Welcome once again, to the fascination world of the Japanese language.
All languages have regional dialects from the different parts of the countries they are spoken in, and of course Japanese is no exception. The world of Japanese dialects is very rich and can be fascinating to get into. As well as regional dialects there is also a wealth of slang.
Let’s take a look at some local variations of the most commonly used Japanse words.
Today’s word: Thank you
You have surely heard the word “arigaou” (ありがとう). This does indeed mean “thank you” in Tokyo, and I am sure wherever else you go to Japan too. Even if you don’t speak the local dialect, people will understand this expression. It can be a wordplay too, as if you separate out the syllables into “ari ga tou” (あり が とう) it can be used to mean “10 ants”.
If you want to speak formally or politely then you need to add “gozaimasu” (ございます) to the basic word. Often the word “sumimasen”, which usually means “I am sorry”, is also used to mean thank you.
Arigatou is written and pronounced the same in most Japanese dialects, but the intonation can be quite different.
If you want to thank someone in Osaka and the Kansai region, you can say “ooki ni” (おおきに) instead. This is the second most popular form of the word and can often be heard in anime and TV dramas.
Some readers might be interested in Samurai films, and if you have ever seen one in the original Japanese then you must have heard the word “katajikenai” (かたじけない) being used. This also means thank you, but comes from a classical dialect used by the warrior class. It is not used in everyday conversation so if you go to Japan and use it for a standard “thank you” then people may be rather amused.
The most common slang term for thank you would be “azassu” (あざっす), which is basically a shortened form of “arigatou gozaimasu”. Be careful though, because this is far from a polite expression, so don’t use it in formal business situations or outside your circle of friends.