|Region||Kikai Island of the Amami Islands, Kagoshima Prefecture|
The Kikai language (しまゆみた Shimayumita) is spoken on Kikai Island, Kagoshima Prefecture of southwestern Japan. It is debated whether it is a single dialect cluster. Regardless, all Kikai dialects are members of the Amami–Okinawan languages, which are part of the Japonic languages.
As Kikai does not have recognition within Japan as a language, it is officially known as the Kikai Island dialect (喜界島方言 Kikai-jima hōgen).
The classification of Kikai is disputed. Some even dispute the existence of the Kikai cluster.
The languages of the Amami Islands can be divided into the conservative northern group (Northern Amami Ōshima, Southern Amami Ōshima and Tokunoshima) and the innovative southern group (Okinoerabu and Yoron). The problem here is which Kikai belongs to.
It has been noted that northern communities of Kikai are phonologically more conservative and show some similarity to Amami Ōshima and Tokunoshima while the rest of the island is closer to Southern Amami. For example, Northern Kikai retains seven vowels, /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/, /ɨ/ and /ɘ/ while South–Central Kikai only has five vowels. /k/ is palatalized into /t͡ɕ/ before /i/ in South–Central Kikai but not in Northern Kikai.
For this reason, Nakamoto (1976) disassembled Kikai into two:
- Amami dialect
- Northern Amami dialect
- Northern Amami Ōshima, Southern Amami Ōshima and Northern Kikai
- Southern Amami dialect
- Southern Kikai, Okinoerabu and Yoron.
- Northern Amami dialect
By contrast, Karimata (2000) tentatively supported the Kikai cluster in consideration of other shared phonological features. Lawrence (2011) argued that lexical evidence supported the Kikai cluster although he refrained from determining its phylogenetic relationship with other Amami dialects.
There are 33 local communities on Kikai Island. Despite being a small, flat island, Kikai shows considerable variations in lexicon, phonology and morphology. The dialects on the island are mutually intelligible. Northern communities of Onotsu, Shitooke (and Sateku) are phonologically more conservative than the rest of the island.
The following is the phonology of the Onotsu dialect, which is based on Shirata (2013b).
As with most Ryukyuan languages to the north of Central Okinawan, stops are described as "plain" C’ and "glottolized" C‘. Phonetically, the two series are aspirated [Cʰ] and tenuis [C˭], respectively.
According to Shirata (2013b), Onotsu dialect has /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/. In more conventional interpretations, two more vowels /ɨ/ and /ɘ/ are added. Shirata analyzes conventional /Ci/ and /Cɨ/ as /Cji/ and /Ci/, respectively. Similarly, /Ce/ and /Cɘ/ are interpreted as /Cje/ and /Ce/.
The following is the phonology of the Kamikatetsu dialect, which is based on Shirata (2013a).
Kamikatetsu has /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/.
- Kikai at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kikai". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Nakamoto Masachie 中本正智 (1976). Ryūkyū hōgen on'in no kenkyū 琉球方言音韻の研究 (in Japanese).
- Karimata Shigehisa 狩俣繁久 (2000). "Amami Okinawa hōgengun ni okeru Okinoerabu hōgen no ichizuke" 奄美沖縄方言群における沖永良部方言の位置づけ (Position of Okierabu Dialect in Northern Ryukyu Dialects)". Nihon Tōyō bunka ronshū 日本東洋文化論集 (in Japanese) (6): 43–69.
- Wayne Lawrence (2011). "Kikai-jima hōgen no keitōteki ichi ni tsuite 喜界島方言の系統的位置について". In Kibe Nobuko; et al. Shōmetsu kiki hōgen no chōsa hozon no tame no sōgōteki kenkyū: Kikai-jima hōgen chōsa hōkokusho 消滅危機方言の調査・保存のための総合的研究: 喜界島方言調査報告書 (General Study for Research and Conservation of Endangered Dialects in Japan: Research Report on the Kikaijima Dialects ) (PDF) (in Japanese). pp. 115–122.
- 白田理人 Shirata Rihito (2013). "Amami-go Kikai-jima Onotsu hōgen no danwa shiryō 奄美語喜界島小野津方言の談話資料". In Takubo Yukinori 田窪行則. Ryūkyū rettō no gengo to bunka 琉球列島の言語と文化 (in Japanese). pp. 259–290.
- Iwakura Ichirō 岩倉市郎 (1977) . Kikai-jima hōgen-shū 喜界島方言集 (in Japanese). p. 119.
- Samuel E. Martin (1970) "Shodon: A Dialect of the Northern Ryukyus", in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 90, no. 1 (Jan–Mar), pp. 97–139.
- Kibe Nobuko 木部暢子 (2011). "Kikai-jima hōgen no on'in 喜界島方言の音韻". In Kibe Nobuko; et al. Shōmetsu kiki hōgen no chōsa hozon no tame no sōgōteki kenkyū: Kikai-jima hōgen chōsa hōkokusho 消滅危機方言の調査・保存のための総合的研究: 喜界島方言調査報告書 (General Study for Research and Conservation of Endangered Dialects in Japan: Research Report on the Kikaijima Dialects ) (PDF) (in Japanese). pp. 12–50.
- Hattori Shirō 服部四郎 (1999) . "Amami guntō no sho hōgen ni tsuite 奄美群島の諸方言について". Nihongo no keitō 日本語の系統 (in Japanese). pp. 395–422.
- 白田理人 Shirata Rihito (2013). "Amami-go Kikai-jima Kamikatetsu hōgen no danwa shiryō 奄美語喜界島上嘉鉄方言の談話資料". In Takubo Yukinori 田窪行則. Ryūkyū rettō no gengo to bunka 琉球列島の言語と文化 (in Japanese). pp. 245–257.
- Kikaijima hōgen-shū (1977) by Iwakura Ichirō. A dictionary for the author's home community, Aden, and a couple of other southern communities on Kikai Island of the Amami Islands.
- Research Data on the Kikaijima Dialects Written in Kana (2012) edited by Ogawa Shinji. Contains basic vocabulary and sentences collected in nine communities of Kikai.