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What Lyle said is true―you'll want to practice a lot. It's much easier to recognize words and phrases you're used to hearing, not just used to reading. That means ear training, and there's no way around it! Still, we can look at some facts about Japanese pronunciation. I'm a non-native speaker, and one of the trickiest things for a non-native speaker to ...


6

snailboat has already provided an excellent response, but I'd like to share an online resource that's pretty useful when trying to figure out the pitch accents of any given text. Just stick your Japanese text into Prosody Tutor Suzuki-kun, tweak the settings as you see fit, hit "analyze", and you'll see a rather accurate pitch analysis of the input text. ...


4

Some language families (such as Chinese and Athabaskan) have visible origins for their tones - you can't reconstruct tone back to the shared proto-language, but you can reconstruct other features that later turned into tone. Other language families (such as Bantu and Oto-Manguean) have no visible origins for their tones - you can reconstruct tone back to ...


4

The pitch for Sayaka is さやか【HLL】 (or in your notation SAyaka). Also Makoto has pitch まこと【LHH】 and Katsura has pitch かつら【HLL】. Stressing the penultimate syllable is a frequent pronunciation mistake that especially native speakers of English seem to be prone to (but of course not only native English speakers). Stressing the penultimate syllable is one of ...


4

There are three differences rhythm たんい has three morae ("syllables"), where as たに has only two. sound たんい has a uvular ("nasal") /ɴ/, i.e. [ta.ɴ.i], whereas たに has a "normal" /n/, i.e. [ta.ni]. pitch たんい【HLL】 drops in pitch after the first mora, たに【LH】 drops in pitch after the second mora. Try to listen for all three differences, they're all important. ...


1

単{たん}is pronounced たん and 位{い}is pronounced い. Together, they are pronounced たんい or tann-i. This is distinctly different from に or ni. For example, 谷{たに}is pronounced たに or tani. I don't know phonetic symbols so I apologize but you can sound these two out to hear how they are different.


1

Finding some method in this madness was actually part of eminent linguist Haruhiko Kindaichi's 1951 Ph.D. thesis. Kindaichi found a perfect correspondence between Chinese tones and pitch accent of Japanese kango. However, it was not with the Tokyo accent that is now standard and taught in textbooks, but the Heian period court accent. Kindaichi found that ...



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