Help with writing Handmade in hiragana!

Hello! I’m in a panic because I have hit a wall with a new interpretation of zu as in tsu with ". I’m in the late stages of Lesson 6 and now learning the other versions of " that are around.
Could someone please let me know how to type it on my keyboard as I can’t go on, literally, until I know this!

du or dzu both work

There’s a hiragana keyboard thing built into the review screen you can click too in a worst case scenario


You might want to go back and make sure you’re solid on your kana, given this was an issue for you.

Thanks a lot lady! Have you got to level 6 yet??

Thank you very much! :hibiscus::heart:️:hibiscus:

It might be a help to know although what is usually being typed is called ワープロローマ字.

The predominant romaji system is called Hepburn.

[EDIT - redacted misleading pronunciation advice]

They don’t though…

EDIT: To clarify, you can find people in Japan who distinguish them, but the Tokyo dialect treats them both as what we would regard as “zu” so unless people want to get dialectal, treating them the same is standard.

And for completeness, since it often comes up in these, ぢ and じ are pronounced the same as well.


That’s not exactly accurate - づ and ず are considered allophones of the same phoneme /zu/, and will likely be heard by others unversed in phonetics as zu. But when you listen carefully, you will hear sometimes [zu] and sometimes [dzu] (though they will still both mean the sound /zu/ in most dialects).


I’ve asked a few Japanese people, who have all told me “they’re the same but some old people differentiate them.” Encouraging people to pronounce them differently is not something I can endorse given that. I’m not a linguist, and neither are any of the Japanese people I spoke to, but that’s what I heard.

You can find similar things from natives with some googling.

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There’s historically a difference, but in modern standardized Japanese, they are the same and you only need to worry about it when writing. Same as づ/ず.

The difference between ぢ/じ (as well as づ/ず ) is maintained in some southern dialects:

(try to Japanese version of the page if you want a little more in depth).


I retract my previous statement. I’m not sure what pointed me in that direction.
I always pay a lot of attention to my つ vs づ in the middle of words, so perhaps that led me astray somehow.

But the problem is that people do hear “dzu” sometimes, and they have every reason to be confused. I think it’s better to tell them “you’re right, some people pronounce /zu/ that way under certain circumstances, but that sound doesn’t change the meaning of the word. As a learner, you should pronounce it as” zu" until you have enough contact with people whose speech you can emulate without teaching yourself something wrong". Just telling me someone that it’s definitely a “zu” is misleading and can even lead to unnatural-sounding speech that’s very difficult to fix later on (like how I pronounce “dogs” in English as “doks” and not as “dogz”).


四つ仮名 is right. I actually looked into this in some detail, previously, because it made no sense that there were two sounds with two different representations, in a very recently reformed writing system. The truth is that there are not, of course.

The full situation is a little more complex than @Leebo wants to make out, but the simplified version is that modern Japanese is undergoing a merging of four separate morae into one (that’s right, じ、ぢ、づ、ず all representing one sound), to varying degrees across the country.

Older, careful speakers will often distinguish, even if they are not consciously doing so, but for most speakers, depending on their area, one of the following is true:

ず、づ are allophones and じ、ぢ are allophones - this is typical of Tokyo and much of central Japan, which is where most Japanese live, of course. This is also the accent and dialect usually taught to learners as “Standard Japanese”.

ず、づ、じ、ぢ are all allophones - this is the most extreme case, and it is found in Hokkaido and the north of Japan, as well as the far south, including Okinawa.

じ、ぢ are allophones (the other two remain distinguished) - this is a small pocket in southern Japan.

No allophones (all morae are distinguished) - this is common in much of southern Japan.

Allophones are where different sounds are realized (and heard) by native speakers as being the same sound. For example, in English, people realize vowels like /e/ and /i/ in a variety of different ways, whilst still having no confusion over which vowel is being used. Likewise, /l/ has several allophones across English.

What this means for us, as learners, is that we may very well hear these sounds distinguished from one another, even in dialects where they have merged, to one extent or another, but that for the most part we shouldn’t attempt to make an explicit difference ourselves, unless we are very sure.

In most cases, the native speaker is not even going to be aware that they make two different sounds for the same kana, similar to the /g/,/ng/ allophones situation with が、ぎ、ご、etc.

@Leebo native speakers without some expertise are a terrible source of information on things like this; unless they have chosen to analyse their own speech, they are not going to be able to given accurate feedback. You will simply get blanket statements like “they are the same sound”, even as they proceed to make two different sounds for it (allophone).


At this point, twice. Also, I am not a lady, nor even a woman. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the name of the phenomenon! It led me to a nice colourful wiki page:
ETA: duh, the wiki page had already made an appearance! boo! :joy:

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ありがとう ございました!

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