I am aware 一番 bifurcates semantically with 2 readings. I am wondering about other number + 番's pitch in 標準語. When counting with the exception of 5番 which seems to be 平板型, the rest seems to follow a pattern with a downstep before ば: いちばん{LHLL} にばん{HLL} さんばん{HHLL} etc. Is this correct?

I also seem to have heard these words pronounced in such a way that the end seems to go up.

  1. ろくばん{LHHH}: 1 (in her other videos she mostly says ろくばん{LHLL}, so is this intonation? Also is she speaking 関西弁?)
  2. いちばん{LHLL}にばん{HLL}よんばん{LHHH}ろくばん{LHLL}さんばん{LHHH}ななばん{LHLL} 2 4番 and 3番 seem to differ from their normal pronunciations. I wonder if I heard it right. When two ordinal numbers are read together do they become one word so to speak and the middle gets heightened? This also sounds like that 3
  3. The pronunciation of 4番 and 7番 seem to be flattened here, like the one above. 4. Similarly, 5
  4. This one sounds like さんばんよんばんごばん{LHHHHHHHHLL} 6. Is that correct?

Also when an ordinal number modifies another noun, how does the pitch change? にばんさん{LHHHH} or にばんさん{HLLLL}? さんばんウッド{LHHHHLL}?

  • 2
    The person in 1 (and also many of the other ones you link) is speaking largely with kansaiben accent, so it’s not a good reference for standard Japanese. Jul 6 at 14:14
  • @DariusJahandarie Thank you. I thought about taking it out, but half of the hits were from her and I wasn't sure if she's speaking kansaiben or just standard Japanese with an accent, so I thought maybe I should leave her stuff in.
    – Eddie Kal
    Jul 6 at 17:22
  • What is にばんさん??
    – aguijonazo
    Jul 7 at 5:29
  • @aguijonazo This is the context I had in mind--a context I have heard this word used in--for example in a contest people are given numbers and they don't know each other well enough to know or remember each other's names, so they call each other by the number. Like, "Number 2, I have a question for you."
    – Eddie Kal
    Jul 7 at 6:09
  • 1
    That would [にばんさん]{HLLLL}. 2番線 is [にばんせん]{LHHHH}, though.
    – aguijonazo
    Jul 7 at 6:12

1 Answer 1


Besides [ごばん]{LHH}, [さんばん]{LHHH} (or [さんばん]{HHHH} in practice) is also 平板. (See this)

When two or more numbers are read together, they may be put in one pitch contour that follows either of the following patterns.

  • [□□□…□□ばん]{LHHHHLLL}, if the last number is さん, よん, きゅう or じゅう
  • [□□□…□□ばん]{LHHHHHLL}, otherwise

#3 and #6 are typical cases of that.

よんばんろくばん and さんばんななばん in #2 are basically the same, except he pronounces the second number in each pair more or less retaining its original accent.

#1, #4 and #5 are 関西弁. She says [ろくばんななばん]{HHHHHLLL}. If she says [ろくばん]{LHLL}, she is mixing 標準語. The standard pronunciation in 関西弁 is [ろくばん]{HLLL}. Keeping it high to connect to the next number is the same as in 標準語.

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