I've already looked up here but so far most are only concerned with 3 or 4 mora suffixes or are overly specific. I'm looking for a generic rule I can apply for compound suffixes made up of 1 to 2 morae.

An example of what I want to predict would be か\んしゃ ==>かんしゃ\さい and け\いざい ==> けいざいき\ぼ andしゅ\と==>しゅと\けん and せ\いび ==> せいびほ\う.


2 Answers 2



This website presents an simple overview of accent in noun+noun compounds. When the second element has 1 or 2 morae, accent nucleus would be the last mora of first element (in most cases) or nowhere (with certain suffixes).

This accounts for かんしゃ\さい and しゅと\けん, but けいざいき\ぼ is an exception. I'm not sure about せいびほ\う, but if you intend 整備法, it is pronounced as せいびほう= (heiban accent), which follows the rule presented.

I hope this helps.


Timothy Vance, in An Introduction to Japanese Phonology, makes the following observation at the end of his chapter on accent: 'There seem to be relatively straight-forward regularities in verb + verb and adjective + adjective compounds, but noun + noun compounds do not show any simple pattern.' For detailed discussion of the problem he refers to:

Akinaga, K (1966:50-54) 共通語のアクセント In 日本放送協会 (1966, 45-90)

Okuda, K. (1971:183-277) Accentual Systems in the Japanese Dialects, UCLA doctoral dissertation.

Higurashi, Y. (1983:59-77) The Accent of Extended Word Structures in Tokyo Japanese. Tokyo, Educa.

McCawley, J. (1977:268-272) Accent in Japanese. In, Hyman, L. M. (ed.) (1977) Studies in Stress and Accent (SCOPIL 4), University of Southern California Department of Linguistics.

Samuel Martin, Reference Grammar of Japanese, also treats the problem to some extent.

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