Words accent

皆様
I have problem with accent of Japanese.

My book says that japanese have 高低アクセント。 But it seams really hard to handle it. I found it hard to find the exacly accent type of certain words and the accent may change.

e.g. The word だ\れ, is high-low accent. But I heard someone say だ/れ in the sentence だ/れもいます。
ド\イツ ちゅ\うごく か\んこく become ド/イツ ちゅ/うごく か/んこく when my teacher read ドイツ人、中国人、韓国人。 It seams that she tends to rising any word before じ\ん。

And the numbers, how to read numbers?
My teacher read い/ち に\ さ\ん よ\ん ご\ ろ\く な\な は\ち きゅ\う じゅ\う ひゃ\く せ\ん ま\ん.
But when she read じゅ/うい\ち じゅ/うに\ じゅ/うさ\ん, sometimes the じゅ/う become rising.
For に\/じゅ\う さ\ん/じゅ\う よ\ん/じゅ\う ご/じゅ\う ろ/くじゅ\う な/なじゅ\う は/ちじゅ\う きゅ\う/じゅ\う
Some of them do not change, some become rasing, some become falling.
And more examples い/ち\時 に\じ さ\んじ よ\じ ご\じ ろ/く\じ な/な\じ は/ち\じ く\じ きゅ\うじ
If we add suffix 百 千 万 階 円 本 or prefix 第, the accent will also change.
For many numbers, I have heard more than one accent types was used.

I have also noticed that when some words are linked together, the first one will be changed to rising accent and the last one will be changed to falling accent.

Is there any rules for that?

ありがとうございます。
 
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  • mikun

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hi,
    I am, as an native tokyo shitamachi, not so anxious about accent differences except for meaning changeable cases. Though there are many local accents, especialy in kanto and kansai areas I don't care so much.
    I'll show you here some of the meaning changeable cases by accent. I am careful in those cases.
    Examples,
    1.  はし: 橋 bridge は/し, chopstick: 箸 は\し、  端: end はし (mono-tone)
    2. たき: 滝 waterfall た/き, 多岐: many things are concerned た\き etc
    If the accent difference does not result in the different meaning, accent difference is not thought as a great probrem.
    The most difficult problem of Japanese language is that we have many words which is same pronounciation and same accent but meaning is different. We need a patience to understand the context when we hear Japanese, not only accent. For example
    かてい: 家庭(flat accent) home, 過程(flat accent) process, 仮定(flat accent) hyposesis, 課程(flat accent) programme.
     
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    mikunさん
    Thanks for your reply.

    Hi,
    I am, as an native tokyo shitamachi, not so anxious about accent differences except for meaning changeable cases. Though there are many local accents, especialy in kanto and kansai areas I don't care so much.
    So accent in Japanese is not absolutely redundant. I have to practice ignoring the accent in certain words.
    I'll show you here some of the meaning changeable cases by accent. I am careful in those cases.
    Examples,
    1.  はし: 橋 bridge は/し, chopstick: 箸 は\し、  端: end はし (mono-tone)
    2. たき: 滝 waterfall た/き, 多岐: many things are concerned た\き etc
    Chinese have 多音字, we simply regard such word as different words.:D
    If the accent difference does not result in the different meaning, accent difference is not thought as a great probrem.
    For the words the accent is so not important, what I did was try to remember all possible accent I had heard...:eek:
    The most difficult problem of Japanese language is that we have many words which is same pronounciation and same accent but meaning is different. We need a patience to understand the context when we hear Japanese, not only accent. For example
    かてい: 家庭(flat accent) home, 過程(flat accent) process, 仮定(flat accent) hyposesis, 課程(flat accent) programme.
    Great. Chinese have even more 同音字:D Easy to master!

    Thanks again どうも ありがとう ございます。
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    русский (Russian)
    mikun:
    1.  はし: 橋 bridge は/し, chopstick: 箸 は\し、  端: end はし (mono-tone)
    2. たき: 滝 waterfall た/き, 多岐: many things are concerned た\き etc
    YangMuye:
    Chinese have 多音字, we simply regard such word as different words.:D

    They are not quite polyphones or 多音字, as they have a different spelling when written in Kanji. Also, "chopsticks" are often written and said with the prefix "お"- お箸/おはし
    Great. Chinese have even more 同音字:D Easy to master!

    They say (source: Wikipedia), Japanese has more real and complete homophones than Mandarin Chinese, this includes the complete words or their components. Words like こうそう, こうこう, そうそう, そうこう may be completely useless if they are not written in Kanji. I find that this problem with Chinese is only serious for some onesyllable words but in writing they are all written in different characters and the context is clear.
     
    “訓讀” words read in our own way, written in official way.
    “同音字” words word with the same pronunciation but differs in writing and meaning.
    “多義字” words word with the same pronunciation, same writing, different meaning. Usually it will be replaced by a new kanji after handreds year.
    “多音字” A word with different pronounciation, different meanning, and same writing.
    “異讀字” “異寫字” a word with the exactly same meaning, but differs in writing or reading.
    “訓読” does exist not only in Japanese, but also in Chinese dialect. Mandarin seems do not need “訓讀” since they are speaking official language. But there many many “異讀” for historical reasons.
    They say (source: Wikipedia), Japanese has more real and complete homophones than Mandarin Chinese, this includes the complete words or their components. Words like こうそう, こうこう, そうそう, そうこう may be completely useless if they are not written in Kanji. I find that this problem with Chinese is only serious for some onesyllable words but in writing they are all written in different characters and the context is clear.
    I'm not sure. I'm a beginner of Japanese. But I don't think any language could be so ambiguous. If you write Japanese sentence in IPA and record all pitch, duration and other subtle information, will it still be completely useless? I don't know.


    Well, one word can be read in arbitrary accent... I have to practice more. It's different from 異讀字. For 異讀字, I simply remember all possible pronunciation. If many words can be read in an arbitrary accent, that will be terrible. I think there should be some rules for "accent transform". e.g.
    flat + flat = flat
    HLL + HL = LHHHL
     

    Derselbe

    Senior Member
    Deutsch, German, ドイツ語
    I simply remember all possible pronunciation.

    Even if your brain knows which syllable is high pitch and which is low. How do you make sure that your tongue is able to say it properly?

    I made the experience that just listening to natives and imitating their accent works best (for me). One by one you will get a feeling for it.
    Just like でも:

    で\も、。。。 (but)
    /何でもい\い
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    русский (Russian)
    ...
    I'm not sure. I'm a beginner of Japanese. But I don't think any language could be so ambiguous. If you write Japanese sentence in IPA and record all pitch, duration and other subtle information, will it still be completely useless? I don't know.
    ...
    I mean many of those words can also be pronounced identically (same pitch). As separate words, they can have different meanings but the context or kanji spelling can help to distinguish between them.

    Ambiguity is fun too, you can play with words, not a reason to be put off :) You don't have to use all these words when speaking if they sound too ambiguous.

    A dictionary may be rich in homophones but many of the words may be used quite rarely. Like Chinese you don't know which zhù, if you don't explain or write 住 or 祝 for clarity. I hope native speakers can explain how they deal with homophones but I don't see this is as a big problem.
     
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    ms291052

    Member
    English - USA
    What you're observing comes from Japanese rules regarding the 高低アクセント and compound nouns. In the case where a noun suffix (such as 人) is 頭高型 (the first syllable is high) or 中高型 (the word starts and ends low, with a raise in the middle) the pitch of the compound changes.

    In this case, the first syllable of the word is low, and all the rest are high until the original drop in the prefix. Thus, as you observed, ド\イツ + じ\ん becomes ド/イツじ\ん.

    There are many other examples. E.g. the following is
    バ/ナナチョコレートブルーベリークーレ\プ since クレープ is ク/レー\プ.

    Quite a mouthful, ね?
     

    mikun

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hi,
    Many new kanji words were created in the early meiji periods, about 150 years ago, when we opened country and import forein language and words.
    The translation of foreign words were done by creating new kanji combination word by connecting similar meaning kanji letters for each foreign word, for example, economics→経済、hypothesis→仮定、culture→文化
    As people did not think much of the pronounciation, this resulted in creating many same pronounciation but different meaning words, 同音字?.
    Sometimes we cannot understand the meaning of a phrase from pronounciation only, we need the information of following words. For example,
    かていのはなしですが、 I imagine, 仮定の話?、家庭の話?、課程の話、 and wait next word.
     
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