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関東弁 versus 関西弁

healer

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What is the main difference between 関東弁 and 関西弁? When I googled it they are all in Japanese language which I'm not capable enough to understand all the nitty-gritty.
Are they the only Japanese dialects?

Are all the students taught the standard Japanese language in all schools? Perhaps they are all taught with local dialects.
I believe 関東弁 is what a standard Japanese language is. Am I right?

I ask all these because I am wondering if the standard Japanese language we learn or supposed to learn understandable by all Japanese people.
Would they be able to speak the language we learn or would they have to speak their local dialects which we might not understand fully?
 

bentenmusume

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Standard Japanese language would be called 標準語(ひょうじゅんご), not 関東弁 (or any kind of ~弁).

Yes, if you learn to speak 標準語 well, you will be able to make yourself understood to the overwhelmingly vast majority of the Japanese populace, and you will (likewise) be able to understand them. The exceptions would be primarily older speakers in more remote areas with heavy dialects, who might be very difficult to understand even, on occasion, for native Japanese speakers (but obviously, more so for second-language learners).

Long story short, when you're just getting started, I would focus primarily (or entirely) on learning standard Japanese to the best of your ability. Once you have that base down, and if you ever find yourself living in Japan where a dialect (be it 関西弁 or 東北弁 or 北陸苑 or 九州弁 or what-have-you) are spoken, you can pick that up from friends and acquaintances as you feel necessary. There's really no reason to go out of your way to learn a dialect to any significant degree when you still haven't mastered 標準語. (And yes, there is a sort of old Tokyo dialect spoken primarily by older residents of the 下町 areas, but that's certainly not necessarily to learn to get by in Tokyo, any more than you'd need to master a heavy Brooklyn accent to get by in New York City, for example.)
 

OoTmaster

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All Japanese learn 標準語 as part of modern schooling. I found from personal experience learning the Standard Japanese. That everyone could understand me and I was able to understand everyone at about the same level between different areas. Not being Japanese myself though they may have made an effort to use the Standard Japanese usage instead of their normal speech though. I'm not versed enough in the language to know if that's the case though. But if you learn the Standard Japanese most if not all will understand you in all but the most rural areas.
 

healer

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標準語(ひょうじゅんご), not 関東弁
The standard Japanese is the variety used in the Tokyo area.
I often heard people refer to what is spoken in Tokyo 関東弁. So they must be wrong.

Kansai-ben: 2. Standard VS Kansai
Thanks a lot. That is very informative.
 
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