Yonaguni language

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与那国物言/ドゥナンムヌイ Dunan Munui
Native to Japan
Region Yonaguni
Native speakers
800  (2004)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 yoi
Glottolog yona1241[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Yonaguni (Japanese: 与那国語; Yonaguni: 与那国物言/ドゥナンムヌイ Dunan Munui) is a Ryukyuan language spoken by around 800 people on the island of Yonaguni, in the Ryukyu Islands, just east of Taiwan. It is most closely related to Yaeyama.[citation needed].


In the Yonaguni language, as well as in Miyako, Yaeyama, and other Southern Ryukyuan languages, /b/ is cognate with Standard Japanese /w/. Yonaguni also has /d/ where Japanese and other Ryukyuan languages have /j/. Thus, for example, Yonaguni /dami(-n)/ ('to hurt, to ache') is cognate with the archaic or dialectal Japanese verb /jame(-ru)/ ('to hurt, to ache') rather than with Japanese /itam(-u)/ (same meaning). Yonaguni /d/ is probably a recent development from an earlier */j/, however, judging from the fact that even the */j/ in loanwords of Sinitic origin is pronounced /d/ by speakers of the Yonaguni language.

Yonaguni language also exhibits intervocalic voicing of plosives, as do many dialects of Japanese.

It was once written with the Kaidā logograms.


  1. ^ Yonaguni at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Yonaguni". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 高橋俊三. "与那国方言." 言語学大辞典セレクション:日本列島の言語. 三省堂, 1997. Print. (Japanese) (ISBN 978-4385152073)
  • 高橋俊三. "沖縄県八重山郡与那国町の方言の生活語彙." 方言研究叢書. 4 (1975): Print. (Japanese)
  • 平山輝男, 中本正智. 琉球与那国方言の研究. 東京: 東京堂, 1964. Print. (Japanese)
  • 高橋俊三. "琉球・与那国方言の語彙". 東京: 法政大学沖縄文化硏究所, 1987. Print. (Japanese)
  • 西岡敏. "与那国方言の動詞継続相のアクセント対立". 地域研究シリーズ 35, 95-105, 2008. (Japanese)
  • 加治工真市, 仲原穣. "与那国方言について(与那国島の伝統文化調査研究報告書,加治工真市教授退官記念)". 沖縄芸術の科学 : 沖縄県立芸術大学附属研究所紀要 16, 17-74, 2004 (Japanese)

External links[edit]