When we moved in to the new GenkiJACS school a year and a half ago, we gave all the classrooms numbers instead of names, to make it easier for students to find their way around. But it always felt a little boring to just refer to them by their numbers, so last week we added a Hakata-ben phrase to each room’s name. For those of you who don’t know, Hakata-ben is the local dialect of Fukuoka. Some of our students get quite good at speaking it by the time they finish (hi Frank!), so we wanted to give them a helping hand.
The picture above is an example from Room 3, 「しっとう」(“shittou”), meaning “I know”. In Hakata-ben, the present progressive verb ending ている (“te iru”, “am -ing”) is replaced with 「とう」, so for example:
知っている -> しっとう
持っている -> もっとう
食べている -> たべとう
寝ている -> ねとう
To make a question in Hakata-ben, you add 「と」 to the end of a sentence, instead of the standard 「か」. So “Do you know?” is 「しっとうと」. The most iconic example is “Have you taken one?” “Take” is 「取る」 (“toru”), so the Hakata-ben is 「とっとうと？」 (“tottouto?”). Sounds nice, right?