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I've always heard a lot of Japanese people pronounce ありがとう as ありがとう{LHHHH}, but I've never actually seen anyone talk about it on the Internet.

People always say ありがとう should be pronounced ありがとう{LHLLLL} in standard speech, which obviously I hear a lot, but I also hear a lot of speakers of Standard Japanese pronounce it as an unaccented word, so I definitely think it's not dialectal. (I even hear ありがとう{LHHLL} a lot of the time).

Is it pronounced unaccented because it's a shortening of the phrase ありがとうございます{LHHHHHHHHLL}?

As far as I'm concerned, the phrase can be pronounced two ways: with the downstep on ま, or with a downstep on り and then on ま (ありがとうございます{LHLLLLHHHL}).

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    "I've always heard a lot of Japanese people pronounce ありがとう as [ありがとう]{LHHHH}" -- 関西弁とか? [ありがとう]{LLLHL}!とかも言うよね。 – Chocolate Jan 5 at 0:46
  • @Chocolate 本当に関西弁かな?標準語を話す人もよく言うからね、この ありがとう{LHHHH}。でも、僕ネーティブじゃないから、違うだろう – David M. Seitz Jan 5 at 12:41
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I think it depends on the situation. For example, if you are a young woman, and your boyfriend just gave you a ring, you'll probably say something similar to ありがとう{LHHHH}! rather than ありがとう{LHLLL} because it doesn't quite fit with the expected enthusiasm and femininity.

"Neutral" pitch is indeed ありがとう{LHLLL} IMO in 標準語. In Kansai it is ありがとう{LLLHL}.

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  • This perfectly answers my question! Thank you! I forgot to mention that I mostly heard this heibangata ありがとう from women who received compliments and stuff like that, so it makes sense now. – David M. Seitz Jan 5 at 20:00
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    Interesting! Is this an instance of something more general — does neutralising pitch accent in any other words have a similar effect — or is it particular to ありがとう? – jogloran Jan 6 at 5:55
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    I'd say it's general (e.g. if you say おはよう really enthusiastically it will sound おはよう{LHHH} instead of おはよう{LHHL}) @jogloran – Enno Shioji Jan 6 at 17:00

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