Tag Archives: pitch accent


This post is about the following words that I will write here in romaji on PURPOSE.





I was prompted to write this entry when I figured out why I wrote this lang-8 entry in 2011!

W9sO07.md.pngI wrote on lang-8 that bakagiri reminded me of METTAGIRI due to the similar pronunciation. I think the number of moras is different between these words because of the double ttsu but I’m too lazy to check the definition of mora. Dogen did an excellent job explaining it in video but I don’t remember the details since I saw his pitch accent videos a year ago and I have re-watched none of them. They definitely have the same number of syllables according to Japanese wiki which says


Of coW9sHBr.md.pngurse no one in the comments pointed out that I heard it like that because of the pitch accent! I wrote that I watched an m-station episode clip where they’re interviewing shiina ringo and they weren’t subbing ANY OF IT. I solely relied on my ears and I made out BAKAGIRI. I had to find out what that means so I googled and luckily I was able to find a transcription on a Japanese blog by searching key words with quotes.

I noticed that Shiina Ringo pronounced bakagiri as if there is a “break” after “ka” like baka / giri. This word in the turn of phrase reminded me of めった切り which is a wonderful word I learned from the drama JIN at the time. So based off that バカ切り ran through my head just because it sounds likes mettagiri. Of course I don’t know if such a word exists and once I saw the transcript I realized it’s definitely not バカ切り. I end up finding out it’s the set phrase SONO BAKAGIRI rather than just bakagiri and more importantly I’m pretty sure if I had ran into that word at that time in written text rather than in video/audio, I would’ve read it with a “break” after ba like ba/kagiri because I didn’t know any better and would’ve assumed that that’s how it is pronounced based on the kanji that comprise the word. Or perhaps I was expecting kagiri in bakagiri to be pronounced the way kagiri is pronounced when it’s by itself and that is a word that is used a lot more frequently than sono bakagiri. I keep putting the word break in quotes because that’s how I described it then but I now realize it’s the pitch accent I was hearing.

I wW9slYF.md.pngas reminded of my old lang-8 entry when I saw a comedy sketch titled HERO by the comedy duo saraba seishun after watching a God Tongue episode that featured this comedy duo. They made saraba seishun perform “HERO” but completely cut it out of the God Tongue episode.

So the “Hero” keeps saying netabako with what I hear as a break after “ta” as in neta/bako. The video is not subbed so I’m thinking ネタ箱 ? wtf is that? sushi box? box full of comedy material/jokes? As the video went on, he says it over and over again so eventually I figure out what he means since it’s really obvious from the context. Like BAKAGIRI I was expecting the “split” to be after ne like ne/tabako when I found out what the word meant.

I had yet another similar experience when I was listening/watching DARAKE when yomeda (yoneda?? I am too lazy to look up the woman’s name) said TETSUKAZU. I heard what I perceived to be a split after TSU as in tetsu/kazu . So I thought of 鉄 ___ テツトモ just from hearing it. This time the text was on the screen so once I saw the text I realized I had been bamboozled again! For some reason I got distracted by what I perceived as the “break” to the point that I don’t derive the meaning from the sound of the word since I know this word! Among BAKAGIRI, TETSUKAZU, NETABAKO, the only word that I didn’t know was bakagiri. For tetsukazu and netabako, I knew these words but I either have not heard them being said many times or it was my first time hearing the pronunciation; the dissonance between reality and my expectation hindered my comprehension.

W9sKpT.md.png<— (love this girl! I also miss NEZZUCHI !)

I think the only pitch accent patterns that would give me that perceived “break” after the first syllable would be ATAMADAKA or HEIBAN. On atamadaka words, the pitch accent starts HIGH then goes low after the first mora (In dictionaries they use 1 to denote atamadaka). For heiban words, the pitch accent starts low on the first mora then goes up high and stays high until the end of the word (They use 0 to denote heiban words in dictionaries). As I’ve said, that is not the case for these words. They’re all NAKADAKA which means the pitch accent goes up somewhere in the middle word and goes down right afterwards. I think I hadn’t heard about pitch accent in 2011. I can only assume that in 2011 that I was expecting the word to be pronounced heiban purely based on how the word is W9spfb.md.pngwritten since I didn’t know about the existence of pitch accent. It’s not unreasonable since heiban is the most popular pitch accent pattern in Japanese. I’m proud that I was able discern that what I was hearing was not what I was expecting even if I could only explain it using the word “break.” But then again, I also seem pitch-accent deaf since I thought the bachigai was pronounced differently from bakagiri. They actually have the same pitch accent!

W9sS23.md.pngHere is a copy paste of the dictionary entries for the words with the pitch accents. The syllable with the the line over it is the one that gets pronounced with a higher pitch accent.

Also, you can listen to the pronunciation OF THE WORDS on NAVER DICTIONARY. Just paste the word into the search bar and click on the speaker next to the word! The audio for speakers with the text TTS next to it are inaccurate.

かず | てつず **

【手付かず】[3][2] This word can be pronounced with the higher pitch accent on tsu or ka. According to this dictionary, the accent on ka is more common than tsu since the order is 3, 2. Both are correct nonetheless!

そのばぎり [4]

その場限りの約束 a promise made on the spot (and broken later)


4 [その場凌ぎ·其の場凌ぎ = 일시 모면; 임시방편[변통].


【場違い】【場違】[2] (一)その場所△に居る(でする)にはふさわしくないこと。


ったぎり [0]



[0] 【見限り】 I looked up words that end in kagiri just to see if they just all happen to follow the same pitch accent and of course they don’t.

ぎり | かぎ

[限り] 1음절 강조 또는 3음절 강조

한, 끝;한계, 한도;…껏






【寝たばこ】[2] 〔△起き(寝)がけに〕


I highly recommend using a site like lang-8 (they don’t allow new sign-ups ) because it ends up being a record of your skills. Also, like me, you may end up answering your own questions many years down the line.


Pitch Accent


AP3hva.md.jpgI forgot to mention that I donated to dogen’s patreon page for 1 month in May to learn about pitch accent! It’s definitely worth more than $10 but I am frugal. For a person who has never bought a textbook for Japanese (tae kim is more than enough to get people started),  this is the only thing I spent money on to learn Japanese (I’ve spend a fair amount over the years on Japanese media like books, dvds, cds but they’re for entertainment first and foremost and their secondary function was learning! ). It made realize why I never noticed the pitch accent of certain words. I think he gave an example of an atamadaka word that changed to heiban because it was used in the middle of the sentence after a word that ended in some pitch accent ( I am on fuzzy on the details). I also realized that I did pick up on the pitch accent of some words from all my listening/watching Japanese media just because they say it the same way many many times ie 師匠 ししょう、 韓国 KANKOKU – korea is atamadaka without a doubt! It always left an impression on me how they always seemed to say kankoku forcefully lol. After watching dogen’s video series, I know that I definitely do not speak or read Japanese with perfect pitch accent but I still think my intonation is good.

AP3XX0.md.jpgI took notes in a notebook while watching and also downloaded the anki deck on the patreon page. I have not touched the anki deck lol and I have not touched the notebook since June. However, I definitely noticed pitch accent from then to now when I watched my Japanese shows ( I studied some of the patterns with the notebook by trying to say stuff aloud with the correct pitch accent). I think I’ll go back through some of his videos or some of the anki cards to get more stuff to notice. When I watched his videos in May, there were many instances where I couldn’t hear the pitch accent ie there was no way I could pass his tests.  When Dogen was saying “University is” with varying pitch accents, sometimes I could hear it, sometimes I thought I heard it, sometimes I knew I couldn’t tell the difference lol. Maybe I will try the tests again sometimes this year!  What I found really helpful for me was to try to say 2-syllable Japanese words in the 2 possible pitch accents: high to low and low to high.

also I’ve been meaning to look at these sites so I have more words/patterns to notice…




https://www.nhk.or.jp/bunken/summary/kotoba/term/049.html –  months

https://www.edx.org/course/japanese-pronunciation-for-communication-0  <- this is free

<<- there are dl links in the video info.

Also I’ve been meaning to check out youtube vids in KOrean talking about Japanese pitch accent since knowing Korean doesn’t help with Japanese pitch accent or long-short vowels.

AP3GWM.md.jpgUnlike Dogen, I have no aspirations of sounding “perfect” as in get mistaken for a native-speaker which requires perfect pitch-accent and sounding like a Japanese woman. Also, I have no desire to buy a pitch accent dictionary. I do want to improve my pitch accent to sound more natural and hear Japanese even better (I have no problem understanding Japanese TV). Because I watched dogen’s vids and familiarized myself with pitch accent, I use the pitch accent plugin for anki (I put it there so I can reference it but I do not test myself on pitch accent).  Dogen even has videos on how to make the sounds of the Japanese language with the mouth/tongue positioning. I signed up for his patreon solely for his pitch accent videos but I still checked out some of the other vids on making the sounds of the Japanese language out of AP3x3q.md.jpgcuriosity in case I’m not making the sounds correctly since I share the same native language as him. There were moments where Dogen would make himself sounds very Japanese and then he would make himself sound like a Japanese man by changing a quality of his voice ever so slightly. Just when I thought he couldn’t sound more Japanese, he makes himself sound more Japanese! There are mind-blowing moments like that in his vids lol. He was not kidding when he said he was adamant about obtaining perfect Japanese pronunciation.

AP3wgD.md.jpgOn a related note I checked out the episode of ANOTHER SKY that featured JIYEON from KARA (now disbanded kpop group). She mentioned how tough it is to speak Japanese when she acts since pitch accent doesn’t exist in Korean (minus a certain dialect) and people would correct her over and over again. I remember a few years back she was on jigoku sensei nube playing a very japanese role and I saw a clip just to see the atrocity. It was the typical Korean person speaking unpleasant-sounding Japanese AP3yNA.md.jpgdue to lackluster intonation and pitch accent… She has definitely improved leaps and bounds since then. I also got interested in watching one of her movies for fun. It’s a movie with a tired plot that we’ve seen many times ie secret garden (korean drama), freaky friday. I was intrigued by the cast since I recognized people from talk/variety shows. That was the only reason I watched sanbun no ichi which featured Kosugi, danmitsu, and the guy from kat-tun. Also it was directed by shinagawa!

I also read an article on japanese buzzfeed ( I usually avoid this site like the plague because it’s click-bait whether it’s Japanese or English) a while back about this guy who moved from oosaka to tokyo as a kid and how AP3a9Q.md.jpghe had the toughest time trying to speak like the other kids. I got curious so I searched chiebukuro and this guy who spoke standard Japanese moved to somewhere in the Kansai-area and he was saying it took him years to perfect his pitch accent. He was saying how everyone kept telling him to stop speaking fake kansai-ben in the beginning since his pitch accent was off.

Also I recall seeing some Arashi show where they had arashi members say NANI YANEN and everyone sounded off. At the time I thought it was the intonation since I didn’t know better. They were really trying to say it like the kansai people but didn’t succeed. I thought someone might pull it off since I’m sure they’ve heard nani yanen hundreds if not thousands of times. I know they have no problem hearing/understanding kansai-ben since I don’t but speaking and understanding are 2 completely different skills.

OMG speaking of Kansai-ben I was so dumbfounded when I heard Seungri from BIG BANG talk on hanseikai a couple months back because he was speaking in kansai-ben. I found it especially ear-grating because I’m not used to hearing foreigners speak kansai-ben minus jero (the enka singer) who sounds amazing which is not surprising since he is an enka singer. I recall him talking about the pitch accent or intonation for disney sea on shindoumoto kyoudai. I’m used to foreign accents in standard japanese but not with kansai-ben so Seungri’s japanese sounded jarring. At first I thought he was joking around or something and waiting for ariyoshi to call him out on it. I read around and realized he decided to adapt the kansai-ben dialect over the standard japanese because he’s supposedly sanma-san’s apprentice and wants to become or is a geinin (comedian).  Maybe he is hanging around with a lot of kansai people in Japan? To me his kansai-ben sounds just like his standard Japanese except he said yanen or yakara instead of whatever people say in standard Japanese. In other words, his japanaese sounds worse when he speaks kansai-ben due to the incorrect intonation, and pitch accent.  When he does that with standard Japanese, it doesn’t bother me because I’m so used to hearing that kind of japanese from foreigners or kpop stars. I was wondering if kansai-ben people were irritated by his kansai-ben and googled but everyone seemed supportive of him. Maybe after he does his 2 years in the military and spends more time speaking Japanese, he may develop  better intonation?? I’m doubtful though because his standard Japanese speaking is the typical way Korean people speak Japanese when they ignore intonation/pitch accent or apply Korean intonation.  He would be so much better if he just worked on intonation and he just seems to have ingrained, bad habits that stem from him applying his way of speaking of Korean on top of Japanese. At the end of the day, Seungri has the right to learn Japanese however he wants and he doesn’t have to improve his intonation, pitch accent since people have no problem him understanding him when he talks. However, he would sound better if he did improve in those areas.

here’s manzai about funny Japanese.

I’ve been a fan of JARUJARU since like 2009 during the red carpet/theater show days~~ Here’s some random info: the guy on the right is named fukutoku and he actually lived in AMERICA until he was 7 or 9 or something then he went back to Japan. He forgot all his English but his oosaka-ben sounds flawless!  I know this because he told this story on some show about how as a kid he pronounced Z as Z while everyone  else was pronouncing it as ZETTO.


damn I wish these sites were prevalent in 2009!

gotta watch this later

kansaiben stuff

アニメの関西弁は、違和感満載? 関西人が選ぶ自然な関西弁キャラランキング