World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Saga dialect

Article Id: WHEBN0010126936
Reproduction Date:

Title: Saga dialect  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Hakata dialect, Japanese language, Japanese dialects, Hichiku dialect, Japanese irregular verbs
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Saga dialect

Saga dialect
Native to Japan
Region Saga Prefecture
Native speakers
(no estimate available)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog saga1265[1]

The Saga dialect (佐賀弁 Saga-ben) is a dialect of the Japanese language widely spoken in Saga prefecture and some other areas, such as Isahaya. It is influenced by Kyushu dialect and Hichiku dialect. Saga-ben is further divided by accents centered on individual towns.

The Saga dialect, like most dialects of rural Kyushu, can be nearly unintelligible to people who are accustomed to standard Japanese. A popular urban legend has it that two Saga-ben speakers met up in Tokyo and bystanders mistook their dialect for Chinese.


Many of Saga's dialectical properties are variants, in particles or conjugations, of standard Japanese.

  • Words are often repeated twice.
  • The sentence-ending particle "よ" becomes "ばい" or "たい".
  • The contrastive conjunction "ばってん" (somewhat equivalent to English's "however") replaces standard Japanese equivalents.
  • The operative particle "を" is replaced with "ば".
    • Ex.:手紙ば書いた=Wrote [a] letter.
  • The particle "が", when referring to other people, is replaced with "の".
    • Ex.:黒君の書いた=Kuro-kun wrote [it].
  • Traditional masu-form keigo is replaced by the suffix "~しんさっ", "~しんさる", "~しよんさっ", or "~しよんさる".
    • Ex.:手紙をかきよんさった=Wrote [polite] [a] letter.
  • The direction particles "に" and "へ" are replaced with "さい".
    • Ex.:学校さい行く=Go to school.
  • The explanatory "の" it replaced by "と".
    • Ex.:手紙を書いたと?= Wrote [a] letter [explanation request].
  • The continuative conjugation "~ている" becomes "とっ".
    • Ex.:書いとっ=[Someone is] writing.
  • In the passive conjugation of a verb, "れ" is taken out and "る" becomes a long vowel, or doubles the next consonant.
    • Ex.:書かれる (writing; passive voice) becomes replaced with 書かるう or 書かるっ.
  • I-adjectives have their "い"s replaced with "か"s.
    • Ex.: cold (寒い) becomes 寒か.
  • Na-adjectives sometimes have a か added on, reminiscent of the above characteristic. This seems to happen more in the south.
    • Ex.: じょうず becomes じょうずか.
  • Pronunciation is similar to Hakata ben in the following: "sa, shi, su, se, so" become "sha, shii, shu, she, sho". In addition, Saga-ben also has the unique pronunciations of "za, zu, ze, da, ga," and "na" rendered as "ja, ju, je, ja, gya," and "nya", respectively.
  • "~ない" conjugations become "ん" (the "ない" adjective itself becomes "なか"). This reflects the negative archaic/rude conjugation in standard Japanese. For example, whereas 食べん would be rude in eastern Japan, in Saga-ben it is standard.
    • Ex.:分からない becomes 分からん
  • I-adjectives' "い"s become "さ" in when the speaker wants to add strong emphasis.
  • I-adjectives' continuative form's "く" becomes a modifying "う" that elongates and possibly changes the vowel of the character before it.
    • Ex.:interesting (continuative) (おもしろく) becomes "おもしろう"; fun (continuative) (楽しく) becomes 楽しゅう.

これ, それ, あれ, どれ Series

The Demonstrative series is uniquely pronounced in Saga-dialect.

  • The normal これ, それ, あれ, どれ series in Japanese (this, that, yon, and which respectively) has its れ sounds replaced with い. 俺 also follows this pattern, and becomes おい. Indeed, many words follow this pattern; even 誰 becomes だい.
  • The related words どう, こう, and そう become どがん, そがん, and こがん, respectively. An even more rustic conjugation set of these words is どぎゃん, そぎゃん, and こぎゃん.


Saga-ben contains lots of characteristic vocabulary. Examples are included (with standard Japanese, where applicable) in the following table:
Saga-ben vocabulary
Saga-ben Standard Japanese English gloss
おばっちゃん おば-ちゃん granny
いわじいにゃ 言わないのよ I'm not saying
きんしゃ 来る Come
あばかん / Too small, and cannot be fit into
がばい すごく Terribly; extremely
~ごた のようだ It's that way
うーか 多い Many
うすか 怖い Scary
くさい だ!;だよ! (copula; affirmative particle)
しぎーのする しびれる Fall asleep (of a limb)
じゃーた 出した came out
すらごと ぞらごと Falsehood
とっとっと 取っているの taken/reserved (w/explanation particle)
~とけ なのに despite~
ふうけもん バカ idiot
みたんなか みっともない shameful; extremely
きゃーないた 疲れた tired
ぎゃーけした 風邪をひった caught a cold
~やろー 〜なんでしょう;〜だろ I guess; probably (rhetorical)
~やん 〜じゃん isn't it (affirmative).
えいくろった 酔っ払った inebriated
ひやがいーめし 昼食 lunch
いっちょん 全く completely
やぐらしい うるさい annoying
あちゃこちゃ あちこち here and there

Cultural references

Saga-ben was heavily spoken in the 2006 film, and now television series, "Gabai bā-chan" (lit. fantastic grandma). The title itself is in Saga-ben.

See also


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Saga dialect". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.