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Kansai dialect
Kansai dialect (関西弁, Kansai-ben) - A distinct group of related Japanese dialects found in the Kansai region of Japan. They are typified by the speech of Osaka, which is referred to specifically as Osaka-ben. It is characterized as being both more melodic and "harsher" by speakers of the standard language.

Technically, Kansai-ben is not a single dialect, but a group of related dialects of the region. Each major city represents a particular dialect, such as Kyoto-ben, Kobe-ben, Nara-ben, Wakayama-ben, etc. Kansai-ben has over one thousand years of history. Since Osaka is the largest city of the region, and since its speakers have gained the most media exposure in the last century, non-Kansai-ben Japanese speakers tend to associate the dialect of Osaka with the entire Kansai region. Thus anyone habitually saying akan or honma to a Tokyo-jin (someone from Tokyo) is probably going to be labelled as an Osaka-ben speaker and probably an Osaka-jin (someone from Osaka) whether they are from Osaka or not.

Since Kansai-ben is the most widely known nonstandard dialect of Japanese, it has become a favorite with Japanese authors, manga and anime artists, and the like, as the choice for representing a somewhat "different" character from the norm. The use of Kansai-ben is closely associated with manzai and comedy in general throughout most of non-Kansai Japan. This is due both to the prevalence of comedians from Osaka in Japanese media as compared to people from other cities and regions (which is in turn due at least in part to the Yoshimoto Kogyo agency, based in Osaka), and to the willingness of Osaka comedians to use their own dialect while on stage. Because of this association, speakers of Kansai-ben are often viewed as being more humorous or wittier than the average Tokyo-jin. Tokyo people even occasionally imitate Kansai-ben to provoke laughter or inject humor into a situation.

Historically, nearly every village in the Kansai area had a style of speech which differed somewhat from its neighbors; it was once possible for well-travelled people to identify the particular area from which a speaker came. Due to the increasing influence of the Tokyo and Kantō dialects over the last four hundred years, the intraregional differences have been declining across all of Kansai. Nevertheless, citizens of each major city and prefecture still take some pride in their particular dialectical variation, and this pride has preserved a number of differences between each area in the region.

The primary dialects of Kansai-ben can be roughly divided into cities. There is Osaka-ben, the most famous and well known. Following it are Kyoto-ben, known for its indirectness and politeness, and Kobe-ben known for its -tō/-ton verb conjugation. Others include Nara-ben, Wakayama-ben, Shiga-ben, Mie-ben, Banshu-ben and so on.

Information source: “Kansai dialect.” Article date: 1 Feb. 2008. Retrieved: Wikipedia. 4 Feb. 2008 <Kansai dialect>.

Video - The following video is a good example of Kansai-ben. A few comedians get together for a pretty typical Kansai area sketch on a famous comedy show (吉本新喜劇,





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