Do the nominalizers "no" and "koto" have recessive accent (i.e. no downstep) or downstep after the first syllable? Or are they enclitic (i.e. unaccented unless following a word with no downstep in which case they accent the final syllable, like だ)?

1 Answer 1

  • (not same pattern with the postposition の!)

    • after accentless verbs and na-adjectives: downstep before the particle

      なる{LH} "make sound" → なるの{LHL}

      かえる{LHH} "change (t.)" → かえるの{LHHL}

      みつめる{LHHH} "stare at" → みつめるの{LHHHL}

      せいかくだ{LHHHH} "accurate" → せいかくなの{LHHHHL}

    • after accented verbs and na-adjectives: keeps the pitch

      なる{HL} "become" → なるの{HLL}

      かえる{HLL} "go home" → かえるの{HLLL}

      につめる{LHHL} "boil down (t.)" → につめるの{LHHLL}

      ふせいかくだ{LHLLLL} "inaccurate" → ふせいかくなの{LHLLLLL}

    • after i-adjectives: always downstep before い

      あつい{LHH} "thick" → あついの{LHLL}

      あつい{LHL} "hot" → あついの{LHLL}

  • こと

    • after accentless words: takes over the accent (final syllable)

      なる{LH} → なること{LHHH} → なることが{LHHHL}

      かえる{LHH} → かえること{LHHHH} → かえることが{LHHHHL}

      みつめる{LHHH} → みつめること{LHHHHH} → みつめることが{LHHHHHL}

      あつい{LHH} → あついこと{LHHHH} → あついことが{LHHHHL}

      せいかくだ{LHHHH} → せいかくなこと{LHHHHHH} → せいかくなことが{LHHHHHHL}

    • after accented words: keeps the pitch

      なる{HL} → なること{HLLL}

      かえる{HLL} → かえること{HLLLL}

      につめる{LHHL} → につめること{LHHLLL}

      あつい{LHL} → あついこと{LHLLL}

      ふせいかくだ{LHLLLL} → ふせいかくなこと{LHLLLLLL}

A verb or adjective whose last syllable is high is always accentless. The list of word accents is available from, for example, here.

  • Are you sure about 事? OJAD lists こと as Odaka, even after accented nouns. I didn't see any information in NHK that こと loses its accent after accented words.
    – George
    Sep 29, 2022 at 3:23
  • @George Generally, 形式名詞 doesn't inherit its accent as standalone noun. こと's accentuation in なる{HL}こと is kind of difficult to specify with this notation. In short, it does not make another accent phrase, but optionally has one more downstep at the end like a "secondary accent". Oct 2, 2022 at 9:39
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    Re: こと after accentless words, is 頭高型 also an admissible pitch pattern? I feel like I hear さがすことが{LHHHLL} quite a lot, perhaps even more often than さがすことが{LHHHHL}.
    – dekinai
    Jun 12, 2023 at 17:17
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    @dekinai Indeed, I occasionally hear that accent too, while I still believe that 尾高 is the prescriptive one. I can at least find one paper on this matter: ir.library.osaka-u.ac.jp/repo/ouka/all/8856/19-04.pdf. It doesn't have a clear conclusion, but says personal variation and prominence largely contribute to the 頭高 shift. Jun 13, 2023 at 21:12

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