The 4 pitch accent patterns are often spelled online as follows:

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  1. 頭高 (atamadaka)
  2. 中高 (nakadaka)
  3. 尾高 (odaka)
  4. 平板 (heiban)

However, when I actually look these words up in Japanese dictionaries (written exactly as above), I can't find them. Instead I can only find them with an "型" added at the end:

  1. 頭高型 (atamadakagata)
  2. 中高型 (nakadakagata)
  3. 尾高型 (odakagata)
  4. 平板型 (heibangata)

Why is this? Are the first set of terms slang? If so, I've been trying to determine their pitch accent, and since they aren't in any dictionaries, I'm unable to determine how they're supposed to be pronounced.

  • I find the stuff this Dogen guy is teaching a bit too detailed for most learners.
    – aguijonazo
    May 23, 2022 at 9:44
  • Personally, I have an opinion that you don´t have to imitate the accent of a language from native speakers. Unless it is incomprehensible to understand, the accent which represents yourself as who you are is the best accent you can have. May 24, 2022 at 1:19

1 Answer 1


Yes, the first four are shortenings of the latter four. (Also if you are curious, the shortenings are used in Japanese-as-spoken-by-native-Japanese-speakers as well, not just in English teaching material.)

The shortenings are all pronounced heiban:

  • あたまだか ̄
  • なかだか ̄
  • おだか ̄
  • へいばん ̄
  • Are these shortenings specific to these words, or is this playing a part in some larger pattern in Japanese? Perhaps with words ending in "gata"?
    – George
    May 23, 2022 at 2:23
  • 1
    @George - 型 simply means “type”. It’s not uncommon to say just “A” instead of “Type A”.
    – aguijonazo
    May 23, 2022 at 9:42

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