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If Kanji are necessary to disambiguate homophones, how come it's still used, being that Japanese people seem to know the difference when speaking?

Kanji aren't necessary to write Japanese Your rationale is correct; Japanese is a living, spoken language; people are able to understand each other by sound only, therefore a writing system based on ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
24 votes
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How to pronounce the English alphabet? (A, B, C, ...)

I share your experience. Sticking straight to the katakana pronunciation below, I have never had the problem of someone not understanding me any more. I believe this is the pronunciation currently ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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24 votes

If Kanji are necessary to disambiguate homophones, how come it's still used, being that Japanese people seem to know the difference when speaking?

This is definitely a bit harder for native English speakers to pick up on at first, but sometimes homophones in Japanese are distinguishable by the pitch accent. So some of them aren't an issue at all....
Kurausukun's user avatar
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13 votes

What are the pitch-accent rules for compound nouns?

So, Toshihiko's answer gives the answer for the normal case, but there is a whole other facet of this issue: Do two nouns always compound or not? And the answer is that in many cases they do not. I ...
Darius Jahandarie's user avatar
13 votes
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The pitch accent of なんの意味もない

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? ...
naruto's user avatar
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12 votes

Are there any rules to the intonations they are discussing in this video?

If you're merely interested in the current "standard" accent of Japanese words, try one of these learning resources. The jokes in this video are based on a more advanced topic of the ...
naruto's user avatar
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12 votes
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Pitch accent of 超自然的

Yes, your analysis is correct. In fact the し can drop even lower than the う before it if you choose to really enunciate it. This sort of splitting is fairly common, for example with the prefix 非 or ...
Darius Jahandarie's user avatar
10 votes
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Pronunciation Troubles with トラブル and トラブる: Loanwords with both noun and verb ending in ru mora

[トラブル]{LHLL} -- [トラブる]{LHHL} [ダブル]{HLL} -- [ダブる]{LHL} [バトル]{HLL} -- [バトる]{LHL}? (I can't think of any other pairs...) The verbs seem to have a pronunciation rule: [サボる]{LHL}、 [テンパる]{LHHL}、 ...
chocolate's user avatar
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9 votes

Does the honorific prefix お/ご have an effect on pitch accent?

My favourite kind of answer: just quoting a huge chunk of Martin's A Referece Grammar of Japanese. But it takes nine main rules (save exceptions) and three pages (pp. 333-5), so I summarize: (1) ...
Alexander Z.'s user avatar
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9 votes

In what cases do 平板 verbs change their pitch?

Yes, that does happen. It happens in a couple other places, certainly including ん but also: から けど が (as a conjunction and (verb)がいい etc) many sentences ending particles (ぞ (optional)、わ (male version ...
Darius Jahandarie's user avatar
8 votes

Difference between おじいさん and おじさん

おじいさん with the long //iː// sound means "grandfather". おじさん with the short //i// sound means "uncle". In modern Japanese, these are distinguished by vowel length and by pitch accent -- "grandfather" ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
8 votes

Pitch accent of nominalizers

の (not same pattern with the postposition の!) after accentless verbs and na-adjectives: downstep before the particle なる{LH} "make sound" → なるの{LHL} かえる{LHH} "change (t.)" → かえるの{LHHL} ...
broccoli forest's user avatar
8 votes
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Pitch accent pattern for verb stem + な

this is a shortening of the なさい form, which is always pronounced with a pitch drop on さ. So wouldn't you say [まちな]{LHH}([さい]{HL})? Following that logic, wouldn't you also say [食べな]{LHH}? You're right....
chocolate's user avatar
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7 votes
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アクセントに関する質問:「韓国」vs「韓国人・韓国語」

複合名詞でもアクセント核は一個だからだと思います。国の名称でなくても、例えば: [ぶっきょう]{HLLLL} → [ぶっきょうと]{LHHHLL} / [ぶっきょうと]{HHHHLL} (仏教徒) [まんぞく]{HLLL} → [まんぞくど]{LHHHL} / [まんぞくど]{HHHHL} (満足度) [ちゅうがく]{HHLLL} → [ちゅうがくせい]{LLHHHLL} / [...
chocolate's user avatar
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7 votes
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How do I find the right meaning of homonyms 同音異義語 via audio?

By accent. See: Is there any difference when pronouncing 橋 and 箸? はし【HL】(箸)、はし【LH】(端)、かき【HL】(牡蠣)、かき【LH】(柿) By context. すいせいですか、きんせいですか? → 水星ですか、金星ですか? すいせいですか、ゆせいですか? → 水性ですか、油性ですか? すいせいですか、りくせいですか? ...
naruto's user avatar
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7 votes
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Omitting half of a letter in Japanese

Loanwords are pronounced exactly the way they are transcribed. Depending on the circumstances of the transcription (which are often unknown), the transcription is based on a mix of actual ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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7 votes
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What is the difference between the pronunciation of 「休校【きゅうこう】」and「急行【きゅうこう】」?

Both words have the same reading and pitch accent, so there wouldn't be a difference in pronunciation.
Leebo's user avatar
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7 votes
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Pitch Accent Patterns with Pluralized たち Nouns

The plural suffix ~~[達]{たち} is pronounced [たち]{LL}, as in: [わたし]{LHH} → [わたしたち]{LHHLL} [あなた]{LHL} → [あなたたち]{LHLLL} [きみ]{LH} → [きみたち]{LHLL} [こども]{LHH} → [こどもたち]{LHHLL} [どうぶつ]{LHHH} → [...
chocolate's user avatar
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7 votes
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difference between 介護士 and 看護師

介護士 are more like a social worker. They generally help the elderly and people with disabilities live normal lives by doing things like bathing them, changing their clothes, making food for them, ...
Ringil's user avatar
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7 votes
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僕のこと, 私のこと pitch accent

So first off, your question is mostly confused by your mishearings (see aguijonazo's comment). That said, the basic question can still be answered. First, we need to talk about the pitch accents of ...
Darius Jahandarie's user avatar
6 votes

Multiple Pitch Accents

It shows that 二つ rises on た, but may or may not drop つ. It's the same with 三つ. In standard Japanese, 2つ and 3つ are pronounced as [ふたつ]{LHH} and [みっつ]{LHH}, rising on た and not dropping on つ. The ...
chocolate's user avatar
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6 votes
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Multiple Pitch Accents

I have a copy of the 新明解日本語アクセント辞典 dictionary (my detailed review of it) somewhere and I remember seeing multiple entries for some of the words. While I have looked up a few words in it and also ...
Locksleyu's user avatar
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6 votes

If Kanji are necessary to disambiguate homophones, how come it's still used, being that Japanese people seem to know the difference when speaking?

Thinking briefly, I think that there is no problem even if we have no kanji in Japanese to disambiguate homophones or homonyms as OP thinks , but in fact we need kanji. In conversation, not in ...
user20624's user avatar
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6 votes

If Kanji are necessary to disambiguate homophones, how come it's still used, being that Japanese people seem to know the difference when speaking?

Most everyone's answers are correct, but I wanted to bring up one useful aspect of kanji which I don't think has been brought up. It may be limited to learners like me, but many times when I encounter ...
AberrantWolf's user avatar
6 votes

Specific examples of tonal Chinese words rendered into Japanese

Keywords: MC, Middle Chinese; OC, Old Chinese: MJ: Middle Japanese; OJ, Old Japanese; 呉, Go'on; 漢, Kan'on; 唐, Tō-on; /(absence of superscript)/ or 平, level tone; /X/ or 上, rising tone; /H/ or 去, ...
dROOOze's user avatar
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6 votes
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Pitch Accent for ~ない and ~たい

Whilst there aren't many online resources for this sort of thing, there are very extensive paper resources. I highly recommend that you get either the NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 or the 新明解日本語アクセント辞典 if you have ...
Mayerling's user avatar
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6 votes
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Pitch Accent for Honorifics

I have just checked the matter in my Handbook of Japanese Phonetics and Phonology, Chapter 11 ‘The Phonology of Japanese Accent’ (as it describes, say, the prosody of [氏]{し} or [家]{け} suffixes, it ...
Alexander Z.'s user avatar
  • 2,369
6 votes
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愛する pitch accent confusion

A [single-on'yomi-kanji] + する/じる verb is more a unit than a compound verb, thus has its own accent type. In today's Tokyo accent, it's like this: (a) all [one-mora-kanji] + する: [○する]{LHL} 化する、帰する、...
broccoli forest's user avatar

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