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UPDATE | October 13, 2020

Enjoy the difference from the words of Tokyo! Japanese dialect

Like other languages, Japanese may have different pronunciations and parts of speech depending on the region. Such a word used only in rural areas is called a "dialect". Most of the Japanese used in Japanese exams and entrance exams is in Tokyo, but the correct way to say Tokyo is the "Tokyo dialect", which is one of the dialects. In this article, we will take the Osaka dialect as an example and look at the differences from the Tokyo dialect.

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● What do "others" and "akan" mean?

I teach Japanese to students at a Japanese language school, and when I say that I am from Osaka prefecture, students often ask me to teach me the dialect of Osaka. As with other regions, there are many dialects of Osaka, so I will explain with two famous examples. "Others" and "Akan".


"Other" means "throw away" and "Akan" means "no". Even if I'm from Osaka, I sometimes don't use it when talking to superiors, but in my case, when talking to friends and family, I say "others" and "akan" instead of "throw away" and "no good". ..


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● Another meaning of "fix" that is not in the Tokyo dialect

I was surprised when I came to Tokyo. In Osaka, many people say "fixing" things, but when I asked my friend to "fix" in Tokyo, I was asked "what should I fix?"


"Repair" in Tokyo has two meanings: "fix" ("repair") and "cure" ("cure"). However, it doesn't seem to be used in the sense of "putting away". Living in Osaka, I thought it meant that I could communicate all over Japan until my friends told me about it.


● There are other places besides Osaka! Differences in language between Tokyo and other regions

Of course, dialects are not unique to Osaka. For example, there is an eye disease called "stye", which is called "mebachiko" in the Kansai region (other than Kyoto and Shiga prefectures) such as Osaka, and "meibo" in Kyoto and Shiga prefectures.


In other regions, they are called "Merai", "Hime", and "Idiot". In addition, the Tokyo dialect and other local dialects often have completely different pronunciations even if they use the same language.

● The dialect used may differ depending on the age.

In Japanese, there are younger's words such as "Yabai" that are used only by young people. The same applies to regions other than Tokyo, and the words used change depending on the generation.


If you want to know the old-fashioned dialect, you may want to listen to the words of older people. In some areas, especially the younger generation, more and more people are speaking in a way that is closer to the Tokyo dialect.


Also, just because you live in the same prefecture does not mean that you speak the same dialect. In Osaka, where I am from, the words and pronunciations are slightly different between the north and the south.

● Let's enjoy the difference from the language of Tokyo

If you live outside of Tokyo, observe the dialects of that area and in what ages the dialects are used a lot. You may be surprised at how different the Japanese you have studied, and you may find it interesting.


The person who wrote this article

Rio Wakabayashi

Free writer who likes reading. Born and raised in Osaka and moved to Tokyo in 2010. He writes articles, book reviews, and columns. Currently, while writing, she teaches Japanese to foreigners at a Japanese language school in Tokyo.

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