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The Phonology of Japanese$
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Laurence Labrune

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545834

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545834.001.0001

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(p.178) 7 Accent
The Phonology of Japanese

Laurence Labrune

Oxford University Press

Tôkyô Japanese has been described as a pitch accent system which contains tonic and atonic words,and has been extensively described and analysed both in and outside Japan. After presenting the basic mechanism of present day Tôkyô Japanese accentuation and offering a summary of two theoretical treatments of it, the chapter enters into the details of each word type accentuation: simplex vs. compound, native vs. Sino-Japanese vs. Western, nouns vs. verbs and -i adjectives, numeral compounds, and so on. A new formal account within the framework optimality theory of the accentuation of Western loans and of that of compound nouns is offered. After exploring the dialectal and sociological variation of accent, the chapter concludes with a discussion on the status of the Japanese word-prosodic system from a typological point of view, since a number of features of this system could be interpreted as tonal rather than accentual.

Keywords:   accent, pitch accent system, simplex words, compound words, Sino-Japanese words, Western words, numeral compunds, optimality theory, tonic words, atonic words

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