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This journal is written by Kuma (Felis catus) and Kuma's owner Y (homo sapiens). We have moved from Japan to Australia in 2011.

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2016-09-08 04:51   Regional Dialects in Japan

Y (Kuma's owner)

My husband and I had guests from Japan last month. It was fun to have guests, and we enjoyed chatting. It's usually nice and easy to talk in my mother tongue, however my Japanese is standard and the guests' were Tosa regional dialect. This was a bit awkward. Honestly, I couldn't understand 100% of what they said. My brother-in-law has an Aussie friend who had lived in Tosa (Kochi-Pref.). He can understand the Tosa regional dialect more than I do.

I had learnt Spanish a little. One day, I turned on the TV and saw an educational channel of Italian. On TV, two tourists were talking about where the museum was. The surprising thing was I could understand what they were saying.

Then I thought why do we call all the dialects in Japan Japanese? There are various dialects in Japan. Recently, the dialects are replacing standard Japanese little by little where people around the capital city Tokyo speak Japanese. Therefore, everybody understands or speaks standard Japanese but dialects still remain.

I heard that if someone who speaks Kagoshima (South island of Japan) dialect and someone who speaks Tohoku (North part of Japan) dialect meet and talk, they cannot understand each other but we call all these languages Japanese. I don't know why? I guess that the difference between Kagoshima dialect and Tohoku dialect is bigger than Italian and Spanish.

It's interesting that there are so many dialects in such a small country.

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