[Question] 今すぐ vocabulary meaning page

What does the meaning description mean by saying:

The two words even start with the same “soo” sound.

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Soon → すぐ


Yeah, it’s confusingly worded, but by “the two words” they mean “soon and すぐ”.

I also didn’t immediately understand what they meant, because I was in the mode of expecting “the two words” to point at “今 and すぐ” and thought “well, 今 clearly doesn’t start with a す sound”.


@Mods maybe a clearer meaning explanation is in order? Just a thought as it got brought up. :slight_smile:

Personally, I’m confused at seeing “soo” equated with “su”. But it goes for a lot of the English language interpretations of sound/spellings.


Thanks for the heads up, I’ll forward this over to the content team and let you know what they say.


Yeah, even the vowel length is wrong.

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English doesn’t distinguish between vowel lengths. To me “soon” and “すぐ” start with the same sound (even though yeah when I really think about it the start of “soon” is longer).


That can’t be right. Think for example “ship” and “sheep”.

Those are different vowels entirely. In IPA, ship is “ɪ” and sheep is “i”.


Well, my point being vowel length is an attribute. That statement just sounds seems a bit misleading by it’s own, even if lengthening the vowel slightly changes the sound (and the IPA). With all the different accents, vowel length even seems it could be a more consistent distinguisher with all the i, ē, ɪ, iː, eː variations.

But yeah, I guess English natives generally have a hard time with vowel lengths in Japanese, so equating soo with す just feels it could make things worse.

Lengthening a vowel doesn’t change its sound. I can go “ɪɪɪɪɪ” and it will never sound like “i”. While there is a point to be made about accents, vowel length isn’t a good distinguisher in English because vowel length doesn’t even exist in English. If I draw out the vowel in ship or shorten the vowel in sheep, English speakers will think I’m saying the same word (with maybe a different emphasis or something). Also, I know that I’m wasting way too much time on this, but I just recorded myself saying ship and sheep, and the vowel lengths were 0.2 seconds and 0.25 seconds respectively, so the vowel length isn’t even that different for these two words.

Note that I’m not saying that the 今すぐ page shouldn’t be changed. I’m just saying that there are some people for whom it makes sense.

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I’ve made a small change to the meaning explanation that should hopefully clear this up a bit. Let me know what you guys think of the change and if it helps, or feel free to suggest a better solution!

Also, just to stir the controversy a bit more, English does not differentiate between vowel length in the same way that Japanese does. The only difference in length that you’ll find in English is, as mentioned, between tense (/i/ like in “sheep”) and lax (/ɪ/ like in “ship”) vowels, with the tense ones generally being a bit longer. However, this difference is always (with maybe some exceptions in certain varieties of English) allophonic, meaning that vowel length can not be used to produce a difference in meaning. I could lengthen or shorten my vowels in any word I choose, and native speakers would still be able to identify it as the word I intended to use, I’d just sound a little funny. This can not be said about Japanese, where vowel length is phonemic, not allophonic, meaning vowel length alone, with no change in quality like in English, is used to produce differences in meaning between words.


It’s much more clear now thanks :)

Not sure how I forgot about this post somehow lol.


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