What do the words じゃが and おるかの mean? Here are the sentences in which I found these words.

  1. 警察の者じゃが
  2. ジョーという少年はおるかの?

1 Answer 1


Those are good examples of what my favorite author [筒井康隆]{つついやすたか} has termed「[全国共通]{ぜんこくきょうつう}いなか[言葉]{ことば}」, which I would translate to "All-Japan Standard Provincial Dialect".

It is an imaginary dialect, instead of an existing dialect, that is used in stories. Believe it or not, it is most often used in children's stories. (Which is why I rarely recommend that beginning learners use children's stories as a study material. They will encounter strange sentence endings that they will not find in textbooks or even dictionaries.)

Practically all nationally-known children's stories take place in a small town in the countryside, but they never tell you where exactly in Japan. The kind of Japanese spoken by the characters all virtually falls within the realm of this imaginary dialect. If they use a real, existing dialect, the kids, parents or teachers will not understand it unless they are from that area.

「[警察]{けいさつ}の[者]{もの}じゃが。」=「警察の者ですが。」= "I am from the Police Department."

「ジョーという[少年]{しょうねん}はおるかの?」=「ジョーという少年はいますかねぇ?」= "Is there a boy named Joe here?"

EDIT: An interesting (or rather funny) fact about this Standard country speech is that it is actively used in Japanese translations of stories from outside of Japan as long as the characters are from the countryside in their own country. Subbing and dubbing of foreign films are no exception, either. The city guys will be speaking Tokyo dialect and the country guys will be speaking this imaginary provincial dialect -- especially when the country guy is rather old.

  • 7
    These are typically known as 老人語, but "~じゃが" and "~おるかのう" are actually used around Chugoku/Shikoku region. My grandfather living in Shikoku uses both, and I personally know several younger people from Hiroshima prefecture who actively use "~じゃ".
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 2:28

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