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Identical Sounds for श ś and ष ṣ on Letters 4

On the lessons for Letters 4, the sounds for श ś and ष ṣ are absolutely identical. What's bothering me is not that I'm losing hearts (okay, maybe a little bit) but that I'm not learning how to tell them apart. Can one of them be re-recorded so that the distinction between the two can be heard?

Kind regards, Robert.

September 8, 2020




श and ष are similar to pairs like कand ख, प andफ, बand भ, गand घ, etc.

When you add a ह (h) sound to the sound क(k), it becomes ख(kh).

Same for (p)प ,(b)ब,(g)ग ,etc. So, ष is basically श+ह. In daily usage, yes, they are almost indistinguishable, but still, you can not replace ष and श while writing. Just try to pronounce it correctly!

Plus, You have to roll your tongue backwards while pronouncing ष. Hope it helps! Happy learning!!!


While talking to most of the people, you won't really make out the difference, yet, In some states of India like Rajasthan, Odisha, etc. the people do clearly make out the difference!

Try the Igloo rule..that's how I learnt it!

  • When the tip of the tongue is placed close to the upper front teeth, and the sound 'sa' is produced along then the letter thus pronounced is (popularly known as दंत [d(an)te] , where the sanskrit word 'दंत' means 'tooth').
  • When the tongue is kept close to the inner(upwards) front gums, while at the same time saying 'sa', then the sound thus made is the letter (popularly known as मूर्धन्य[mūrdhanya] , where 'मूर्धा' is the junction between the palate and the upper gums).
  • When the tip of the toungue is kept close and almost parallel to the upper or the concave part of the mouth i.e. the palate and 'sa' sound is produced along, then the letter tgus pronounced is (popularly known as तालव्य[tālavya] , where the word 'तालु' refers to the 'palate'). Image portaying The Igloo Rule


Wow!! Nice information. Thanks!! btw,U Indian?


If i remember correctly, the answer is always श, when you have a choice between the two...so no hearts lost.

There were many old posts about this. There are youtube vids where you can easily hear the difference, but not on Duo...


hey! all the people here who answered you have some very good information! however i just want to add, ष is a lot less common & you're more likely to find it in religious texts & medieval hindi. however श is a much more common letter & you would see that in places where you'd 'normally' read hindi today- newspapers, t.v. etc. hope this helps & good luck with your hindi journey! also i am, by ethnicity indian so feel free to ask me any questions

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