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I have always heard 前から:[まえから]{HLLL}, whether standalone or in such phrases like: 二十年前から, ずっと前から

I recently noticed its 平板 pronunciation [まえから]{LHHH} also seems to occur in 標準語. Two examples I found on YouTube:

そうですね、前から聞いてたこれに (source)

あの~。前から聞いてもらってるんですけど(source) (as @aguijonazo points out this one's 関西弁.)

How do I better understand this?

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    The woman in the second video is speaking a Kansai dialect and it is more like [まえから]{HHHH} .
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 16 at 3:08

2 Answers 2

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Personally, I don't find [まえから]{LHHH} in flat accent particularly jarring or excessively informal provided that it is used as a standalone phrase (i.e. not preceded by any modifier) and 前 is used in the temporal sense, as in this example. This could be because of its similarity in rhythm to other short temporal expressions such as これから, それから and あれから.

It must be [まえから]{HLLL} if something comes before it, as in 二十年前から, ずっと前から, etc., or 前 is used in the spatial sense.

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    「これ」「らいねん」「はじめ」のように元々平板な語はともかく、単独では「まえ」と同じアクセントであるはずの「きょう」「いま」「あさ」「ごご」などは「から」が付いても普通平板化しないので、やっぱり「まえから」には例外的な何かが起きている気はしますね。
    – naruto
    Feb 17 at 1:57
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I believe まえから【HLLL】 is (still) the standard pitch accent. The heiban version, まえから【LHHH】, is now common, but it sounds a bit チャラい to me. It's fine in informal conversations, but I may find it unfavorable if someone used the heiban version in a job interview.

You can listen to exaggerated examples in this video. Many words including 待ってて【LHHH】 and ホール【LHH】 have been heibanified.

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  • OMG that video is a blast from the past, haven’t seen it for years 😂 Feb 16 at 7:00
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    @DariusJahandarie 一度見たら忘れられないです…w
    – naruto
    Feb 16 at 8:01

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