I often trip up in guessing the pronunciation of words that have been borrowed into Japanese from English where the original pronunciation had "ti" in it.

For example, I might say ネイチブ instead of ネイティブ.

I realised this is because the way those words are rendered in Japanese isn't consistent. Sometimes it's ティ, but sometimes it's チ.

So far I can think of the words below, but I'd be grateful if you could suggest more. EDIT: To be clear, I would just like people to list a few they can come up with off the top of their heads, for the purpose of new discoveries. No need for an exhaustive list.


ネイティブ (native)
ティー (tea)
パッティー (patty)
ティーシャツ (T-shirt)

チップ (tip)
モチベーション (motivation)
チーム (team)
チケット (ticket)
チベット (Tibet)

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    To clarify; are you just wanting a list of the different times チ or ティ are used? Or the reasoning behind why this happens? – The Wandering Coder Nov 16 '15 at 2:03
  • Also T-Shirt is most commonly Tシャツ not ティシャツ。 – The Wandering Coder Nov 16 '15 at 2:05
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    @TheWanderingCoder I think this is about pronunciation rather than spelling. – snailplane Nov 16 '15 at 2:08
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    @Cebu No problems. There are a lot of words (some of which can use either the ち or てぃ depending on who is talking / the situation and in some cases this can be a personal preference. The general rule I have found is, that words that appeared prior to the post-War Showa period (specifically the period around the 1964 Tokyo Olympics) use チ. Due to both the end of the Second World War (and thus aggressiveness against foreign words and ideas) and the want to appear global for the Olympics there was a great deal of English that entered both the standard Japanese lexicon and society at large. – The Wandering Coder Nov 24 '15 at 1:22
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    That, coupled with an influx of American and other English-speaking servicemen led to pronounciations closer to their English counterparts being transliterated (as opposed to easier to pronounce [for Japanese] sounds - such as チ). Most post-Olympic words you find in Japanese (that aren't decided by businesses) will follow this pattern, however there are exceptions to this rule. It is to note as well, that this spelling choice is not limited to English-based transliterations (this year for instance, school text books were changed to feature the proper Spanish pronunciations of some words). – The Wandering Coder Nov 24 '15 at 1:30

Well this question is very broad, but I'll just list some I can think off the top of my head. I will be adding more as I come across them online.

Do you want to include medical/scientific terms? There's a lot of them.


ティーンズ    teens
ティアラ     tiara
ティシュ     tissue
ティーピーオー  TPO
ティルト         tilt
フェスティバル   festival

チクタク       tictac
チタン         Titan/Titanium
チタニウム     Titanium
チッカー       ticker
チルダ         tilde
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  • Sorry, I have edited my answer. – Yuu Nov 16 '15 at 6:35
  • This is great, thank you! I wasn't aware of most of these ones so it was interesting. – sebu Nov 21 '15 at 1:48

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