These two dialects will sound very similar to an untrained ear. Can anyone highlight the main differences between these two dialects?


According to this Chiebukuro question, there isn't that much of a difference in accents or words/phrases, and it's mainly the differences in the negative forms of カ変 (kuru) and サ変 (suru) verbs:

  • Standard Japanese: 来ない・しない
  • Osaka-ben: けえへん・せえへん
  • Kyoto-ben: きいひん・しいひん

However, it should be noted that there is some overlap and some people in Kyoto use the Osaka forms and vice-versa.

Here are a few other notable differences mentioned:

  • いらっしゃい is only said as おこしやす (and おいでやす) in Kyoto, not in Osaka. According to a different Chiebukuro question, おいでやす is said to first-time customers and おこしやす is said to regular customers.
  • え(~よ) on the end of verbs and the てね in よし(~してね) is used much less frequently in Osaka than in Kyoto.
  • はる is frequently added as an auxiliary verb to indicate a light degree of politeness. In Osaka-ben it apparently only indicates respect (尊敬{そんけい}) when used, but when used in Kyoto-ben it's also more broadly used as 丁寧語{ていねいご}. Apparently one of the answerers feels uneasy when it's used with animals as in 犬が走ってはる, but says it's perfectly normal to say this kind of thing in Kyoto.
  • ~ねん used on the end of verbs isn't used as much in Kyoto-ben as it is in Osaka-ben. あの人何かしているよ in standard Japanese can be あの人なんかやってんで~? in Osaka-ben and あの人なんかしてはるよ? in Kyoto-ben. However, the Kyoto-ben してんで and Osaka-ben やっとるで are often interchanged, and even in Osaka some people still use してんで.
  • It's mentioned that many people in Osaka talk at a faster pace and have a slightly "rougher" tone than in Kyoto.
  • Additionally, I think one other very commonly used word that wasn't mentioned might be おぶ used in place of お茶 in Kyoto.

Links which might be useful:

(I'm mainly translating this because I wanted to know more myself so there are probably errors, but it's CW so feel free to edit/add to this!)

  • The ocn.ne.jp link isn't working for me (gives a 404 not found page). – Nathan Ellenfield Aug 29 '12 at 18:29
  • Also, to add to your links, here's a site in English that is designed for learning Kansai-ben and includes a pretty large set of video and audio examples. It mainly contrasts between kansai-ben and standard Japanese, but there is also a information about Osaka-ben (especially in the grammar notes). kansaiben.com – Nathan Ellenfield Aug 29 '12 at 18:33

Syockit already suggests in the answer, but to expand on this, consonant-ending verbs take different negative forms:

Negative forms (WRITE-NEGATION)

  • Kyoto dialect: 書かへん (kak-ahen)
  • Osaka dialect: 書けへん (kak-ehen)
  • Hyogo dialect: 書きひん (kak-ihin)

Since the negative form of Osaka dialect is confusing with the potential form, Osaka dialect prefers the long form potential form.

Negative potential forms (WRITE-POTENTIAL-NEGATION)

  • Kyoto dialect: 書けへん (kak-e-hen)
  • Osaka dialect: 書かれへん (kak-are-hen)
  • Hyogo dialect: 書けひん (kak-e-hin)

What I see often is that Kyoto-ben has this emphasis expression "~え" sentence ending, like "ええお天気どすえ", "いきまっせ!" (ますえ contracted to まっせ), while Osaka-ben will use "~で" sentence ending, like "そないあほなことすると怪我するで。気をつけなあかんで。". Osaka is more likely to use わ ending.

Also, some verbs like 来ない are pronounced differently: Kyoto is きいへん while Osaka is けえへん (or was it the other way around? What about こおへん?)



I'd say the most prominent difference is the intonation, i.e. the one that literally catches your ear first, is the intonation. Osaka-ben (and Kansai-ben in extension) has almost opposite accent patterns compared to Tokyo-ben (and Kanto-ben in extension).

For instance, the word 橋 (bridge) and 箸 (chopsticks) are both written はし in Hiragana, but are pronounced with a different accent. This doesn't always make them easy to distinguish, however, since a Kantou-ben speaker would say the first with an H-L pattern (first syllable in a high tone, the second syllable in a lower tone) and the second with an L-H pattern, while for an Kansai-ben speaker it would be exactly the opposite!

  • This is a great answer if the question was about the difference between standard Japanese and Kansai-ben :) So I think you are a bit off topic for this question. – Ken Li Jun 2 '11 at 0:33
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    I had made the same mistake, reading "Tokyo" instead of "Kyoto" lol – Nicolas Raoul Jun 2 '11 at 0:41
  • Whopps. :) That's what happens in the middle of the night... :/ – Boaz Yaniv Jun 2 '11 at 0:52
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    Next time I'll put romaji next to the kanji since not every reader on the site is accustomed to reading kanji's yet so it is very easy to mess up. – Ken Li Jun 2 '11 at 0:56
  • Or put a "go-to-sleep" sign. I can read it in Kanji, but at these hours I mix up things... Anyway, your question is a bit hard to answer, since it really depends on whether you mean the old classical Kyoto dialect (which is often shown on TV, but is probably not much spoken anymore) or the modern Kyoto dialect, which has far less differences from the dialect of Osaka. – Boaz Yaniv Jun 2 '11 at 1:27

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