Faulty mnemonic?

You have to narrow the gap between yourself and your enemy so that you can sabotage (せば) them.


I’m not a native English speaker, but I would read “sabotage” as さぼ and not せば.

Is it just me or is this mnemonic bad?

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The “o” in sabotage is said with a ə sound (schwa), at least in American English, so it’s quite similar to the sound that ば makes. It is not a hard “oh” sound.


Wasn’t the problem the さ part? :joy:

Both? But I don’t have an answer that one.

Oh, yeah. My bad. :stuck_out_tongue:


Ok for the “o” read as /ə/. Since I’m French and “sabotage” is a French word, I didn’t pronounce it correctly.

But the first “sa” is really of the mark, isn’t it? /sæ/ is nowhere near せ, or am I mistaken somehow?

For me, I would say just remember that it doesn’t change from 狭い (せまい) which I’m guessing already came up for you? The せ stays the same, the second character is different.

But in any case, the mnemonics are often a stretch. They are meant to jog your memory, not be used as direct pronunciation guides.

“b” and “m” are closely related sounds, and often you can see readings with the same phonetic elements swapping them out (like 秒 びょう and 妙 みょう). It’s understandable why if people tried to say せまめる that over time it shifted, if that is indeed what happened. I’m not actually sure.

For another example, さむい / さぶい and さみしい / さびしい are actually still both valid pairs, though I’m sure there’s some amount of movement in one direction or the other.


Sure, but this one actually mislead me quite a few times now. :frowning:

It jogs my memory, but it leads me to the wrong reading. Focusing on it so much right now probably solved the problem anyway, but I’m thinking about other learners that might have the same problem with this mnemonic.

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