Which is found more often in common words, しょう or しょ?

I tend to think しょう is found more often and is usually placed in the end of the word. On the contrary しょ seems to be placed at the start.

Are these assumptions correct?


2 Answers 2


Simply from etymology I would expect しょう to be far more frequent than しょ. This is because しょ was always しょ historically, while a ridiculously large amount of sounds merged to しょう:

せう せふ しゃう しゃふ しよ etc

  • Wow etymology definitely gives an interesting explanation of so many しょう. Thanks alot!
    – dimadesu
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 19:39

I don't know of any analysis which compares the frequency of しょ and しょう sounds. You mention that しょ might be more likely at the start of a word and しょう more likely at the end of a word. I don't think that's necessarily true. For example, the suffixes 書 and 所 (and 署) are quite frequent and are at the end of the word. Also, most kanji with reading しょう can also come at the beginning of a word (e.g. [証書]{しょうしょ}).

The WWWJDIC kanji dictionary file contains

  • 52 kanji with reading しょ and
  • 238 kanji with reading しょう

so one might guess that しょう is more frequent than しょ, both at the beginning and at the end. (But of course the above-mentioned suffixes might tip the balance for しょ being more likely at the end, but for this one would have to look at the actual numbers, for example in a corpus.)

  • Thank you @Earthling so a number of kanjis with しょう is bigger. That is nice to know this kind of info.
    – dimadesu
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 8:18

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