5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Sydney, Australia
November 30 - December 4, 1998

A Syllable-based Generalization of Japanese Accentuation

Haruo Kubozono

Kobe University, Japan

One of the major findings of the recent linguistic research on Japanese is that the syllable plays a pivotal role in a variety of phonological and morphological phenomena in the mora-based prosodic system of this language. This paper attempts to reinforce this argument by proposing a significant generalization of Japanese accentuation in terms of `syllable weight', an idea that each syllable has a certain weight according to its phonological configuration. Specifically, this analysis reveals that Japanese accentuation is strikingly similar to that of Latin and many languages with a Latin-type accent system, e.g. English. Moreover, a sociolinguistic analysis of the accentual changes currently in progress demonstrates that Japanese accentuation is becoming increasingly similar to the Latin-type accent system, where the syllable plays a primary role.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kubozono, Haruo (1998): "A syllable-based generalization of Japanese accentuation", In ICSLP-1998, paper 0105.