I just started learning Japanese regularly, and I was wondering if it's worth it to work on pitch accent while learning grammar and vocab or forget it for now and start working on it when I can speak a bit and understand some spoken speech? And in any case, is there a pitch accent dictionary I can use or looking up every word isn't an efficient way of learning?

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    I don't speak Japanese at all so take this with a grain of salt: When I started learning Chinese, I spent a lot of time focusing on pronunciation to make sure I could make all of the sounds (including tones and the infamous 'r') correctly. Many of my classmates did not. You find out quickly that having a lot of grammar and vocab isn't worth much if you can't pronounce it: A significant fraction of my classmates could read and write excellently, but when they were speaking it was almost unintelligible. – Dark Malthorp Sep 17 '20 at 15:59
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    I don't know how important pitch accent is to Japanese, but based on my experience learning Chinese, I would recommend that when you are first beginning learning a foreign language, putting effort into learning correct pronunciation is probably more valuable than grammar or vocab. That can wait. If you build bad pronunciation habits early, it's extremely difficult to correct them later. This is especially true about aspects of the language that you don't have in your native language. – Dark Malthorp Sep 17 '20 at 16:01
  • thanks! By the way, is the tone intonation in Chinese governed by some rules or do you have to remember it for every word specifically? – チェリー Chaly Sep 18 '20 at 6:35
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    There's no pattern. You have to remember it for every word specifically. – Dark Malthorp Sep 18 '20 at 11:56
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    And thank you for the words of encouragement!:) Remembering the pitch accent was less hard then I thought too, haha. Thank you and good luck on your language learning journey! – チェリー Chaly Sep 18 '20 at 15:51

The pitch accent is often forgotten in Japanese lessons, but is very important. Japanese have many similar words differentiated only by pitch accent.

The Takoboto Android app can display the pitch accent. You have to activate it in the settings. Sometimes, you have two different pitch accents because it can vary from a region to another.


(I am not affiliated with this application.)

  • Welcome to LL.SE. This does not seem to answer the question. Furthermore, please mention explicitly if you are affiliated with the linked programme. – Tommi Oct 21 '20 at 15:09
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    "And in any case, is there a pitch accent dictionary I can use or looking up every word isn't an efficient way of learning?" This phrase is not very clear. It looks like he started to write a phrase and finished with another. I thought he was looking for a dictionary indicating the pitch accent and was answering to it. I'm not affiliated with this application. – Thomas Oct 21 '20 at 17:02
  • Thanks. I edited the lack of affiliation into the answer. I would upvote the answer if you addressed the question on whether it is a good idea to start learn pitch accent from the start, based on you experiences or other reliable sources. It would improve the answer a lot. – Tommi Oct 22 '20 at 6:56

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