Translated by Satomi Ohba
Nandeyanen? - 10 Osaka Dialect Phrases That Are Meccha Important!
Osaka dialect is quite different from the rest of Japan. We teach 10 useful phrases in Osakaben! With these phrases, you'll be able to communicate like a local from Osaka and make new friends on your next visit!
Written by Atsuko Yagura
Osakaben is the name for Osaka dialect. People from Osaka take a lot of pride in their dialect and it is quite different from the rest of Japan.
Most Japanese people begin to adopt standard Japanese after they come to Tokyo. However, Osakans would never do that. They will speak their Osakan dialect anywhere they go. Once you are accustomed to Japanese you will probably easily hear when someone is from Osaka.
Osakaben stems from the Kansai area and is similar to both the Kyoto and the Kobe dialects. It’s a powerful dialect consisting of quick reactions and fast talking. This is one of the reasons it has become rather popular all over Japan as many famous comedians are from Osaka or at least use Osakaben to sound funnier.
How about trying out some Osakaben for yourself? We introduce you to some useful words and phrases.
1. 何でやねん (Nan-de-ya-nen)
Nandeyanen is possibly one of the most used phrases in Osaka. It translates to "What are you talking about?" or "You've got to be kidding!". Usually you would say that to someone who is being silly.
This phrase is incredibly popular in traditional Japanese style stand-up comedy, called manzai. However, it is very casually used by people in Osaka on a daily basis.
People in Osaka love to joke and exaggerate all the time. For example, after eating a bowl of ramen that costs 700 yen ramen, the owner might say "That’ll be 7 million yen, thanks!". In this case, you can say, "Nandeyanen!"
You can also use nandeyanen to act surprised about something being said. For example, when someone says you are pretty you can reply "Nandeyanen".
2. めっちゃ (Meccha)
Meccha means "very", "really" or "totally". It’s a word to emphasize what is said afterward.
As mentioned before, Osaka people like to exaggerate to basically most of things are meccha. Meccha good, meccha handsome, meccha kawaii, [it] meccha suits you, meccha delicious... Put meccha in front of what you say, especially when you want to praise someone. You're sure to make them even happier!
3. まけて (Makete)
This means "Discount, please."
Osaka is a city with a powerful merchant spirit. An Osakan’s policy is to buy goods of good quality as cheap as possible. The act of bargaining has been a part of Osaka culture for a long time.
Of course, you can’t bargain in department stores or supermarkets, but you can in an electronic store, even if it’s a major one. Just the other day, I succeeded in getting my camera 3000 yen cheaper by doing this. You can also try in flea markets and shopping arcades where the shops are relatively small. Try to enjoy shopping and communicating with the shop clerk by using "Makete!"
4. ほな (Hona)
You can use this word as "Well then" or "Bye". Osakans use this like "Hona, see you soon" or "Hona, bye". Try this one to experience and enjoy frank Osakan style.
5. おおきに (O-kini)
"Okini" means "thank you".
Actually, this word is not used as often nowadays, especially if you’re from the younger generation. But still, we hear some older folks use "Okini!" to their customers in shopping arcades.
Why not try saying "Okini!" when you want to say thank you to someone.
6. ～やねん (Ya-nen)
This is the magical suffix. You can use this as an emphasis on nouns and adjective verbs to make anything sound like Osaka-ben! I like XX yanen, I hate XX yanen, I am an Osaka-jin yanen…etc.
Let’s say it together: I like Osaka yanen!
Let’s also add the "meccha" that we learned and it'll be: "I meccha like Osaka yanen!" And you’ll get along fine with an Osakan, I assure you.
Hona, got to go. Everybody, O-kini!