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Regional Dialects

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Regional Dialects

Postby nihongogakusei » Tue 06.06.2006 11:12 pm

I have only recently started to look at the rich variety of Japanese dialects, and the websites I have been able to find on the subject have a great deal of information about special vocabulary, grammatical structures, etc. However, I have only been able to find one site with soundclips, and was wondering how Japanese dialects differ in pronunciation from "Standard" Japanese. I am mainly concerned with Kansai-ben (particularly as it is spoken in Kyoto and Osaka), and Hakata-ben. Could anyone with experience in this area please help me out? Many thanks in advance!
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby TrilinguisT » Tue 06.06.2006 11:51 pm

i would like to learn this dialect.. sumimasen > sumahen . that's all i know lol
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby Mukade » Wed 06.07.2006 12:44 am

I've been gathering a big factsheet on Kansai dialect. It's pretty long so far, and some of it could really benefit from some explanatory text. I'll see if I can't find a moment to post at least a bit of it when I get home today.

Pronunciation doesn't really differ in Osaka dialect so much as intonation. I wish I could give you a simple example, but I'm starting to lose touch with standard dialect. Maybe I could give an example in Osaka intonation and someone who's better at standard could give the equivalent in Tokyo intonation? (Of course, to really get a grip on it, you need to be here and hear it for yourself. But at least we can give you a taste.)

Let's just take a simple example - 'not eat.'

たべへん。
The intonation for this would be た (mid pitch) べ (higher pitch than た) へん (lower pitch than た).

So, Tokyo people (keatonatron? coco?), what would be the intonation for たべない?
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby Oracle » Wed 06.07.2006 12:44 am

I've lived in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Ishikawa Prefecture, Mie Prefecture and Tokyo, and they all have really different local dialects (even Tokyo 'dialect' isn't exactly the same as the standard Japanese people learn). I couldn't find one web site with dialects from all over Japan, but did find a couple of random ones from around the country to give you an idea of how different they can be:

Yamaguchi city, Yamaguchi Prefecture Click on a green bar to choose a ward within Yamaguchi city, then choose one of the interviews (they have the time/length next to them). These are video interviews

Sawara-city, Chiba Prefecture Click on 音声 next to "Real Player" top right. This one has the text too..you'll need it!

Gifu Click on the links number 1 - 5.

Fukui A couple of these kids' cartoons have audio files with them you can play to hear what they sound like
Last edited by Oracle on Wed 06.07.2006 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby Oracle » Wed 06.07.2006 12:58 am

Mukade wrote:
I wish I could give you a simple example, but I'm starting to lose touch with standard dialect.


Know how that feels. It took years to get Yamaguchi-ben out of my system..
Check out This link (japanese). It has some nice charts about half way down showing accent differences between Kansai and Tokyo/標準語
:)
Last edited by Oracle on Wed 06.07.2006 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby Mukade » Wed 06.07.2006 8:30 am

As promised, here's a short list of some standard dialect words/phrases and their Kansai equivalent. Realize that there is great variation even within the Kansai area, so some of these might only be used in certain areas. I tried to choose words that were pretty common to the different Kansai dialects, however. Here goes:

ばか=あほ = idiot
おもしろい=おもろい = interesting
あたたかい=ぬくい = warm
とろい=どんくさい = stupid
ふくざつ=ややこしい = complex, difficult (person)
すごい=ごっつい = extremely
さむい=さぶい = cold
つかれた=しんどい = "I'm tired"
いらいらする=しんきくさい = to be irritating
つまらない=しょうもない = boring
たいへん/とても=えらい = extremely/very
どう=どない = how
それでも=ほんでも = "Even so..."
それなら=ほんなら = "If that's the case..."
自転車=チャリンコ = bicycle
仕方がない=しゃあない = "It can't be helped.'
いくら=なんぼ = "How much"
そろそろ=ぼちぼち = soon
そうだそうだ=せやせや = "That's right."
わたし=うち = Me/I
片付ける=なおす = clean up
とても=めっちゃ = very
ほんとうに=ほんまに = truly/really
だけど=そやけど = "Yeah, but..."
はやく=はよ = quickly
がんばって=がんばりゃ = "Try your best!"
いい=ええ = good

-----

Edit:

Keep in mind that it's very possible that the popularity of Kansai dialect has resulted in the transferral of some of these to other dialects. (e.g., あほ)

Also, I have many more notes on Kansai dialect that, as soon as I can get some commentary added, I will post.
Last edited by Mukade on Wed 06.07.2006 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 06.07.2006 8:58 am

i still speak tohokuben, but honestly, no one ever knows what i'm saying...

ndabecha!
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby keatonatron » Wed 06.07.2006 10:33 am

Mukade wrote:
So, Tokyo people (keatonatron? coco?), what would be the intonation for たべない?


When I say it, た and べ are the same pitch, and ない is lower.

Of course, I don't know if that's right or not. I'm not sure I even know how to pick out intonation, I just mimic what I hear. (*^_^*)
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby nihongogakusei » Wed 06.07.2006 10:37 am

Thank you everyone for your quick replies! I suppose I should clarify a bit. If, for instance, a typical Fukuoka native was speaking Standard Japanese, would their accent give away the fact that they were from Fukuoka? Is there a sort of "Hakata Accent" that makes speakers of other dialects immediately think "That person must be from Northern Kyushu." In the U.S., when someone says "cah" (car) or "lahge" (large), many people will assume that the speaker is from Boston. While Japanese dialects are much more different in vocabulary and grammar than English dialects, I would be quite surprised to find that Japanese dialects sound the same when spoken.

Pronunciation doesn't really differ in Osaka dialect so much as intonation.

The sound clips I found were of Kyoto-ben, and the intonation was really different! :p

i still speak tohokuben, but honestly, no one ever knows what i'm saying...

Haha. I've heard that the dialect spoken near the Tsugaru Kaikyo is particularly hard to understand.

Edit: Thanks to everyone for the websites!
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby I-samu » Wed 06.07.2006 10:41 am

です=どすえ

In a Kyoto accent
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 06.07.2006 10:45 am

two easy swap outs or at least from what i remember are nai being replaced with hen for example wakaranai = wakarahen

and wakaranai = wakaren etc.. in this case the ru verb ending is replaced with ren.. now i may also be mixing tohokuben in there, so don't quote me too directly
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby Mukade » Wed 06.07.2006 9:27 pm

nihongogakusei wrote:
Thank you everyone for your quick replies! I suppose I should clarify a bit. If, for instance, a typical Fukuoka native was speaking Standard Japanese, would their accent give away the fact that they were from Fukuoka? Is there a sort of "Hakata Accent" that makes speakers of other dialects immediately think "That person must be from Northern Kyushu."


Well, since intonation can differ between dialects, it would be possible to tell whether or not someone was speaking 'proper' standard dialect by listening to how they intonate their words and sentences.

I've found that many Japanese (at least around the Kansai area) admit that they aren't always sure what the 'proper' intonation of a given word would be. So it's likely that they would have an accent, even when using standard speech.

Of course, since many Japanese aren't frequently exposed to all the myriad dialects on this tiny archepelago, they may not be able to pinpoint precisely which dialect group that person belongs to.
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby colind » Wed 06.07.2006 11:36 pm

Recently we went out for dinner and my supervisor was complaining?/stating? haha she noted that my friends intonation was different. He is from Kyushu (Oita) and my supervisor is from Nagoya but she has been in Tokyo for a long time so she said she speaks with Tokyo intonation. So the point is, she could easily tell he was speaking differently, but I don't think she could tell it was a Kyushu accent. (Although she already knew where he was from)
I could hear the difference when they both said the word and I listened very carefully, but in natural speech, I think I would not notice at all.
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby Oyaji » Thu 06.08.2006 12:04 am

If someone is truly speaking correct, standard Japanese, then it would be almost impossible to know where they are from, though, as has been said, you might be able to tell they are not from Tokyo, and you may be able to identify a very general region by intonation.

However, for many people, there is a gray area where what they think is standard usage is actually dialect, and vice versa. For someone from Fukuoka to go to Tokyo and immediately speak entirely standard Japanese, with absolutely no Hakata- ben is apparently next to impossible.

I've talked to many young people who have the following experience:
They go to Tokyo for school or work and their dialect and intonation are made fun of, even though they are trying to speak "standard" Japanese (this is part of the problem because no one really speaks "standard" Japanese in normal conversation). After living there for a while they pick up the Tokyo way of saying things, and people stop making fun of them. They come home for vacation, and everyone tells them they sound "Tokyo-fied". By the time vacation ends they are back to speaking Hakata-ben, and upon returning to Tokyo are made fun of again. The switch back and forth becomes easier to make after several years it seems.
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RE: Regional Dialects

Postby Mukade » Thu 06.08.2006 12:15 am

Oyaji wrote:
However, for many people, there is a gray area where what they think is standard usage is actually dialect, and vice versa.


My wife once said that she didn't realize that 布団をく was Kansai dialect until she tried using it in her Language Arts class in high school.

She was very surprised to learn that properly pronounced, it was 布団をく. :)



Another common characteristic of the Kansai dialect: changing many of the 's' sounds to 'h' sounds.

Thus,

お母さん becomes お母はん
すみません becomes すみまへん
七時 becomes ひち時
敷く becomes ひく

and so forth...
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