Introduction - 入門
- mora = 拍, the unit of phonology when concerning Japanese
- L = relatively low to nearby 'H' mora
- H = relatively high to nearby 'L' mora
Accent Types アクセントの種類
平板（型） へいばん（がた） Flat ＬＨ〜Ｈ（Ｈ）
頭高（型） あたまだか（がた） Head ＨＬ〜Ｌ（Ｌ）
中高（型） なかだか（がた） Middle Ｌ〜ＨＨ〜Ｌ（Ｌ）
尾高（型） おだか（がた） Flat Drop ＬＨ〜Ｈ（Ｌ）
起伏（型） きふく（がた） Accented
- This category is used to contrast against 平板型 in two-type accent systems. Adjectives and verbs are both two-type accent systems in Japanese. Meaning they are either flat or they are accented. When they are accented the position of the accent is highly predictable and is only disturbed by diphthongs and special mora.
下がり目（さがりめ）is the last mora that is pronounced high in a non 平板型 word. A 平板型 does not have a 下がり目.
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.
・is used in this document to symbolize a potential reset in pitch where the following phrase may start lower instead of picking up where the previous phrase left off.
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 = they override the accent of the words they attach to
- recessive = they give up their accent when the words they attach to are accented
- de-accenting = affixes that make the word flat (平板)
- accent-shifting = affixes that shift the accent of words to another place or remain flat when the words are flat （平板）
- しか（シ＼カ）note that the vowel of シ is silenced
- もの（モ＼ノ or ＼モノ）
アガリ(from 上がる) +
タ＼ベ(from 食べる) +
イレ(from 入れる) +
シ(from する) +
タ＼ベ(from 食べる) +
イレ(from 入れる) +
- る（＼ル）一段 verb suffix
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.
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）