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Osaka Accent? 2007/12/17 06:45
I've heard something about the Osaka (at least I think it was Osaka) accent. What is the difference between and Osaka accent and the regular Japanese diolect? Is it like the Texas accent in America? Please tell me what it sounds like or send me a link to a place where I can hear the accent.
Thank you!
by Tacfu  

What does it sound like? 2007/12/17 09:00
For one chigau (to be wrong) in Tokyo is chau in Osaka. Also, whereas most Japanese use da at the end of their sentences when talking t friends, Osakans use ya, and desu is shortened to de.

The relationship between hyungo and Osaka-ben is like that between "standard" American English and, say, English in a Southern accent. In most animes, whenever a character uses a Kansai dialect in the Japanese soundtrack, usually the Osaka one, the English dub uses a Southern or Brooklyn accent for it.

Before the Edo Period, most Japanese speakers used dialects based on the Japanese used in Kyoto and the rest of the Kansai. Similarly, most of George Washington's contemporaries used a variety of English that was still much like that of the British of the time. In places like New York and the Southern States, traits of the Colonists' English have been preserved. If you've ever heard a New Yorker or a Southerner talk, you'll notice their accent is slightly "British", not like the flat and neutral accent that we've all come to know as American.

How times have changed. Nowadays if you are in Japan and you speak in an Osaka accent, you will draw more than a few laughs. (Many Japanese comedians work out of Osaka.) Here in the States, unless no one is objecting, most Southerners will limit their native accents as much as possible. Even Bill Clinton, who is from Arkansas, tries to do so whenever he gives a formal speech. Jeff Foxworthy is one example of someone who uses a regional accent on stage for comedic purposes. However, even he will not be speaking like a Southerner in front of the TV news camera.

In the South, people use words that are not used in the rest of the US. In Osaka, as elsewhere, part of the vocabulary of the local dialect would not be recognizable to other Japanese speakers. Thus, even though there are some Osakans that use their local dialect outside of Osaka, but since some dialects of Japanese are so different from each other as to be unintelligible, Osakans usually use hyungo when in formal situations.

I like the way Osaka-ben sounds. It has the warmth of a merchant selling his wares. Very carefree, almost perfect for a conversation between friends. No wonder since Osaka has a long-standing reputation as the city of merchants.

Do you plan to learn Osaka dialect any time soon?
by ippatsu rate this post as useful

. 2007/12/17 19:37
is it possible to learn osaka-ben? as in, are there any websites with such information? because in my country, japanese language schools only teach the standard japanese language. no other dialects at all.
by geraldine rate this post as useful

. 2007/12/17 19:59
There are a lot of words used in Osaka that aren't used elsewhere, there are also different accents.

"nandayane" is something only people from Osaka say. Whenever I say it to anyone elsewhere, I usually get a laugh.

Also words are pronounced differently.

"Arimasen" would be "Arimahen".
"Wakarimasen" would be "Wakarimahen."

I also think excluding letters from certain words is Osaka ben, but I have heard the same thing in Hiroshima, too. I'm refering to words such as:
"shiranai" = "shiran"
"wakaranai" = "wakaran".

You know.. once someone gave me a link to a webpage that had a lot of Osaka-ben teachings on it, but I no longer have the link.
by niko-chan rate this post as useful

Here's a link 2007/12/18 04:20

Or, if you want to know more about Osaka the city:


Osaka dialect (or any other regional dialect) is best learned as an adjunct to hyjungo studies. Every Japanese person learns hyjungo at school, so everyone uses it and thus it is best to master this one first before going on to regional dialects. Once you know the standard Japanese, only a few minor changes are needed when changing over to a regional dialect.

As to where to learn Osaka dialect, you can look for books on Kansai Japanese and learn from those. Or, better yet, after you've mastered hyjungo, you can go to and live in Osaka for a couple of years (or even a short stay, especially if all you want is a smattering) and learn the dialect from the locals. This method usually never fails.
by ippatsu rate this post as useful

ben 2007/12/18 22:23
Growing up in England, I learned Japanese directly from my mother from Kobe. She has an extremely strong Kansai-ben, every time I visit Japan, I have to be so careful how I speak, as I speak the same as my mother - really strong kansai ben! People find it highly amusing. I find there are a lot of abbreviations, for example "nani shiton?" (what are you doing?) I think it's very close to osaka-ben, possibly even more informal. Either way, people from allover Japan seem to be able to recognise it instantly!
by furan rate this post as useful

Lucky you, Furan-san 2007/12/19 04:24
Do Japanese speakers always giggle when someone speaks in a Kansai accent, or is it only sometimes that this happens? It reminds me a lot of whenever I hear an American speak in a thick Southern or even Brooklyn accent. I often have to make a great effort to hold back my laughter. Most Americans find anything other than a "normal" accent quite funny.

Furan, would you say that Osaka and Kobe dialects are different? Or are they similar enough that it would be hard for a foreigner to tell the difference?
by ippatsu rate this post as useful

Osaka ben 2007/12/19 06:57
I barely speak Japanese but do recognize the difference in accents between Tokyo and Osaka and can even pick up different words.
I just don't understand why anyone would laugh when they hear someone from another part of their own country speaking their regional language or dialect. Besides being extremely rude, this only shows their own pathetic ignorance as there isn't such a thing as "the best accent" in any given country. The variety of dialects and native languages that exist in most countries (even Luxembourg has 3 languages)is an historical fact that should be respected, treasured and cherished.
Speaking with a regional accent by the way doesn't mean that the speaker is uneducated. I once talked to a retired Texan couple in Las Vegas, all decked out in jeans and Cowboy hats. I found soon that that not only they spoke French (my second language but the one I used in school from kindergarten to college) but spoke it fluently and with an accent more French than Texan.

by Sensei 2 rate this post as useful

... 2007/12/19 10:34
It reminds me a lot of whenever I hear an American speak in a thick Southern or even Brooklyn accent. I often have to make a great effort to hold back my laughter. Most Americans find anything other than a "normal" accent quite funny.

I'm American and I don't understand what is funny about a different accent. Maybe a better word would be interesting, as in it makes me want to learn more about someones background and how its different from mine.

What is the "normal" accent for an American anyway? The one you are used to hearing. So in that regard your accent and my accent will be "strange" to 2/3rds of the country.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

ben 2007/12/19 22:25
so the way I see it, it's not really so much of an accent, but the actual words that are different. Kobe-ben is slightly different to Osaka-ben, although it's literally only half an hour down the road! I was thinking about this last night. It's probably easier for westerners to pick up on these dialects, as they will come across words that they have never heard before, rather than the same words just pronounced differently. My friends who have learned schoolbook Japanese can't understand when me and my mother speak! so many words are abbreviated:
yondon - reading
miton - watching
tabeton - eating
etc etc, I don't know any word from osaka as such, but they do say it's the city of comedians. :)
by furan rate this post as useful

A word on accents 2007/12/20 08:14

I have Japanese friends that have come from as far North as Shari Hokkaido and as far South as Anami Oshima (one of the Ryukyu Islands, and you would be surprised how different the dialects are.

I have on several occasions witnessed native Japanese completely lost to what another group of native Japanese are speaking about when the second group is speaking in their own dialect or Ben.

by tenshi rate this post as useful

oosaka-ben, kobe-ben 2007/12/20 18:37
Furan wrote:
yondon - reading
miton - watching
tabeton - eating

i know these words, i was born in Osaka and grew up in Kobe, these words are very nostalgic for me, actually in Kawati, in Ako in Kyoto & kobe where is near Osaka though, the dialect is individually different a little.
But these dialect are spoken among family or close friend , TV program, & anime only , i think,
Later they start to learn std Jpn at elementary school,so they speak std Jpn at school, or on business situation
For me , the most strong accent is Tohokuben, it is hard to listen & understand completely, but for Jpn learner, i'm sure to learn Std Jpn is very enough and right way

by im rate this post as useful

phew! 2007/12/20 22:15
hehe, I'm glad someone else has heard of these words! My mum's been in england for over 30 years now, so her way of speaking is probably a little dated. She even makes words up sometimes I'm sure! When I visited my family, they said that nobody really speaks like that any more, it's a little more refined etc, although staying with local friends, I certainly did hear this kind of language spoken quite a lot amongst family members etc. I guess, like we do here, when speaking in public, shops/telephone etc, we speak properly, which is what I expect they meant.

just for the record, my uncle told me to speak as little as possible when I went to Tokyo!! He said they'll either laugh/not understand! :( harsh! I need to take some proper Japanese lessons to weed out my accent!

Personally, I love speaking/hearing Japanese people talking.

tanoshii!! :)
by furan rate this post as useful

accents/ dialects 2007/12/21 10:49
When I first came to Japan I mostly worked with people from Kyoto and Nara and then went to stay with a family in Kyoto for a month. I had studied Japanese at university but this was my first exposure to "real" Japanese and I assumed the differences were just between the formal Japanese I had learned and colloquial Japanese.

I then moved to Tokyo and couldn't figure out for a while why people kept laughing when I spoke- I was using expressions and vocab learned in Kyoto like "Honma", "Sou nan ya", "Wakarahenkatta", "Kouta" for "Katta" and "Hokashite" for "Sutete" which is what my host grandmother always told me to do with scraps when we were cooking.

After a while I caught on, but I understand where the amusement comes from. Most Japanese people I know who speak English well enough for a particular accent to be recognisable speak American-influenced English, so when I have heard a few people with noticeable Australian or NZ inflections or using NZ vocab like "jandals" or "togs" it makes me smile.

by Sira rate this post as useful

more words 2007/12/21 22:13
thought of some more words that aren't proper japanese :)

honma - instead of honto ni "really?"

yo-san, "lots"

chanto - not sure of the japanese, but means "properly"

chotto - sukashi "little bit"

shabete - instead of hanashi etc..

there are some more, I'll have another think, my vocab is full of them unfortunately!! hehe, they're funny, but I don't mind :) most people still say my Japanese is still pretty good.

by furan rate this post as useful

Not regional 2007/12/22 09:09
chanto, chotto, and shaberu are commonly used in Tokyo as well- they aren't dialect as far as I know
by Sira rate this post as useful

oh yeah 2007/12/23 02:41
I was thinking that as I laid in bed last night...! It was the last day of work before xmas holidays when I wrote that, I wasn't paying attention! :)

my bf came up with another one, Osakans say "akkan" instead of "dame" tho..
by furan rate this post as useful

Aren't all Kansai dialects the same? 2007/12/23 04:20
I heard that, even though Kansai dialects are in a class of their own, each dialect differs from city to city. Aren't all Kansai dialects more or less the same?
by ippatsu rate this post as useful

not really 2007/12/23 14:51
Kansai dialects are similar but not exactly the same. My family is from Kyoto so I can do Kyo Kotoba but I can't do Nara- or Osaka-ben even if I tried.
by aoi rate this post as useful

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