Tokyo Dialect

At OVTA, throughout 10 classes we were taught for using the polite way of speaking Japanese. This is by using the ‘masu’ form, for e.g.: arimasu (inanimate things have), imasu (animate things have), gozaimasu etc. We were told to use the masu form during conversation with strangers and in office in order to avoid unwanted conflicts thay may happen when foreign people who are not so familiar with native language speaks bad Japanese. Using the masu form, the speaker, here we the foreigners, convey the message that we are polite to the listeners, i.e. Japanese people.

I was told by my Japanese friends that there are abundance of dialects (ho~gen) in Japan. This ranges from Okinawa in the south to the dialects of To~hoku in the north. The northern island Hokkaido~ has no specific Japanese dialect. Having been colonized by people from Tokyo and To~hoku area around at the end of nineteenth century, the dialects from these regions are heard in Hokkaido~. Hokkaido’s considerable population, Ainu’s language is also unrelated to Japanese.

The major groups of dialects are of Western Japan – Kansai including Osaka and Kyoto, Eastern Japan – Kanto~ including Tokyo, the Southwest Kyushu and Tohoku. The Tokyo dialect which is one of the Kanto dialects has some features that makes it different from standard Japanese (Hyo~jun go). Tokyo dialect is often heard as part of informal speech in the place where we live.


Author: Jayaprakash

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