The full sentence comes from the story of 力太郎.

Here it is:

「ばあさん や。この あか で にんぎょう を つくって みんべえ。」

I understand all the words except みんべえ, which I couldn't find in my dictionary.

Is this an old phrase?

  • 3
    Precisely for this reason, I rarely recommend children's stories for beginning learners. They just use so many "imaginary dialectal phrases" for role language. Look up みる and べい (not みん and べえ) separately in a better dictionary. I'm sure you are already familiar with this みる, though. – l'électeur Aug 10 '17 at 15:25

みんべえ is a collapsed pronunciation of みるべえ or みるべ.
る in verbs often contracts to ん in colloquial speech when followed by some words, eg:

[何]{なに}[見]{み}てのよ! → [何]{なに}[見]{み}てのよ!
バカなことすなよ。 → バカなことすなよ。

みる here is a subsidiary verb (補助動詞) and means "try doing~~".

The べえ is a prolonged べ. べ is a sentence-final particle (終助詞) mainly used in Tohoku dialect, meaning ~(だ)ろう, ~(で)しょう, ~(し)よう, ~(し)ましょう. Here it's used as old man's speech (老人語), a kind of role language (役割語) in fiction.

Examples of the use of べ:

いく。 ≂ 行こう。 / 行きましょう。
んだ。 ≂ そうだろう。 / そうでしょう。
どうすん。/ どうすっ。 (< どうすべ)≂ どうしよう? / どうしましょう。  

So the phrase in your example can be rephrased:

「つくってみんべえ。」 ≂ 「つくってみよう。 / つくってみましょう。」
"Let's try making~"

| improve this answer | |

I think it's old or a different dialect for みよう。

I will explain my reasoning as follows.

As said by @l'électeur, let's break みんべえ up into みん and べい instead.

みん will break up into みる and ん.

みる (in this case, helps indicate to "try making")


ん (ねえ, which makes this 「見ん(見む )」 in Tohoku dialect according to @Chocolate)


べい(which can indicate invitation) = みんべい

In Tohoku dialect, 「みんべい」 is the contracted form of 「見る + べ」, meaning「みよう」。

ばあさんや。この あか で にんぎょう を つくって みよう

”Old woman. Let's try and make a doll from this dirt."


| improve this answer | |
  • No explanation of べい? Or the ん? – l'électeur Aug 10 '17 at 15:28
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    ん(negative verb ending.. -- その「ん」は、否定の「ん」じゃないですね・・ – Chocolate Aug 13 '17 at 3:44
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    東北弁の「べ」と一緒に使うのなら、「ぬ」は「ねぇ」になるのでは・・?「見ねぇべ」って…。「する+べ」は「すんべ/すっべ」、「やる+べ」は「やんべ/やっべ」になって、「しない+べ」は「しねぇべ」、「やらない+べ」は「やらねぇべ/やんねぇべ」になるんだし・・ – Chocolate Aug 13 '17 at 6:10
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    ^ 違うと思います・・・。 「みる+ん」は「みませんか」ではありません。「見る+ん(= negative ぬ )」 is 「見ん(見 )」 and means「見ない」. 「見る+ん(= volitional む )」 is 「見ん(見 )」 and means 「見よう / 見るだろう」. BUT in Tohoku dialect 「見る+negative ぬ+べ」 is 「みねえべ」 and means 「見ないだろう」. In Tohoku dialect, 「みべ」 is the contracted form of 「見 + べ」 (not 見る+negativeぬ+べ), meaning 「みよう」. – Chocolate Aug 13 '17 at 13:33
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    @GabbyQuattrone I think what ǝʇɐןoɔoɥƆ explained was that because this sentence is spoken in Tohoku dialect, you should only consider its grammar in this case. According to Wikipedia, the Tohoku べ attaches to the 終止形 (=みる) but is changed to み due to 撥音化="ん-ification". In ǝʇɐןoɔoɥƆ's answer it's called "contraction". – siikamiika Aug 13 '17 at 16:09

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