Quick question about 少し

Hi, I was doing my WK yesterday and got to 少し, and I was like, Hey I know that, skoshi, So why isn’t the su pronounced, like s-u-koshi, instead of -sko-shi.


Idk su is weird, same with です you say des not desu. Not sure why just something you have to remember, I am not sure if there is exceptions or not.

Some vowel sounds in Japanese can be devoiced. You’ll get used the patterns.

If you learn a bit about pitch accent, the devoicing will never happen when the mora is ending on a high pitch.

An example might help. So take something like あす (a more formal word for tomorrow than あした), which has a す in it, but you can’t say it with a devoiced す because the pitch goes low to high.

Sorry if that all is beyond your level now, but it’s something I found interesting about the devoicing phenomenon.


That’s good information. I’ll have to pay attention to that a bit more.

I think in this case it’s just a matter of it almost being physically impossible. I can’t make it low to high and devoice it. I think it’s just a consequence of the low to high move.

EDIT: Maybe not… I’m trying more and it sounds freaky though. Who knows.

I was thinking that as I read your previous post. Regarding your edit, even if it’s “possible”, it still feels unnatural and sounds weird as you said.

This is quite common with a large amount of all う based sounds. That is one reason why ウ based katakana are used for consonant-ended foreign words. The word for applause in Japanese is 拍手(はくしゅ) which sounds like hakshu. An early one you should know are the numeral counters (一つ, 二つ, など) which all usually cut off the う for a “ts” sound. One example that twisted my tongue for a while was 聖徳太子 (しょうとくたいし) which sounds like Sho-toktai-shi. :rofl:

Just watch out mainly for う sounds, sometimes お sounds.

The い sounds too. Like あした sounds like ashta and わたしたち sounds like watashtachi.

EDIT: Just し? I’m not thinking of a whole lot of examples right now.

I think that’s more exclusive to し specifically. Though し by nature should be more of a “sh” sound, as the い vowel component is more just the result of the consonant sound. It’s actually a laughing point for Japanese people when foreigners emphasize the い over the “sh.”

The only time I can think of when I hear native Japanese actually emphasize the い sound is when using it as a suffix (like 可愛いし優しいし).

It’d be funny if it didn’t happen that way, because then it’d be “ass”. :rofl:

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