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Same audio file being used for both ष and श?

Is there a difference between these two sounds? At first I thought I just couldn't distinguish between the two, but then I was asked to choose the character for the "sha" sound and realized Duolingo is using the exact same audio for both sounds. Are they supposed to be the same? Either way, there probably shouldn't be a question asking to identify the sound "sha" when both ष and श are listed as answer choices. At least not while they have the same audio. Anyone else?

August 4, 2018



I thought it was the same audio as well, but there is a very, very, very slightly longer enunciation on the "h" sound in one of the letters. My husband speaks Hindi, and he could easily hear the difference. He used two different words as examples so I could hear the longer "h" sound, and then when I revisited the exercise I now can hear it. It is frustrating for sure, but there is definitely a very marginal difference.


I am a native. There is no pronunciation difference between the two letters. Earlier, they used to be pronounced differently but the modern pronunciation has converged to श so both ष and श are pronounced like श. I was never taught nor did I ever notice any difference between these two sounds.

Natives who do not agree with me just want to follow and teach the old standard Hindi which is not really spoken colloquially, at all. So, keep this in mind while learning Hindi using Duolingo, people usually do not talk how Duolingo teaches. The Hindi which Duolingo teaches has great amount of differences compared to how natives speak it colloquially. Duolingo is still a good start to learn Hindi but always remember, it is not how natives talk.


Yes, I agree. Sounds exactly same.


In Hindustani, they're the same sound.


Duolingo might be using the same file but actually there is a slight difference in the two letters, which can be understood better if you try to listen to words using these two letters. But don't worry if you can't make out the difference. In modern days, many people can't make out the difference and you will be understood just fine. The only time you'll have to be able to differentiate these two letters is when you are writing something in Hindi.


I just did this lesson today, and my husband and son listen to the audio files too and they both couldn't hear a difference. And I can't either. I too think it might be the same audio file.


Hindi does not distinguish between those two sounds. They are pronounced the same in Hindi.


Exactly! There is no difference in pronunciation between the two sounds.

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