Monday, December 12, 2016

Nandeyanen!? (Ethan)

While in Japan, I’ve learned many new things about the language.  I’ve learned a lot of new grammar, kanji (Chinese characters), and vocabulary.  Of all the things I’ve learned, one, which can’t be learned in a normal class, is Kansai-ben.  Kansai-ben, or Kansai dialect, is one of the many regional dialects in Japan.  Because I go to school in the Kansai region, this is the dialect I’m exposed to the most. 
Map of Japan showing all the regions.
I’ve learned Kansai-ben from many of my Japanese friends.  There’s never a particular type of situation in which they bring up Kansai-ben, they just always teach me a new one here and there.  We’re typically having a casual conversation and the person I’m talking to will use a word I don’t know and then explain to me that it’s Kansai-ben.  I often don’t have to ask about the word, as it’ll be explained to me before I ask.  On a few occasions, however, I’ve also had to ask about particular words and phrases.
 I find it interesting that all of my friends from the Kansai region seem happy to teach me Kansai-ben.  Friends from Osaka, Kyoto, Wakayama, and various other places in the area all use and teach me Kansai-ben.  Sometimes, though, I wonder how much particular words are actually used.  There are certain phrases I hear pretty frequently, but I don’t typically hear some words that I’ve been taught.  Regardless of use, people want to teach me Kansai-ben and I think it’s connected to a sense of pride in where people come from.  To some extent, I understand this, and I enjoy teaching people unique words from my region as well.  Recently, I even had a conversation with a friend in which we were exchanging special words from our regions.
Map of Kansai and all of the places it includes
I try to use a little bit of Kansai-ben here and there and I’ll try to throw in my most recently learned word to a conversation but it can be hard.  It feels a little awkward to use Japanese that I didn’t learn in class, but my friends seem to be encouraging and always happy to hear and use Kansai-ben.

*The title of this post is a popular Kansai-ben phrase and roughly means “What the heck!?”

Note: The map of Japan came from and the map of Kansai came from

1 comment:

Hannah said...

I have so much fun teaching my Japanese friends English slang. One of them particularly enjoys "lit" and "swag" and it's amusing to watch while he sits there and says them over and over to pronounce them correctly.