S or Z sound

So, I am having a hard time with a ton of leeches, and almost half of them are さざせぜそぞ related. I simply can not hear if it should be with a S or Z sound, and that makes me highly unsure of which one I should use.

Do anyone have any tips for studying when to use what kana? Or just how to better hear what sound is being said. I am unsure when the z sound is not simply a rendaku that happens all the time with the correct kanji/sound combination.
:sweat_smile:

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“Hear”? Are you somehow stuyding WaniKani by sound?

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I am listening to the vocabulary read out load by the male and female voices when I learn the vocabulary. I remember the words and different readings way better if I can also listen to the vocabulary when I am doing lessons and reviews :slightly_smiling_face:

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Just to confirm, is English your native language? Your native language can affect how you hear the sounds of another language.

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My personal mnemonic for さ is Saudi Arabia, and ざ is pizza, so I rarely get them confused.

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My native language is Norwegian, and we use Z very little :upside_down_face:

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As a dane i can attest that the S & Z can sometimes be a little hard to discern.
Im afraid i cant help much tho since i only occasionally get confused.

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Well on the bright side: you get a better shot at the う sound, because it feels more similar with the Nordic ‘y’ than the ‘u’ (in ‘do’) :slight_smile:

It’s just hard if your native languages does not have the distinction. As a Dutch I have a hard time with English ‘bed’, ‘bet’, ‘bad’ and ‘bat’. They all sound like ‘bet’ to me. Just use more exposure! Find such pairs of words and compare the sounds, I would say.

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As a fellow Norwegian, I share your pain. However: Revel in the fact that almost every other sound in the Japanese language is naturally unlocked for you.

As for more specific tips, I suggest you run through the introduction chapter in Japanese: The Spoken Language. The publisher has it out on the internet for free. Use the audio files. Put them in Anki if you are able to, test your skill in distinguishing the sound (and making it, recording yourself). Find some minimal pairs if you’re able to.

Z before a, u and o in Japanese is pronounced similarly to z in bazaar or dz in “old zebra”, but is pronounced further forward in the mouth and is usually voiced (ie. accompanied by vibration of the vocal cords)

It’s a legit struggle when you can’t hear the difference, and it is harder to remember how to write it. That’s just my anecdotal feeling though. :slight_smile:

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Perhaps, try to do more extensive listening. As a Swede I know your issue well as we don’t really use Z either. :woman_shrugging:

But by exposing yourself to more Japanese audio you’ll start to pick up on the sounds. It’s the same issue with English. I have to make a conscious effort to get those z’s right (while speaking), and for Japanese I’ve likewise been focusing on picking up on the z’s in vocab while watching anime or listening to Drama CDs (or speaking).

You’ll get the hang of it after a while! :slight_smile:

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Oh my, that does not work for Germans AT ALL :joy:

It’s the other way around. Pizza is more like ピッツァ here.

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