Introducing top 3 apps and sites to master Japanese pitch accent and improve your pronunciation.
こんにちは！Da jia hao! Assalamualaikum! Hi!
As a Japanese language learner, mastering pitch accent can be a bit tricky, but don’t worry, I’ve got some fantastic apps and sites that can help you sound more like a native speaker.
Before we dive in, let’s take a quick look at what pitch accent is.
What is Japanese pitch accent?
In Japanese, pitch accent refers to the way the pitch or tone of a word changes as it is spoken. In Japanese, pitch accent is fixed to a specific syllable. This means that the pitch of the syllable can rise, fall, or remain flat. The pitch accent of a word can change its meaning, even if the pronunciation of the word’s syllables is the same.
A famous example of this is the pitch accent of “hashi” (bridge) and “hashi” (chopsticks). In the first case, the pitch rises on the first syllable and falls on the second, while the latter has a rising pitch on the second syllable and a flat pitch on the first syllable.
Crazy, right? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one confused.
To be honest, pitch accent is a rare topic even in Japanese language textbooks but for learners who set their goal to speak as natural as the Japanese natives, putting an effort in learning about pitch accent will help you to reach your goal.
p/s: If you need extra Kanji practise sheets to perfect your Japanese Kanji handwriting, take a look at my free practise sheets below.
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For me, I spent most of my time in Japan, living in the Kansai area. I unconsciously picked up Kansai intonation in some of the words I pronounced. Luckily, it did get better after I moved back to Malaysia and worked as a Japanese IT customer support agent. According to my Japanese friend who met me last year,
ヌルちゃん、関西弁なくなってきたね！Ayami at K-fry restaurant in One Utama LOL. Pardon my translation please.
Nuru-chan, your Kansai dialect is less noticeable now!
Which I’m not sure, I’m going to be happy about it or be sad about it.
Anyway, as a Japanese language teacher, having a good pronunciation is a must, so these are the 3 top apps and sites I use to improve my Japanese pronunciation.
Top 3 Apps and Sites to Master Japanese Pitch Accent and Improve Your Pronunciation
First up is OJAD, a super cool site that not only lets you hear the correct pitch accent for words and phrases, but also provides pitch accent patterns according to gender. You can select between male and female speaker by one click and also see the verb conjugations’ patterns. Plus, it even has data from popular textbooks like Minna No Nihongo, which is awesome.
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2. Jisho by 物書堂
Next, we have Jisho by 物書堂 – an app providing many dictionaries, including the NHK accent dictionary. The pitch accent in this dictionary are spoken by NHK announcers. This dictionary is a bit expensive, but it’s definitely worth the investment if you’re serious about improving your pitch accent.
Lastly, introducing JAccent, a free app available on both iOS and Android that’s perfect for practising your pronunciation and intonation anytime and anywhere. It’s not as extensive as NHK accent dictionary, but it’s free and also equipped with multiple example sentences. Hence, it is a great starter app in your journey to improve your Japanese pronunciation.
The app also includes a feature for kanji stroke order. Cool, right?
You can’t write about pitch accent without talking about Dogen. It’s not far fetch to say that Dogen is an online celebrity among Japanese learners, and for a good reason. Not only is he entertaining to watch, but he made pitch accent concepts REALLY EASY to understand with his hilarious skits. So, if you’re struggling to grasp the concept of pitch accent, give Dogen’s videos a try. You might just become a fan yourself!
Other tips to take note
If you want to take your pitch accent to the next level, listening to native speakers is crucial. Whether you’re watching Japanese TV shows, listening to J-Pop, or chatting with Japanese friends, hearing pitch accent in action is key to getting it right.
Remember, practice makes perfect!
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Don’t hesitate to record yourself and listen back to identify areas for improvement. Pay attention to pitch accent patterns and use them to guide your own pronunciation.
Also, if you’re just starting to learn Japanese, don’t stress too much about pitch accent to the point where you’re afraid to speak Japanese. Knowing about it is enough, and with lots of practice, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
Thank you for reading my top 3 apps and sites to master Japanese pitch accent!
Good luck and ganbatte kudasai!