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Nowadays one sees it more as a suffix; it loses its tone: zi, zi, e.g. 句子 jùzi 'sentence'

仔 Zǐ is 'young (of animals)' or 'meticulous':


字 Zì is 'character, letter'

Think of a child under a roof learning characters.
Common word: 汉字 Hànzì 'Chinese character'