TUFS Language Modules


The mora obstruent, which is described as a sound produced by obstructing the air flow through the mouth, for example 'p', 't', 'k' and ‘s', is noted by a small tsu( っ ) in kana . To native Japanese speakers, this small tsu( っ ) has the duration of one mora. The mora obstruent has no definite sound. It has the same sound as the one that follows it. For instance, if the following sound is pa ( ぱ ) , then posture your lips to pronounce ‘p' while remaining silent for the duration of one mora. The same case applies to mora obstruents that are followed by ta ( た) or ka ( か ) . The lips are postured to pronounced 't' or 'k' while remaining silent for one mora. If the sound that appears after the small tsu is from the sa (サ)-column, then the mora obstruent is produced by lengthening the pronunciation of the consonant that follows it. To practice getting the feeling of the duration of the mora obstruent, try clenching your fist while pronouncing the mora obstruent and then unclenching it. For English speakers try to recall the feeling of the two overlapping 'k's as in 'bookcase'.