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Q. I can't hear the "u" sound of the word "desu." Is it supposed to be pronounced?

A. Japanese syllables are written with a vowel (a, i, u, e, o) or a combination of a consonant and a vowel (ka, sa, ta etc.). The only consonant that stands by itself is "n". For example: "kirin (ki-ri-n)" as in "giraffe". Therefore, "desu" is pronounced as "de-su" with two syllables. Since the last "u" is a very subtle sound and tends to be whispered, you might not be able to hear it. It is not necessary to emphasize it. I think it is best to listen to a native speaker closely and mimic what you hear.

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