Translated by MATCHA_En
Nandeyanen? - 10 Osaka Dialect Phrases That Are Meccha Important!
Written by Atsuko Yagura
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!
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, so basically, most of things are meccha. Meccha ii (very good), meccha kawaii (very cute), meccha oishii (very delicious), you probably get the point.
If you want to praise someone or something, don't be afraid to use meccha. It will probably make the people you talk to very happy.
3. ほんま (Honma)
Honma means "really" in Osakaben. It is a very universal word just like meccha.
You can use it as "Honma?" which means "Really?" or "Are you serious?" but you can also use it to make the meaning of other words stronger. For example, "Honma gomen" (really sorry) or "Honma okini" (thank you very much).
Wakarahen means the same as "wakaranai" in standart Japanese. It translates to "I don't understand" or "I don't get it".
You can casually use wakarahen when you don't understand the meaning of something. It can be used for both, if you don't understand the Japanese meaning or if you just don't understand what the other person tries to tell you.
5. ええで (ee de)
Ee de has the same meaning as "ii yo". It means "Don't worry", "No problem" or "Ok". You can use it as reply whenever someone asks you for a favor or apologizes to you for something.
Maido is probably not something you can use yourself but rather something that will be used a lot by sales people if you enter a shop or make a purchase. It means "Thank you for your business!" or "Hello!".
People in Osaka may also use it when answering the phone. They might say "maido maido" instead of "moshi moshi".
7. なんぼ (Nambo)
Nambo mean "how much is it?. If you want to know the price of something, you wouldn't say "kore ikura desu ka?" in Osaka. It is better to ask "Sunmahen, kore nambo?".
Sunmahen is used in Osaka instead of "sumimasen". They both have the same multiple meaning of “excuse me,” “please,” “thank you,” or “sorry.”
8. まけて (Makete)
Makete 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.
You can’t bargain in department stores or supermarkets, but you can in the electronic stores, even in some major one. You can also try your bargaining skills at flea markets and shopping arcades where the shops are relatively small.
How about trying to enjoy shopping and communicating with the shop clerk by using "Makete!"?
9. おおきに (Okini)
"Okini" is spoken with a long "o" and means "thank you". This word is not used as often nowadays, especially if you’re from the younger generation. However, it is still used by shop staff to thank their customers in shopping arcades with many traditional shops.
It doesn't sound odd if someone of a younger generation uses it. Actually, older people might be pleasantly surprised by your politeness. Why not try saying "Okini!" when you want to say thank you to someone in Osaka.
10. ほな (Hona)
Hona can be used as "Well then" or "Bye". People in Osaka use it as "see you" but it is usually used for longer separations such as saying goodbye to someone at the airport.
It can be used more casually when there is something you want but it is not available or sold out. In this case, you can also say "Hona". In this case, it means "well then" or "no other choice"
Try some Osakaben on Your Next Trip
Osaka people are extremely friendly and always fun to talk with. They are always open for a chat and happy to talk to strangers. How about trying some of the phrases you learned today on your next trip to Osaka? People will be positively surprised and you might make some new friends!
Maybe you say "nandeyanen!" but I tell you "honma!". Try it out!