The double consonants in katakana

Learn more double consonants in katakana and how to pronounce them! 

The double consonants in katakana

If you've read the article about double consonants in hiragana, you will see that in katakana everything works the same way.

As already mentioned in the hiragana course, the purpose of showing details like these is to prevent us from causing communication problems when speaking with native Japanese; since similar words can take on completely different meanings.

duplicating consonants

For example title, let's use the same words that we used in the article about double consonants in hiragana. How are you?

When we use Japanese phonetic transcription for our alphabet, we often come across words that have consonants in a row like: Akka, Anna and Massao. How do I write this in katakana? See the examples below:

Akka – アッカ
Anna – アンナ
Massao – マッサオ

If you're a good observer, you've noticed a ッ (small TSU) before syllables starting with a consonant (at least in the case of akka and massao). It's just that every silent double consonant ( kk, TT, SS, GG… ) is followed by a ナ(N). (Small TSU).

In Anna's case, the prolongation of the consonant ン is given by the use of a syllable from the ナ(N) family. Thus, whenever we have a consonant prolongation using ン, in front of ン, we will find a syllable from the ナ(N) family.

The pronunciation

The pronunciation of double consonants in katakana follows the same rules as double consonants in hiragana. Shall we review them?

When we find an extension of double consonants with ッ (Mute consonants), just pronounce the first syllable and pause for a second in silence to then pronounce the second syllable. This is Akka's case.

In the case of double consonants with ン, everything works the same as in Portuguese, we pronounce the first syllable with ン (in Anna's case, we say An) and then finish saying the word.

The last exception is SS, despite coming with a ン (small TSU), her pronunciation is the same as Anna's. In Massao, we speak Mas and then conclude with the word sao.