Within any language or language group, there may be significant changes in speech, vocabulary, and pronunciation. The term used to describe these changes is called a dialect. Some words or phrases that exist in one dialect may exist or be absent from different dialect. The most common dialect is the Kansai dialect that includes the Osaka dialect. Osaka is the dialect of the Tokyo area and is considered the standard dialect for Japanese. Unlike other languages, Japanese dialects can be very different from each other, almost to the point where they could be considered different languages and need subtitles.
Japanese Dialects List
Kansai Japanese – Second biggest region of Japan and host of many dialects. This group contains the Osaka dialect, which can be considered the “standard dialect” of Japanese. Kansai dialects are characterizes by their Kyoto-Osaka-type accent, strong vowel, copula ya, negative form -hen, etc.
Hichiku Japanese – A group of dialects in the southern Fukuoka region of Japan. Also includes the Tsushima Islands.
Honichi Japanese – Dialects of eastern Fukuoka, North and South Oita, and Hyuga.
Chugoku Japanese –
Shikoku Japanese – Similar to the Chugoku dialect in many ways but differet in accent.
Gifu-Aichi Japanese – Group of dialects in the Gifu Prefecture of Japan.
Hokuriku Japanese – Refers to the dialects spoken in the Hokuriku region of Japan.
Nagano Yamanashi Shizuoka Japanese – Named after the Prefectures in which they reside. This dialect is characterizes by a presumptive suffix -zura or -ra.
Echigo Japanese – Dialects of the Niigaga Prefecture.
West and East Kanto –
North and South Tohoku Japanese – The Tohoku dialect is spoken in North and south Tohoku Region in the Northwestern part of Japan. The Tohoku dialects differs a lot from standard Japanese.
Hokkaido – Dialects spoken in the Hokkaido region. This is dialect is separated into different groups. First, spoken along the coastal areas of Hokkaido, closely related to the Tohoku dialect. Second, is more in line with standard Japanese dialects.
Unpaku Japanese – Group of dialects that include the Shimane and Tottori Prefectures. This dialect differs from the others by the use of high “i” and “u” vowels.
Different Japanese Dialects of the Japanese language are spoken in many different nations and regions around the world, most commonly throughout northern Asia. However, the differences in regional dialects may not make one Japanese speaker nearly incomprehensible to another. In most cases, the different Japanese dialects don’t have a specific written form of the language, but there’s usually a certain amount of literature that accompanies each Japanese dialects.
1 thought on “Japanese Language Dialect List & Map”
Hi, Sally, My name is Mark Provan. I am from Cairns, Australia. I am passionate about Languages and dialects also. I enjoyed your article on Japanese dialects. It was concise and easy to follow.
Yours Sincerely, Mark Provan,