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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!
またね!

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JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 12th, 2015 at 06:30 PM
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What Japanese learning question do you have?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
January 30th, 2020 at 12:57 AM
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Iulianさん


コメントありがとうございます😄

Please let us know if you have any question :)


Sincerely

Ryoma

Team JapanesePod101.com

Iulian
January 24th, 2020 at 05:04 PM
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👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
January 24th, 2020 at 01:08 AM
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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

Louie
January 20th, 2020 at 03:51 PM
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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
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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!


Regards,

Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

Ruth Moen
March 16th, 2018 at 03:30 AM
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Konbanwa,Hiroko-san!??

watashiwa kono ressungasuki desu.?

Eng.translation:(I like this lesson.)

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!?❤?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 11th, 2018 at 11:05 AM
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Konnichiwa, ライカンテス-san

Thank you for the reply!


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


Cheers,

Miki(美希)

Team JapanesePod101.com

Japanesepod101.com Verified
June 12th, 2017 at 07:26 PM
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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

Justin
June 12th, 2017 at 07:50 AM
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You know I have to admit, I enjoy going through video lessons to get the catchy tune at the end before telling me to subscribe, and it's really nice seeing all of this information you don't see in textbooks that I would imagine is brought up by a Japanese teacher in... say... a college course as I'm not enrolled in one.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 25th, 2017 at 10:25 PM
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Hi shaynox,

Thank you for the comment!


I would like to answer the question you posted before.


"u" at the end of "arigatōgozaimasu" is often omitted in conversation.

Some, however, pronounce this "u" clearly and I feel mature women tend to do that when they express their deepest gratitude. Also, some diarects often lengthen the end of sentences so you hear this "u".


Hope this helps you:smile:


Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com

Cheers,

Miki(美希)

Team JapanesePod101.com