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japanese grammar

September 2008

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renge_kun in jpnese_grammar

Question regarding dictionaries/publications

Hi!  I've just joined this group.  Not sure if community posting is okay, or if that is just for the moderator.  Please let me know if I have made a mistake.  Thanks!

I am wondering if anyone knows if there is a dictionary or other publication that indicates the intonation used in each word.  In my intermediate Japanese class, I am required, as most are, to memorize a list of vocabulary each week, but my sensei does not read each word for us.  Only occasionally the question of intonation has arisen, though.  I feel that while I have a general idea of how Japanese words should be intoned, there are some homonyms {such as 買う (かう - to buy) and 飼う (かう - to keep [a pet]);  or 紙 (かみ - paper), 神 (かみ - god), and 髪 (かみ - hair)}  that have different intonations. 

While I understand that usually the meaning of the word can usually be gleaned from the context of the sentence, I intend to teach Japanese in an American high school upon graduating my master's program; because of this, I need a resource that will give me specifics in this area.  Any information someone may be able to provide would be most appreciated.

Thank you!



Intonation in japanese homophones

I'm not able to answer your question and I won't sorry. But I'm just wondering if this really matters? I mean intonation is not that clear even for japanese people themselves (or so I heard) so why bother with such insignificant details? (apart from being a perfectionist which I would understand, even in this case, you'd rather concentrate on practicing daily conversation and listening. You'll learn intonation that way. Sorry if I sound rude. You might consider differences between words such as "約" and "百" (for example), which are different in writing -yaku and hyaku- and DO have an importance intonation wise, especially in spoken language. It may be misleading sometimes, and that's where you'll want to know the intonation differences. ;) Cheers!


I think the NHK pronunciation and accent dictionary would probably be what you are looking for.
I realize this is years too late, but most Japanese-Japanese dictionaries do include this feature. You just have to decipher the cryptic dictionary terminology.

Look at these two dictionary entries, for example:

At the bottom, they list these respectively:
◆アクセント : はし 2
◆アクセント : はし 1

Other dictionaries just list a 1 or a 2 somewhere at the top of the entry without explaining what it means. This indicates that in the first one ('bridge'), the first mora is low, and the second high (the normal pattern). In the second one ('chopsticks'), the high pitch comes on the first mora.