In the last lesson, we went over さしすせそ and here we’ll cover the T consonant characters.

This series has a couple of odd characters to think about: (chi) and (tsu). Yes, more “out of pattern” characters. Don’t worry too much, they’re pretty easy (although chi may confuse you some, you’ll see why in a moment).


First up, pronouncing these characters. Tap each character to hear native speakers pronounce them.

Keep your eyes on ち and つ. Notice ち is pronounced “chi,” not “ti” and つ is not “tu” (though you may sometimes see them written in romaji as “ti” and “tu”).

Pronouncing たちつてと

  • た (ta) – sounds like “tah” — “ah” with a T in front
  • ち (chi) – sounds like “chee” — like “cheese” without “-se” at the end
  • つ (tsu) – is special, see below
  • て (te) – sounds like “tay”
  • と (to) – sounds like “toe”

Pronouncing つ

つ (tsu) is an interesting one. It’s like saying “su” with a super short, sharp t just before the s in “su.”

One way I’ve heard is a good method to learn this is to say “eight suits” over and over. See where the eight and suits come together? Eight suits.

“eight suits, eightsuits, eigh tsu its, …”

That sound you hear between eight and suits is how you pronounce つ.

Look Out For さ and ち

In the last lesson I said plan ahead for (sa) and (chi). Guess what. This recall brings back the basics so it won’t cover the さ you learned in the last lesson.

But you can bet in a few lessons it will be back.

Plan for に

In the next lesson you’re going to learn the N consonant. One of the characters, に (ni) looks quite similar to た.