Tokyo Damage Report

CHISAI TSUUUUUUUUU !!!!!!!!!!!

You ever try to read Japanese and get puzzled at the great number of words that look like: XっXX? (For instance すっきり、はっきり、 とっても、 いっさいに , etc)?
It’s a weird phenomenon because there’s hundreds of these words but I’ve never come across a Japanese person who is conscious that this is a motif in the language, or a category of word. Also it sucks because they all kind of resemble each other so they’re hard to remember. Anyway, I decided to probe a little deeper into the esoteric and frequently silly world of ‘っ’ (pronounced ‘chiisaii tsuu’) expressions.

I have divided them into four categories.

1: ONOMONOPOETIC (AKA ‘り’ STYLE)


This is by far the most common form of ‘っ’ expression: onomonopoeia means words such as ‘smack’ and ‘squeak’ that sound like the things they describe. (Japanese also has a lot of onomonopoetic words for things that DON’T make sounds – the only English equivalents I can think of are ‘bling’ and ‘boioioioing’ (aka boner occurring))
Anyway, not all onomonopoetic Japanese words are ‘っ’, but most ‘っ’ expressions are onomonopoetic. Also, unlike regular onomonopoeia, the ‘っ’ expressions  usually end in ‘り’ for some reason, and they tend to express superlative states – the most, the complete, the definite, absolutely, immidiately.

For example:
すっぽり: cover or wrap completely or snugly


きっかり: exactly (132 cents) precisely (5:32 AM)


べったり:(AKA べっとり) (from the gitaigo ベタ meaning, to be sticky): to be completely covered (a page covered in writing, no margins / swords covered in blood) to be a blind follower.


きっぱり:to act decisively, to make a swift, firm decision.


きっと: certainly, undoubtedly.


すっかり:Sukkari = utterly


ぴったり:Pi-tari = perfect fit (also used with a negative connotation: things jammed in together)


たっぷり:Ta-puri = done enough of


あっさり(と) = easily, effortlessly


はっきり= clearly, distinctly


きっちり = exactly


そっくり= completely


てっきり:beyond a doubt


バッカリ:  Just, as in, “I JUST finished baking these cookies.” Or “I had JUST got home when I got a message from my boss telling me to go back to work.”


ヤッパリ: as i thought! also means, "in the end. . . "

Weird! Seriously, that’s like half of the ‘り’-style ‘っ’ phrases! Here’s the other half:

ぐっすり = good sleep


ごっくん : swallow


ボッキ – sound of a dick getting hard. Boioioioioinggggg


どっこい : now hold on a minute! Just a second there, buster!


きっかけ : a chance or opportunity


ひょっと: by any chance


おっかない:  scary


うっとり: to be enraptured or hypnotized, spellbound.


がっかり: to be disappointed in someone or something/


うっかり:carelessly or inadvertently


すっきり:Su-kiri = relief


ばっちり: no problem


こっそり:secretly


むっちり: chubby


がっちり: muscular


しっかり: hold on tight


じっくり: carefully, deliberately, without haste


さっぱり: this has 100 meanings!


ばったりと:barely


びしっと =  to hit something, to really wallop! To work like a demon.


どっきり: suprised


ほっとけ:  leave me alone! Quit it!


がっくつ : to look like you really want something???


いっそう: to get more and more xxx.


2: と-STYLE


と-style phrases are ALSO Onomonopoetic. But in this case, the actual sound  is ONLY  represented by the first character. The ‘っ’ is a way of saying that the sound is very short, truncated. The  ‘っ’ is followed by ‘と’ which I’m guessing is the same ‘と’ from ‘と言う’ – in other words, it’s a particle meaning ‘to express or say’.

Some of these ‘TO-style’ words use actual sounds:


はっと : I was shocked!


ほっと- i breathed a sigh of relief!

. . .But most of them describe emotional states, as if the emotions were sounds which were being suddenly blurted:


かっと: lose one’s temper, flip out


どっと :  suddenly and all at once doing something (burst out laughing, suddenly sweep into a town) (usually used about many people doing something at once, although it can be used about one person, i.e. どっと got tired.


きっと: cast a stern glance at.


じっと- fixedly or firmly stare


ボサッと – absentmindedly


ケロっと – casually, nonchalantly


ちっと(も): not even a little


ざっと –  two meanings : 1)roughly speaking 2) doing something in a very loose, general fashion (as while killing time)


さっさと : immediately! Move faster, you dogs!


ぎょっと: to jump because startled, to be surprised.


むっと:  to get indignant


3 – JUKUGO STYLE


Jukugo (熟語) means ‘compound word’ in Japanese. Jukugo are words made from two or more kanji put together. But sometimes the Japanese find the transition between the first kanji and the second kanji difficult to pronounce – so they pop in a ‘っ’ to soften the transition.(it’s kind of like how ひと turns into びと  in the word 恋人).

These guys have a ‘っ’ in ’em but they’re just regular words pronounced funny, not ‘っ’ expressions.

一旦:いったん : : once you have started to do something. . . (once you have signed the contract, you can’t back out) (once you start eating my linguini, you can’t stop!)


勝手に :かってに: casually doing something bad, as if it was totally ok. (he かってに ate my cake!) (“Well, it was on the table, wasn’t it?”)


早速:さっそく: immediately (said by a servant or minion)


専ら:もっぱら:doing nothing else but working on XXX. Doing something solely, exclusively, wholeheartedly.


最も:もっとも:  the most


全く:まったく:  entirely, totally, completely, truly, really.


丸切り:まるっきり:  totally


実際に:じっさいに :  in practice (as opposed to in theory)


絶対: ぜったい: = definitely


一切:いっさい= everything


一向に:いっこうに = not in the least


滅多:めったな – reckless, thoughtless, rash


決して:けっして (ない)- absolutely (not)

Anyway, there’s hundreds of ‘jukugo style’ ‘っ’ expressions, but I’ll stop here, because these jukugo-style guys  are not  ‘real’ ‘っ’ expressions as far as I can see- the ‘っ’ is just a contraction; it doesn’t add anything to the meaning.

Fuck ‘em!


4 – EMPHASIS STYLE


These are just regular words which have a pause inserted for emphasis (sort of how English speakers might put periods after every word in a sentence to indicate menace or threat: “I’m not gonna tell you again, son – Step. Away. From. The. Pie!”)

とっても : like とても  (a lot) but more emphasis


よっぽど:  like よほど (余程( to a great extent, considerably))but more!!!  “I almost quit my job.”” It was so loud I almost fainted.”

Anyway, if you want to add to the list for categories 1,2, and 4, go ahead!! Thanks.

13 comments

13 Comments so far

  1. fake June 25th, 2009 5:08 am

    I don’t know any japanese, but I totally appreciate the english equivalents you’re providing. “to really wallop!” is a verb I could use!

  2. TaoisticBeer June 27th, 2009 2:52 am

    Dude, what about びっくり? Isn’t this what all the moe-girls are using these days?

  3. TaoisticBeer June 27th, 2009 2:56 am

    Also I am digging this blog. As Estonians like to say: “Hoia kõva” or in translation: “Keep it hard, gangsta.”

  4. admin June 27th, 2009 11:04 am

    Oh yeahhh!! Estonia in the motherfucking house!
    Can you do me a favor? Please tell me who is the best underground Estonian rappers from 1999 ~ 2009?
    I’m not kidding – I am loving that Eastern European hip-hop. I want some music that sounds like BDP – no melodies, no R&B, just boom-bap and scratching.

  5. Brad June 27th, 2009 11:23 am

    You are now my favourite blogger. The category 1 type are everywhere! What about words like ブッ both as a sound effect and as an emphasizer like ぶっ殺してやる, though that probably only comes up in manga.

  6. admin June 27th, 2009 6:26 pm

    I never saw ぶっぅ before. I’ll hazard a guess that  ぶっ殺す is a contraction of ブチ殺す, where ブチ means ‘hella’ or ‘with relish’.
    But I got no idea where ぶち comes from.
    Can you make a list of all the situations where you see ぶっ or ブチ?

  7. TaoisticBeer June 28th, 2009 10:51 am

    First you have the mainstream rap-group “Toe Tag”.
    Then you have Põhjamaade Hirm (Fear of the North) and kuuluud (moonbones) and these guys: Noizmakaz, Kozy, Reket, G-Enka, Stupid F, Chalice (AKA Vaiko Eplik, now a huge space-pop/indie success) and scabere.

    You can also check out a trailer for a 2007 documentary Sõnasõjad (Wordwars) @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fiYSacBKpY
    If you follow the related links there, you can find actual (terrible audio) MC Battle footage.

    Now you know as much as I do.
    Peace!

  8. François June 28th, 2009 9:11 pm

    Is “”onomonopoeia”” different from “”Onomatopoeia”” ?

    About verbes emphasized with ぶっ, I’d say it’s mostly slang, as far as I can tell. I found it at least in:

    ぶっ潰す
    ぶっ殺す
    ぶっ飛ばす

    Otherwise, I also heard/saw for category 1:
    くっきり = clearly
    ごっそり = completely, wholly
    ぎっちり = tightly, fully
    とっとと = pretty much like さっさと, as in 「とっとと帰れ!」

    I also heard people from various “”田舎”” replace the final り by し as in ぴったし, ぴったし or やっぱし but it does not seem to work with all those words.

    Plus I just found an article for the XっXX fans 😉
    http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~qm4h-iim/k010502.htm

  9. admin June 29th, 2009 7:32 am

    @ francois: that’s amazing! thanks!

  10. blackdon June 29th, 2009 1:58 pm

    best blog eveerrrr

    more punx though

  11. Ryan June 30th, 2009 12:11 am

    You’re right, there are tonnes of these words, and yes, there doesn’t seem to be any quick and easy way to learn these, does there? Ah well, just another thing to add to the list..

  12. Daniel July 5th, 2009 4:39 pm

    Great post! I linked to it here: http://howtojaponese.com/2009/07/03/ode-to-ttsu/

    A commenter on my post noted another great category – the exclamatory っ. Like うまっ!いたっ!あつっ! Great stuff!

  13. admin July 5th, 2009 7:03 pm

    @ Daniel: thanks!

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