Ōita dialect

Ōita dialect
Native to Japan
Region Ōita Prefecture
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog oita1237[1]
A sign that uses Ōita-ben

Ōita dialect, or Ōita-ben, is a dialect of Japanese spoken in Ōita Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan. Even within the prefecture, regional differences are still prevalent; for example, vocabulary within the Hita and Nakatsu regions tends to differ from that used in other regions of Ōita.


Ōita-ben has been strongly influenced by dialects from the Chuugoku region of Japan. For example, compared to other dialects within Kyushu, the sentence-final particle tai, the contradictory conjunction batten, and the secondary substantive particle to are rarely used. However, the word endings -tcha (emphasizing) and -ken (explanatory) are frequently used.


Potential forms of verbs

Apart from the younger generation's tendency to skip the ra when forming some standard Japanese potential verbs ("ra"-removed words), the Ōita-ben usage is considered a fairly old custom. For example: miru's potential form being pronounced mireru instead of mirareru.

In addition, there are three forms of potential verbs in Ōita-ben, depending on whether the potential is objective, subjective, or related to personal ability.

  1. taberaruru – An objective potential form; for example, because something hasn’t gone rotten, you can eat it. The negative potential is taberaren.
  2. tabereru – A subjective potential form; for example, because you aren’t full yet, you can eat it. The negative potential is taberen.
  3. tabekiru – A potential form that relates to personal ability; for example, others might not be able to eat it because they dislike it, but you can eat it. The negative potential is tabekiran.

-yoru and -choru

In general, -yoru refers to the progression or continuation of an action or occurrence, while -choru refers to the completion, continuation, or result of a condition or status. They are common in many western Japanese dialects. -yoru can change to -yon, while -choru can change to -chon as well.

  1. “Sakki kara ame ga furiyoru naa.” – For some time, it has been (and is still currently) raining.
  2. “Itsun ma ni ka ame ga futchoru naa.” - I wasn't aware it had been raining (it is already clearing up).

Word endings and connectives

  1. -tcha – attached to the ends of words for emphasis. For example, “Chigau tcha! Ore wa yatchoran ccha!” which becomes “Chigau tte! Ore wa yatte nai tte!” in standard Japanese, means “No! I didn't do it!”
  2. -tchi – equivalent to the standard Japanese word ending -tte, it is used to quote something that was said or that you heard from someone else. Sometimes sounds like -tchie. For example, “Ano futari kekkon shita tchie”, which becomes “Ano futari kekkon shita tte yo” in standard Japanese, means “I heard those two got married.”
  • -tchi is used not only in Ōita-ben, but is also heard in the Kitakyushu and Kurume regions. However, in Ōita-ben there is a strong trend for other te sounds (aside from the conjunctive particle te) to change to a chi sound.
  • “Chotto kiichi kuri”, which becomes “Chotto kiite kure” in standard Japanese, roughly translates to “Listen to me.”
  • “Matchi kuri”, which becomes “Matte kure” in standard Japanese, translates to “Wait for me.”
  1. -ni – similar to the da yo found in standard Japanese. For example, “Mada shukudai shite nai ni”, which becomes “Mada shukudai shite nain da yo” in standard Japanese, means “I haven’t done my homework yet.”
  2. -ya ni – almost the same as the plain -ni. For example, “Anta no koto ga suki ya ni”, which becomes “Anata no koto ga suki nan da yo” in standard Japanese, means “I like you.”
  3. -ken – equivalent to the standard kara meaning “because”, this is widely used across Kyushu.
  4. sogee, dogee, kogee, agee – the Ōita-ben equivalents of sonna, donna, konna, anna
  5. -kae – can be either the standard Japanese question particle kai or a substitute for the “Please do...” / ...shinasai form. However, this ending is falling out of use with the younger generation.
  • ”Genki kae?” which becomes “Genki kai?” in standard Japanese, translates to “Are you well?”
  • ”Tsukattara chanto naosan kae”, which becomes “Tsukattara chanto katazukenasai” in standard Japanese, translates roughly to “If you use it, clean up properly when you’re done.”



Basic formDialectConjugated form
shinu, inuStandard Japanese-na-ni-nu-nu-ne-ne
Ōita-ben-na-ni-nuru-nuru-nura-ne, -niyo
Old Japanese-na-ni-nu-nuru-nure-ne
Basic formDialectConjugated form
mieruStandard Japanese-e-e-eru-eru-ere-ero, -eyo
Ōita-ben-e-e-yuru-yuru-yure-ero, -eyo
miyuOld Japanese-e-e-yu-yuru-yure-eyo
reruStandard Japanesererererurerurererero, reyo
Ōita-benrererurururururerero, reyo
ruOld Japaneserererururururereyo
Basic formDialectConjugated form
miruStandard Japanesemimimirumirumiremire, miyo
Ōita-benmiramimirumirumiramire, miyo


Keiyōshi change form depending on the vowel before the final i. The two vowels combine into one elongated sound.

  1. aiee; for example, karai (spicy) → karee
  2. uiii; for example, akarui (bright) → akarii
  3. oiii or ee; for example, kuroi (black) → kurii or kuree

Sounds and phonemes

toshi wo tottetoshu totchi
nani wo itte iru nonan, iiyon no kae, nan iiyon no ka nou, or nanyou iiyon no kae

Euphonic changes

Oita-ben employs euphonic changes often during rapid speech.

Euphonic changes that differ from standard Japanese

  1. -u verbs: omotta (thought) → omoota; sorotta (gathered) → soroota. When the vowel preceding the u is an a, it changes to an o: katta (bought) → koota; moratta (received) → moroota
  2. -bu and -mu verbs: asonda (played) → asooda; yonda (read) → yooda. This change is falling out of use with the younger generation.
  3. keiyōshi: akakute (red) → akoote; takakute (high, expensive) → takoote
  1. -su verbs: sashita (raised, pointed) → saita; kashita (lent) → kaita. When the vowel preceding the su is an o, it changes to an i: nokoshita (left over) → nokiita; modoshitamojiita (returned). This change is also falling out of use with the younger generation.


Words in Ōita-ben are accented according to a slight variation of the Tokyo dialect’s pitch accent. The western Hita region, while still considered to utilize the pitch accent of the Tokyo dialect, has some minor differences in intonation, while areas close to the inland Kumamoto and Miyazaki Prefectures sometimes utilize the “no accent” pitch that is characteristic of those prefectures.[2]

Words with accents that differ from standard Japanese

In this list, the left side is the standard intonation, while the right is the Ōita-ben intonation. The accented part is in bold.

Changes in pronunciation

Characteristic Vocabulary

This section contains some of the typical words and phrases in Ōita-ben. Words are listed according to Japanese alphabetical order with Ōita-ben on the left and standard Japanese on the right. The accented syllable is in bold.


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Ōita-ben". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. NHK放送文化研究所. "NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 新版". NHK Publication, 1998.
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