For ううん to express negation, Weblio gives the pitch accent as 【2】, i.e.

ううん 【LHL】

However, (to me) this doesn't sound like how people actually pronounce the word. I've always thought that it sounded like this:

ううん 【HLH】
(Listen here)

... but I know that is not a proper pitch accent pattern for Japanese. So I'd be interested to hear what a native speaker feels the correct pitch accent pattern for this word is.

  • 3
    ci.nii.ac.jp/… – user1478 Apr 10 '18 at 10:32
  • @snailboat Wow, great article you linked! Thanks. If I have time I will translate some of the key findings and credit you with the answer. – kandyman Apr 10 '18 at 11:57
  • By the way, the Miyako-shi dialect in Iwate has high-low-high pitch patterns generally. (It's true that these patterns aren't normal in Tokyo jp as well as most other dialects.) The úùń case is to me highly reminiscent of the "contradictory pitch contour" in English intonation, where a fall-rise pattern in utterances like "no" or 'quite" give them a particular meaning related to contradiction. – melissa_boiko Apr 16 '18 at 9:48
  • Do 'no' and 'quite' have fall-rise patterns? – kandyman Oct 6 '18 at 15:20

The forvo.com resource you linked has samples provided by native speakers of Japanese, and this is indeed the most common way to pronounce ううん in the context of a negation (I can't say I'm aware of any dialect that pronounces it differently, either). So yes, something like ううん{HLH} is correct.


In my experiences I have heard ううんHLL. Hope this helps!

  • 3
    are you sure you're not confusing it with うん [HL] – kandyman May 7 '18 at 15:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.