Online Japanese Accent Dictionary Workshop in Brisbane
Date&Time: April 18, Saturday, 13:00 - 16:45
Room: S02_7.16/7.07
Venue: South Bank Campus of Griffith University
Presenter: Prof. Nobuaki Minematsu (The University of Tokyo)
Registration due: April 10
Capacity: 30

What is OJAD?

The OJAD (Online Japanese Accent Dictionary) is a web-based system that can support teachers/learners to teach/learn Japanese prosody. This system was developed in collaboration with National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics. While many learners want to learn how to speak fluently and naturally, it is a fact that sufficient kinds of learning materials for that aim are not found in the market. Especially, textbooks on prosody training are very rare. This may be one of the reasons why not a few number of teachers, even native teachers, say "Intonation is difficult to teach", "I'm not confident of teaching Tokyo accent well", or "Japanese word accent is complicated because it is often changed due to word context". To solve these problems, the OJAD has been developed and released. You can access the OJAD here and it is free currently. The OJAD team received an academic encouragement award from the Phonetic Society of Japan (PSJ). You can check a 1-min promotion video of the OJAD (Japanese/English). The OJAD has a facebook page.

Contents of the Workshop

We have given tutorial workshops of the OJAD at more than 50 international cities. In these workshops, before showing how to use the OJAD for teaching Japanese prosody, we provide participants with fundamental knowledge of Japanese prosody, especially accent and intonation. The outline of the tutorial is as follows.

  • 13:00 -- 13:30
    Background of the OJAD (why we built it.)
  • 13:30 -- 15:00
    1) Many computers today can read Japanese texts rather naturally. What kind of reading method is used to teach them Japanese?
    2) Provide fundamental knowledge of word accent of Japanese. What is accent sandhi? What is accentual phrase?
    3) Provide fundamental knowledge of intonation of Japanese. What is the shortcut to master a skill of reading Japanese text naturally.
    4) Simple introduction of how to use the OJAD.
  • 15:00 -- 15:15
    Afternoon tea
  • 15:15 -- 16:45
    1) Let's use the four functions of the OJAD!!
    2) An example of using the OJAD in a class of public speaking (oral presentation)
    3) An example of using the OJAD in a class of introducing word accent of verbs.

This article is written by a member of the OJAD team, who teaches the word accent and sentence intonation of Japanese using the OJAD in classes for beginners.This article also helps you understand the content of the full OJAD tutorial.

Workshop in Brisbane

The OJAD workshop will be held at Brisbane for the first time. Since the first release of the OJAD in August 2012, there have been more than three hundred thousand accesses from all over the world. Don't miss this workshop.

Date: April 18, Saturday
Time: 13:00 to 16:45
Room: S02_7.16/7.07
Venue: South Bank Campus of Griffith University


If you want to participate in the workshop, for registration, please email to Ms. Akiko Katsumura or directly type "a.katsumura <AT_MARK>" in your mailer. Participation is free of charge.
The email should contain the following information.
1) your name, 2) affiliation, and 3) e-mail address
Capacity is 30 and we do not have any more seat.
Note: Handouts will be avaialble here and we expect all the participants to print them out for the workshop. The computers in the lab. are available for your use. The language used in the workshop will be a mixture of Engilsh and Japanese.

Getting to the Venue

Please visit this to know how to get to the venue.

Four Functions of the OJAD

The four functions of the OJAD are as follows.

  • Search for the accent of an input word
    A similar function is already realized in e-dictionaries but the OJAD is more powerful than e-dic apps. The OJAD can show the accent patterns of input verbs, I-adjectives, NA-adjectives not only in the ending form but also in various conjugation forms. It can also show the accent of nouns. Further, the OJAD can show multiple allowed accent patterns of input words, especially I-adjectives. Presentation of word accents is done visually, auditorily, and comprehensively. The OJAD supports 15 major textbooks of Japanese. For example, you can easily check the accent patterns of the verbs of difficulty level 2 that are found from lesson 15 to lesson 18 of Minnano Nihongo. Check this.
  • Search for the accent of an input verb with a long post-positional expression
    The first function shows the word accents of verbs and adjectives only in 12 fundamental conjugation forms. But a much longer post-positional expression can be found immediately after a verb, for example, "食べようとしたのだが(食べ+よう+と+し+た+の+だが)". In the second function, for any input verb with a long post-positional expression, its accent pattern is visually presented to users.
  • Display the word accent of the verbs and adjectives automatically extracted from any input text
    This function first extracts all the verbs and adjectives automatically from any input text and then, presents their accent patterns visually in the 12 fundamental conjugation forms.
  • Display an adequate intonation pattern and an adequate accent pattern for any input text and read the text according to those patterns using a speech synthesizer
    Even if Hiraganas are assigned to all the Kanji characters in a text, it is often still difficult for learners to read the text naturally. This is because various kinds of information are still hidden in the Hiragana text. For example, prosodic information such as intonation and accent is not shown at all. Which vowel should be devoiced? Which word boundary should have a short pause? This kind of speaking control is done unconsciously by native Japanese but it has to be done by learners consciously. However, the Hiragana text tells nothing about this. The fourth function is a prosodic reading tutor, which can assign an adequate intonation pattern and an adequate accent pattern for any input text. Japanese word accent is often changed due to word context and the assigned accent pattern is a pattern after word accent change. The function can also read out the text according to the assigned patterns using a speech synthesizer.

You can know more details of the above four functions by reading this review article of the OJAD.


Email Ms. Akiko KATSUMURA (Griffith University, Australia)

Email Prof. Nobuaki MINEMATSU (The University of Tokyo, Japan)