Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Kansai-ben (Eliza)

Title: Kansai-ben

Part of the reason that I chose to study in the Osaka area is the dialect.  I first came across Kansai-ben in a manga and anime series that I love.  A couple of the more major characters are from Osaka and speak using the dialect.  Living in with a host family, I get to hear a lot of the common phrases of Kansai-ben.  Words like ‘mecha’ meaning ‘very’ and using ‘hen’ instead of ‘nai’ for a negative.  Many of the students also speak Kansai-ben and I hear it all the time on the bus.  One of my friends taught me a phrase that confuses a lot of people from other parts of Japan because it doesn’t sound anything like its standard Japanese counterpart.  ‘ikeru’ is kansai-ben for ‘are you okay’.  Other phrases like ‘nandeyanen’ meaning ‘why’ sound at least a little like their standard Japanese equivalents so are easier for people from other areas to understand. Another one that my friend taught me was ‘seyanen’ for ‘yes’.
A list of phrases in Kansai-ben.
While I would love to become fluent in Kansai-ben, I haven’t gotten into the habit of using it yet.  This might be partly because one of my friends who speaks Kansai-ben always laughs when I try to use it.  When I asked why he kept laughing he said it is ‘cute’ when I attempt to use the dialect.  I plan on trying to use it more in the next two months and maybe I can get to the point where he won’t laugh anymore.  There are other Japanese people who are quite willing to help foreigners learn to speak Kansai-ben and I hope to learn a lot more phrases along the way.

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