Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher where I’ll answer some of *your* most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is…
Why do DESU and MASU sound like DESS and MASS?
You’ll often hear the word ‘desu’ as in ‘Hiroko desu.’ or ‘masu’ as in ‘yoroshiku onegai shimasu’. They’re both spelled as two syllables but the actual pronunciation sounds like “dess” or "-mass," without the “う” sound.
So what’s going on with this?
The last ‘う’ sounds are often left off in spoken Japanese.
This happens when the "う" sound follows voiceless consonants such as ku, su, tsu, or fu at the end of a phrase or between voiceless consonants. For example, masu, desu, or suki. When you say these words, you actually pronounce the vowel ‘う," but the vocal chords don’t vibrate enough, and you just can’t hear it very well.
This rule also applies to masu form of verbs, such as ‘tabemasu’ meaning “to eat,” ‘mimasu’ meaning “to watch”.
Another example word with the voiceless “う” in the middle is ‘sukiyaki,’ which is a name of famous Japanese food. This ‘う’ comes between voiceless consonants, ‘s’ and ‘k’ and becomes ‘Skiyaki.’
So, what do you say when you say “Good morning.” politely? ...Don’t say ‘Ohayo gozaimasU’. Just ‘Ohayo gozaimass’
One more example:
What do you say when you say “I like Japanese anime.”? ...You’d say "Nihon no anime ga ski dess.” because the ‘su’ sounds as in ‘suki’ and ‘desu’ become “ski” and “dess.”
I hope this makes sense to you and you can use this tip to make your pronunciation even more natural!
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 12th, 2015 at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

What Japanese learning question do you have?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 2nd, 2021 at 09:39 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.


Thank you so much for your kind comment😄

We're so happy to hear that this video has helped you a lot.

Please keep up the great work!!

いっしょに がんばりましょう😇

Please let us know if you have any questions :)



Team JapanesePod101.com

May 31st, 2021 at 06:13 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.


This video was very straight forward, short and to the point. It thoroughly cleared up a question I was meaning to ask.❤️️ I searched everything until I found the answer this Ultimate Guide for Brand New Japanese Learners. 😁


JapanesePod101.com Verified
January 30th, 2020 at 12:57 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.



Please let us know if you have any question :)



Team JapanesePod101.com

January 24th, 2020 at 05:04 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.


JapanesePod101.com Verified
January 24th, 2020 at 01:08 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

こんにちは Louie,

You're welcome. Great that now you understand it. Keep up the good work!! 😇

Wishing you good luck with your Japanese,

レヴェンテ (Levente)

Team JapanesePod101.com

January 20th, 2020 at 03:51 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Thanks. I kept holding my phone up to my ear, or turning the volume on my computer up because I wasn't hearing the う sound. This for clarifying this for me.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
April 11th, 2018 at 02:50 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Ruth Moen,

Thank you very much for the nice comment and sorry for our late reply.

Thank you for studying with us! Keep up the good work!


Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

Ruth Moen
March 16th, 2018 at 03:30 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.


watashiwa kono ressungasuki desu.?

Eng.translation:(I like this lesson.)

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!?❤?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 11th, 2018 at 11:05 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Konnichiwa, ライカンテス-san

Thank you for the reply!

Please keep studying with us and learn more kanji and phrases?



Team JapanesePod101.com

Japanesepod101.com Verified
June 12th, 2017 at 07:26 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Justin,

Great to know that you're enjoying our website!

Please stay tuned! Every week we'll have new lessons for you! ;)

Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team Japanesepod101.com