Japanese Pronunciation Tips # 13


Of the 46 syllables in the Japanese syllabary, there are three that are mispronounced frequently by native English speakers. The focus of this mini lesson is on one of the more difficult syllables to pronounce in the Japanese Language, namely the tsu syllable. The way you go about conquering the pronunciation of words that contain tsu or begin or end with the syllable tsu requires a little clarity, patience and of course consistent practice. The pronunciation is not that difficult but can be comprehended by using two English words to pluck out, if you will the pronunciation. Two English words that are elided together, like in the following phrase eight suits gives a close approximation of the sound of tsu in Japanese say the following out loud

eight suits, eight suits, eight suits, eight suits, eight suits, eight suits

Now say loud a couple more times and concentrate on the elision that occurs between the words eight and suits. Say it faster and faster until you can feel the tsu come out of eigh -tsu- its The correct or near equivalent that native English speakers of Japanese can get to say the tsu syllable is taking the t from the eight and adding the su in the previous example. Practice with your newly acquired, authentic sounding, near native pronunciation, the following words containing tsu

Tsuitachi — 20th of the month

Tsuyuu — the rainy season

Itsu? — when?

Hachimitsu -honey

Itsutsu — 5 counter

Itsumo — always

Motsuaruto -mozart


Ganbatte ne. Do your best.

McCluskey Sensei, yori

Brett McCluskey