Does the honorific prefix お/ご have an effect on pitch accent?

For example, can it make an unaccented word accented or an accented word unaccented?

If this prefix does have an effect on pitch accent, what are the rules?

  • 3
    [そら]{HL} [おそら]{LHL} でも [ふね]{HL} [おふね]{LHH}。[みず]{LH} [おみず]{LHH} でも [ふろ]{LH} [おふろ]{LHL}。[さかな]{LHH} [おさかな]{LHHH} でも [でんわ]{LHH} [おでんわ]{LHLL}。なんで~~??
    – chocolate
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 3:47
  • @Chocolate ずっと「おふね{LHL}」しか聞いたことありませんでした…。アクセント新辞典でも「①おふね{LHL}②おふね{LHH}」の模様 Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 10:18
  • @Chocolate So, basically there's no real rule behind how the pitch accent can change?? Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


My favourite kind of answer: just quoting a huge chunk of Martin's A Referece Grammar of Japanese. But it takes nine main rules (save exceptions) and three pages (pp. 333-5), so I summarize:

(1) Generally, words become unstressed under [御]{お}, unless said otherwise below.

(2) Words which are 頭高 and have beyond one syllable normally retain their accent: [かし]{HL} > [おかし]{LHL}. The number of exceptions which delete accent instead is small, but many of those (such as [なか]{HL} > [おなか]{LHH}, [まえ]{HL} > [おまえ]{LHH}) are probably better treated as separate words.

(3) Here Martin puts a huge list of exceptions with any kinds of unpredictable jumps.

(4) お + truncated noun = accent at the first syllable of the truncated part: [ばけもの]{LHHL} > [おばけ]{LHL}.

(5) お + single-morpheme female name = accent remains at the first syllable of the name: [ゆき]{HL} > [おゆき]{LHL}.

(6) ご does not change accent {except exceptions: [あんない]{LHHL} > [ごあんない]{LHHHH} (案内); [ぼう]{HL} > [ごぼう]{HLL} (坊); [りしょう]{LHHH} > [ごりしょう]{LHLLL} (利生)}.

(7) お + na-adjective = no accent (except some, such as 元気, which retain their accent).

(8) お + adjective = no acent.

(9) お + 連体形 of a verb is no accent. But お + a derived deverbal noun (which is segmentally the same as 連体形 but with a different accent) is treated as a noun and thus may have a totally different result.

To conclude: it's a mess.

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