Japanese Intonation

Definition:Entonation is the emphasis given to a syllable in a word by rising the tone of voice.

Japanese language have entonation and stress, because the meaning of Japanese words will depend of entonation one uses.

Japanese intonation may apply accros an entire sentence, this intonation isn't much different from English intonation. As we said, Japanese words have a set of intonations, most Japanese words are divided into discrete units, which are called mora(a mora is similar a syllable).

Some tips to get a good Japanese intonation are:
  • One must forget one's own language intonation.

  • One must try to emulate Japanese intonation.

  • One must try to sing Japanese songs in order to practice the intonation of words.

  • One should practice different intonations.

Look the following examples, some Japanese words have a different meaning according the intonation one has, we put the stress silable in bold.


English Kanji Katakana/Hiragana Romaji
to cut 切 る き る kiru
to wear 着 る き る kiru
chopsticks は し hashi
bridge は し hashi
candy あ め ame
to rain あ め ame

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