You’d Have More Fun If You Knew These! Phrases in Osaka-ben That You Should Try Saying

If you know the words and language of the place you are visiting, your trip would be a lot more fun, right? This article is about Osaka-ben, the dialect that is often spoken in Osaka, a widely popular tourist destination. Just say any one of these phrases and the gap between you and the locals will definitely shrink!

If You Want to Express Gratitude, Say “Ookini”

Ookini means “Thanks!”

The term “ookini” is mainly used to express feelings of gratitude. It is a word that best represents Osaka-ben, as it is known and understood all over Japan. While not a lot of young people use this on a daily basis, elderly people and shop clerks still use it often today.

When Shopping, Say “Nambo?”

Nambo means “How much?”

You use this term if you want to ask for the price during shopping. Just point at the product or hold it, and then say, “Kore, nambo?” If you add “desu ka?” at the end, it will sound more polite.

If It Shouldn’t Be Done or is No Good, Say “Akan”

Akan means “No good”.

While the term “akan” basically means “no good”, it can be used in many different situations. For instance, you can utter “akan” if you refuse someone's request, if you are scolding a child, forbidding something, or refuting someone’s story. You can also use it when you fail in something, or lament a distressing situation by exclaiming “Akan!”

“Summahen”, A Term You Can Use in Many Situations

This is a term that is used to express an apology, appreciation, or shame. You can use it in a lot of situations, such as to apologize for a mistake, to give thanks when someone has done a good thing for you, or when you receive something. If you say “Summahen, ookini”, you mean you are “sorry and grateful” at the same time.

Use "Bochi-bochi" For These Times

Bochi-bochi means “so-so” or “little by little”.

There is a typical exchange that shows the spirit of merchants in Osaka. “Mokari makka?” (“mokari masu ka?”, which means “are you making money?”) “Bochi-bochi denna.” (“so-so, I’m making it somehow”) Even when you are asked “Ogenki desu ka?” (how are you?), you can answer “Bochi-bochi desu” to mean the same thing.

It also means that something is not progressing quickly, but rather, is being done little by little. If you want to properly invite someone to something without ruining their pace, you can say “Bochi-bochi ikoka” (should we go shortly?) or “Bochi-bochi kaeroka” (should we go home soon?).

Try to Use “Aho Chau!”

Aho chau means “That’s stupid!”

The term “aho” carries a negative connotation, as it means someone is dimwitted or something is foolish. But in Kansai, especially in Osaka, they mostly use it with affection. It is said to families, friends, and other trusted associates.
Meanwhile, the phrase “Aho chau!” is an expression with a hint of aggressiveness that is said when someone has done something wrong or something funny, among other things. It lovingly wraps forgiveness and affection while pointing out one’s fault or ridiculousness. However, be careful when using it on people who are not from the Kansai region, as they might get offended!

If It Doesn’t Make Sense, Say “Nanno Kotcha”

Nanno kotcha means “I don’t know”.

If you hear something that doesn’t make sense to you, you reply with “Nanno kotcha”. It is an expression that says “I don’t know what you’re saying” in a gentle manner. You can also mutter this to make fun of yourself when you find out that what you worked hard on doesn’t mean anything after all!

Please use the above terms and phrases when you visit Osaka!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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