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Kansai Japanese: The Language of Osaka,Kyoto,and Western Japan Paperback – April 15, 1993

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (April 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804818681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804818681
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,764,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Jorgensen on April 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm a little bit bewildered by the 5 star rating that the previous reviewers have given this book. I found it to be a jumble of example phrases thrown together with little structure, that doesn't help you to build a solid base for understanding Kansai dialect. It serves more as a Kansai-ben phrasebook to flip through and hopeful pick up a few scraps of knowledge along the way.

One thing that I need to point out is that the Kansai language listed in this book is low down dirty pure Kansai-ben, and from reading this book you may get the impression that people actually speak like that. They don't. Almost everybody under say, age 65, tempers their speech with Standard Japanese and many of the structures and words in this book are almost entirely out of use.

In terms of structure and organization the book is hard to follow. There are a number of topic-based sections, like 'Food and Drink', 'Feeling sick', and 'Family Talk'. That's not a bad idea, but within each section the reader is bombarded with a bunch of seemingly random phrases given in both Western (Kansai)Japanese and Eastern (Tokyo) Japanese. Rather than a bunch of short phrases and brief exchanges, I would have benefited more from longer dialogues which demonstrate a few main characteristics of Kansai Japanese. There are some such dialogues in the book, and they're much more meaningful and memorable than the short phrases. Also, much of the vocabulary used in the example phrases is uncommon and unnecessary, and just adds to the feeling of randomness.

The book does have interesting sections describing traditional (ie.not spoken much anymore but very well known) Kyoto Japanese, traditional Osaka Japanese, and Hiroshima Japanese.
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By A Customer on April 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Typically, a proper review should wait until you've read a few books on a certain subject and are able to properly compare all the books about that subject to each other.

... So I say, but really, since when do you see books around about Kansai-ben? Maybe I'm just not looking around enough, but I've only found two English books on Kansai-ben (this being one of them). So a word of advice: if you're looking for books on Kansai-ben, grab 'em when you get your first chance!

Anyway, as far as the book goes, it has a leaning towards example phrases. There are many for use and study in this book, and the author does us all a great favor by not only presenting these in regular Kansai-ben with the obligatory English translation, but by also giving us the translation into regular Tokyou-ben. Of course, all the proper explanations to follow these examples are provided. All chapters end with a dialogue, summing up the content of the chapter quite neatly. It should also be noted that although all text in this book is in romaji (Japanese spelled with the English alphabet), the words and phrases used in this book dictate that you have a working knowledge of Japanese words and grammar already - vocabulary and grammar (and thus, sentence deconstruction) is left primarily to the reader. As an aside, I personally prefer regular Japanese script with furigana, especially when the book is directed towards those who should already know some basic Japanese, but that's just me.

As the chapters progress, this book covers basic Kansai-ben, then moves to cover each of three regions with three chapters (Kyouto, Hiroshima, and Oosaka). From there, it moves towards macho-man speak and curses, then to the cool little colloquial words and phrases to talk people (or things) down or up.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books on Kansai Japanese. It is very structured, and can help you learn to understand - and speak the Kansai dialect. The pronounciation is different from standard Japanese, so i'd recomend using the book more so you can understand it rather than speak it, but anyway, it is filled with examples and situations, using dialogs in English, 'standard' Japanese, and 'kansai' Japanese. Learn Japanese the way it was supposed to be spoken! After all, if the capital hadn't been moved to Tokyo, this might have BEEN the standard.
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