Wiktionary has two transcriptions:

(Tokyo)¹ わ[たし]{——}² [wàtáshí]³ (Heiban⁴ – [0]⁵)

IPA: [[ɰᵝa̠ta̠ɕi]]

What is the 1st one called and how is it read?

  1. "Tokyo" stands for the Tokyo dialect
  2. What does the bar over the kana mean?
  3. What do diacritics mean here?
  4. Pitch pattern, explained in Wiktionary
  5. What does the number mean?
  • I’m voting to close this question because it's more about Wiktionary conventions and denotations than the Japanese language. – istrasci Jul 22 at 16:09
  • 3
    Well, it is about how the Japanese language, in particular, is marked with diacritics and other symbols. I think it's a fair question, – kandyman Jul 22 at 17:59

The Wiktionary entry as I found it looks as follows:


  • (Tokyo) わ[たし]【HH】 [wàtáshí] (Heiban – [0])
  • IPA: [[ɰᵝa̠ta̠ɕi]]

Let's take a look what this means:

  • (Tokyo)
    means the listed pronunciation is for the Tokyo dialect

  • わ[たし]【HH】
    pitch accent notation with [◯]【H】 indicating a high pitch

  • [wàtáshí]
    indicating pitch accent in a romanization (using the grave and acute accent diacritics on the vowel, with the acute accent ´ indicating high pitch)

  • (Heiban – [0])
    indicating that the pitch accent is of the heiban-gata type, i.e. first mora ("syllable") has a low pitch and all subsequent morae have a high pitch — in dictionaries this would be denoted [0] since the number in brackets indicates after which mora the drop in pitch occurs (and in わたし there is no drop in pitch)

  • IPA: [[ɰᵝa̠ta̠ɕi]]
    IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) notation with

    • [/ɰ/] being an A-type sound (anticipating the -a of wa),
    • [/ᵝ/] indicating that for the sound the lips are closed a little (a type of secondary articulation)
    • [/a̠/] being a "standard" A-type sound, that is retracted (i.e. pronounced further back in the mouth than the [[a]] sound) as indicated by the minus sign diacritic below the [/a/]
    • [/ɕ/] being the usual SH-type sound in Japanese
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  • Thanks! Okay, IPA is obvious, but does the 1st one have any name? Or is it just 'Hepburn with diacritics'? – homocomputeris Jul 22 at 21:41
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    I don't think there is a separate name for "Hepburn with diacritics denoting pitch accent". (In some sense the romanization and the pitch accent notation are somewhat orthogonal, so in principle you could combine Hepburn with the overline notation usually used with kana, or with the downstep notation ꜜ usually used in IPA, and so maybe we don't need a term for some particular combination of notations.) – Earthliŋ Jul 22 at 22:17
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    The real question in my head is why wiktionary decided to include every single possible way to display pitch accent instead of just one or two... I imagine this would be more confusing than helpful to most people. – Darius Jahandarie Jul 23 at 2:19
  • Please all, and you will please none... ;) – Earthliŋ Jul 23 at 7:26

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