According to Wikipedia (and some posters here), Kagoshima Japanese resists the じ・ぢ and ず・づ mergers, much in the same way that various English dialects retain differences between words like meet and meat: Yotsugana by dialect map But the gendai kanadzukai (or rather kanazukai) has flattened out the orthographical distinctions between these kana. Is this just a "sucks to speak a nonstandard dialect!" sort of situation? I believe I remember reading in a different Wikipedia article (although I can't find it now) that said that ぢ and づ were "not completely obsolete" because of the Kagoshima dialect. Of course, the incompleteness of their obsolescence follows easily from their use in the context of rendaku, but the article specifically mentioned dialect resistance to the yotsugana merger. Do Kagoshima speakers, when writing in their own vernacular, still use the ぢ- and づ-based spellings of words that they pronounce differently?

Also... what's that little speck of purple on the edge of Yamanashi?

  • The short answer is "yes". However, for some of dialects, the differences with Hyojungo is so dramatic as to make this point rather moot. For example, while much is made of the differences between Osaka and Tokyo dialects, in Kyushu people often point to strangeness the Kagoshima dialect. I have a books written in Kyushu dialects from around Kumamoto and Fukuoka. Even these are quite different from what was spoken in Fukuoka-shi itself. These dialects often have their own orthographic conventions which can diverge noticeably from that of the standard national language. – A.Ellett Apr 16 at 16:00
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    Though my comment looks like an answer, good answer should be able to provide examples of the orthographic conventions used in various dialects. And I really lack a firm grasp of these conventions (particularly given I barely comprehend much that diverges much from the standard language). Moreover, my understanding is that the dialects of northern Japan are also perhaps as distinctive from the standard language as Kagoshima-ben is. I seem to recall watching a video of a guy from Tohoku speaking in his native dialect; it felt like I was listening to a completely different language – A.Ellett Apr 16 at 16:12
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    much in the same way that various English dialects retain differences between words like meet and meat Which dialects are those? And how do they pronounce each of them? For Japanese, I'm じ=ぢ, but ず≠づ. – istrasci Apr 16 at 16:31
  • @A.Ellett, many years ago I spent some time living in Morioka. At one point, I visited an old folks home where people spoke full-on Tōhoku-ben—unintelligble 😄. Most other dialects I've heard in Japan (specifically, Honshū) maintain roughly the same sound system, and differ in vocab and inflection. The Tōhoku-ben I heard also had a pronounced accent -- differences in pronunciation. This was most obvious with the らりるれろ morae, where the initial consonant sounded much more like a liquid //l// than the usual tap //ɾ//. – Eiríkr Útlendi Apr 16 at 22:49
  • @istrasci Fewer than I thought, now that I look it up, but they do exist. You find them in the North of England and in some rural parts of Ireland. How the words are actually pronounced differs depending on the dialect. For more information: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… More recently in America there have been similar shifts: "cot" and "caught" are now homophones in most American English, but a few dialects (including mine) keep them distinct. – Foobie Bletch Apr 17 at 16:16

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