I've been learning English for a while, but I still can't pronounce usual well. The phonetic symbol is [ˈjuʒuəl], but [j] and [ʒ] are my troubles.

What is the pronunciation of [j] and [ʒ]?

  • IPA [j] is exactly the letter Y in "you".
    – iBug
    Feb 1, 2019 at 9:29
  • Worth bearing in mind that a lot of words are pronounced in a wide variety of different ways by speakers of different dialects, ranges of accents, etc. "Usual" is probably one of the most variable ones.
    – SamBC
    Feb 1, 2019 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


As iBug wrote, [j], called by linguists the palatal approximant, is pronounced like the consonant y in words like you, yours, young. You can read more about the sound and hear a short audio clip of its pronunciation here: Palatal approximant

[ʒ], called the voiced postalveolar frictive, sounds like the s in pleasure, or vision. You can hear it pronounced here: Voiced postalveolar frictive

The nice thing about the site I've linked is that it includes examples of the sound used in many different languages. Hopefully, you can find an example of these sounds in language you're more familiar with.

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