miércoles, 23 de noviembre de 2016


Kansai-ben. Accent commonly associated with the Kansai region of Japan. Since most anime is made in Tokyo (the accents sound different even if you can't understand them), this is usually very thick and exaggerated. It's also usually the first variation to pop up. The Kansai region generally consists of Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Wakayama, Mie, Nara and Shiga Prefectures, and sometimes the surrounding region (Fukui, Tokushima and Tottori Prefectures). While the dialects generally get lumped together as Kansai-ben because of their general similarities, there are distinctions between them.
Osaka-ben (Osaka dialect) used to be the stereotypical villain accent until Osaka comedians performing with their accent became popular in the nineties. These days Osaka-ben is generally used to indicate a fun loving, impatient, loud, boisterous personality. (See also The Idiot from Osaka.) Osaka-ben speaking comedians are common in Real Life and in anime, and the Boke and Tsukkomi Routine, or owarai, has its roots there. Recall, for instance, the scene in Azumanga Daioh where Tomo learns that the new transfer student is going to be from Osaka, and wonders if she'll have an incredible tsukkomi. The comedy routine consists of the boke [funny guy], who generally says stupid things, and the tsukkomi [straight man], who corrects the boke though slapstick/physical devices, such as a rap on the head. Think Blackadder and Baldrick and you get the idea.
A few quick tips for catching a character speaking Kansai-ben:
  • More focus on the vowels than the consonants of the language. Single-syllable words get stretched out an extra beat, and the copula desu is pronounced in full rather than Tokyo's clipped "des". This also makes Kansai-accented English that much harder to understand to native English-speakers compared to Tokyo-accented English (loanwords are generally spelled with Tokyo pronunciation in mind, after all).
  • Pitch accent with a greater tonal range (sometimes described as "living" or "overly-emotional"), and often significantly different patterns from Standard.
  • If a female, look for the use of uchi instead of atashi.
  • Replacement of desu or da with ya (or, in Kyoto-ben, dosu).
  • The use of the -hen ending, instead of -nai, as in wakarahen versus wakaranai (lit. "don't know").
  • The use of the -haru ending as an intermediate between plain style and the formal Keigo style.
  • -han instead of -san as an honorific.
  • The use of the wa sentence-final particle by all age and sex while it is used mainly by women in standard.
  • Using the word aho instead of baka ("idiot"; "silly"). The stereotype is that baka is a much more serious insult to a Kansai native, and is rarely used by one except in deadly earnest.
    • In real life, some dialects just have their own word for this.
  • Using the word akan instead of dame ("No way"). It is also used as -tara akan ("must not do") and -na akan ("must do").
  • Saying se ya naa instead of sou da ne OR sou da na' OR sou ne ("I know, right?"; "I agree."; "totally")
  • -taru (shortening of -te yaru) for -te ageru E.g., Yondaru ("I'll read it for you"). (In standard, using yaru in this way towards equals is an insult.)
  • Using meccha (not that mecha, the "ch" is soft like "Charles") instead of totemo as an intensifier. In specific Kansai dialects (Wakayama, Kobe, Osaka, etc.) words like gottsu (Osaka dialect) may be used. As traditional dialectal forms mutate or die off, some modern youth use forms such as sugee, which is Kanto/Tohoku pronunciation for sugoi.
  • Referring to the McDonald's fast-food chain as "Makudo", and regarding the term "Makku" exclusively as a computer brand
Oddly, Kansai is sometimes so strongly associated with certain personality traits that characters with those traits are given the accent even when they are not actually from the Kansai region, and would have no legitimate reason to have learned the accent. This includes foreigners/Westerners, who would more likely have learned "formal" Japanese, but are considered to have the brash, outspoken Osakan personalitynote thanks to the aforementioned stereotype, the Japanese consider "formal" Japanese being spoken by such characters as essentially out of character for the language. Similarly, the association between Kansai-ben and a specific character archetype is so strong, shows set in the region (but where the setting is not immediately relevant to the plot) may go out of their way to avoid giving the characters this dialect, even if it would technically be appropriate. (See The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya for a show set in the heart of Kansai (in the suburbs of Kobe, to be precise), but where everyone speaks Standard Japanese.)
Depending on the country, preserving these dialects through translations and dubs can be tricky.
(An Accent Adaptation is when a translator substitutes dialect in their own language for one in the original work's language, making for a Woolseyism in some cases and Adaptation Decay in others, especially when the translated dialect doesn't have an equivalent in the original work.)

Regional accents used to adapt Kansai-ben in European languages.

  • The usual British equivalent is Cockney, though a Northern accent might represent the geographic and societal differences better than a dialect of the capital (Scouse may be even more appropriate, since it combines the gritty industrial image with a reputation for good humour). SANDRA RATES ADAPTATION: COCKNEY: ** SCOUSE: ***
  • Andalusian Spanish seems to be the Euro-Spanish version of this accent, since the region where the accent is spoken was traditionally a merchant region, similar to Osaka, during the times in which the Moors ruled Spain. Also, the Andalusian stereotype of being outspoken, passionate, and fun-loving fits to a tee. SANDRA RATES ADAPTATION: ANDALÚH: *****
  • In German-language translations, Northern German and Bavarian/Austrian German are the German answers to the dialect, both being stereotyped with the exact same traits as Kansai (see Andalusian/andalúh above). SANDRA RATES ADAPTATION: PLATTDÜÜTSCH: *** BOARISCH/ÖSTERREICHISCH: ***** Ruhrpott (from the industrial western region known for its uncultured stereotypes) would also fit Kansai-ben, wouldn't it?
  • In Russian translations the Odessa dialect, with its colorful accent and slightly unusual, Yiddish- and Greek-influenced grammar, seems to be gaining popularity as a stand-in. Which has additional cultural benefits, as Odessa always was a center of grain trade and Odessites have a reputation for an innate comedic talent, closely paralleling other Osakan stereotypes (see below).
  • In the Norwegian translation of the Samurai Deeper Kyo manga, Benitora's kansai accent was changed to a Bergen accent, with a note explaining this was a common way of rendering this accent in Norwegian translations. While this was hardly true, not having been done anywhere else but here, it worked so perfectly no one complained. 
  • In Swedish, he (Benitora, the same character) was given a Gothenburg accent, which worked very well. The Gothenburg area has got lots in common with Kansai in general and Osaka in particular when it comes to geographical location, rivalry with the capital on the east side of the country (Stockholm/Tokyo), industrial/commercial history, and personality stereotypes. SANDRA RATES ADAPTATION: GÖTEBORGSKA: *****

Swedish reviewers of SDK say: 
"Kommer ihåg att en av karaktärerna, Benitora, i Samurai Deeper Kyo pratar göteborgska. Lite underligt men på något sätt så tycker jag att det är charmigt och anledningen gissar jag är för att peka ut det faktum att han egentligen pratar någon japansk dialekt i originalversionen."
"Men en annan jag tycker om är ju den röda tigern, hans göteborgska är ju Gööörskön!! ;)"

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