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While several people have asked about the pronunciation difference between じ and ぢ(there is none), the difference between ち and ぢ has not been talked about much. Yet, they seem the same to me, even though their Romaji is different. The pronunciation of ち is like the English letter 'j' (as in judge) and so is the pronunciation for ぢ.

I am confused about the pronunciation difference between 'chi' and 'ji'.

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  • 1
    What's your native language?
    – Angelos
    Feb 8, 2023 at 15:06
  • German (Swiss German)
    – timtam
    Feb 8, 2023 at 15:50
  • In what word does ち sound like "g" to you?
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 8, 2023 at 16:06
  • I meant the ‚g‘ as in age, not as in ‚gangster‘. I tried to make it more clear.
    – timtam
    Feb 8, 2023 at 16:57
  • @aguijonazo German has final devoicing — that might be why ち sounds like the final in "age" as pronounced in that English variety.
    – jogloran
    Feb 8, 2023 at 17:34

1 Answer 1

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The pronounciation of ち is not like "g", but rather it is similar to the "chi" in "chicken", like the romaji notation suggests. The difference is that it is voiceless (and always pronounced as an affricate). The dakuten ゛ turns voiceless consonants into voiced consonants.

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  • Yes indeed, but isn't the pronunciation of ぢ like 'chi' as in chicken as well? Also the 'chi' in chicken is not voiceless, no? A voiceless version of 'chi' would be 'shi'
    – timtam
    Feb 8, 2023 at 15:52
  • @timtam No, the first sound in chicken is indeed voiceless, and it's the affricate /tʃ/ 'tsh'. Its relation to /ʃ/ 'sh' is that you get it if you remove the plosive part. The voiced counterpart is /dʒ/ 'j' like the first sound in 'judge', made up of a d plosive sound and a /ʒ/ like a French soft G. However, Swiss German lacks either sound, right? Thus the distinction may be hard to hear.
    – Angelos
    Feb 8, 2023 at 16:19
  • Mm… yeah in Swiss German we have ‚tsch‘, which might be similair. But I actually can‘t hear the difference in the first sound in ‚judge‘ and ‚chicken‘ :(
    – timtam
    Feb 8, 2023 at 16:59
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    @istrasci isn't what you're referring to the pronunciation of the vowels after 'ch'? Of course I do not say "chee-cken" but my question is about the pronunciation of the sound 'ch' not what comes after it
    – timtam
    Feb 8, 2023 at 20:51
  • 3
    @timtam - If you have difficulty telling “jeez” from “cheese” in English, you might indeed have a harder time with ち and じ in Japanese because the consonant in ち is generally much weaker than the English “ch”. You need to get used to the sounds through more exposure, I would say.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 9, 2023 at 0:33

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