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Tokyo ben and Kansai ben – Japanese has many local dialects

Japanese has many local dialects.The two dialects with the largest number of speakers are the eastern and western dialects.The eastern dialect is called “Tokyo ben” which is equivalent to standard Japanese and the western dialect is called “Kansai ben” which is spoken in western Japan such as Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe.

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There are four main differences between Tokyo ben and Kansai ben affecting vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation and grammar. The first difference is vocabulary. Different dialects use different words for the same things.

For example, “arigato”(thank you) is used in Tokyo ben while “maido ookini”(thank you) is used in Kansai ben instead (Rie-Higuchi,2002). The easterners say “yano-assatte”(the day after tomorrow), “shoppai”(salty) and “-nai”(not) whereas the westerners use “shi-asatte” (the day after tomorrow), “ka-rai”(salty) and “-n” or “-nu” (not) (Shibatani,2002). The second difference between two dialects is spelling. The numbers of syllables decrease in Kansai ben.

Many words in Tokyo ben are shorten when are used in Kansai ben. For example, he word “yoku”(very well) in Tokyo ben become “yo”(very well) in Kansai ben(Shibatani, 2002). “Omoshiroi” (interesting) is spelled in Tokyo ben while Kansai ben spells “omoroi”(interesting) ( Shibatani,2002). The most obvious difference between two dialects is pronunciation. Tokyo ben has such features as “z”, “chi” and “ku” are pronounced like “j” and “gu” in Kasai ben. For example, “0” (zero) is changed into “dero” or “jero”( Long,2002). “1”(ichi) is pronounced as ” iji” (Long,2002). “6”(roku) is pronounced “rogu” in Kasai ben(Long,2002).

Moreover, the first syllable is more emphasized in Tokyo ben while the second syllable is more carefully pronounced in Kasai ben. For example, “tabako” is pronounced like “tabako” in Kansai ben (Shibatani,2002). It is the same as in the case of the name of a person. “Mr. Tekeda” is pronounced in Tokyo ben while Kansai ben pronounces as ” Mr. Tekeda”(Shibatani,2002). The last difference includes grammar which is concerned with the particle. The particle “-su” is omitted from verbs in Kansai ben. Therefore, “masu ka” in Tokyo ben (standard Japanese) ecome “makka” and ” desu ka” become “dekka” in Kansai ben. For example, the verb “tabemasu ka”(eat) in Tokyo ben is changed into “tabemakka”(eat) in Kansai ben(Shibatani,2002).

Also, “nan desu ka”(what’s it? ) become “nan dekka”(what’s it? ) in Kansai ben(Shibatani,2002). Furthermore, the particle “da”, which is thought to function as the verb “to be” or ” to do”, is replaced by particle “ya” in Kansai ben. For example, “uso da”(you’re kidding) in Tokyo ben is replaced by “uso ya” and ” So dattara”(if it’s true) is changed into ” So yattara”(if it’s true) in Kansai ben(Palter,2002).

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