Umpaku dialect

Umpaku Japanese
Native to Japan
Region eastern San'in
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog umpa1238[1]

Umpaku-dialect area

The Umpaku dialect (雲伯方言 Unpaku hōgen) is a group of the Japanese dialects spoken in central San'in region. The name Unpaku (雲伯) is constructed by extracting a representative kanji from Izumo (出) and Hōki (耆), names of old provinces there.

The Umpaku dialect are:


Umpaku dialect, especially Izumo-ben, unique from other dialects in Chūgoku region, superficially resembles Tōhoku dialects in pronunciation and is thus also called Zūzū-ben. It has neutralization of the high vowels "i" and "u".


Voiceless vowel sounds are common in most western Japanese accents and this is no different in Izumo where it is commonly heard. In Izumo and western Hoki, just like the Tohoku dialects "i" and "u" sounds are inflected. "i" is commonly pronounced [ï] and "u" [ɯ̈].


The dropping of "r" sounds

In Izumo and western Hoki dialects, "r" sounds are often excluded and an elongation of the previous sound fills it place. e.g. dare > daa "who", arimasu > aamasu "there is". In particular this often happens to "ri" and "ru" sounds which are almost all replaced by this elongated sound. In some areas, shiroi "white" becomes shie and akeru "to open" becomes akyae. In Oki, these sounds are also replaced by sokuon such as sono tsumodda (sono tsumori da).

Remnants of archaic sounds

kwa, gwa
These voicings are prominent in the area and are non standard sounds for modern Japanese.
f instead of h
In the Heian period, all of the "h" row of sounds were pronounced with an "f" sound [ɸ] rather than with a "h" i.e. fa, fi, fu, fe, fo. Izumo still keeps this pronunciation. For example: fashi [ɸasï] = hashi "chopsticks", febi [ɸebï] = hebi "snake"
se, ze
In pronunciation "se" becomes "she" and "ze" becomes "je".



  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Umpaku". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
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