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[Lingo] kanji pronounciation question

Hi all.

There seems to be a pattern on how a kanji is pronounced when in the first position of a word or a following position, but I can't quite put my finger on it. An example would be 説 as used in 円説 or 演説. 円説 is a short phrase and might mean money theory. The second is a single word for a speech. 説 in the phrase is pronounced せつ but in the word is ぜつ. Is there a rule or pattern that will help me predict pronounciation of a kanji here?

Complicating matters in this case for me is that せつ・ぜつ isn't in the 音 or 訓 for 説.

Steve S.

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