According to the NHK Accent dictionary, the pitch accent for ふわふわ can be:

(a) ふわふわ {HLLL} or (b) ふわふわ {LHHH}

It is (a) when する is attached and it is (b) when used as a simple adjective.

First, are the following examples correct?



Secondly, do other giongo words also follow this pattern? Or is it a case by case basis?

  • 6
    [さらさら]{LHHH}の [さらさら]{HLLL}した [つるつる]{LHHH}の [つるつる]{HLLL}した ... わっ、ホントだ! 😲
    – chocolate
    Oct 2, 2018 at 13:26
  • I'm hesitant to call it a 'rule' as it's not clear to me whether other words behave differently. I'm still investigating :)
    – kandyman
    Oct 2, 2018 at 14:38
  • 1
    – psosuna
    Oct 2, 2018 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is a generic characteristic of giongo. According to this article from NHK放送文化研究所, the pitch accent of an onomatopoeia is mainly determined by whether it modifies the following word adjectivally or adverbially.


Words like ぎりぎり is pronounced like [ぎりぎり]【HLLL】 when it's used as a giongo adverb, but like [ぎりぎり]【LHHH】 when it's used as a non-giongo adverb.

  • 会議に[ぎりぎり]【LHHH】間に合った。(non-giongo)
  • 歯を[ぎりぎり]【HLLL】(と)食いしばった。(giongo)
  • That's exactly what I was looking for! Thanks.
    – kandyman
    Oct 3, 2018 at 11:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .