The Fukuoka Dialect – Hakata Ben

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Fukuoka is situated on the island of Kyushu and is one of the top 10 most livable places on Earth. The dialect is spoken in Fukuoka and around the city, in Hakata Bay.

The dialect has unique distinctions that make it popular with Japanese people on other islands. The dialect is called “Hakata Ben” (博多弁) and is considered the most distinct dialect in the Japanese language. Grammar and writing style also changes.

Some of the changes in the Hakata Ben dialect are the use of “tto” when asking questions, for example:

  • Normal: nani o shiteiru no?
  • Hakata Ben: nan ba shiyo tto?
  • Hakata Ben: nan shitō to?

There are also some words used:

  • Me - uchi
  • You - tan
  • Yes - yoka
  • Not - innya

Another interesting factor in the dialect is to leave the verbs in the negative form, while in traditional Japanese, “nai”, the Hakata dialect uses only the “n” example: 食べない> 食べん

Another examples: 

Below are some more examples of changes in the grammar of the Fukouka dialect:

  • te ita => totta / yotta
  • te ita => totta / yotta
  • nete ita => netotta / neyotta
  • te aru => toru / tou
  • kaite aru => kaitoru / kaitou
  • akete aru => aketoru / aketou
  • ja nai ka => roumon
  • mitemo ii ja nai ka => mitemo yokaroumon
  • komaru ja nai ka => komaroumon
  • Conjugation “kedo” => batten
  • Nihon-jin dakedo => Nihon-jin batten
  • kana => kaina
  • mou tsuita kana => mou tsuita kaina
  • konai kana => kon kaina
  • oishii kana => oishii kaina
  • hima kana => hima kaina

The Hakata dialect is quite similar to the dialect Hichiku (肥筑) which is also spoken in western Japan on the island of Kyushu and covers all other dialects of the place.

Below I will leave an image showing a little of the words used in the dialect, if you have knowledge in hiragana and nihongo, try to assimilate the words into the images.

If you find this idea of dialects difficult, do you know keigo?


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