Tsu vs Su pronunciation

First post! I was just wondering if anyone could help me with some pronunciation. I haven’t got very good ears for pronunciation and am often told I am mispronouncing things in my native language :confused: :upside_down_face:.
I’m pretty sure my Tsu’s and Su’s sound identical. I think it’s actually a problem with my Su’s being too sharp because my S’s in English are a little lispy.
How do you differentiate between the sounds and how do you go about producing those sounds?

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Forvo is generally a good source for native pronunciation examples. Here are and .

Also, this is an incredible naive suggestion, but can’t you just try to say “t” followed by “su” for tsu?


Unlike す, つ is an affricate, a stop that turns into a fricative. In other words, you start with standard Japanese t sound, that then turns into an s (which is the same in both English and Japanese).

In Dogen’s video there is an exercise where you start with making the s-sound: ssssss. Then stop the airflow by touching the tip of your tongue against the back of your upper teeth. From there move back to the s. This may help you get a feel for it.


This is very helpful. Thank you

Hello again, Could you point me in the direction of Dogen’s video? I can’t seem to find it.

If you speak French, I always think of Tsu like saying “Tu” (means you in French). Hopefully it’s helpful to someone out there.

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It depends on what dialect of French you’re speaking. In Canadian French it’s definitely true but not in standard French.

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