I am not sure what the accent of なんの意味もない would become.

I would guess it would be な\んの・い\みも・な\い. Because なんの is な\んの by itself (see comments for this particular audio).

  • In this audio, I think it becomes なんの ̄・い\みも・な\い.
  • In this audio, I think it becomes なんの ̄・い\みも・な\い
  • This sounds different, but I would still interpret it as なんの ̄・い\みも・な\い

Does this happen or am I mishearing those?

  • BTW, we have input notation for indicating pitch. See this topic for how to use it, and other notations like furigana.
    – istrasci
    Jun 8, 2022 at 17:08
  • 1
    @istrasci HL notation is inferior to downstep notation in a number of ways. It’s a reasonable choice to not use it. Jun 8, 2022 at 17:31
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    I agree with Eddie Kal, it's pronounced heiban. In a sentence, this intonation would correspond to something like なんの意味もない.
    – Monchi
    Jun 9, 2022 at 3:07
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    Heiban words with a ん in the second mora or a long vowel in the first syllable don't have the first mora lower like other heiban words do, so that makes it harder to identify them sometimes. So it would technically be なんの {HHH}
    – Monchi
    Jun 9, 2022 at 3:11
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    @EddieKal - The pronunciation in the Forvo clip is not very good. It’s shaky. It goes slightly up on ん, which itself is good, but goes back down on の. It sounds almost like なんの{LHL} although he must have intended なんの{LHH}. The first Vocaroo clip sounds like Kansai-ben where she says なんのいみも{LLLHLL} before she switches to standard pronunciation in ない{HL}.
    – aguijonazo
    Jun 9, 2022 at 5:44

2 Answers 2


なんの is pronounced as なんの【HLL】 when it means "of what", but as なんの【LHH】 when it's used as a negative polarity item meaning "no(thing)".

  • なんの【HLL】話ですか?
    What are you talking about?
  • なんの【LHH】役にも立たない
    a completely useless book

Similarly, だれの/どこの can be read as だれの【LHH】/どこの【LHH】 when it's a negative polarity item.

  • だれの【HLL】帽子?
    Whose hat is this?
  • だれの【LHH】せいでもない
    This is no one's fault.
  • どこの【LHH】国のものでもない不思議な言葉
    a mysterious word used in no country

Question words that pair with a negative such as 何もない、誰もいなかった and such as your example become heiban (flat, no accent).

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