Kansai Ben

A little about the Kansai dialect

Today we will take a look at an interesting aspect of the Japanese language, dialects.  For a very long time, people in Japan were very limited in movement.  As a result individual areas developed distinct dialects.  Today most prefectures have their own dialect.  (Tokyo’s dialect is considered standard Japanese)   Today’s focus is on the dialect of Osaka, Kyoto and the surrounding area. 

MOOD SETTING: You are brushing up on your kansai ben with a nice obaasan outside an udon shop when suddenly a ninja jumps out and says, ‘Goodo Morningu!’

NOTE: ‘BEN’ means dialect in Japanese.  So the dialect of the Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto…) is ‘KANSAI BEN.’  Likewise the dialect of Fukui prefecture (my prefecture) is ‘FUKUI BEN,’ etc…  For the kanji-lovers: This ‘BEN’ is [ 弁 ] – the same as in BENTOU (lunch box) and BENGOSHI (lawyer) – but not related to BENJO (toilet)

1. GREETINGS [ あいさつ ]

毎度おおきに maido ookini – Thank you (used instead of ARIGATOU)
毎度 maido = every time
This is often shortened to ‘OOKINI’
USAGE: All over KANSAI area  

儲かりまっか moukarimakka ? – How are you? [lit. “Are you bringing in a profit?”]
This comes from the word ‘MOUKARU’ [ 儲かる ] (to bring a profit)
The “standard” form would be “MOUKARIMASU KA?”
USAGE: mostly Osaka

ぼちぼちでんなぁ bochi bochi denna – I’m fine (lit. So-so, you know)
BOCHI BOCHI – so-so, little by little
DENNAa – a contraction of DESU NA/NE
USAGE: mostly Osaka

おいでやす oideyasu – Welcome (used instead of IRASHAIMASE)
This has a softer feel than the cattle-call, “IRASHAI!!!”
USAGE: only Kyoto (maybe)  

2. FUN STUFF

さぶいぼ sabu ibo – goose bumps (when cold or scared)
‘SABU’ from ‘SAMUI’ (cold)
IBO means ‘a wart’
USAGE: KANSAI

あかん akan – instead of ‘DAME’ which means – no good, don’t do that, bad, must not…
USAGE: KANSAI

おもろい omoroi – fun, interesting
From ‘OMOSHIROI (interesting)’
Stick a ‘na’ at the end for a more natural sound — ‘OMOROI NA!’ (Man, that’s cool!)
USAGE: KANSAI 

おかん okan – mother
USAGE: Osaka

おとん oton – father
USAGE: Osaka

どない donai – How
STANDARD JAPANESE: DOU 

ya – abrupt form of desu or the “to be” verb
STANDARD JAPANESE: DA

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