These are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages that existed prior to British invasion. There were around 250 languages and around 600 dialects. Now, only 145 Indigenous Australian languages exist with 110 of them being “critically endangered”.
can be fun and offer cultural insight. They may be useful to learn,
though usually only if you have geographical links to a specific area
of Japan- perhaps you have family there, personal heritage there, you
live there, or are going to do a language exchange in a specific
area. Linguists may also be interested just because they are
In almost all instances for non-Japanese people learning to understand a
dialect when it’s spoken/written (rather than produce it in your own speech) would suffice for communication. As far as I can see the
best reason to learn to actually speak a dialect is because
you want to communicate with elderly people from that region
specifically; most young people have had far more media exposure so
they can easily use ‘standard Japanese’/ Tokyo dialect.
a non-native Japanese speaker learns a dialect and can’t speak
standard Japanese, they may find they are seriously limited in
conversations and people will inevitably find it weird. They might
just find they are incomprehensible:
spent three years living in Nemuro, the easternmost town in Hokkaido.
[…] Hokkaido-ben is often misunderstood outside Hokkaido,
can’t be understood even in the next town over.
So it’s basically useless unless you’re planning a trip to Nemuro
(which I would recommend.) However, it does show how many variations
there are in dialect, even within one island.’ [Tofugu,
with a low communicative ability in English who could only speak
using Cockney rhyming slang, but didn’t know standard English
unfortunately would sound ridiculous to natives of that area. It
would seem crazy to know 'You’re 'aving a bubble mate!’, but not ’You
must be joking!’. They’d sound odd and in many instances their
language would sound antiquated. Be aware that you may well get a
similar reaction if you pepper your speech with regional dialect as a
non-Japanese person without being conversationally fluent in standard
Japanese. I’m not saying don’t learn dialects, please do if
they interest you, learning to understand them when you hear them,
rather than necessarily use them in your own speech, is a great idea.
If you want to speak in them, please try to do it all in good time
and in a respectful way that is not accessorizing the language and
Many of the resources here
will be only in Japanese, as this post is aimed at higher
intermediate and advanced learners. The section below is in mostly
English and will give you a general overview if you’re interested:
organised this by prefecture, but it’s worth noting that some
prefectures contain several dialects and I’m by no means an
expert, I hope the Tumblr Japanese learning community can contribute
to and help improve this post.
tend to be Line
stickers on sale for dialects, as people think they’re cute and
want to show local pride, try searching the Line sticker store for
the dialect you want and you can use them in conversations, which
will give you a little practise.
has a lot of basic introductory information on dialects, there are
almost certainly dialects I’ve missed from this list, if you search
for the prefecture or geographical location and the word 弁
you’re likely to find a dialect, even if it isn’t simply called
are books on dialects, typically designed for native speakers, such
as this dialect
dictionary, or this Tosa
ben guide available in Japan, but you’d need some very advanced
Japanese to be able to access them, in which case I doubt you’d be
following my blog.
regional dialects there are also many languages that are native to
Japan that are not Japanese. If you’re interested in learning Ainu,
one of the Ryukyuan
Japanese sign language, or another language from Japan that is not
standard spoken Japanese then this
may interest you. Many of these languages are endangered.
to these bloggers who helped contribute to this post:
Disclaimer: There are a massive number of
regional dialects in Japan, I am neither Japanese, nor an expert, so
inevitably I will miss some off this list. If you want to share
information about a dialect from a part of Japan you’ve visited or
lived in please reblog and add some information or resources, so that
we can get this post to a point where it’s as comprehensive as
possible. Many thanks!
February 9th, 2016 - Computer algorithms organized the howls by pitch and fluctuation, grouping the 2,000 vocalizations into 21 types
Genetically or taxonomically speaking, wolves aren’t all that closely related to humans, but they organize and behave like people, and researchers believe the evolutionary origins of language may be hiding in their howls.
“Ecologically their behavior in a social structure is remarkably close to that of humans,” Arik Kershenbaum, a scientist from the University of Cambridge, explained in a news release. “That’s why we domesticated dogs – they are very similar to us.”
Kershenbaum served as the lead researcher on a project to analyze the howls of wolves. Using machine learning, a team of Cambridge scientists analyzed 2,000 individual howls. Computer algorithms organized the howls by pitch and fluctuation, grouping the 2,000 vocalizations into 21 types.
The analysis linked the varying frequencies of the 21 howl types – from flat to highly modulated – to different species, subspecies and populations, suggesting the howls of wolves resemble human dialects.
Most of the identified dialects are distinct, but several share similarities. Researchers believe the likeness of red wolf and coyote howls may explain their propensity for interbreeding.
“The survival of red wolves in the wild is threatened by interbreeding with coyotes, and we found that the howling behavior of the two species is very similar,” Kershenbaum said. “This may be one reason why they are so likely to mate with each other, and perhaps we can take advantage of the subtle differences in howling behavior we have now discovered to keep the populations apart.”
The new research is limited by its strictly mathematical approach. Researchers acknowledge that they don’t know exactly what the dialects mean or how they’re employed in the wild. Wolves are very difficult to monitor in their natural habitat.
“We are currently working on research in Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. using multiple recording devices and triangulation technology to try and pick up howl sounds and location,” Kershenbaum explained. “In this way we might be able to tell whether certain calls relate to distance communication or pack warnings, for example.”
Kershenbaum is confident the secrets to the development of human language lies in the calls of social species like wolves in dolphins. He points out that when a dolphin whistle is slowed by a factor of 30, it sounds almost identical to the howl of a wolf.
when people say a language is useless or we should let dialects die out I panic because all languages are perfect cinnamon rolls worthy of preservation and we must keep them safely recorded in an arctic bunker like we do with DNA.
1 Language is a dialect with an army and a navy
2 Standard English is just one of the many dialects of English
3 We are all multilingual in many different ways
4 A dictionary is just another text written in the language, not a law of the language
5 Language is more than words and rules
Don’t call it Little Russian. Why the Ukraine’s lingua franca is a hot point.
In the West, it’s generally agreed that Ukrainian and Russian are separate languages, with 38 percent of their lexicon differing. (That’s slightly more than Spanish and Italian, which differ by 33 percent.) It’s also generally agreed that the three Eastern Slavic languages—Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian—split off from Old East Slavic about a thousand years ago.
Ukrainian and Russian are today closer than they were a hundred years ago due to Soviet Russification, and somewhat mutually intelligible—speakers in Ukraine often switch back and forth from one to the other. Flier told me that many Russians claim they understand Ukrainian, partly as a way of demoting it to dialect status. But, he pointed out, when Victor Yuschenko was prime minister and insisted on speaking Ukrainian to Vladimir Putin, Putin needed a translator to understand.
What makes a language, as opposed to a dialect, is a complicated a political issue. History alone does not determine distance. Case in point: Ukrainian and Russian have diverged and reconverged to some degree due to political actions taken to Russify the Ukrainian language. So, if the Ukrainian language continues to be suppressed and Russified, at what point would (objective) linguists argue that Ukrainian had become a dialect of Russian? Would they ever argue such a thing, given its fraught history? (I don’t know.)
Dialect, dialect, dialect. What in God’s name is the difference between a language and a dialect? I’ll tell you. A language waves flags and is blown up by politicians. A dialect keeps to things, things, things, streets smells and street noises, life.
And let me tell you what, they speak a different French than I do!!!
Well, not exactly. I knew there were differences, and that they have a recognisable accent, but now that I discover it, it becomes interesting.
First, the accent: apparently it’s close to a Flemish (Belgian Dutch dialect) accent, and I can notice some of the recurring features
they have some long vowels (standard French doesn’t)
/ʀ/ and sometimes even /χ/ (instead of /ʁ/)
they don’t use /ɥ/, they use /w/ instead: pluie is pronounced /plwi/ instead of /plɥi/
they pronounce the -t in vingt all the time, when it’s only pronounced for the liaison and in numbers from 21 to 29 in standard French (NB: a friend of mine from Strasbourg does the same, so maybe it’s a northern feature)
Now to the vocab and phrases I’ve noticed (non exhaustive list):
use of fort instead of très and beaucoup (’very’ and ‘lots/many/much’)
use of septante and nonante instead of soixante-dix and quatre-vingt-dix
un kot /kot/ is a little student accomodation - un cokoteur is a room/flatmate (colocataire in standard French)
un GSM is obviously a cell phone (un portable, un mobile in standard French)
use of tantôt instead of tout à l’heure
use of aller alone instead of y aller - “je vais aller” for “je vais y aller” (I’m about to go/leave)
use of postposer instead of reporter (to postpone)
use of s’il vous/te plaît instead of 1) tenez/tiens/voici (’here, take this’) or 2) de rien/je vous/t’en prie… or 3) pardon/comment ? (’what? can you repeat?’)
…and last but not least…
use of ça va instead of d’accord/ok/ça marche/ça roule/etc. - which is highly disturbing at first when someone ends their sentence witha little “ça va ?” and you’re like “euh oui ça va, et vous ?” … and you look dumb
So here for my first week of French from Brussels/Belgium experience :D