Hakata-ben kouza: "-ttai"

Posted on March 11, 2006 | evankirby

Hakata-ben kouza

What makes Fukuoka's local dialect, Hakata-ben, different from standard Japanese? The single part of speech that symbolizes Hakata-ben for most people is the word "ttai" (or sometimes just "tai"). This is a suffix that is added to the end of sentences, and generally is used almost the same as "yo", to tell the listener that this is new information. An example:
English: The Hawks (Fukuoka's local baseball team) won again today.
Standard Japanese: Kyou, Hookusu ga mata katta yo.
(Direct translation: Today, Hawks [subject] again won [new info marker].
Hakata-ben: Kyou, Hookusu ga mata kattattai.

There are of course small differences between "ttai" and "yo". "ttai" sounds as if the story will continue afterwards, more so than "yo", so if you stop talking after saying "ttai", there's a good chance the other person will say "sore de?" ("and...?"), expecting you to continue.

Just by adding this to the end of your sentences, you're halfway to sounding like a born-and-bred Fukuoka native!