What do you guys think of Dogen?

I haven’t seen a lot of his videos but this one popped up in my feed the other day and I thought it was cool.

I wouldn’t sit there watching his comedy videos, my time is better spent with Misa sensei :heart_eyes_cat:


I was just giving an example of how ignoring pitch accent in Japanese might not be ideal. But again, this is just my opinion. I am not saying that people should learn pitch accent. To each its own.

Heavy accents are also very hard to understand and I think, in a sense, a heavy accent in English or other western language would be similar to having a heavy accent in Japanese. You could have a good pitch accent but if your accent is very heavy then it will still be hard to understand.

When you learn a new language, especially if done as an adult, it can be very hard to obtain a native accent. That’s fine but we should always strive to get better every day. We should not be content just because people can understand us “for the most part”. It not only can get exhausting when you’re trying to decipher what someone means—as I have mentioned— but usually people who speak with a broken language cannot engage in meaningful conversations about various topics. Broken language = poor vocabulary.

Heavy accent != poor vocabulary but what good is it if you’re fluent but people still can’t understand you?

Love Misa :slight_smile: but I hate her entire beginners playlist Lol. It is impossible to watch with earphones on my iPad because the ads obliterate my ears.

I have to watch them on my desktop with adblocker.

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The Indian accent is stronger than most though. I think the ability to understand someone else’s accent can easily depend on which country they’re from. For example, someone could struggle to understand an Indian person speaking English but have no trouble understanding someone from Russia.

My Japanese teacher just forwarded to us learners Dogen’s Japanese Pitch-Accent in 10 Minutes video because some of us could read Amenbo No Uta smoothly and fast enough but haven’t yet able to read it with the right pitch-accent.

Thought it was a good and an interesting video! But before Sensei shared the video, straight after class last weekend, I looked up for videos to improve my Amenbo No Uta reading and found Mei-san’s Japanese Accent Exercise - Amenbo No Uta Level 1 video on top of the search list instead.

And lucky for me, he had videos that talks about Japanese pitch-accent as well! Since Mei-san probably started on Youtube later than Dogen, he might not have as much resources as Dogen yet. Nevertheless, I like his straight-forward no-nonsense style so far. However, they might be less entertaining than Dogen’s videos as he’s not a native English speaker and his English might put some people off.


I live in Kyushu, so for the people around me… learning the pitch accents of other regions may help me… but it may also get in the way of learning local vocabulary and grammar. Which is why I don’t think Dogen’s patreon would ever be a goal of mine. He lives in Kanto, doesn’t he?

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I just looked up the expensive dictionary that he mentions at the end. A while back, I downloaded an iOS dictionary app that I heard about in a Tofugu article.

The dictionary that he mentions is $10 cheaper there!

It’s still a lot, but hey.

This app is extremely useful even apart from that specific dictionary, by the way. I have Wisdom, Daijirin, and Meikyo on it. It’s great for me because I have way too many physical books already.

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@Jonapedia @Houndstooth @BigEm I just thought of another one similar to the 「ま :arrow_heading_down: って :arrow_heading_up:」 thing. I’m waiting on a coworker to get something done and started thinking to myself まだぁぁ as in 「ま :arrow_heading_down::arrow_heading_up: ぁぁ」. Makes me wonder if this is actually a general phenomenon. :thinking:


Pretty sure he lives in 大分県別府市, actually. Though he does teach “standard” Japanese pitch-accent, which would be the Tokyo dialect.

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Geh. I clearly need more practice with the prefecture names. Especially some of the smaller ones in Kyushu. I was staring at that going “and where is おおぶん prefecture supposed to be?”


There’s a nice Kitsun deck for them that I used to practice both location and writing back when the Kanken got updated, since all prefecture name kanji got moved to Level 7 if they weren’t already that or lower. There are some really weird ones that I expect my JHS students probably wouldn’t know at first glance either, that being one of them.

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He lives in Kyuushuu too, but he teaches standard Japanese phonetics.


Does he ever address the local sounds of the place where he actually lives? I mean, even as a contrast? Do the local people think his accent sounds out of place?

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I guess not because he use Tokyo accent which is the main Japanese accent. Perhaps at this point he’s probably could use Kyuushuu’s accent.

I’m guessing this because my country have many accents. But people never find my accent out of place wherever I go because I use the capital city accent.


Why would he insert stuff most Japanese learners don’t need in a paid lesson about standard Japanese phonetics?

He might have touched on that subject in one of his livestreams, but I’m usually asleep when he does them so I haven’t seen much of those. He does directly answer questions from chat, someone might have asked him something about it.

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Why would they? All Japanese people are used to the standard Japanese accent because of national television. Teachers of Japanese as a foreign language have to show proficiency in the standard accent regardless of where they’re from when getting certified. There are hardly any resources available for learning other accents, even well-known ones like Kansai.

On the contrary, people would be surprised if he had anything other than a standard Japanese accent.


Yeah, that’s a fair point.

I guess, I myself would personally be more interested in it if he offered a sort of contrastive explanation… Before ever paying for his content, I want to know how it’ll help me specifically (maybe if it helps with listening to NHK content, I guess).

My motivation in learning Japanese is entirely based around my wife and extended family and where I live. It sounds laborious and cumbersome to try to add ‘standard’ pitch accent on top of vocabulary and grammar when the ‘standard’ might not even reflect what my own family and relatives and students and neighbors are saying.

It sounds like paying extra to learn ‘proper BBC British English pronunciation’ when one lives in Texas or Australia. There may be a purpose (and plenty of folks want to learn British English, which itself has distinct accents), but it might not be the way the people you know speak.

Are you not learning standard Japanese now? If not, what resource are you using?

There are of course different accents by region, but dialects are more commonly distinguished by their unique vocabulary and grammar constructions, for which there are much, much better resources. But usually they’re targeted at interested native speakers, not non-natives.

Nearly all learners of Japanese want to learn standard Japanese when they are beginning. And the number of those who want to learn pitch accent from a resource like Dogen is super small. Someone specializing in pitch accent for regional dialects would find that almost no one wanted their product.

As noted, resources for learners of Japanese almost totally ignore pitch accent entirely anyway.


This is a bad example, because you’re contrasting the accents/dialects of entirely different parts of the world. It’s more like paying to learn the “standard American accent” while living in Texas. Nobody in Texas (hi, Texan here) is going to bat an eye if you don’t speak with a noticeable Texan accent, but rather with a more tame and generic “American” accent, I think maybe Colorado and the Pacific Northwest are supposed to represent that? Or just imagine a news anchor’s accent, as that would be fairly standard.

The Tokyo “accent” is like this. It’s not distinctly Tokyo, but rather distinctly “normal”. It wouldn’t be particularly noticed as out of place anywhere in Japan, but does happen to be the local accent of Tokyo.