英語でニッポンをフカボリ! DID YOU KNOW…?『方言』


まずはKey Words & Phrasesから。


racially homegeneous(単一民族の)
regional dialect(地域方言)
vovabulary (語彙・言葉遣い)
standard language / standard Japanese(標準語) 


even though(~であるけれども)
wide range of (さまざまな・多様な)
dozens of(数十の・多数の)
it is wise to(~しておくのは賢明だ)
pass on to(~に伝える・つなぐ)
future generation(次世代)
nationwide broadcast(全国放送)
historically speaking(歴史的に言えば)
intend to(~を目的とする)


Did you know the Japanese language has many dialects?

・Even though Japan is known as a racially homogeneous country and a single language is used, a wide range of dialects are spoken throughout the nation.
・It is said that dozens of regional dialects exist in Japan, and each dialect has a different accent, vocabulary and intonation from the standard Japanese.
・Dialect could be considered as one of the valuable cultures, however, some of them are vanishing with time.
・Considering the importance of tradition and regional culture, it may be wise to preserve and pass its history on to future generations.

3 Questions for Digging Deeper! 《 もっと掘り下げてみよう! 》

1. Is it difficult for a person who is unfamiliar with a dialect to understand the local language?

It could be difficult to understand when listening to someone with an unfamiliar dialect, but certain dialects are widely known and well understood. For example, the “Kansai” dialect markedly differs from the standard Japanese in terms of the accent, intonation and vocabulary but many people would understand the language as it is often used in TV shows.

2. Why are some of the dialects vanishing?

There are probably multiple reasons, and one possible factor would be the expansion of mass media such as TV shows, radio and movies. In many cases, the standard Japanese is spoken in nationwide broadcast programs, and people can be influenced by the language used in such shows.

3. Incidentally, what is the standard Japanese?

Historically speaking, there was no “standard Japanese” and the language spoken in the center of politics, economics and culture of the time was considered as the standard Japanese. The current standard Japanese is said to be formed around 1900. Although many people speak different dialects, standard Japanese is a common, nation-state language.



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