Considering the isolation from all external affairs until the late 29th century,it comes as no surprise that Japan has so many different dialects across various regions.
They are,however,divided into two major types,the Kyoto type and the Kyoto-Osaka type.The main differences are generally pitch accents,vocabulary and use of particles.
If you are traveling to Japan to learn the local language you will come across differences in the accent of the natives and the residents. Knowledge of these little differences will give you an edge during business or other conservation while in Japan.
Here are five destinations you can visit in Japan to learn the various accents.There are plenty of accommodation options in these places but it is advisable to book in advance from a reliable platform like フラット cozycozy which provides all stay options under one roof and is today the largest accommodation comparison site on the internet.
Hokkaido is a popular tourist destination in the northern part of the country where this dialect is widely spoken. The Hokkaido Ben accent came into creation by the intermingling of other dialects when people from various parts of Japan settled in Hokkaido between 1868 and 1912 during the Meiji era.
The dialect is almost the same as the language spoken throughout the country with a few notable differences like,for example Hakaiku instead of susumu meaning ‘to make progress’ or Azumashi instead of igokochi which means ‘comfortable’.
Another accent which is spoken in Japan is Hakata Ben in Fukuoka City on the island of Kyushu.The dialect has its origins in Hataka commercial district and there are distinct differences in Hakata Ben and the standard language spoken in Tokyo.
The most important difference of Hakata Ben is the use of ‘ttai’ which replaces ‘yo’ at the end of sentences.Both these symbols are associated with speaking in casual Japanese.Some other words that are different in Hakata Ben are yoka(yes),tan (you) and uchi(me).
The Kansai region of Japan includes Kyoto,Osaka,Wakayama,Hyogo,Shiga,Mie and Nara.The dialect spoken in these places is Kansai Ben is the most used of all the non-standard Japanese dialects.
Kansai Ben in itself has many variations depending on the location where it is spoken. An instinctive feature is the use of a negative cupola like ‘hen’ or ‘yanai’ which is added on at the end of every verb Some of the other differences from the standard Japanese are as follows:
- Instead of ‘ii’ which means good or nice is replaced by ‘ei’
- Hayo meaning early or quick is usually hayaku
- Ookami or thank you is arigatou
- Kamahen or don’t disturb me is kamawanai
- Nanbo meaning how many or how much is usually ikura
Nagoya city is located in the western part of the Archi prefecture and the accent popular here is Nagoya Ben and is known for its long pure vowels or monophthongs.The dialect is not so popular with the younger generation,as such its use has been on the decline since the last few years.
That said,natives have a respect for this language and it is not advised to make fun of the pronunciation of the Nagoyans wherever one goes as the locals don’t take it lightly. Some variations between standard Japanese and Nagoya Ben are as under:
- Saying iko myaa instead of ikimashou for ‘let us’
- Saying okaasan for ‘you’ in formal Japanese instead of design
- Honja meaning ‘is that so’ instead of dewa
- Dooriyan which means ‘very’ instead of totemio
- Yookee meaning ‘much’ or ‘many’ for takusan
Hiroshima Ben is the most spoken accent of the natives of the Chugoku region which lies in the southwest part of the country. Since the dialect is a bit loud it is widely used in TV serials and anime who employ the use of this dialect and its accents.
If you compare Hiroshima Ben with the language spoken in Tokyo the only difference will be pronunciation,like for example:
- Words ending in ja instead of da like in ameja and for ameda(raining)
- Words ending in oru instead of iru for example ‘its raining’ we say ame ga futte oru instead of ame ga futte iru
- Nanshiyon meaning what are you doing is usually Nani shiteruno
The dialects listed above are only a few examples of the Japanese accents which reflect the strong cultural differences between the regions.
No doubt,it will take time to visit each destination and get used to the unique accents, especially if you are visiting the country for the first time.
However,once you get used to the language and master it,there is no doubt that you will get a warm reception wherever you go in Japan.