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Kansai Dialect Dictionary

When I was in Japan during the summer of 2010 and 2012, I got to travel to multiple cities all over the country. As much as I liked the famous city of Tokyo, what really captured my heart was the Kansai area.

Not only is it home to ancient landmarks of Japan and delicious food, its dialect is what makes this western region stand out. Kansai dialect (known as "Kansai-ben" in Japanese) is a Japanese dialect mostly used in Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Mie, Wakayama, and Shiga. This dialect sounds a bit rougher and a bit more casual than the standard Japanese dialect (Kanto-ben). Personally, I prefer speaking in Kansai-ben when I talk Japanese, especially because most of my friends from Japan either are from the Kansai area or are now living in the Kansai area.

In this article, I will be going over frequently used phrases used in Kansai-ben, what they actually mean in standard Japanese, and example sentences on how to use them.

1. ホンマ (Honma)

"Really", "very much", "true"

Standard: 本当 (Hontou)

えっ、それってホンマ?

(E, sorette honma?/Eh, is that true?)

2. アカン(Akan)

"No good" or "wrong"

Standard: ダメ (dame)

、いけません (ikemasen) こら!それを食べたらアカンで!

(Kora! Sore wo tabetara akan de!/Hey! You must not eat that!)

Note: If the verb ends with ~ta or ~tara, "akan" means "must not". However, if the verb ends with ~na or ~nto, "akan" will mean "must".

3. おおきに (Ookini)

"Thank you"

Standard: ありがとう (Arigatou)

手伝ってくれておおきに!

(Tetsudatte kurete ookini!/Thanks for helping!)

4. アホ (Aho)

"Silly", "fool", "idiot"

Standard: バカ (baka)

アンタなんかアホやなぁ

(Anta nanka aho yanaa/You're such a fool)

5. かまへん (Kamahen)

"Never mind" or "It doesn't matter"

Standard: 構わない (Kamawanai)

失敗してもかまへんわ

(Shippai shitemo kamahen wa/It doesn't matter if I fail)

6. ちゃう (Chau)

"Wrong", "nope", "that isn't it"

Standard: 違う(Chigau)

だからちゃうって!東京に行ったことないわ!

(Dakara chau tte! Tokyo ni itta koto nai wa!/That's wrong! I never been to Tokyo!)

7. 〜やろう (~yarou)

"Probably" or "possibly"

Standard: でしょう (Deshou)

あそこのレストラン、大阪にあるやろう?

(Asoko no resutoran, Oosaka ni aru yarou?/That restaurant is in Osaka, right?)

8. 〜へん (~hen) Negative form

Standard: 〜ない (nai)

今日忙しいやから、パーティに行かへん

(Kyou isogashii yakara, paatei ni ikahen/I can't come to the party because I'm busy today)

9. 〜や (~ya)

"Be"

Standard: 〜だ (~da)

明日の天気は晴れるんや!

(Ashita no tenki wa harerun ya!/Tomorrow's weather will be sunny!)

10. ええ (Ee)

"Good" or "all right"

Standard: いい (Ii)

このペン使ってもええよ

(Kono pen tsukattemo ee yo/You can use this pen)

So if you plan to go to the Kansai area sometime soon, try using these phrases when talking to the locals, some of them really help! がんばって!

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