Akita-ben (秋田弁), is the notoriously near-unintelligible dialect of Akita Prefecture. The older the speaker is, the more likely they are to speak to you in a language that hardly resembles standard Japanese. In fact, many Japanese from outside Akita have a difficult time understanding Akita-ben. While nothing can fully prepare you for the local dialect, here's a few rules and phrases that may help you pick it up faster.
- Rule #1 - unvoiced consonants become voiced. "k" becomes "g", "t" becomes "d" or "z", "s" becomes "z", and so on.
- Rule #2 - voiced consonants become prenasalized. "g" becomes "ng", "z" becomes something similar to "nz", and so on.
- Rule #3 - The previous two rules do not apply to consonants at the beginning of a word, unless that word is preceded by a syllable that would cause it to change.
- Rule #4 - Normally "i" sounds, it will most likely be changed to an "e"-ish sound.
- Rule #5 - To change a verb from infinitive form to Japanese invitational ("～shimashou" = let's～) add "べ" = be to the end of the infinitive form. i.e.
Standard Japanese: 行く(iku)= 行きましょう(ikimashou) Akita-ben: いぐ(igu)= いぐべ(igube)
- Rule #6 - The directional particle "に"(ni) will become "さ"(sa) in almost every case. However, Akita-ben speakers will not use さ in place of に when it is being used to say "for the purpose of." i.e. In the phrase 迎えに行く(mukae ni iku)= to meet/to pick up. に will not change to さ.
- Rule #7 - There are various conjugation rules for verbs in Akita-ben. Let's use the word 行く(iku), which means "to go"
|行かない(ikanai)||いがねい(iganei)||to not go|
|行かなかった(ikanakatta)||いがながったす(iganagattas)||did not go|
|行きたい(ikitai)||いぎでい(igidei)||to want to go|
|行きたくない(ikitakunai)||いぎだぐねい(ikidagunei)||to not want to go|
- Rule #8 - You may hear some of the people in the office greet each other in the morning, or any other time, by saying "aeushhhh", "ushhh", or even more simply, just "shhhh." This is a greeting. Feel free to try it.
- Rule #9 - Akita-ben is EXTREMELY regional. Something that is said in Ōdate might not be understood in Yokote or Honjō. Keep this in mind when traveling to other parts of the prefecture.
- Rule #10 - Don't get discouraged if you can't understand taxi or daikou taxi drivers, their Akita-ben is labyrinthine.
|母音の発音||Native Pronunciation (listen to a native speaker)|
例： うっぺ/ えっぺ
|“I” (ee) and “E” (eh) sound similar
|えき/ えき||eki/ iki|
|“I” (ee) and “U”(ooh) sometimes sound the same
ex: sushi (susu)
|“Ki”(kee) sounds like “k” + “s”
ex: Akita= Aksta
|表現 ひょうげん||Local Expressions|
|んだ （そうね）||“nda” = when agreeing with someone|
|んでね (じゃありません)||“ndene”=when disagreeing with someone|
|んだな||“ndana= agreeing (masculine )|
|こ・そ・あ・どえ(これ、それ、あれ、どれ)||“ko”= here, “so”= there, “a”=over there|
|せば||“seba” = see you, sayonara|
|まんつ （「まず」と「さようなら」）||“matsu” = see you later|
|しかだね (しかたない)||“shikadane”=too bad, can’t be helped|
|なげる (捨てる)||“nageru” = to throw away|
|～だが？ (～ですか？)||“… daga?”= really? question|
|～が？・～ぎゃ？（～か？）||“…ga?” “..gya?” = really? question|
|びょん・べ （でしょう）||“byon” or “be” = affirmative|
|～さ （に）||“sa”(instead of “ni”) = to (+ verb)|
|さんびすな 寒いですね||It's cold|
|何した？ (どうしたの？)||nanshita?=what happened, what’s the matter|
|どさいぐ？ （どこに行く？）||do sa igu?= where are you going?|
|何く？ (何を食べる？)||nani ku?= what do you want to eat?|
|なして飲まね？ (どうしで飲まない？)||nanshite nomane?= Why won’t you drink?|
|だえ（誰）どいぐ（行く）？||Dae do igu?= Who are you going with?|
|いづやる？ （いつやりますか？）||Idzu yaru?= When will you do it?|
|んめ （おいしい／うまい）||“nme”= delicious, yum|
|んめぐね （おいしくない／うまくない）||“nmegune”= tastes awful|
|さんび (寒い)||“sanbi”= cold (temperature)|
|あっち （暑い）||“achi”= hot|
|しゃっけ、しゃこい（冷たい）||“shakke” or “shakkoi” = cold (for food and drinks)|
|たげ （高い）||“tage”= tall, high, expensive|
|やし (安い)||“yaszhi”= cheap|
|おっき (大きい)||“oggi” = big, large|
|ちっちぇ (小さい)||“chiche” = small, tiny|
|すんげい (すごい)||“sungei” = great,wow|
|しょっぺい (しょっぱい)||“shoppei” = salty|
|あんめ (あまい)||“anmei” = amai|
|にんげい (にがい)||“ningei” = bitter|
|つえい (つよい)||“tsuei" = strong|
|ようぇい (よわい)||“yowei” = weak|
|やんべい (やばい)||“yanbei" = dangerous,strict|
|く (食べる)||“ku” = eat (instead of “taberu”)|
|け (食べてください)||“ke” = please eat (instead of “tabete kudasai”)|
|こ (食べましょう)||“ko” = let's eat (instead of “tabemashou”)|
|待づ||“madzu”= wait (instead of “matsu”)|
|立づ||“tadzu”= stand (instead of “tatsu”)|
|聞ぐ||“kigu”= listen, hear (instead of “kiku”)|
|歩ぐ||“arugu”= walk (instead of “aruku”)|
|行ぐ||“igu”= go, leave (instead of “iku”)|
- Language and culture
- A Short Introduction to Akita-ben by Charlotte Soesanto
- Akita ben video made in Kosaka (Japanese only) For reference and getting used to those sounds ;)
- Japanese Comedians on Akita-ben (Japanese only)
- Akita-ben explained by cute Japanese lady (Japanese only)
- 秋田弁大辞典 (Japanese only)
|Japanese Language • 日本語|
|Language Resources||Akita-ben • Useful Japanese • Textbook reviews • Resources for Learning Japanese • Heisig Method|
|Japanese Courses||August Intensive Japanese Course • Local Japanese Classes|
|Other Info||Proficiency tests • Language and culture|