Research of Dialects in Aizu Area
The present situation
In Japan, there continues to be a decline in the number of births, and young people continue to migrate to cities. Local dialects are being exposed to a continuing crisis as fewer people remain to speak them. Given this situation, it is very regrettable that an audio database of dialects does not exist in the Aizu area, an area rich with various dialects. As far as we know, the dialect research of the Aizu area done by Kato, Hanzawa, and Sato in 1980 is the most recent one (other than our own). But, there has been no audio data open to the public for research. Speech changes over time. A systematic, high-quality record of every age is very valuable for linguists and anthropologists. So, there is a pressing need to document the Aizu dialect by means of an audio database.
The purpose of this research
The purpose of this research is to continue to add to a digital audio database of the dialect in the Aizu area. Therefore, audio samples of as many different areas and people as possible in the Aizu region have been gathered from a wide age group, and they are being processed and stored in a publicly available database on this website. The formants and the pitch of the vowels are measured by using Praat software. Dialects are compared with one another or with Standard (Tokyo) Japanese, and then a phonological and phonetic analysis is done. We are continually trying to update the gathered speech samples and the results of our analysis on this website.
We have 4 types of audio data on our website: Monologues, Picture cards, Area audio samples, and Past audio samples. On the Monologues page, we have stories, songs, and chants in the Aizu dialect. On the Picture cards page, we have images and corresponding audio data files for various categories of words. Cards with images on them had been shown to participants, who were asked to identify the images out loud in the words of the dialect they usually use. On the Area audio samples page, we have audio samples for various places within the Aizu Region. On the Past audio samples page, we have audio samples that were recorded many years ago by a single speaker. That page shows the Aizu dialect transcription and the Standard Japanese transcription side by side.