lessen the neutral American accent to my Japanese, the difference between 'su,' and 'tsu,' and words that start with'fu' and 'h,' (such as 'hitori') for example, are areas of particular importance/difficulty to me.

The only thing that I can suggest and implement myself is doing listening and speaking study as much as I possibly can. I listen to audio lessons, Japanese music, and watch Japanese movies, TV shows throughout my day. I listen as much as I can so that my ears will better hear subtleties of the language. Speaking is equally important of course, so I try to practice speaking when I am able as well- to utilize what I have learned and to become more comfortable in speaking it, which will lend to my ability in speaking of course.

I have also heard that singing along to Japanese songs is beneficial to speaking well and good pronunciation, so I do that as well. Singing along to music is fun too, so I definitely recommend it.

Best of luck to you in your studies.
Lauren

ローレン
Answered 7 years ago

0
Votes

the only difference between "su" and "zu" is the tension in your mouth creating the gap between your upper and lower lips. Try saying "zu" and "su" without readjusting your lips. It is impossible. So, always remember to keep your mouth a little more open when saying "tsu", and a little more narrow and tight when saying "dzu". By the way, it is this same difference which seperates "d-" and t-", and it is no coincidence that there is no "tzu" or "dsu" in the Japanese language.

Jace *\(^o^)/*
Answered 7 years ago

0
Votes

Though it's not necessarily in the spirit of online learning tools such as this, a little linguistic study and practice wouldn't hurt. つ and す originate in the same parts of the mouth but should feel different, in much the same way that the final sound in 'cats' feels different from the final sound in 'cass'. The /s/ in す is a 'fricative' (a sound produced by making a very narrow space in the mouth for air to go through, like 'th' in 'three'--it's called a 'fricative' because of the 'friction' of the sound), while the /ts/ in つ is an 'affricate', a combination of a stop and a fricative (a 'stop' being when the flow of air is, well, stopped); an affricate begins with a stop, and then opens into a fricative, like the 'ch' in 'church'. If you practice producing the Japanese sounds with that in mind (especially if you exaggerate the affricate a little bit until you are familiar with the feel), you should notice a difference.

The ず/づ divide is not present in modern Tokyo dialect Japanese, however, so つづく is pronounced like 'tsuzuku' in modern Tokyo Standard. Depending on where your sensei is from (and how old they are!), you might learn to distinguish between ず/づ/じ/ぢ (the 'yotsugana' 四つ仮名), or you may not. My early teachers learned in/were from southern Japan, where the yotsugana are all distinct, so I have 4 separate sounds (it's the only part of my normal accent that isn't 100% Tokyo, lol), while in Tokyo Standard, there are only two--ず and じ (with づ and ぢ being pronounced the same as ず and じ). In Northern Japan, all 4 come out sounding the same! (This is because 'u' and 'i' are the weakest vowels in Japanese, so often get devoiced--consider 'たくさん' and 'ちかい', which when pronounced by natives come out as 'taksan' and 'chkai'. Thus, in northern dialects, all 4 sounds come out with a devoiced vowel, and therefore sound the same).

This is all SUPER pedantic, though--I've been speaking and studying Japanese for about a decade now, and I didn't learn about this stuff until I went to Japan and specifically took a Japanese Linguistics course. If your primary worry is about your す and つ sounding the same, just exaggerate the stop a little bit more, to get the sound on your tongue properly.

Katie
Answered 7 years ago