In the sentence, 「私の家の庭には小さな池があります」 the sound 「には」 appears twice in a row. When listening but without any writing to inform interpretation, how will I know whether to interpret the first 「には」 sound as the kanji 「 庭」 or as the hiragana 「には」?

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    If you think that sentence is confusing then try: 庭には二羽鶏がいる – user3856370 Apr 18 at 15:48
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    中庭には二羽、庭には二羽鶏がいる🐔 – Darius Jahandarie Apr 18 at 18:30
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    にわには{LHHL}にわ{HL}、うらにわには{LHHHHL}にわ{HL}、にわとりが{LHHHH}いる{LH}(庭には二羽、裏庭には二羽、鶏がいる) – broken laptop Apr 19 at 4:41

In this case, you can distinguish using the pitch accent. 庭 is pronounced like にわ【LH】 (i.e., 平板 accent) and には pronounced in isolation is にわ【HL】. 庭には is pronounced as にわにわ【LHHL】. (には within a sentence is pronounced like には【LL】 after a non-平板 word.)

When two words are pronounced exactly the same way including the pitch accent, the context is the only clue. If you can distinguish night and knight, too and two, or their and there in English conversations, the same method works in Japanese, too.

  • When you write things like 【LH】and 【HL】are you referring to Low-High and High-Low pitch-accents (respectively) as described here?: youtu.be/O6AoilGEers – Kevin Ford The Submariner Apr 18 at 15:45
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    @KevinFordTheSubmariner Yes, so 庭 is a 平板 (heiban) word. には is a particle (or more precisely two successive particles) itself, so it's pronounced like には【LL】 or には【HL】 depending on the previous word. In rare cases where には is pronounced in isolation as a word, it would be like には【HL】. – naruto Apr 18 at 16:04

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