Osaka ben (the kansai dialect of Japanese)
eclectic content

Osaka-ben ( 大阪弁)

[language ]
[ ooo-sah-kah-behn(g) ]

Osaka-ben is a specific dialect of the Japanese language sometimes spoken in the area around the major city of Osaka.
As the larger area around Osaka is called the Kansai region of Japan, this dialect is also called kansai-ben ('the Kansai dialect' ; 関西弁).

Note, however, osaka-ben and kansai-ben are not exactly the same thing. Kansai-ben is the general term used to describe ALL of the various dialects used in the Kinki district (きんきちほう) of Japan.
Each of the following areas has traditionally had it's own variations of kansai-ben (though these differences have decreased as the city of Osaka has expanded, especially with the younger generations): Osaka prefecture, Osaka city, the Kyoto prefecture, Kyoto city, Hyogo prefecture, Kobe city, Himeji city, Shiga prefecture, Nara prefecture, Yamagata prefecture, and Mie prefecture.

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Oustide the region, the dialect is viewed by other Japanese speakers as either rough-sounding, ignorant-sounding, threatening, quaint, or amusing. The attitude is much the same as nothern American English speakers would regard "southern" English. For this reason English translations of Osaka-ben will sometimes subsitute a southern accent. However, there is also a strong association of the accent with gangs (yakuza), so sometimes a Brooklyn accent or Ebonics-tinged accent will be used.

Kansai-ben contracts several words; for example:
- chigau (wrong) becomes chau,
- omoshiroi
(interesting) becomes omoroi
- hontō (really) becomes honma.
Other words are replaced with subsitutes, e.g. suteru (to throw away) becomes hokasu, and totemo (very) becomes meh-cha.

Some Japanese words gain entirely new meaning when used against someone who speaks Osaka-ben. For example, baka, which is used as "idiot" in most regions, becomes "complete fool," and a stronger insult than aho. Most Kansai-ben speakers cannot stand being called baka but don't mind being called aho.

Kansai-ben is strongly associated with Manzai and many of comedies and jokes. In Azumanga Daioh, Ayumu Kasuga is called "Osaka" as a joke as she is not a typical quick witted Kansai-ben speaker.

Common phrases famous as Kansai dialect include:

  • akan - "I can't do it."/ "It can't be done." (may be used as a mild explitive)
  • aho - (affectionate) idiot
  • donkusai - stupid (literally "stupid-smelling") or be clumsy, inefficient, lazy
  • honnnara - in that case
  • makeru - to discount a price (literally "to lose")
  • tanomu - please (from "give me")
  • yaru - to give (is a vulgar form of "to give" or "to do" elsewhere in Japan)
  • nan ya - equivalent of "nani?" - to say "what?" or "what's going on?" (Can also be used as "what/huh?", e.g. "did you call my name?")
  • nan ya nen - what are you doing?/ what are you saying?
  • nande ya nen - you gotta be kidding!
  • shindoi or shindo - I'm tired


<< The dialect of the Kansai region of Japan is generally known as "Osaka ben". Even within the Osaka ben dialect there are specific regional dialects, such as those spoken in Kyoto, Nara and Kobe, but Osaka ben forms the nucleus. A number of Osaka's comedians celebrities have appeared on national TV recently, popularizing the Osaka ben dialect throughout Japan.

One of Osaka ben's characteristics is its intonation.It's common to hear an accent stressing the end of the word, and in contrast to the refinement of standard Japanese, Osaka ben leaves a somewhat rustic impression.An example can be found in the pronunciation of the word McDonald's, which in Tokyo is pronounced " Makku" but in Osaka, where the accent stresses the end of the word, the pronunciation is "Makudo". Standard Japanese, in its stereotypical form, is apt to provide a somewhat cold impression, while Osaka ben floats along with a warm and friendly, humorous kind of feeling.That's why they say, "When you get two Osaka people together, you get a Manzai* ".
* Manzai is a kind of Japanese style comedy duet.

Finally, we'd like to teach you a few pieces of Osaka ben which could be handy to learn. "Arigatou", standard for thank you, is "ookini" in Osaka , while the standard word for "no" or "dame" is "akan". "Maa-maa" or "so-so" is spoken as "bochi-bochi", while for "I see" (a short agreement), in Osaka we say "sayoka". >>


See also : dialect, Kansai , Japan, Osaka.

The Kansai-ben (dialect of Kansai) with, it is the general term of various dialects of the Japanese which speaks in Kinki district (きんきちほう). Originally, the word which was used inside the ? such as Kyoto has become the cause, it is something which the person who lives in Kansai area daily uses for conversation.

It reaches the point where well than the time where broadcast of the comic dialogue is begun with the radio and the television it keeps being known in entire country, when now the impression, word which the entertainer uses has, it is many, but always so is not.

Theconsiderably there is a difference even with the same Kansai. Famous ones probably are word of the boat place and the Tobu under the Osaka prefecture Kawachi-ben. The Osaka center (the boat place the graduate person of Chinese district and Shikoku district which worked as an apprentice in regard to trading the Osaka dialect had the necessity to use, (Omi merchant graduate is many in the master, but). Especially in the young generation, the difference has decreased presently depending upon the enlargement of the commutable area which centers Osaka.

[ read more of the Google translation ]


Other dialects

Fukui dialect

Fukui-ben is a notable dialect of the Fukui prefecture in the Japanese language. Speakers of Fukui-ben tend to talk in an up and down, sing songy manner.

Examples of Fukui-ben include:

  • hoya hoya, meaning hai (yes) or so desu yo (that is true)
  • mmmmm-do, instead of ee-to (let's see, or well)
  • tsuru tsuru, adjective used to mean very, or a lot (as in, "tsuru tsuru ippai," or this glass is very full, almost overflowing)
  • jyami jyami,when we can not watch TV, it is used. Usually, suna arashi is used in Japan.

Speakers of Kansai-ben and Kanto-ben tend to look down on Fukui-ben as being hopelessly provincial, or inaka (of the country). A rough analogy would be an American from deep Alabama or Mississippi talking with someone from the West Coast. That being said, Fukui-ben is not without its own charm and even homespun elegance.

Hakata dialect

Hakata-ben is the dialect of Fukuoka. To natives of Tokyo, Hakata-ben sounds provincial and uneducated, much the same as Fukui-ben, though the dialect is entirely different. Throughtout Japan, Hakata-ben is famous, amongst many other idiosyncrasies, for its use of -to? as a question (e.g., nani shite iru? "What are you doing?" becomes nanba shiyotto?)

Examples of Hakata-ben include:

  • ano sa instead of ano ne (hey, listen up...)
  • asoban instead of asobou (let's play)
  • batten instead of da kedo (but)
  • da ken instead of da kedo (but)
  • yokaroumon instead of deshou (good, don't you think?)
  • bari instead of totemo (very)
  • shitoocchan instead of shiterunda (I'm doing it)
  • ~shitookiyo instead of shite kinasai (please do ~; used with children)
  • tottouto instead of tottimasu (to take)
  • yokka yokka instead of sou desu ne (yeah; is that so?)

Portions of this page were adapted from both English and Japanese Wikipedia entries on this topic.
As Wikipedia can be written by anyone without any fact checking, do not trust content on Wikipedia
(or Ecelectic Content) without checking on other sources. Rewritten by lyberty, May 2005.

Japanese Wikipedia
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