In this lesson you will learn how to pronounce double consonants, marked in Japanese writing with “little tsu”.

In Japanese, there is a certain character marking what many Western languages would be called a double consonant. It is called chiisai tsu, little tsu, as it is written with a smaller version of the character pronounced tsu. The symbol is different in hiragana and katakana. Compare it to the full size symbol in the table below.

Full-size “Small tsu”
Hiragana:

Katakana:

Listen and Learn

Listen to and compare the sounds in the following table of examples, going from left to right, one row at a time.

Please note that the left and right column contains totally different words. We have just given these examples to let you hear the difference of including or not including っ (little tsu).

[wpaudio url="mp3/hiragana/niki-nikki.mp3" text="" dl="0"]
二期
日記
niki nikki
Two periods, two terms Diary
[wpaudio url="mp3/hiragana/shiteiru-shitteiru.mp3" text="" dl="0"]
している 知っている
shite iru shitte iru
Doing
(present progressive tense)
Knowing
(present progressive tense)
[wpaudio url="mp3/hiragana/kiteiru-kitteiru.mp3" text="" dl="0"]
来ている
切っている
kite iru kitte iru
Coming
(present progressive tense)
Cutting
(present progressive tense)
[wpaudio url="mp3/hiragana/mata-matta.mp3" text="" dl="0"]

待った
mata matta
Furthermore Waited (past tense)
[wpaudio url="mp3/hiragana/ichi-icchi.mp3" text="" dl="0"]

一致
ichi icchi
One Consistency, Match
[wpaudio url="mp3/hiragana/supai-suppai.mp3" text="" dl="0"]
スパイ
酸っぱい
supai suppai
Spy Sour