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Yamagata dialect

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Title: Yamagata dialect  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Japanese language, Japanese irregular verbs, Classical Japanese language, Yamagata, Japanese consonant and vowel verbs
Collection: Culture in Yamagata Prefecture, Japanese Dialects
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Yamagata dialect

Yamagata dialect
Murayama dialect
Native to Japan
Region Yamagata
Native speakers
(this article does not contain any information regarding the number of speakers)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog yama1262[1]

The Yamagata dialect (山形弁 Yamagata-ben) is the local dialect spoken in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. It is a form of Tōhoku-ben, and can itself be broken down into sub-regional branches that vary from area to area within Yamagata.

Yamagata-ben was used for comic effect in the Japanese film Swing Girls, 2004, to suggest that the film was set in a rural, 'backward' location. However, some Yamagata residents feel that the film used the dialect in an unnatural and patronising way. The dialect has also had Japan-wide exposure through Daniel Kahl, an American who has made a TV career as the gaijin talent who can speak fluent Yamagata-ben.


List of Yamagata-ben words (not all of which are spoken throughout the prefecture):

  • oshoushina - thank you
  • oshoshi- thanks
  • arigatou sama - thank you
  • sasukune - no problem/ you're welcome
  • domosu - thank you / greeting
  • kiyotsu - take care
  • ohayosu - G'morning
  • oban desu - Good evening
  • obanwasu - G'morning
  • oban kata - Good evening
  • hisashibe - it's been a while (since we last met)
  • n dasu - it is so
  • n da - yes
  • n ne - no
  • na shite -why is this?
  • omoshaibe - interesting
  • muzurikado -difficult
  • jonda - great! skillful!
  • igube - let's go
  • aibe - let's go
  • migi sa muzaru- turn right
  • migi sa muziru- turn right
  • hidari sa muzaru- turn left
  • hidari sa muziru- turn left
  • shaikosunna- stop interfering/bothering me
  • sawannazu!- don't touch me!
  • tentsu- lie
  • agarashai - welcome
  • ke- a statement made to offer one food
  • ku- a statement made accepting one's offer of food
  • ~nan da be? (~nan desu ka?) - what?
  • n dakara - therefore
  • agae/agayae- please eat


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Yamagata".  

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