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I have run across this onomatopoeia twice now in music lyrics:

打上花火 by DAOKO × 米津玄師: 「パッと光って咲いた 花火を見てた」

GHOST by 星街すいせい: 「パッと弾けた感情に」

Having seen this occur twice now, I felt it was safe to assume that this is not merely a stylistic choice made by the lyricists. This was reinforced when I looked it up on Jisho, which lists the main spelling as パッと instead of パット or ぱっと.

From what I can remember, I have never seen another word spelled like this, with part of it being ひらがな and part of it being カタカナ. Or at the very least, if I have, this one feels particularly curious, since I have always figured that the small っ/ッ characters act as a fixed construct where they are modifiers of the following syllable's consonant; like they're attached. So, if anything, I would expect the word to be spelled ぱット or パっと, with the っ/ッ sharing the script of the succeeding character.

What's going on here? Why is it this way, or, how did it come to be this way?

Secondarily, are there any other words that share this characteristic?

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  • @Angelos Ah! So, the っ is one of these, making it less like a pah sound and more like pa!—like a pop? That fits well with the cases I've heard it used. – matthew-e-brown May 6 at 12:45
  • @Angelos If you want to repost your comment as an answer I will gladly accept it, since I think it (at least, indirectly) answers basically all of my confusion by clarifying that it isn't so much one standalone word but in fact one+particle. I think I just need to go and review all the ways the と particle is used. – matthew-e-brown May 6 at 12:48
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    This is also answered here. Also see my answer to this question. – Earthliŋ May 6 at 22:03
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This と is essentially the same as in と言う or と思う. In this case it makes an adverb out of the small sound word before it. Similar examples include ギュッと and ボーッと.

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  • Another case to study along this line; 私は、その答えにただただ唖然(あぜん)としていた。 – Jun Sato May 10 at 0:56

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