Variations in pitch within a word. The placement of pitch accent can give different meanings to otherwise similar words.

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28
votes
6answers
2k views

How important is one's pitch when speaking Japanese?

I'm aware of some words in Japanese that have the same reading but different meaning depending on the pitch of each syllable. The canonical example is はし (hashi), which can mean either chopsticks ...
5
votes
2answers
591 views

Why do English sources for learning Japanese leave out pitch?

I always thought that besides Kanji, one of the most difficult things about Japanese was its immense amount of homophones. For example, 花 (はな), which means flower, and 鼻 (also はな) which means nose. In ...
11
votes
4answers
977 views

Pronunciation of す in です and the end of ます verbs

I've always been curious about the pronunciation of the す in です and at the end of 〜ます verbs. Most commonly the "u" sound is inaudible, but sometimes by some people it's more pronounced, and some ...
8
votes
2answers
277 views

Why is debug デバッグ but bug is バグ?

I'm interested in why the extra small tsu in included in the word デバッグ but not バグ. Are there any rules governing voicing in words formed via reduplication? Lyman's rule may explain this, but does ...
5
votes
1answer
230 views

Pronunciation of ううん

The pitch contour of the interjection ううん has been described as high, low, middle. Alternatively, it has been described as a falling-rising tone. In either case, this appears to be unique in ...