, Dialects

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Summary

is a prefecture of Japan located in the Tōhoku region. The capital is the city of Aomori.

Details

According to Ken Cannon, there are three major dialects spoken in Japan; standard Japanese, Kansai dialect and Tohoku dialect. Tohoku dialect, or Tohoku-ben, is found in northern Japan and is spoken between farmers and country folks. This dialect is also referred to as "zuu zuu-ben" because when speaking the language the Japanese don't open up their mouths that much thus sounding slurred (i.e. zuu-buu-muu-zuu). There is a negative connotation that surrounds people that speak this dialect, labeling them as lazy country folks. Due to this negativity speakers of Tohoku-ben will hide their accents when speaking standard Japanese.

There are dozens of versions of this Tohoku-ben, with two notably major ones in found in the Aomori Prefecture; Tsugaru-ben (津軽弁) and Nambu-ben (南部弁). The former is prevalent in the area around Hirosaki City, and the latter is heard in and around the city of Hachinohe. According to a study done by Hideki Tanaka, the "dz" and "s" consonants undergo palatalization in the Nambu dialect. There is also the dialect Shimokita-ben (下北弁), which was used in the early Russian–Japanese Dictionary made by a Japanese Russian man whose father came from the Shimokita Peninsula. It is a combination of Tsugaru-ben and Nambu-ben.

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