I don't know if it's just me but this has been bothering me for a while. I sometimes hear ってた pronounced in a way similar to 「っつう」 or 「っつた」 in fast speech. Do some people really pronounce it that way or is it me mishearing things?

  • 思ってた sounds like 思っつた (examples: 1, 2, 3)
  • 怒ってた sounds like 怒っつた (examples: 1, 2, 3)
  • Can't wait to hear the natives weigh in. I can say that even within my small prefecture, there were several dialects and patterns of speaking, as well as pronunciation variation. When I lived in Tsu City, most people pronounced it as standard Japanese would suggest, but I encountered a few people who would pronounce it like the English (to, too, two) which shocked me. It was very common there for いち and しち to be pronounced almost identically (something between ひち and しち). Dec 16, 2021 at 23:59

1 Answer 1


て does sound like つ or つぇ in those videos.

The following is my conjecture of what is happening.

To pronounce the geminate consonant /tt/, you hold the airflow for longer than you would to pronounce the single plosive /t/. When this airflow is released, it tends to cause a little aspiration on /t/, making it sound a bit like the English /t/ at the top of a stressed syllable.

The position of the tip of the tongue for /t/, combined with the narrow opening of the mouth in preparation for the close-mid front vowel /e/, sometimes causes the released airflow to produce a hissing sound like [s]. This makes /t/ sound like an affricate [ts], or [tθ] depending on the exact place of articulation of /t/.

On top of it, /e/ tends to be centralized in loose pronunciation, sounding like [ɘ] (but not so open as the English schwa [ə]), and this loose vowel, just like [ɯ] for /u/, tends to become silent, or unvoiced, when it appears between two voiceless consonants, such as /t/.

Some people pronounce /e/ more clearly than others, in which case /te/ sounds like, well て, even if it is a bit aspirated. I don't think it is a regional thing.

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