Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Hiragana: Lesson 18 - 'つ' [tsu] & 'づ' [dzu; zu]

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つ, in hiragana, or ツ in katakana, and the variant form ㋡, is one of the Japanese kana, each of which represents one mora. Both are phonemically /tu͍/ although for phonological reasons, the actual pronunciation is ‘tsu’. In the Ainu language, where the sound /tu͍/ does exist, it is often written as ツ゚ or ト゚.

'つ' is romanized 'tsu'.

Words with 'つ':-
'つ' at the beginning:

  • 土/ち (tsuchi -> earth; soil; dirt)
  • 月/き (tsuki -> moon)
  • 次/ぎ (tsugi -> next)
  • 翼/ばさ (tsubasa -> wings)

'つ' in the middle:

  • 殺人/さじん (satsujin -> murder)
  • 美しい/うくしい (utsukushii -> beautiful)

'つ' at the end:

  • 警察/けいさ (keisatsu -> police)
  • 待つ/ま (matsu -> to wait)
  • 勝つ/か (katsu -> to win; to gain victory)
  • 術/じゅ (jutsu -> method; technique)

Stroke order:

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The character 'つ' may also be combined with a dakuten, changing it into ‘づ’ [dzu]. つ + " (dakuten) = づ (look below)

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‘づ’ is romanized ‘zu’.

Note: 'づ' [dzu] isn't used as the first letter for words anymore. It's kinda like 'ぢ', used once then poof *gone*.


The sokuon:
Sakuon, it may also be called 小さな つ (
chiisana tsu) or ちいさい つ (chiisai tsu), meaning 'small tsu'. You'll often see this in between words and wonder why 'つ' is unusually small. Well, The sokuon is used for various purposes. The main use is to mark a geminate consonant, which is represented in rōmaji (romanized Japanese) by the doubling of the consonant. In speech, the protocol is to motion the mouth into pronouncing the consonant that follows the sokuon and then stop, allowing a slight pause before voicing the consonant.
It can also be seen at the end; A glottal stop or “choked sound”.
  • あっ! — Ah!

Again, the sokuon: a small form of つ (tsu). In romanization, this is represented by doubling the following consonant. The equivalent in katakana is ッ.

Here are some examples:
  • ぱい — ippai (lot of; much; full)
  • と — motto (more; even more)
  • ぱい — suppai (sour)
  • 学校 /がこう — gakkou (school)

Task: You shall write 'つ' & 'づ' 50 - 100 times in your textbook. If you want, like with the previous lessons, write 'つ' 70 times and 'づ' 30 times. Memorize the shape, the stroke order, the sound, the pronunciation (echo the sound of the character each time you write it down), etc. You may also want to practice the small 'つ' (っ): how you should write it, it is just the same how you write the ordinary one (つ) except smaller.
And after you've done the exercise, write 'た', 'ち', and 'つ' one after each repetitively (た, ち, つ, た, ち, つ etc.) 50 times (100 if you have time).

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