Sunday Soundcheck 23


Next up is zu, represented as ず in hiragana and ズ in katakana.

Zureru (ずれる) is a verb we use to describe something ‘moving’, ‘shifting’, ‘deviating’. Example sentences in my dictionary use it for: finding a safe out of place in an office; a typhoon varying from the forecast; comments being off the point; dubbing not matching lip movement. It is often used in the past tense, zureta (ずれた), since that is when we can tell that something deviated; however, I have used it to express something I thought would deviate or something in the process of going off track.

There are extremely few katakana words in the dictionary starting with zu. Let’s just throw them all into the post. Zubon (ズボン) is the word for pants (American usage) as in slacks, not pants (British usage) as in underpants. In Japanese the word for underpants – in an oh so British way – is pantsu (パンツ). I have mistakenly used zubon in the generally way that we use ‘pants’ in America; I referred to jeans as zubon and got many confused looks. Jeans are called jiipan (ジーパン), which is just a shortened form of jiin pantsu, or pants made from jean material. Zubon meets my requirement for usable in normal conversation; however, it is commonly presented in normal texts, so it fails my second rule.

Zukku (ズック) is the word for ‘canvas’ or ‘gunny’ and comes from the Dutch word ‘doek’. I have never seen this one in a textbook; however, I haven’t heard it in daily conversation either.

Zuumu (ズーム) is simply ‘zoom’. If you are into photography, then this will meet both rules: not in normal textbooks; and usable in daily conversation. How about an example sentence? 鳥をズームで撮影する。Note that zoom is using the particle ‘de‘.

Late addition – I had considered using the word zutsuu (ずつう), but passed. The next day the word got used a lot and I laughed. The phrase “atama ga itai” is often used for ‘headache’, but is really “(my) head hurts”; zutsuu, written in kanji as 頭痛, is a proper term for ‘headache’.


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