The Vへん verb ending may be the single most distinctive and recognizable piece of grammar in Kansai-ben. It is the plain non-past negative verb conjugation, analogous to Vない in standard Japanese. In addition, there is also a shortened form: Vん. Thus, standard Japanese's 行かない could be rendered as 行かへん or 行かん in Kansai-ben.

There are a variety of verb negations within the umbrella of Kansai-ben that use these two basic verb negations as a base, with variations depending on region or speaker preference.

Common uses: 

Grammar elements: 

Kansai vs. Standard: 

Standard V?ない
Kansai-ben Vへん

Formation from standard: 

non-past tense


Use へん or ん instead of ない.

Standard V?ない
Kansai-ben Vへん
行かない 行かへん, 行か
読まない 読まへん, 読ま


Add へん or ん to the stem?.

Standard Vない
Kansai-ben Vへん
食べない 食べへん, 食べ
起きない 起きへん, 起き

irregular verb? 来る

There are many of different negative forms of 来る depending on many factors, such as region and age. Young people may use こおへん, which is a "neo-dialect", a hybrid of standard Japanese and Kansai-ben.

来ない けえへん, きいひん, きやへん, こん, こおへん, こうへん, きやしん, etc.

irregular verb する

Like 来る, there is a wide variety in the negative forms of する.

しない しいひん, しやへん, せえへん, せえひん, せん, etc.

Past tense

Just add かった to the non-past negative forms such as Vへん, Vん, and Vひん.

non-past Vへん__ Vん__ Vひん__
past Vへんかった Vんかった Vひんかった


Another way of making a negative past form in Kansai-ben is to use なんだ instead of なかった. Simply:

起きなかった 起きなんだ
買わなかった 買わなんだ

However, this is a "traditional" way used by older people--there are more people who use Vへんかった or the standard Japanese form (e.g., 起きなかった), but with a Kansai-ben intonation.


Verb negation in Osaka

In the Osaka area, vowel assimilation? may occur in the negative form of verbs. When this happens, the [a] sound before the へん in V? へん becomes an [e] sound. This sounds complicated, but isn't too bad if you pay attention to the sounds:

Kansai-ben Kansai-ben (Osaka)
__-a-hen __-e-hen
Kansai-ben Kansai-ben (Osaka)
へん (ik-a-hen) へん (ik-e-hen)

As you may notice, as a result of this sound change, simple negative verbs and negative potential verbs can become difficult to distinguish. Because of this, when the verb is being used in a potential sense, an [e] is used instead of the [are]. For example:

Kansai-ben Kansai-ben (Osaka)
__-e-hen __-are-hen
Kansai-ben Kansai-ben (Osaka)
へん (ik-e-hen) かれへん (ik-are-hen)

The negative form of verbs and vowel assimilation?

For ru-verbs which have a stem? the ends with [i], vowel assimilation can occur. In the case, the Kansai-ben "standard" へん becomes ひん. A couple of examples (with romaji for clarity):

__i-hen? __i-hin
起きへん (oki-hen) 起きひん (oki-hin)

Also, if the stem ends with an [i], it changes into an [e]:

__i-hen __e-hen
へん (oki-hen) へん (oke-hen)

Using the different transformations described, a standard Japanese verb can end up having a fair number Kansai-ben analogs. For example, the standard Japanese 起きない can variously become: 起きへん, 起きひん, 起けへん, and 起きん.

The negative form of verbs and vowel extension

For ru-verbs with one character in their stem?, the sound before へん and ひん can be extended. For a more detailed description see the vowel extension page, but as an example with out Kansai-ben-style negative non-past verbs we have:

見ない (minai) へん (mii-hen)、見ひん (mii-hin)
寝ない (nenai) へん (nee-hen)

Sometimes some speakers will take this a step farther; when there are double vowels in front of へん and ひん, the second "extended" vowel turns into a や, giving us:

へん (mii-hen) へん (mi-ya-hen)
へん (n?ee-hen) へん (ne-ya-hen)

The negative form of いる

Although there is no progressive form (teiru) of いる in standard Japanese, there is a such a form in Kansai-ben--see the いてる for more detail. The negative of this form, which would be the fantastic いてる in standard Japanese, is いてへん.

Negative form of ある

The standard Japanese negative form of ある is ない; あらない is considered to be an inappropriate in standard Japanese--consider how most people respond to the use of "ain't" in American English in spite of its wide use. However things are different in Kansai-ben, where あらへん and あれへん happily exist as negative forms of ある, heedless to prescriptions of standard Japanese.

Progressive form

The negative progressive form Vている is quite varied. Besides Vてへん, for example, there are Vてない (standard/neo-dialect), Vとらん (Kobe), and Vとらへん (Osaka).

言っていない ゆうてへん、ゆうてない、ゆうとらん、ゆうとらへん

Applied verb negatives

Standard English Kansai-ben (Vん) Kansai-ben (Vな) Kansai-ben (Vへん) Example
must / have to Vんとあかん Vなあかん 食べんとあかん
Vないで(ください) don't Vんといて(くれ/ください) 食べんといて(くれ/ください)
Vなくてもいい don't have to Vでもええ 食べんでもええ
Vないでしょう maybe not Vんやろ Vへんやろ 食べんやろ
Vないかもしれない might not Vんかもしれん Vへんかもしれへん 食べんかもしれん
Vないはずだ not supposed to Vんはずや Vへんはずや 食べんはずや
V1ないでV2 V2 without V1 V1んとV2 食べんと寝る