Japanese Dialects

The Japanese dialects (方言, hōgen?) comprise many regional variants. The lingua franca of Japan is called hyōjungo (標準語, lit. "standard language") or kyōtsūgo (共通語, lit. "common language"), and while it was based initially on the Tokyo dialect, the language of Japan's capital has since gone in its own direction to become one of Japan's many dialects. Dialects are commonly called -ben (弁, 辯, ex. Osaka-ben, lit. "Osaka speech"), sometimes also called -kotoba (言葉, ことば, ex. Shitamachi-kotoba, lit. "Shitamachi language") and -namari (訛り, なまり, ex. Tōhoku-namari, lit. "Tōhoku accent").

There is general agreement among linguists that the Ryukyuan languages of Okinawa Prefecture and the southern islands of Kagoshima Prefecture form a separate branch of the Japonic family, and are not Japanese dialects.

Read more about Japanese Dialects:  History, Classification

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