Tuesday, August 20, 2013

めちゃ

The Kansai version of ちょう (chou = very, or very very).  Casual, exclamatory, used often in everyday conversation (in my Tokyo surroundings, more commonly spoken among younger people than older ones).  Example:  めちゃうまいじゃん! 

めちゃ is an example of Kansai-ben, or Kansai dialect.  In large part due to the mainstream success of comedians from the Kansai region (esp. from Osaka), Kansai-ben has become quite popular throughout Japan (I've heard).  It's not everybody's cup of tea, though.  Some of my elderly students in Tokyo really aren't into it.  (But I don't mean to generalize about the views of senior citizens there; neither do I mean to generalize about people who don't like Kansai-ben.)

Below is a map of Kansai, which is characterized in Wikipedia as being located in the "southern-central region of Japan's main island Honshū."  Most of the people I know in Japan seem to speak of Kansai as being the West part of Japan and Kantō (the region that encompasses Tokyo) as the East, but after looking at this map, I can't help noticing that neither is far west or far east.  Both regions have historically housed Japan's capital cities, and this might have something to do with people seeing them as being "the West" and "the East" of the nation; I'm only speculating, though.  I'll try asking some people when I go back after summer vacation.


                                

I didn't know until just now that the terms Kansai and Kinki, two geographical designations, are used interchangeably in modern contexts.  (Kinki is simply an area's name and has nothing to do with the English word kinky.  It took me some time to find this out.  A music duo called Kinki Kids was popular when I arrived to the country, and I misconceived the meaning of their name for slightly over a year.)

 Anyway,  めちゃwas the first bit of Kansai-ben that I learned.  I like it and feel that it's a fun word to say.

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