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促音

eeky

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It's not obvious to me why the "double consonant" symbol, っ, should be a small "tsu", and I can't seem to find anything much about it on the Internet. I've noticed cases like 実 being pronounced じつ in some contexts, yet becoming じっ in combinations like 実習. This seems more than a coincidence, yet it's not obvious to me how じつしゅう would, in pronunciation, become じっしゅう. Was that, in fact, what historically happened, or is there some other explanation?
 

Toritoribe

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語中にあって、カ・サ・タ・パの各行の頭子音と同じ閉鎖音または摩擦音の調音の態勢で1 音節をなすもの。

外来語や方言音では、例外的に、ガ・ザ・ダ・バの各行 やハ行音などの前に現れることもある。
Thus, つ changes to 促音 when preceding k/s/t/p. Although there are some exceptions in loan words and dialects.

実家: じつ + か(ka) → じっか
実施: じつ + し(shi) → じっし

実現: じつ + げん(ge) → じつげん
実母: じつ + ぼ(bo) → じつぼ

head: ヘッド
活動: かつどう(×かっどう)
 

eeky

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Thanks Toritoribe. Is it the case that all native Japanese uses of っ (including past tense forms like 買った, say) can be somehow etymologically traced to a full つ? (I say "native" to exclude modern loanwords.)

Is it obvious to you, as a native speaker, why sounds changes such as じつ + か → じっか should take place? Or is it now just a historical legacy that has no living resonance? Sound combinations such as じつか occur in other contexts, don't they, so it's not like there's any actual problem with pronouncing these combinations if one needs to.
 

Toritoribe

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Is it the case that all native Japanese uses of っ (including past tense forms like 買った, say) can be somehow etymologically traced to a full つ? (I say "native" to exclude modern loanwords.)
No, not always. 買った is indeed a good example of verb conjugations. Its classical form is 買[か]ひたり. (たり is a classical auxiliary verb to make a verb perfect tense.) Similarly, 行った, 立った, やった is from 行きたり, 立ちたり, やりたり, respectively.

As for nouns, く preceding "k" and ち in 一[いち]/八[はち]/日[にち] preceding "k/s/t/p" changes to っ as same as つ.

悪漢:あくかん→あっかん
画期:かくき→かっき
昨今:さくこん→さっこん

一回:いちかい→いっかい
八頭身:はちとうしん→はっとうしん
日記:にちき→にっき

In these cases, "h" also changes to "p".

活発:かつはつ→かっぱつ
一筆:いちひつ→いっぴつ

This euphonic change is occurred only on the last syllable of a kanji reading that is followed by another kanji, i.e., 滅菌(めつ + きん) changes to めっきん, but 目付き(め + つき)doesn't to めっき.

Is it obvious to you, as a native speaker, why sounds changes such as じつ + か → じっか should take place? Or is it now just a historical legacy that has no living resonance? Sound combinations such as じつか occur in other contexts, don't they, so it's not like there's any actual problem with pronouncing these combinations if one needs to.
It might be similar to the 連濁 thing. じつか sounds like a combination of two different words or 「じつ + か」. Actually, for instance, 芸術家 is pronounced as げいじゅつか, not げいじゅっか, and a single word 述懐 is じゅっかい, not じゅつかい.
 
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eeky

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No, not always.
Right. So, do you think っ was originally chosen as the 促音 symbol because the corresponding sound typically (or originally) occurred when the syllable つ was lost from a compound -- and then the use of っ transferred to other cases, such as those you mention, where the sound was the same but there was never any つ syllable involved? Or maybe it's historically more complicated?

In these cases, "h" also changes to "p".
This reminds me of another question I wanted to ask here, if I may. In Japanese (other than in romaji), how do you refer to what we would in English call the "letters" k, s, t, etc.? Is there a special way of doing this, or do you effectively have to say something like "the first sound in か, き, く ..."?
 

Toritoribe

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Right. So, do you think っ was originally chosen as the 促音 symbol because the corresponding sound typically (or originally) occurred when the syllable つ was lost from a compound -- and then the use of っ transferred to other cases, such as those you mention, where the sound was the same but there was never any つ syllable involved? Or maybe it's historically more complicated?
促音記号 っ is widely used after WWⅡ. In historical kana usage, 促音 is usually written as つ. So the phonetic change would occur some time in the history. (Japanese writing system was dramatically changed after WWⅡ, so it's tough to analyze this sort of things from modern kana usage.)

This reminds me of another question I wanted to ask here, if I may. In Japanese (other than in romaji), how do you refer to what we would in English call the "letters" k, s, t, etc.? Is there a special way of doing this, or do you effectively have to say something like "the first sound in か, き, く ..."?
"H" changes to "p" after 促音.
ハ行[ぎょう]は促音のあとでは半濁音に変わる。

When referring to only a consonant, カ行の子音[しいん], for instance, is used.
 

Glenn

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For the sake of brevity, does anyone ever say ケー or エス or ティー?
 

Toritoribe

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Yeah, k音[ケーおん], s音[エスおん] can work as well.:)
 
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