I am using the Takoboto dictionary.

Under the listing for 書店 (しょてん), there are two breakups of the pronunciation (one with the azure squiggly separator going first below the first kanji and then above the second kanji, and one with the azure squiggly separator going first above the first kanji and then below the second kanji).

I would like to know what the difference is between these two notations. I have tried sounding out the pronunciation and it sounds the same.


  • 1
    Are you saying the autogenerated audio for both versions sounded the same? That seems like it's just a bug then. They should be different.
    – Leebo
    Commented Feb 26, 2023 at 2:53

1 Answer 1


Those are notation for Japanese pitch accent. In particular, they notate LHH and HLL respectively.

If you pronounce them with pitch accent, you will notice that the difference between them is that the second has a downstep after the first mora. If your dictionary app doesn't distinguish them, this is probably expected -- I doubt that Android TTS allows you to specify the desired pitch accent if there are multiple possibilities.

  • Thank you for your answer. Indeed, Android TTS doesn't seem to make the distinction. How can it be forced to make it, in software? Thanks. Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 15:01
  • What is a mora? Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 15:01
  • It's impossible unless the TTS engine somehow supports it. Check wikipedia or any other resource for info about moras and how they fit into Japanese. Their importance in Japanese is that mora (and not "syllable" as it is in many other languages) is the more useful concept to Japanese speakers.
    – jogloran
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 17:22

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