Difference between っ and つ for the number of 日?


#1

I am trying to figure out how to remember when one つ is larger and one is smaller. I seem to get them wrong constantly.

三日 = みっか
四日 = よっか
but
五日 = いつか
二日 = ふつか

Any logical reasoning for this?

There’s also the “number of things” problem

四つ = よっつ
but
五つ = いつつ


#2

The small tsu is called the “sokuon,” it’s like consonant doubling in english (like the “kk” in “takka”.)
Wikipedia has a good article on it here.
You can type it in by doubling the next consonant (よっつ = yottsu) or by typing “xtsu” (よっつ = yoxtsutsu.)


#3

The rule for sokuon and no sokuon, I don’t know. There seems to never be sokuon before certain sounds, such as rendaku’d. But when no rendaku, only by memory that you can tell about sokuon.

And I guess you already know that ふつ、みつ、よつ、いつつ are kun readings for numbers.

In short, no real reason why not ふっか、いつっつ.

(いつ means 1, not 5)


#4

Did a quick search and found this
http://www.genetickanji.com/docs/pronunciation-change-rules-japanese.html

  1. In kanji compounds, when (on-reading) pronunciation of a kanji ends in ち or つ, and the following consonant is unvoiced and from the ka, sa, or ta serieses, the ち or つ are dropped and the lengthening of the following consonant is indicated by a writing small tsu (っ).
  2. In verbal compounds when conjugation of the first verb calls for aり or き syllable, and the following consonant is not this syllable is dropped, and the lengthening of the following consonant is indicated by a writing small tsu (っ).

#5

つ and っ are two completely different things that just happen to look similar on paper. っ is a bit like an apostrophe when something is missed out. That something may be a つ but it could be anything. This is just off the top of my head, I’m no expert.


#6

Back in the day (before Japanese spelling got majorly overhauled in the 1940’s) they actually used to use つ to represent the sokuon, rather than っ. Imagine how fun that was. You just had to know if it was a sokuon or not. Kind of reminds you of English spelling.

Lots of other things got changed as well.

You can read more here.


#7

In English we pronounce two consonants the same as one normally. For example past and pass only differ in the final t as far as I can tell. There are exceptions such as openness where the n is held more obviously (actually more or less said twice). English has 10 times more variations in pronunciation than Japanese.


#8

Just practice. Write the first 10, and practice reciting them in sequence. It won’t take you long to memorize them.

Practice is better than a rule anyway, because rules don’t make you fluent.


#9

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