Sokuon (っ) rules?


I recently read this handy-dandy Tofugu article about some general rules of thumb for rendaku, which has helped me a lot with intuitively assuming rendaku, greatly improving my Reading review items.
I also struggle with correct sokuon placement, and feel that there are some patterns, but I just can’t really lay my finger on them. I searched the Tofugu website, but alas, no article about it was present. A simple Google search also did not provide any good resources on this. Am I blind? Is no one brave enough to write about this? Is there just no pattern?

Any resources are appreciated :slight_smile:

EDIT: I’m especially talking about those connective sokuon. Like you have しゅつ and はつ and it becomes しゅっぱつ.
Or きゃく and か and it becomes きゃっか.

1 Like

I feel like this is something you’ll get the hang of. Generally speaking, it’ll happen when く is followed by a か-line character, or when つ is followed by… practically anything, really. Anything that’s not a vowel. つ likes to shrink.


Yes, but it doesn’t always happen. For example copyright (著作権, ちょさくけん) doesn’t do this. Or is this because it’s a combination of 著作 (ちょさく) and 権 (けん)?

作今 (さっこん) does adhere to the aforementioned rule.

Are vocabulary from compound vocabulary the only exception to this? I feel like we are only seeing the peak of the rule iceberg.

It’s definitely because of that because Jisho lists 権 as a suffix. I’m assuming suffix’s and similar things don’t often change the pronunciation of words they’re attached to.

1 Like

I didn’t even know it was called sokuon, so you’ve got that on me already.


Yeah, when a fully fledged word has that kind of suffix attached, it will almost never lead to gemination.


Random question: You seem to very knowledgeable of technical things dealing with Japanese. Is this mostly from experience or do you have any good sources that you could recommend?

1 Like

I don’t have something I can link off the top of my head, no. But I think that the more that the first part is thought of as its own word, the more likely it is to resist gemination.

However, some words are in a gray area, where both are accepted, like せんたっき and せんたくき are both acceptable for 洗濯機.

1 Like

Oh I wasn’t referring to above problem. I was just wondering if you had any learning resources that you’d recommend in general. Also thanks for the additional info.

1 Like

Oh, just generally? I have some books like 日本語の謎を解く and 漢字の成り立ち that I’ve read for technical stuff on the language in Japanese.

And loads of dictionaries and whatnot, but I’m not sure exactly what you had in mind.


My impression is that つ and ち often become っ.
There are countless cases with tsu, and for chi there are things like 一層「いっそう」

Also double consonants, like kx + ky become kky
An example:

1 Like

I think the last one is simply because く and か become っか

thats what i said?
if two characters star with k it becomes a double consonant with the vocal of the second character.

1 Like

oh woops i understand now.
I thought the k, x and y were all variables that could be filled in with hiragana.


Here’s one that’s a little like 洗濯機 (せんたくき/せんたっき): 水族館 means aquarium (as in a public aquarium). It’s written formally as すいぞくかん. But everyone says すいぞっかん.


same thing with k again!!


Here’s one that I find funny: in Japanese, necktie is ネクタイ while necklace is ネックレス.

Logic may not apply here.

Not really related to sokuon, but one I’ve never understood is that the male name Alexander is usually アレサンダー, while the female name Alexandra is usually アレサンドラ.

1 Like

Ugh. And my own name has two accepted katakana spellings, yet most Japanese people refuse to use my preference.


Saying the words aloud, that actually kind of makes sense? The first syllable of the word “necklace” feels like it has a much stronger relative emphasis than the first syllable of “necktie” (which feels more like saying the words “neck” and “tie” on their own with roughly equal stress to me). I think the extra ッ in ネックレス does a pretty good job of conveying that stress on the syllable in a Japanese way.