A Quick Guide To Izumo-Ben

Izumo Dialect, or Izumo-ben (出雲弁), is the dialect traditionally spoken in the Izumo Region of Shimane Prefecture, Japan. For those who need a refresher, the Izumo Region includes: Yasugi, Matsue, Unnan, Izumo, Okuizumo, & Iinan. Although not as widespread as it once was, as with many dialects around Japan, it’s still very commonly heard around, even by young people. We’ve all been accosted by an elderly man or woman speaking in rapid fire, unsure of what the poor old dears are saying. Or, at least, I have. Numerous times. So, although it is by no means exhaustive, here’s a quick and dirty guide to some of the more commonly used expressions.

Izumo Standard Japanese English Notes
いけん ダメ No, forbidden Used to express lack of permission
えなげな 変な Strange
えのる 帰る Return home
えらい いたい Ow! That hurts!
これは This (subject)
~があ ~ねえ Isn’t it though? An emphasized tag question
ごせ くれ、ください Please Used when asking a favor
こちょこちょする くすぐる To tickle
~だけん ~だから Because Used at the end of verbs. Causative.
たばこ 休憩 A break/rest Comes from the idea of having a cigarette break
だら バカ Idiot, moron
だれんだい だれも Everyone (w/positive verb), No-one (w/negative verb)
だんだん ありがとう Thank You Not used among family – only people you don’t know
ちけ 近い Near, close
~ちょー ~ている ~ing e.g.: 食べちょー
ちょっこし 少しの間 A little bit (of time) e.g. ちょっこし待ってごせ(少しの間待ってください)
~ちょらん ~ていない Not ~ing
ちょんぼし 少し A little e.g. ちょんぼしごせ(少し下さい)
~の ~ね Tag question ‘Isn’t it?’ ‘Right?’ ‘Don’t you? ‘
はしる いたい Ow, that hurts
ばっか ばかり Only, nothing but

Example 1:

Izumo: か、だーだ?

Standard: これはだれ?

English: Whose is this?

Example 2:

Izumo: か1000円だけんの

Standard: これは1000円だからね

English: Because it’s 1000 yen, right?

Example 3:

Izumo: 食べたら、いけん

Standard: 食べたら、だめ

English: You must not eat that.

Example 4:

Izumo: そうだがあ

Standard: そうだねえ

English: Indeed, that’s true, isn’t it?

Example 5:

Izumo: だれんだいおらん

Standard: だれもいない

English: No one is here.

Example 6:

Izumo: たばこばっかしょちょー

Standard: 休憩ばかりしている

English: All they do is take breaks.

Example 7:

Izumo: 変わっちょらん

Standard: 変わっていない

English: It’s not been changed.

Example 8:

Izumo: 酒ごせ

Standard: 酒をください

English: Sake, please.

Example 9:

Izumo: もうえのー

Standard: もう帰る

English: I’m going home already.

Hopefully, you can put that to good use! Remember, this is just some of the more common stuff. We’ll be updating this page later with more examples & words. Plus, in the future, we hope to publish an Oki-ben and Iwami-ben guide for the rest of you! Let us know if you have any questions below!


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