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Tokyo dialect (東京方言, 東京弁, 東京語 Tōkyō hōgen, Tōkyō-ben, Tōkyō-go ) refers to the Japanese dialect spoken in modern Tokyo. The dialect in modern Tokyo is often considered to equate standard Japanese, though in fact the Tokyo dialect differs from standard Japanese in a number of areas and classes.
Traditional dialects in downtown of Tokyo can roughly classify into two groups, Yamanote dialect (山の手言葉 Yamanote kotoba ) and Shitamachi dialect (下町言葉 Shitamachi kotoba ). The Yamanote dialect is a well-mannered dialect of old upper-class from Yamanote area. Standard Japanese was built around the Yamanote dialect in Meiji period. The Shitamachi dialect is a frank dialect of old working-class from Shitamachi area. The Shitamachi dialect keeps features of Edo Chōnin (Edokko) speech, so also called Edo dialect (江戸言葉, 江戸弁 Edo kotoba, Edo-ben ). Tokyo style rakugo is typically played in Shitamachi dialect. Roughly speaking, the difference between Yamanote dialect and Shitamachi dialect looks like the difference between RP and Cockney in English.
The origin of Tokyo dialect dates back to the establishment of Edo by Tokugawa Ieyasu. With the establishment of Edo, people gathered from all over the nation and various dialects brought. The Kyoto dialect was the de facto standard Japanese and had strong influence on the formation of Edo dialect in the early Edo period, but Edo grew the largest city in Japan and became the new de facto standard Japanese in the late Edo period. Because of its unique history, especially relations with Kyoto dialect, Tokyo is a language island in Kantō region. For example, traditional Kanto dialects have been characterized by the use of volitional and presumptive suffix -be, but it is hardly used in Tokyo.
The Shitamachi dialect is primarily known for its lack of distinction between some phonemes which are considered wholly distinct in standard Japanese. Most famous is the decreased distinction between [çi] and [ɕi], so that shiohigari ("shellfish gathering") becomes shioshigari and shichi ("seven") becomes hichi. Another famous is that change [ɕu͍] [d͡ʑu͍] to [ɕi] [ʤi], so that Shinjuku becomes Shinjiku and shujutsu ("operation") becomes shijitsu.
Another notable trait is the diphthong change [ai] [ae] [ie] [oi] to [ɛː] in the Shitamachi dialect. For example, hidoi ("terrible") become shidee and taihen da ("It's serious") become teehen da. This feature is inherited in standard Japanese as informal masculine speech like wakan'nee (< wakaranai "I don't know") and sugee (< sugoi "great").
In addition, [ɽ] is realized as a trill [r], when conveying a vulgar nuance in Shitamachi speech. In informal speech, intervocalic [ɽ] is often changed [ɴ] or sokuon such as okaerinasai becomes okaen'nasai ("welcome back home") and sō suru to becomes sō sutto ("then, and so").
Pitch accent 
A few words are pronounced different pitch accent between Yamanote and Shitamachi. The following words are typical examples.
- Bandō (another name of Kantō region): Accent on ba in Yamanote, Accentless in Shitamachi.
- saka ("slope"): Accent on ka in Yamanote, Accent on sa in Shitamachi.
- tsugi ("next"): Accent on gi in Yamanote, Accent on tsu in Shitamachi.
- sushi: Accent on shi in Yamanote, Accent on su in Shitamachi.
- suna ("sand"): Accentless in Yamanote, Accent on na in Shitamachi.
- asahi ("morning sun"): Accent on a in Yamanote, Accent on sa in Shitamachi.
- aniki ("big brother"): Accent on a in Yamanote, Accent on ni in Shitamachi.
- itsumo ("always"): Accent on i in Yamanote, Accent on tsu in Shitamachi.
- hanashi ("talk"): Accentless in Yamanote, Accent on na mora in Shitamachi.
- tamago ("egg"): Accent on ma in Yamanote, Accentless in Shitamachi.
- accentless word -sama (a honorific): Accent on sa in Yamanote, Accentless in Shitamachi.
Most of grammatical features of Tokyo dialect are treated as the colloquial form of standard Japanese like examples mentioned in "Colloquial contractions" in the article "Japanese grammar". Noticeable earmarks of the Tokyo dialect include the frequent use of interjectory particle sa, which is roughly analogous to "like" as used in American English slang; tsū (common style) and tee (Shitamachi style) in place of to iu ("to say" or "is called"); the frequent use of emphasis sentence-final particle dai or dee in Shitamachi, which is famous for a typical Shitamachi verbal shot teyandee! (< [nani o] itte iyagaru n dai!, "What are you talking about!?").
Historically, Kanto dialects were lacking keigo (honorific speech). However, because of connection with Kyoto and urbanize with stratified society, the Tokyo dialect has refined keigo system. The Yamanote dialect is primarily known for an extreme use of keigo and characterized by a keigo copula zamasu or zāmasu, sometimes zansu, transformations of gozaimasu. The feminine courtesy imperative mood asobase or asubase is also well-known keigo of traditional Tokyo dialect. For example, "Won't you please wait for me?" equivalents for o-machi kudasai in standard Japanese, and o-machi asobase in traditional Tokyo dialect.
Though it also includes a few distinctive words, today it is largely indistinguishable from the standard speech of Tokyo other than the phonemic difference. Famous Shitamachi words are a swearword berabōme! or beranmee! (masculine Shitamachi speech is commonly known as Beranmee kuchō or "Beranmee tone"), atabō for atarimae meaning "of course" and an emphasis prefix o + sokuon such as oppajimeru for hajimeru meaning "to start" and so on. Atashi is a feminine first person in standard Japanese, but in Shitamachi dialect, it is often used by both men and women.
New Tokyo dialect 
Traditional Tokyo dialects are now barely used as most families living in Tokyo speak standard Japanese or standardization Tokyo dialect. The difference between Shitamachi and Yamanote becomes almost extinct.
Many people flock to Tokyo from other regions, they sometimes bring their dialects into Tokyo as well as in the Edo period. For example, jan (じゃん), which is a contraction of ja nai ka ("isn't that right?") came from the eastern Chūbu and Kanagawa dialects; and chigakatta, which is non-standard form of chigatta ("it was different") came from the Fukushima and Tochigi dialects.
- Kazue Akinaga (秋永一枝) etc (2007). In Teruo Hirayama (平山輝男) etc. Nihon no Kotoba series 13, Tōkyō-to no Kotoba (in Japanese). Tōkyō: The Meiji Shoin (明治書院). ISBN 978-4-625-62400-1.
- (Japanese) The dictionary of Tokyo dialect