In words with more than one mora, there are three types of endings in the standard Tokyo dialect:

  1. ...H(H)
  2. ...H(L)
  3. ...L(L)

where H/L mean High-Low pitch, and the parentheses apply to any attached particle.

For a word with only one mora, like 戸 or 歯, what are the possible patterns for the attached particle? Are any of the following four patterns impossible?

  1. H(H)
  2. H(L)
  3. L(H)
  4. L(L)

2 Answers 2


There is always a change in pitch after the first mora in the standard Tokyo dialect. So the only patterns that work in that dialect are

  • [歯が]{HL} H(L)
  • [名が]{LH} L(H)

Regarding other dialects (like Kansai-ben), I know next to nothing.

  • 3
    HH is possible in Kansai-ben: e.g. [気が]【HH】 cf. [木が]【LH】. When one-mora words are lengthened, they are pronounced with the same pitch pattern as when they are followed by a particle: e.g. [気ぃ]【HH】, [木ぃ]【LH】, [歯ぁ]【HL】, etc.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 14:06
  • 1
    @aguijonazo Thank you. I didn't know either of those points: HH in Kansai or how the pitch pattern is used when the mora is lengthened.
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 14:35

The answer given above is obviously wrong, the rule about the change of pitch is valid only inside the same word, so it cannot apply to monomoraic words. Thus, heiban words have pattern L(L), e.g. 胃が accented words are H(L), e.g. 絵が. Pattern L(H) is absurd in Tokyo Japanese.

  • 1
    Hmm? 胃が will rise just as much as two-mora heiban word (e.g. これ) when it's at the beginning of a sentence. Which often is a very minimal rise, so I think I understand what you are saying, but IMO that's more of an issue with LH notation as a whole as opposed to the above answer in particular. Downsteps and accent phrases are the only two truly salient notions in standard Japanese intonation. Commented May 20, 2022 at 15:20

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