Difference between syllables

Asked 5 years ago

I am just wondering what the differences are when pronouncing the three syllables su, tsu and zu as they sound the same to me


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5 Answers



Yeah, this is something I find difficult as well.

I believe that this is one of those things that you should not worry too much about as a beginner - it's more one of the finer nouance that you can think about mastering once you've got the basics down, and possibly lived for a few months in Japan to immerse yourself in the language.

Honestly, I don't think there's all that many words where the difference between す ,ずand つ (plus let's not forget about while we're at it) really makes an impact, and even in those cases, with Japanese being a language with lots of homonyms and many dialects, it's probably second nature for most Japanese people to interpret the meaning based on context anyway, and what they expect to hear.

Kira Resari
Answered 5 years ago


Hehe, i never had a problem with pronunciation, because all syllables Japanese use exist even in my language. I had much more problem with learning English pronunciation :D

す is pronounced like in word soon

ず is pronounced like in word zoom

there is nothing like つ in english

づ is something like saying ず and du (like in duty) at the same time

Just listen to recordings few times and you will catch it :)


Answered 5 years ago



i think this is really confusing for anyone while writing, but while talking it is easy because of all three sounds same. but while writing you should know the proper meaning to the words and where to place it.

Answered 5 years ago


yeah you are right about that in my opinen.

Answered 5 years ago



hi B!

The differences in the sounds are very important, and unless precise, can change the words and sometimes cause sentences to be misunderstood/ unintelligible; when at the ends of words the 'u' part of す/su the u is only slightly pronounced, but needs to be there onto the end of it, and in the middles of words the u tends to be heard more; ず /zu is pronounced like 'zoo' but shorter, especially in the middles of words; つ tsu is sort of like the ts in 'boots' plus a bit of u sound as in 'tool' onto the end of it; づ dzu is similar to the ds sound at the end of 'foods' and with a 'u' sound sort of like in 'mule' onto the end of it; shi and chi and also with dakuten are also in many words, and all have distinct nuances of pronunciation which affect the meanings; these pronunciations are also very important when using numbers with things, Hanshi


Answered 4 years ago