Introduction - 入門

Accent Types アクセントの種類

Marking Accents

For these notes accents will be marked with L & H respective to the above.
In many places the accent is marked for the word with .
This means the final H falls on the mora before the .
Words that don't contain a are flat.

General Common Patterns

Japanese is often described as an agglutinative language. Meaning words often come about through the concatenation of prefixes / suffixes / particles etc… These affixes (ignoring exceptions) affect the sentence level accent in a set number of ways. Below are several common patterns that you should keep your eye out for. By keeping these in mind and grouping things in to these buckets as you go along studying you can greatly simplify the process of acquiring pitch accent. For example, if you know how an affix works then in many cases you can rework the accent of the original word and thus acquire more when you listen to speech.

dominant suffixes

recessive suffixes

de-accenting suffixes

accent-shifting suffixes


Vowel changes when speaking: -ei | -ou

If a kanji's associated reading ends with -ei or -ou the vowel is usually extended to -ee or -oo.
That is only when the sound is contained in a single kanji.
Thus 眼医者(めいしゃ)is still pronounced me i sha because め and い are under separate kanji.
This tip site will not display the extended vowel but it should be assumed.


先生 sensee
政治 seeji
予定 yotee
王様 oosama
手入れ teire

When LH is not LH

Although the symbols LH represent a rise in pitch there are cases where this sounds unnatural or where it might be fairly impossible for a change of pitch to be heard. This occurs when the H of the sequence LH is either ん(撥音) or ー(長音、includes the above vowel changes). The result ends up sounding flat as if the sequence was instead: HH. The っ(促音) maybe included in this however the raise in pitch is general noticeable in the mora after っ.

Note: Natives who are not versed in how pitch accent is labeled might write something like in the below examples as they are simply going off of what they hear.


せんせ\い = センセ\ー = HHHL
しんか\んせん = シンカ\ンセン = HHHLLL
こうえん = コーエン = HHHH(H)
がっこう = ガッコー = LLHH(H)
せっかく\ = セッカク\ = LLHH(L)