This is a two part question.

1.) When spelling out a word in kana, what is the correct way to call the small つ (for example the small っ in ちっちゃい)?

I only have experience with my Japanese friends using the informal sounding




Is there a formal grammatical term for this "character"?

2.) If there is, but in reality it sounds too academic, which term would be the most immediately understandable in an informal setting?

  • 6
    It isn't the name for the character, but I often use 促音{そくおん} to refer to it, since that's what its function is. May 11, 2013 at 19:15

1 Answer 1


It appears that one more-formal way to describe characters like 「っ」 is to use the phrase 「小書{こが}き」文字{もじ} or simply「小書{こが}き」。 So, in the case of 「っ」, it would be something like: 小書{こが}きの「つ」.

But in an informal context, something like「小さい『つ』」would probably get the point across.

For more information, there is a more detailed writeup by a user named "nullstrings27" that further explains 小書{こが}き文字{もじ} in general.


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