[Kansai-ben] ちゃう (Chau)



Howdy guys – it’s Hagi again!

Welcome to the first of the Kansai-ben Word of the Day Series!

Muku and I plan to introduce different words in Kansai-ben through this series. We hope you’ll be able to learn and enjoy them at the same time!

You can read a brief introduction on the Kansai-ben dialect here.

Word of the day – “ちゃう” (Chau)

Today’s Kansai-ben word of the day is “ちゃう” or Chau.
In standard Japanese (Hyoujungo), it is replaceable with the word “違う” or Chigau.

“Chau” has the same definition as “Chigau”, and means to ‘be wrong’, ‘differ’, ‘vary’, ‘disagree’ and others.

Conversation Example

So how is “ちゃう” (Chau) used? Let’s look at the following conversation.

JP : あれちゃうちゃうちゃうん?
Rōmaji : Aré Chau Chau Chaun?
Translation : Isn’t that a Chow Chow?
JP : ちゃうちゃう?ちゃうちゃうちゃうんちゃう?
Rōmaji : Chau Chau? Chau Chau Chaun Chau?
Translation : It’s not, isn’t it? It’s not a Chow Chow isn’t it?
JP : え~ちゃうちゃうちゃうん?
Rōmaji : Eh~ Chau Chau Chaun?
Translation : Eh~ It’s not a Chow Chow?
JP : ちゃうちゃう!ちゃうちゃうちゃう!
Rōmaji : Chau Chau! Chau Chau Chau!
Translation : No, no! It’s not a Chow Chow!

… and you’re probably confused.

Or you may have heard this conversation before – in fact, it’s a well-used conversation for introducing Kansai-ben. I learned about it during my university’s Japanese class.

Conversation Example – Explanation

Let’s break down the conversation in this section.

You may be familiar with the “Chow Chow”, a dog breed originating from Northern China. The breed looks like this :

The ‘chow’ in the name “Chow Chow” has exactly the same pronunciation with the word “ちゃう” or Chau.

*Key Point* – The key to pronouncing the word “ちゃう” (Chau), is to NOT enunciate the “う” (u) sound. It’s said in one syllable.

Here is a scene where Muku and I were guessing whether or not a dog we saw was a Chow Chow.

You may have noticed several nuances of “Chau” in this conversation.

  • Chau / Chaun – No / It’s not
    • The intonation is Chau(n).
    • Speak as if you are making a declarative sentence.
  • Chau? / Chaun? – Isn’t it …? / It’s not …?
    • The intonation is ↗Chau(n).
    • Speak as if you are making a question.
Sentence 1

Aré Chau Chau Chaun?
That [Dog breed] [ちゃう (Question) ]?

Sentence 2

Chau Chau? Chau Chau Chaun Chau?
[ちゃう (Statement) ][ちゃう (Question) ]? [Dog Breed][ちゃう (Statement) ][ちゃう (Question)]?

Sentence 3

Eh〜 [Dog Breed][ちゃう (Question) ]?

Sentence 4

[ちゃう (Statement ][ちゃう (Statement) ]! [Dog Breed][ちゃう (Statement)]!

How / When to use “ちゃう” (Chau)?

Here are some example sentences that use “ちゃう” (Chau).

Example 1

JP : 「ここ入っていいかな?」「それあかんのちゃう?」
Rōmaji : 「Koko Haitte Ii- Kana?」「Soré Akan No Chau?」
Translation : “Am I allowed to enter here?” “It’s not allowed, isn’t it?”

Example 2

JP : 「それはちゃうで。」
Rōmaji : 「Soré Wa Chau De。」
Translation : That’s wrong.

Example 3

JP : 「明日遊ぼう。」「いや、ちゃう日にしょう。」
Rōmaji : 「Ashita Asobou。」「Iya, Chau Hi Ni Shiyou。」
Translation : “Let’s play tomorrow.” “No, let’s play on a different day.”



JP : 記事書くの疲れたし、これで終わりでええんちゃう?
Rōmaji : Kiji Kaku No Tsukarétashi, Korédé Owari Dé Één Chau?
Translation : Since it’s tiring to write an article, shouldn’t we end this here?


JP : おまえ作ってへんやろ!
Rōmaji : Omaé Tsukuttéhényaro!
Translation : You didn’t even write the article!

Anyway, this is the end of today’s article. Thanks for reading!

Until then!