Learn Katakana-TA CHI TSU TE TO

In the last lesson, we went over サシスセソ and here we’ll cover the T consonant characters.

This series has a couple of odd characters to think about: (chi) and (tsu) — looks similar to learned in the last lesson.


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

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

  • → (like “tah”)
  • → chi (like “chee”)
  • → tsu (see below)
  • → te (like “tay”)
  • → to (like “toe”)

Pronouncing ツ (tsu)

I went over this in hiragana, but just in case you skipped that course (or want a refresh) – (tsu) is 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 ツ.

Look Out For タ-ケ-ク

Here’s another set of characters that look very similar in katakana: (ta) (ke) (ku). They all have a very similar base look.

And for some reason, I would mix up (a) with these characters too.

But I wouldn’t worry too much, the differences are enough that you’ll eventually straighten this out in your mind.

Remember シ (shi)?

In the last lesson, you learned . Look how similar it is to (tsu). Crazy huh?

Sort of a sideways smiley and a little less sideways smiley. Use the recall practice to get used to the difference.