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Post by Akisame Era on Sun Oct 20, 2013 1:53 am


In MDA we have a pretty simple system for defining spoken language in dialogue.

First of all, in your character app you must include the languages your characters speaks and their degree of fluency in them. In addition, you must assign a font colour to each language in order to distinguish in an RP which language your character is speaking in a thread. This is encouraged, rather than actually writing out your character's speech in, for example, Korean, because it doesn't require you to have a firm grasp of that language and it also makes it pretty simple and easy for other readers and RPers to read the text.

For example:

Matsudo speaks:

Japanese (Kanto-ben) - First Language (#FFFF00)
English - Fluent, Heavy accent (#00FFFF)
Korean - Beginner, Heavy accent, can't read or write  (#990099)

Include this in the trivia of your character app. Also, you must include this in your profile signature, as it makes for an easy reference for other players as far as discerning what language your character is supposed to be speaking as well as how well they speak it, or if they have a distinct accent.

Also please keep in mind that just like in the real world, most people aren't poly-lingual unless they were raised in a very multilingual society (such as India). So if your character speaks a lot of languages, please include some back story in your history as to where they acquired so many languages.


The Japanese archipelago is a primarily homogeneous society with limited language diversity with Japanese itself being the predominant language of the islands.

Whilst Japanese is the single dominant language spoken within Japan, it can be divided into dozens of distinct dialects of varying differentiation in vocabulary and speech. The cause of such distinct regional dialects is due to a number of reason including but not limited to: external and internal isolationism; geographically isolating barriers such as mountains and seas; intense discouragement of migration of people between fiefdoms during the Nara and Edo eras by feudal lords.

For much of Japan's history, the dialects could be divided into three major groups based both linguistic and political principles. The groups are as follows:

  • "Eastern" dialects which range from the Chuubu and Kanto regions of central and east Japan to Tohoku and Hokkaido in the north, includes the dominant dialect of Edo/Tokyo, known as the Kanto dialect, or Kanto-ben. Kanto-ben is considered the official standardized form of Japanese and is used by the most institutes of national government within Japan. The Japanese administration is currently attempting to encourage the use of Kanto-ben on a national level in place of local dialects.
  • "Western" dialects which range from the Kansai region in western-central Japan, to the Chugoku region of the southern tip of the Honshu island, and the whole of the Shikoku island. The most widely spoken and perhaps "standard" western dialect is Kansai dialect, or Kansai-ben. Kansai-ben is spoken in the Kansai region of western-central Japan which is home to the major cities of Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka. Kyoto being the former capital of Japan is partially the cause of the prominence of the Kansai-ben in Japan.
  • "Kyushu" dialects are the least numerous and prominent of the three major dialect groups of Japanese, and some even consider it to be merely a subgroup of the western dialects. The Kyushu dialect is spoken in the southernmost major island of Kyushu.

Adding "ben" means dialect. Kansaiben = Kansai Dialect. Kantoben = Kanto Dialect. Either or can be used.


While each dialect is distinct, they are still part of the same language and a native Japanese speaker from the Kansai region should still mostly understand someone from the Kanto region with only some minor difficulty.


Other native languages in Japan are considered minority languages by the Japanese people and are generally looked down upon as being lesser. These following languages are rare or confined to very specific areas and speaking these languages openly in such a homogeneous and generally xenophobic area of Japan usually invites others to look down upon the speaker. Comparatively from a Western perspective it would be similar to--in the early 1900's--someone speaking Choctaw in a white American settlement, or someone speaking Scots Gaelic in a town in England: it's discouraged and looked down upon.

  • Ryukyuan: Ryukyuan is a Japonic language and is thus closely related to Japanese. However, it is its own distinctive language that is spoken mainly among the people of the Ryukyu islands of southernmost Japan, including Okinawa.
  • Ainu: Ainu is the language of the Ainu people-- a group of people with a distinct language and culture comparatively similar to the Siberian-Aleut people of Northeast Asia and Northwest North America. Recent studies indicate that they were likely the first settlers of the Japanese archipelago but were completely displaced by the ancestors of the modern Japanese that migrated to the island sometime after. Despite this, during most of Japanese history, the Ainu were looked down upon and treated as non-Japanese with no rights to the land. The Ainu language is completely different from Japanese and they share no similarities. Ainu is primarily spoken in diminutive Ainu communities in eastern Hokkaido, and are rarely ever spoken or even known anywhere else.


Foreign languages pertain to any language not native to Japan such as English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and a plethora of others. The languages of MDA are more or less the same as what you might expect to find in our own world. If your character is Japanese but speaks a foreign language, there should be a reason why they learned that language, such as being instructed in school or learning it while abroad.

As for foreign characters, it goes to say that you really need to include the major spoken language of your character's home country in their repertoire of fluent languages. (If your character is from Russia, but they only speak English and Japanese, I'm going to throttle you).

[Credit to Jokun]

Last edited by Akisame Azusa on Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:32 pm; edited 6 times in total

Akisame Era

Posts : 150
Join date : 2013-10-19
Age : 29
Location : Hokkaido

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Writer: Aki

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Post by Akisame Era on Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:21 pm


The way dialogue works on this site is very simple: You color the text spoken in a certain language with a corresponding color of your choice. (You can use this website or this website for color reference). You then put the languages your character speaks in their signature under their profile, and color each with the color your character speaks it in. For example:

John Doe speaks Japanese (Kantoben), English (New York), and French.

Furthermore, if you want to note that your character speaks in a certain accent, you may include that

Ex: John Doe speaks French (with an American Accent)

This can help people you RP with know if your character sounds like he or she is foreign.

Some dialects exist in languages (as stated above). Dialects simply note if your character came from a certain country or region or people apart from the main area which that language is spoken, and also allows your character to speak a certain way.

If you speak a standard version of a language, you are speaking what is typically the most common form, so you don't need to note anything at all in your signature, but you can. For example, the main dialect of Japanese is Kantoben, so it is unnecessary to specify, but is recommended to reduce confusion.

Note that with few exceptions, non-standard dialects are less common than the standard language, and should only be spoken if your character hails from the region that dialect is found. Any two dialects within a language are mutually intelligible.
For example: Aya speaks Japanese (Kanto Dialect). Yohji speaks Japanese (Tohoku Dialect). Standard Japanese is Kanto, and Tohoku hails from North Honshu. It is typical that they are close enough to be understandable. But Aya would probably think Yohji's Japanese sounded strange (usually recognizing the origin), and Yohji might say some words that Aya doesn't usually hear. Think of it as more the difference between American English and British English than the difference between American English and Creole.

Lastly, we here at MDA do not expect you to actually speak the language your character speaks. MDA's de facto language for writing in is English. Even if your character speaks Japanese, we wish for you to type in English, not Japanese. But feel free to add Japanese flavor to your text if you know some. Simple things like "hai" instead of "yes". Or a Chinese character saying "aiyaa" in a state of disbelief or shock. As long as others can still understand you, it should be fine. DO NOT place full sentences or more than two words consecutively in Japanese please. The errors and mistakes in the language drive me crazy, and more than likely the person you're rping with won't get what you're trying to say anyway. Translating it for them is just a hassle. Stick to English please!

Akisame Era

Posts : 150
Join date : 2013-10-19
Age : 29
Location : Hokkaido

-Case File-
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Writer: Aki

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