I have always thought in 標準語 those two words should always be 頭高, as corroborated by several authoritative sources including NHK. But I have very occasionally heard other pitch patterns. This one sounds clearly to me like 平板: かれしが{LHHH}. Why is that? Also, what about 彼女? Is it ever realized as 平板?

An additional question is: how are they pronounced in 関西弁? Because I talk with people from 関西 a lot and they switch back and forth between dialects, which makes it hard for me to be certain if their pronunciation is standard.


1 Answer 1


The heiban versions have been common for decades, but still sound more or less frivolous or チャラい (more so for カノジョ than カレシ). A professional seiyu should be able use the two pronunciations appropriately depending on the character being played. See: Are there any rules to the intonations they are discussing in this video?

I feel both patterns are in use also in Kansai-ben, but I'm not 100% sure.

  • I have been looking for instances of 彼女 online. I found some instances of 彼女さん that sound to me like a heiban 彼女: 1; 2; 3; 4. I don't know if I should update the question or put them in a new question but I wonder if I'm hearing them right and if they are standard. 5 This one I'm not sure about. When they first talk about 彼女 it sounds like 頭高 but when the interviewer says 彼女さん it sounds to me like かのじょさん{HHHHH}
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 6:39
  • 1
    @EddieKal Yes 1-4 are heiban and 5 is atamadaka. Both patterns are common, with our without さん.
    – naruto
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 8:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .