Hakata-ben (博多弁) is a Japanese dialect spoken in the area of Fukuoka City on the southern island of Kyushu. The Hakata dialect developed in Hakata, an old port and merchant city on the east bank of the Naka-gawa. Towards the end of the 19th century, Hakata was merged with Fukuoka and became one of the city’s districts. Hakata-ben is sometimes referred to as Fukuoka-ben due to its increased popularity as the typical dialect of Fukuoka.
Throughout the country, Hakata-ben is renowned as as a very soft and pleasant dialect, especially when spoken by women. Lately, the dialect has been used in regional news along with Standard Japanese. It also shares similarities with other dialects of western cities like Saga, Nagasaki and Kumamoto.
These are a few examples of differences between Standard Japanese and Hakata-ben.
～teiru -> ～too
～no -> ～to
“Nani wo shite iru no?” -> “Nan shitoo to?” (What are you doing?)
～da、～ja -> ～ya
“Inu da ne.” -> “Inu ya ne.” (It’s a dog, isn’t it?)
“Akai ja nai.” -> “Akai ya nai.” (It’s not red.)
～い -> ～ka (with adjectives)
“Samui.” -> “Samuka.” (It’s cold.)
“Atsui.” -> “Atsuka.” (It’s hot.)
～yo -> ～bai (at the end of a sentence)
“Sore da yo.” -> “Sore ya bai.” (That’s it.)
One of the most widely known phrases in Hakata-ben is とっとーと (Tottooto). The sentence basically translates to “reserve something”.
For example, “Kono seki, tottooto?” means “Is this seat taken?”
Do you know anyone who speaks Hakata-ben?
What is your favorite phrase?