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I'm reasonably new to learning pitch accent. Started learning this year, as it was never actually taught in any form at school or university.

I'm confused about why 愛する should have the accent on the third mora i.e. LHHL.

愛 is 頭高, and する is 平板, so why does 愛する become 中高?

I know that compound words can cause changes in the pitch accents of their respective components, but this is the first word I've come across where adding する changes the pitch accent of the compound. In other words like 勉強する, 指図する or デザインする the する continues the high or low pitch of the preceding noun. Is there a simply explanation for why 愛する is different? Are there other examples or does 愛する belong to a particular group of verbs?

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A [single-on'yomi-kanji] + する/じる verb is more a unit than a compound verb, thus has its own accent type.

In today's Tokyo accent, it's like this:

  • (a) all [one-mora-kanji] + する: [○する]{LHL}

    化する、帰する、資する、賭する、付する、模する、利する……

  • (b) [two-mora-kanji] + じる (older form ずる): [○○じる]{LHHH}

    演じる、応じる、感じる、断じる、通じる、動じる、命じる……

    Exceptions: 信じる, 煎じる, 損じる, 存じる are [○○じる]{LHHL}

  • (c) [two-mora-kanji] + する whose kanji ends with っ: [○っする]{LHHH}

    逸する、屈する、接する、絶する、達する、熱する、発する……

    Exceptions: 律する, 列する are [○っする]{LHHL} according to NHKアクセント新辞典 but I think either will do.

  • (d) other [two-mora-kanji] + する: [○○する]{LHHL}

    愛する、関する、称する、対する、博する、面する、要する……

While NHKアクセント新辞典 lists [○○する]{LHHL} pattern as the secondary accent for most (b) and (c) verbs as well, I don't think it very common in speech (in Tokyo) and doubt that it is an older variation.

Beware that those verbs also have "shorter" forms (愛する → 愛す) with varied commonalities. For them:

  • flat (accentless) verbs remain the same:

    えんじる{LHHH}, えんずる{LHHH} (演じ/ずる) → えんず{LHH} (演ず)
    せっする{LHHH} (接する) → せっす{LHH} (接す)

  • accented verbs slide one mora backward:

    かする{LHL} (化する) → かす{HL} (化す)
    はくする{LHHL} (博する) → はくす{LHL} (博す)

  • but accented verbs with the kanji ends with い, ん or long vowel should slide one more step:

    あいする{LHHL} (愛する) → あいす{HLL} (愛す)
    めんする{LHHL} (面する) → めんす{HLL} (面す)
    ようする{LHHL} (要する) → ようす{HLL} (要す)

Last but not least, there are things like 得する and 楽する that look confusingly similar to these verbs, but actually are phrases with colloquial omission of particles (得をする and 楽をする). They just follow the original accents: とくをする{LHHHH} > とくする{LHHH} / らくをする{LHLLH} > らくする{LHLH}.


See also:

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  • 〜ずる seems like its own nest of complexity too. It seems to follow 〜じる as expected: generally flat for two-mora+ずる (報ずる、命ずる、変ずる, etc), accented for longer ones (甘んず\る、重んず\る、軽んず\る, etc). But there are more exceptions here, like 信ず\る、詮ず\る、免ず\る、弁ず\る、損ず\る、存ず\る (according to NHK; that said, it also lists flat as secondary for all of them). – Darius Jahandarie Apr 5 at 18:21
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    @DariusJahandarie Many words have two accents in that dictionary so that I wonder if it's more like indefinite. I always follow ~じる's accent when I read the ~ずる variant. And thank you for 存じ/ずる, it's another exception. – broccoli facemask Apr 6 at 0:17
  • Lately I’ve been hearing らくす\る a lot so I wonder if this has been reanalyzed as a standalone verb by some people – Darius Jahandarie Jun 25 at 19:00
  • @DariusJahandarie Perhaps, but I never heard it myself. Could it be らく\する (i.e. する carries no obvious accent) with 遅下がり? – broccoli facemask Jun 26 at 1:59
  • I don’t think so: vocaroo.com/18qo9VLLaBx9 vocaroo.com/1ol0DulnG5BD vocaroo.com/1jOTSTAkuTLm (2 and 3 are from the same anime/VA). – Darius Jahandarie Jun 26 at 2:13

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