It is said by a boy who was straddling on a running pig among other of them.

せんべいになりたかねえやつあ おとなしくわきへ どいてろっ。

I think it would mean 「なりたくない」 or 'not to become'. Is it changed because of dialectal speaking?

  • 1
    Possible duplicate: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/29230/1478 – snailplane Jun 6 '16 at 7:00
  • Out of curiosity: what kind of manga it is? Does it take place in the present time? How old is the character that says the line? More context can make it a lot easier to answer your question properly. – kuchitsu Jun 6 '16 at 8:26
  • @kuchitsu The manga I have been reading is called Ashita no Jo. The story taken place during 1960s if I'm correct. Anyway, the sentence was said by the situation that the boy yelling to warn everybody to step aside of his way or they would have been trampled by a large group of running pigs. – George Jun 6 '16 at 8:48
  • 4
    Why some people in this thread seem to believe we are dealing with an outdated expression, I have no idea. It is completely current if regional. But THAT region is the center of almost everything. So, this question deserves a good answer as we will keep hearing 「~~かねえ」. – l'électeur Jun 6 '16 at 10:37
  • @l'électeur, within Japan as a whole (or should as say widely used,) it is an outdated expression. Once upon a time it was much more widely used, but now it is probably limited to elderly in those small specific areas. I could not comment on the younger generation in those areas as I don't know how they speak. But, as modern day expressions go in Japan, it is outdated. – KyloRen Jun 6 '16 at 13:09


The former is an informal and mostly-masculine way of saying the latter (dictionary form) around Tokyo. One might safely call it the "tough guy speech". Guys just talk like that around Tokyo when they hang around with close friends.

Calling this kind of speech old or outdated is sheer nonsense. It is 100% current. I have lived in central Tokyo over 25 years, so I know it is current and real.

kuwa ⇒ kwa ⇒ ka

The ない-to-ねえ change in Kanto is "famous" even among Japanese-learners these days (and it has been explained many times right here on SE) so that should require no explanation.

Thus, 「なりたかねえ」 means "to not want to become" just as 「なりたくはない」 does.

「せんべいになりたかねえやつ おとなしくわきへ どいてろっ。」

in the "dictionary" form, would be:

「せんべいになりたくはないやつ おとなしくわきへ どいていろ。」

Either way, the sentence literally means:

"Those who don't want to become senbei (flat rice crackers), step aside obediently!"

enter image description here

"I don't wanna heeeaaarrr! A story like that....!", says the gentleman.

  • Why do do try to make out as if it is mainstream current spoken Japanese? Sure as a as an 江戸っ子 used word most people will recognize the ない-to-ねえ, and yeah it is famous, famous that it was used quite a lot in the Edo period. Any native will know this. Still have not answered my question, is it currently used mainstream in modern Japan as it once was in the Edo period? – KyloRen Jun 6 '16 at 22:08
  • 3
    ^ 「見たかねえ」「聞きたかねえ」などの表現をざっとググったところ結構ヒットしましたが、テレビでは有吉が「食いたかねえな」、「聞きたかねえよ」、 くりぃむしちゅー上田が「聞きたかねえよ」等と発言しているようですね。ちなみに似たような質問が投稿されているサイトがありましたのでご参考まで。 -> news.biglobe.ne.jp/qa/2012/0411/7414951.html – Chocolate Jun 6 '16 at 23:53
  • @chocolate, See updated answer. japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/35692/… – KyloRen Jun 7 '16 at 1:53
  • 3
    @KyloRen You are confusing the notions of 'is it standard?' and 'is it currently used?'. This sound change may well not be standard Japanese (I don't expect to hear this from an NHK newsreader), but any native speaker knows that it is very obviously currently used by particular kinds of people (yes, in the present day and age). – jogloran Jun 7 '16 at 2:34

I'm a native Japanese speaker. I can't post a comment to another writing thanks to a lack of reputation, so I will write here. In my opinion, なりたかねえ is "oral expression" rather than "tough guy like", and it is sometimes used even now. Actually I think sophisticated lady never uses this expression, but I know some girl in a very famous anime often uses almost same phrase. (this is the anime: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chibi_Maruko-chan)

Although I don't understand the context, but directly translating is here: If you don't want to be a rice cracker (probably metaphor of flat one), get aside from the road without resistance.

  • 1
    I think the mention of a fictional character, in this case, would only help weaken the persuasiveness of your answer. IMHO, the Japanese-learners here would be more interested in learning what types of people (and from where) would use 「~~かねえ」 in real life. – l'électeur Jun 6 '16 at 10:26
  • 1
    Thank you for the comment, and I'm sorry for my poor explanation. As you know, some anime characters sometimes use so strange expressions. However at this time, "~かねえ" is oral expression, I think it is not so wrong. Looking at real life, this expression might be used for friends or close people. It's frank expression, but on the other hand, it's very rejective. If you use it with serious face, others will worry that you get angry. Be careful. – TKG Jun 6 '16 at 11:50
  • 1
    Even woman (especially young woman) uses this expression, not word only for male – TKG Jun 6 '16 at 12:36

It looks like very old Japanese, but you are correct it is this 「なりたくない」

Loosely translated.

せんべいになりたかねえやつあ おとなしくわきへ どいてろっ。

Be good and get out of the way if you don't want to get flattened.

EDIT: To clarify in regards to the comment that this dialect/expression is a current one. This type of dialect was once very much widely used, specifically in the Edo period, but now it is limited to small specific areas in a few parts of Japan. I can't comment on the younger generation in those areas using this type of expression as I don't know how they speak there. But, in mainstream, modern day Japanese in Japan, it is no longer used and would be considered out dated.

If anyone thinks otherwise, do your own experiment and say it to a native speaker that is relatively young and watch the strange expression on their face while they process what you have just said, then have them fire back a question "was that what you were trying to say?". In other words , this is not a typical expression in today's language and will take a little bit to confirm what you were meaning to say, where as any other expression used today will not require that thought.

EDIT 2: 東京方言

I must be seeing things, wiki says that Edo dialect among others has just about disappeared in today's Japanese and that it is from a long time ago.

  • 古くからの「東京」の範囲(「東京市街の変遷」も参照)に存在する方言の総称。

  • 江戸言葉はもちろん、標準語成立に大きな影響を与えた山の手言葉も消滅寸前まで追い詰められているのが現状である。

Please let me know where my original statement was incorrect?

  • 10
    This is not 'very old Japanese'. It is just the usual 'tough guy' colloquial sound changes applied to なりたくはないやつは... – jogloran Jun 6 '16 at 4:39
  • 4
    I think @jogloran is right here. I hear this kind of talk (replacing “ない” with "ねえ“) all the time, and usually is used in very colloquial talks (both in serious or relaxed/joking situations). Grammar-wise I am guessing here, but I think this form is not so different from replacing the final い in いーadjectives with え, like for example "すごい" --> "すげっ!”. – Tommy Jun 6 '16 at 5:28
  • 3
    @Tommy For learners, the more advanced topic here is probably the contraction/reduction of は, first in 「〜くは」→「〜か」 and second in 「やつは」→「やつあ」. – snailplane Jun 6 '16 at 6:32
  • 3
    @KyloRen I don't think you really speak for the Japanese members of this site. One Japanese member, l'électeur, has already spoken for himself. He wrote: "Why some people in this thread seem to believe we are dealing with an outdated expression, I have no idea." – snailplane Jun 6 '16 at 12:38
  • 3
    @KyloRen Everybody said it isn't mainstream Japanese and it is used by particular kinds of people. I guess we think this is not very old Japanese because there are some persons who use this phrase even if they are few. – Yuuichi Tam Jun 7 '16 at 5:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.