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Anyaaa
07-18-2008, 01:54 PM
?_____?

I remember when I first started with Japanese last year, I read an article on pitch accent. And then a few times in the past year I've been reminded of it, looked some stuff up, made a :( face and then forgotten about it.

Basically, I've suddenly been reminded of it again and I don't know what to do. None of the sites or books I've looked at have anything to do with pitch, so every time I learn a new word and pronounce it flat, am I getting into bad habits? All of these sites that talk about pitch accent are just jibber-jabber that means nothing to me. I don't understand those freaking graphs about how '涙' is pronounced by a native speaker.

When you guys learnt Japanese, did you learn this? I don't know any native speakers, I'm learning on my own so I have no teacher to ask, blah blah blah...

xDD

aishiteru333
07-18-2008, 01:56 PM
Yes, I also heard about this but gave so little regard to it that I ended up speaking it my own way and no one questions it.
"You sound like you're Japanese!"
"I know!!!"
It's quite easy when you know where to emphasize the vowels. If it's marked on the page you are reading, it makes it a whole lot easier!

honeysenpai17
07-18-2008, 01:57 PM
I wish I could speak fluent japanese :(

bluepenguin
07-18-2008, 02:45 PM
Yeah, this is one of the areas where it helps to have an actual teacher, because mine did go over this when we learned new vocabulary. That said, we never learned any rules that would help you know how a word you'd never heard spoken was accented, and there doesn't seem to be any particular rhyme or reason to it -- all you can really do, I guess, is listen to how other people do it and copy them.

Ertai87
07-18-2008, 03:39 PM
The pitch isn't really important. My prof went over the whole pitch thing for maybe 10 minutes in a class 2 years ago, and that was it. It's more (MUCH more) important in Chinese than Japanese. If you try to speak however you think it makes the most sense, chances are you'll be right more often than wrong. Or, when in doubt, speak with flat pitch. I've been told that's how foreigners usually try to speak. It makes you sound like a foreigner, but you won't make any mistakes.

Akihiko Yamamoto Hozagaki
07-18-2008, 03:48 PM
Yeah, this is one of the areas where it helps to have an actual teacher, because mine did go over this when we learned new vocabulary. That said, we never learned any rules that would help you know how a word you'd never heard spoken was accented, and there doesn't seem to be any particular rhyme or reason to it -- all you can really do, I guess, is listen to how other people do it and copy them.

Exactly what my teacher said. At least for me, it's really hard to tell. I wouldn't be too worried about it though. I mean, the only time you would ever want to focus on it is in a question. But you do that with every language, of course. Those are simple linguistic basics. Unless you're speaking Chinese, use one tone. Then, you don't make any mistakes and people understand what you say (or at least mean).

EDIT: Bah, Ertai said it better.

shinnraiu
07-18-2008, 09:48 PM
I'm native and I just speak my own way (which is very flat and bored). Uh... unless I really have to get something across and someone interrupts me then I just keep raising it to where it sounds like we're having an argument. XD

But yeah my teacher berated me once for doing that and made me fix it once for the thing I was doing. XD But I think it's really hard to explain it.....

If you're telling a story, and you mention something that's new in the story, you highlight it to put emphasis on it. Uh... that's all I can say. XD

Actually when I have conversations my pitch isn't that flat now that I think about it ... only when I read something / talk to myself. ahahaha...

wolfgirl90
07-19-2008, 10:24 PM
I did not learn Japanese through a class. I taught myself and there are only a few things you need to know when it comes to pitch.

Pitch accent is not nearly as important in Japanese than it is in Chinese, when saying a word in a higher or lower pitch will determine the definition of the word.

In Japanese, every syllable in a word is given equal stress. Keeping this in mind will help you pronounce a word. For example, Hiroshima is pronounced "Hi-ro-shi-ma" not "HI-ro-SHI-ma". Pitch does come into play when you ask a question. Even if you end the question with a question particle ("ka", "kai" "ka na", "kashira", etc), its not a question without a raised intonation at the end of the sentence. Without the raised intonation, its only a rhetorical question.

Anyaaa
07-21-2008, 07:52 AM
Thanks much everyone!

So I'll just go back to pretending it doesn't exist... that's good 8D

asu120
07-29-2008, 07:46 AM
Hi,

Just in case, you can always lookup the pitch accent at the Goo Web Dictionary.

http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/

For example,

あめ 1 【雨】 (1)空から降ってくる水滴。大気中の水蒸気が高所で気温冷却により凝結し水滴となっ...[さらに]

See the number 1? It indicates the accent starts high at the first mora then falls on the second mora. More examples:

0: LHHHH
1: HLLLLL
2: LHLLLL
3: LHHLLL
4: LHHHLL

And so on..