2.3. Hiragana for s/z + vowels


s + vowels:
HiraganaRomanizationPronunciationDescription
(sa)sa[sa] audio English "s" + Japanese "a".
(si)si (shi)[shi] audio Similar to English "sh" + Japanese "i". You shouldn't round your lips when you pronounce [sh], unlike the [sh] in she [shi:].
(su)su[su] audio English "s" + Japanese "u".
(se)se[se] audio English "s" + Japanese "e".
(so)so[so] audio English "s" + Japanese "o".


z + vowels:
HiraganaRomanizationPronunciationDescription
(za)za[dza] audio English "dz" + Japanese "a".
(zi)zi (ji)[d_zhi] audio Similar to English "j" + Japanese "i". You shouldn't round your lips when you pronounce [d_zh], unlike the [d_zh] in jeep [d_zhi:p].
(zu)zu[dzu] audio English "dz" + Japanese "u".
(ze)ze[dze] audio English "dz" + Japanese "e".
(zo)zo[dzo] audio English "dz" + Japanese "o".

Note that "si" and "zi" have different consonants from others because of palatalization.

The "z" in the middle of a word is commonly pronounced as [z] instead of [dz]. Similarly, "zi" can be pronounced as [zh] (as in azurezh@r]) instead of [d_zh]. Since Japanese speakers don't distinguish [dz] and [z] actually, you can pronounce "z" as the latter, which is easier for English speakers.


Hiragana examples:

Hiragana:(su)(si)
Pitch:HL
Romanization:susi
Meaning:sushi (noun)

For your interest: Sushi is a popular food in Japan. It is made of raw seafood (!) and rice. It tastes good, so give it a try if you have a chance. Some people expect Japanese foods to be hot like Thai and Korean foods, but actually Japanese foods have delicate and elegant tastes. Japanese foods boast of being low-fat and healthful, which is one of the reasons why the Japanese have the longest life expectancy in the world.

Hiragana:(sa)(zi)
Pitch:HL
Romanization:sazi
Meaning:spoon (noun)

Hiragana:(su)(zu)
Pitch:LH
Romanization:suzu
Meaning:small bell (noun)

Hiragana:(se)(ka)(i)
Pitch:HLL
Romanization:sekai
Meaning:world (noun)

Hiragana:(so)(u)(zo)(u)
Pitch:LHHH
Romanization:
Meaning:imagination (noun)

Hiragana:(zo)(u)
Pitch:HL
Romanization:
Meaning:elephant (noun)

Hiragana:(se)(i)(zi)
Pitch:LHH
Romanization:seizi
Meaning:politics (noun)



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