Linguistics and Dialects in Japanese Essays

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In a language, there are usually variants that emerge from it—variants such as dialects or different colloquial phrases. This usually happens when the language is split across different parts of the country or world. Different living situations call for different phrases or different ways of expressing that idea. In Japanese, these different dialects are known as hougen. There are several different Japanese hougen comprising that of the Tokyo area, the Tohoku region, the Kansai region, and even the Kyushu area to name a few places. Also within each certain areas, there may also be variants of each hougen with similar or minor changes such as in Kansai, there’s difference between Osaka and Kyoto for example. In general, the dialects…show more content…
Two of the most common features of Tohoku dialect are drawing out vowels sounds which make them sound longer. They also change consonant sounds. For example, the “k” sound becomes a “g” sound. And sometimes Tohoku speakers add an extra sound before the start of some words like inserting an “n” before “g” to make it “ng.” These features lead Tokyo people to generally consider it a lazy, country way of speaking. The accent also carries the stereotype of laziness or clumsiness, as Tohoku speakers are known for slurring and not opening their mouths very much. The rather negative nickname for the dialect is zuuzuu-ben, "zuuzuu" being the sound that a Kanto speaker hears when a Tohoku speaker neutralizes and drags their vowels. Because of the negative stereotypes, when speaking with Tokyo speakers, Tohoku speakers tend to hide their accents and speak in Tokyo dialect. The accent only shows up when talking to family or when stressed. Western Japan Kansai, Osaka, Kyoto, Fukui (Phrases, changes from standard, ) Kansai includes Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and surrounding areas. To speakers of standard Japanese, Osaka sounds either charming and funny, or grating and obnoxious. There’s a sort of Tokyo-Osaka rivalry and both areas have great pride in their way of speaking. Kansai people generally change the way they talk when they move to Tokyo, except for times when they want to be charming or show their Kansai pride. This is the dialect spoken by comedians (many of whom are
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