|Okinawan, Japanese, Rōmaji|
AKA Shuri–Naha(South–Central) Okinawan,
Central Okinawan, or simply the Okinawan language (沖縄口/ウチナーグチ Uchinaaguchi [ʔut͡ɕinaːɡut͡ɕi]), is a Northern Ryukyuan language spoken primarily in the southern half of the island of Okinawa, as well as in the surrounding islands of Kerama, Kumejima, Tonaki, Aguni, and a number of smaller peripheral islands. Central Okinawan distinguishes itself from the speech of Northern Okinawa, which is classified independently as the Kunigami language. Both languages have been designated as endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger since its launch in February 2009.
Though Okinawan encompasses a number of local dialects, the Shuri-Naha variant is generally recognized as the de facto standard, as it had been used as the official language of the Ryūkyū Kingdom since the reign of King Shō Shin (1477–1526). Moreover, as the former capital of Shuri was built around the royal palace, the language used by the royal court became the regional and literary standard, which thus flourished in songs and poems written during that era.
Within Japan, Okinawan is often not seen as a language unto itself but is referred to as the Okinawan dialect (沖縄方言 Okinawa hōgen) or more specifically the Central and Southern Okinawan dialects (沖縄中南部諸方言 Okinawa Chūnanbu Sho hōgen). Okinawan speakers are undergoing language shift as they switch to Japanese, since language use in Okinawa today is far from stable. Okinawans are assimilating and accenting standard Japanese due to the similarity of the two languages, standardized and centralized education system, the media, and business and social contact with mainlanders. Okinawan is still spoken by many older people. It is also kept alive in popular music, tourist shows, and in theaters featuring a local drama called uchinaa shibai, which depict local customs and manners.
- Pre-Ryukyu Kingdom
Okinawan is a Japonic language, derived from Old Japanese. The split between Old Japanese and the Ryukyuan languages has been estimated to have occurred as early as the first century AD to as late as the twelfth century AD. Chinese and Japanese characters were first introduced by a Japanese missionary in 1265.
- Ryukyu Kingdom Era
- Hiragana was much more popular than kanji; poems were commonly written solely in hiragana or with little kanji. Okinawan became the official language under King Shō Shin.
- Post-Satsuma to Annexation
- After Ryukyu became a vassal of Satsuma Domain, kanji gained more prominence in poetry; however, official Ryukyuan documents were written in Classical Chinese.
- In 1609, the Ryukyu Kingdom was colonized by the Satsuma Domain in the south of Japan. However, Satsuma did not fully invade the Ryukyu in fear of colliding with China, which had a stronger trading relationship with the Ryukyu at the time.
- Japanese Annexation to End of World War II
When Ryukyu was annexed by Japan in 1879, the majority of people on Okinawa Island spoke Okinawan. Within ten years, the Japanese government began an assimilation policy of Japanization, where Ryukyuan languages were gradually suppressed. The education system was the heart of Japanization, where Okinawan children were taught Japanese and punished for speaking their native language, being told that their language was just a "dialect". By 1945, many Okinawans spoke Japanese, and many were bilingual. During the Battle of Okinawa, some Okinawans were killed by Japanese soldiers for speaking Okinawan.
Language shift to Japanese in Ryukyu/Okinawa began in 1879 when the Japanese government annexed Ryukyu and established Okinawa Prefecture. The prefectural office mainly consisted of people from Kagoshima Prefecture where the Satsuma Domain used to be. This caused the modernization of Okinawa as well as language shift to Japanese. As a result, Japanese became the standard language for administration, education, media, and literature.
In 1902, the National Language Research Council (国語調査委員会) began the linguistic unification of Japan to Standard Japanese. This caused the linguistic stigmatization of many local varieties in Japan including Okinawan. As the discrimination accelerated, Okinawans themselves started to abandon their languages and shifted to Standard Japanese.
- American Occupation
Under American administration, there was an attempt to revive and standardize Okinawan, but this proved difficult and was shelved in favor of Japanese. General Douglas MacArthur attempted to promote Okinawan languages and culture through education. Multiple English words were introduced.
- Return to Japan to Present Day
After Okinawa's reversion to Japanese sovereignty, Japanese continued to be the dominant language used, and the majority of the youngest generations only speak Okinawan Japanese. There have been attempts to revive Okinawan by notable people such as Byron Fija and Seijin Noborikawa, but few native Okinawans desire to learn the language.
Okinawan is sometimes grouped with Kunigami as the Okinawan languages; however, not all linguists accept this grouping, some claiming that Kunigami is a dialect of Okinawan. Okinawan is also grouped with Amami (or the Amami languages) as the Northern Ryukyuan languages.
- Dialect of the Japanese language
Since the creation of Okinawa Prefecture, Okinawan has been labeled a dialect of Japanese as part of a policy of assimilation. Later, Japanese linguists, such as Tōjō Misao, who studied the Ryukyuan languages argued that they are indeed dialects. This is due to the misconception that Japan is a homogeneous state (one people, one language, one nation), and classifying the Ryukyuan languages as such would discredit this belief. The present-day official stance of the Japanese government remains that Okinawan is a dialect, and it is common within the Japanese population for it to be called 沖縄方言 (okinawa hōgen) or 沖縄弁 (okinawa-ben), which means "Okinawa dialect (of Japanese)". The policy of assimilation, coupled with increased interaction between Japan and Okinawa through media and economics, has led to the development of Okinawan Japanese, which is a dialect of Japanese.
- Dialects of the Ryukyuan language
Okinawan linguist Seizen Nakasone states that the Ryukyuan languages are in fact groupings of similar dialects. As each community has its own distinct dialect, there is no "one language". Nakasone attributes this diversity to the isolation caused by immobility, citing the story of his mother who wanted to visit the town of Nago but never made the 25 km trip before she died of old age.
- Its own distinct language
Outside Japan, Okinawan is considered a separate language from Japanese. This was first proposed by Basil Hall Chamberlain, who compared the relationship between Okinawan and Japanese to that of the Romance languages. UNESCO has marked it as an endangered language.
UNESCO listed six Okinawan language varieties as endangered languages in 2009. The endangerment of Okinawan is largely due to the shift to Standard Japanese. Throughout the history, Okinawan languages have been treated as dialects of Standard Japanese. For instance, in the 20th century, many schools used “dialect tags” to punish the students who spoke in Okinawan. Consequently, many of the remaining speakers today are choosing not to transmit their languages to younger generation due to the stigmatization of the languages in the past.
There have been several revitalization efforts made to reverse this language shift. However, Okinawan is still poorly taught in formal institutions due to the lack of support from the Okinawan Education Council: education in Okinawa is conducted exclusively in Japanese, and children do not study Okinawan as their second language at school. As a result, at least two generations of Okinawans have grown up without any proficiency in their local languages both at home and school.
|Close||i iː||(ɨ)||u uː|
|Close-Mid||e eː||o oː|
The Okinawan language has five vowels, all of which may be long or short, though the short vowels /e/ and /o/ are quite rare, as they occur only in a few native Okinawan words with heavy syllables with the pattern /Ceɴ/ or /Coɴ/, such as /meɴsoːɾeː/ mensooree "welcome" or /toɴɸaː/ tonfaa. The close back vowels /u/ and /uː/ are truly rounded, rather than the compressed vowels of standard Japanese. A sixth vowel /ɨ/ is sometimes posited in order to explain why sequences containing a historically raised /e/ fail to trigger palatalization as with /i/: */te/ → /tɨː/ tii "hand", */ti/ → /t͡ɕiː/ chii "blood". Acoustically, however, /ɨ/ is pronounced no differently from /i/, possibly because palatalization preceded this vowel shift.
The Okinawan language counts some 20 distinctive segments shown in the chart below, with major allophones presented in parentheses.
|Plosive||p b||t d||t͡ɕ d͡ʑ||kʷ ɡʷ||k ɡ||ʔ|
The only consonant that can occur as a syllable coda is the archiphoneme //n//. Many analyses treat it as an additional phoneme /N/, the moraic nasal, though it never contrasts with /n/ or /m/.
The consonant system of the Okinawan language is fairly similar to that of standard Japanese, but it does present a few differences on the phonemic and allophonic level. Namely, Okinawan retains the labialized consonants /kʷ/ and /ɡʷ/ which were lost in Late Middle Japanese, possesses a glottal stop /ʔ/, features a voiceless bilabial fricative /ɸ/ distinct from the aspirate /h/, and has two distinctive affricates which arose from a number of different sound processes. Additionally, Okinawan lacks the major allophones [t͡s] and [d͡z] found in Japanese, having historically fronted the vowel /u/ to /i/ after the alveolars /t d s z/, consequently merging [t͡su] tsu into [t͡ɕi] chi, [su] su into [ɕi] shi, and both [d͡zu] and [zu] into [d͡ʑi]. It also lacks /z/ as a distinctive phoneme, having merged it into /d͡ʑ/.
- Bilabial and glottal fricatives
- The bilabial fricative /ɸ/ has sometimes been transcribed as the cluster /hw/, since, like Japanese, /h/ allophonically labializes into [ɸ] before the high vowel /u/, and /ɸ/ does not occur before the rounded vowel /o/. This suggests that an overlap between /ɸ/ and /h/ exists, and so the contrast in front of other vowels can be denoted through labialization. However, this analysis fails to take account of the fact that Okinawan has not fully undergone the diachronic change */p/ → /ɸ/ → */h/ as in Japanese, and that the suggested clusterization and labialization into */hw/ is unmotivated. Consequently, the existence of /ɸ/ must be regarded as independent of /h/, even though the two overlap. Barring a few words that resulted from the former change, the aspirate /h/ also arose from the odd lenition of /k/ and /s/, as well as words loaned from other dialects. Before the glide /j/ and the high vowel /i/, it is pronounced closer to [ç], as in Japanese.
- The plosive consonants /t/ and /k/ historically palatalized and affricated into /t͡ɕ/ before and occasionally following the glide /j/ and the high vowel /i/: */kiri/ → /t͡ɕiɾi/ chiri "fog", and */k(i)jora/ → /t͡ɕuɾa/ chura- "beautiful". This change preceded vowel raising, so that instances where /i/ arose from */e/ did not trigger palatalization: */ke/ → /kiː/ kii "hair". Their voiced counterparts /d/ and /ɡ/ underwent the same effect, becoming /d͡ʑ/ under such conditions: */unaɡi/ → /ʔɴnad͡ʑi/ qnnaji "eel", and */nokoɡiri/ → /nukud͡ʑiɾi/ nukujiri "saw"; but */kaɡeɴ/ → /kaɡiɴ/ kagin "seasoning".
- Both /t/ and /d/ may or may not also allophonically affricate before the mid vowel /e/, though this pronunciation is increasingly rare. Similarly, the fricative consonant /s/ palatalizes into [ɕ] before the glide /j/ and the vowel /i/, including when /i/ historically derives from /e/: */sekai/ → [ɕikeː] shikee "world". It may also palatalize before the vowel /e/, especially so in the context of topicalization: [duɕi] dushi → [duɕeː] dusee or dushee "(topic) friend".
- In general, sequences containing the palatal consonant /j/ are relatively rare and tend to exhibit depalatalization. For example, /mj/ tends to merge with /n/ ([mjaːku] myaaku → [naːku] naaku "Miyako"); */rj/ has merged into /ɾ/ and /d/ (*/rjuː/ → /ɾuː/ ruu ~ /duː/ duu "dragon"); and /sj/ has mostly become /s/ (/sjui/ shui → /sui/ sui "Shuri").
- Flapping and fortition
- The voiced plosive /d/ and the flap /ɾ/ tend to merge, with the first becoming a flap in word-medial position, and the second sometimes becoming a plosive in word-initial position. For example, /ɾuː/ ruu "dragon" may be strengthened into /duː/ duu, and /hasidu/ hashidu "door" conversely flaps into /hasiɾu/ hashiru. The two sounds do, however, still remain distinct in a number of words and verbal constructions.
- Glottal stop
- Okinawan also features a distinctive glottal stop /ʔ/ that historically arose from a process of glottalization of word-initial vowels. Hence, all vowels in Okinawan are predictably glottalized at the beginning of words (*/ame/ → /ʔami/ ami "rain"), save for a few exceptions. High vowel loss or assimilation following this process created a contrast with glottalized approximants and nasal consonants. Compare */uwa/ → /ʔwa/ qwa "pig" to /wa/ wa "I", or */ine/ → /ʔɴni/ qnni "rice plant" to */mune/ → /ɴni/ nni "chest".
- Moraic nasal
- The moraic nasal /N/ has been posited in most descriptions of Okinawan phonology. Like Japanese, /N/ (transcribed using the small capital /ɴ/) occupies a full mora and its precise place of articulation will vary depending on the following consonant. Before other labial consonants, it will be pronounced closer to a syllabic bilabial nasal [m̩], as in /ʔɴma/ [ʔm̩ma] qmma "horse". Before velar and labiovelar consonants, it will be pronounced as a syllabic velar nasal [ŋ̍], as in /biɴɡata/ [biŋ̍ɡata] bingata, a method of dying clothes. And before alveolar and alveolo-palatal consonants, it becomes a syllabic alveolar nasal /n̩/, as in /kaɴda/ [kan̩da] kanda "vine". Elsewhere, its exact realization remains unspecified, and it may vary depending on the first sound of the next word or morpheme. In isolation and at the end of utterances, it is realized as a velar nasal [ŋ̍].
Correspondences with Japanese
There is a sort of "formula" for Ryukyuanizing Japanese words: turning e into i, ki into chi, gi into ji, o into u, and -awa into -aa. This formula fits with the transliteration of Okinawa into Uchinaa and has been noted as evidence that Okinawan is a dialect of Japanese, however it does not explain unrelated words such as arigatō and nifeedeebiru (for "thank you").
|/k/||/k/||/ɡ/ also occurs|
|/ka/||/ka/||/ha/ also occurs|
|/ku/||/ku/||/hu/, [ɸu] also occurs|
|/si/||/si/||/hi/, [çi] also occurs|
|/su/||/si/||[ɕi]; formerly distinguished as [si]|
/hi/ [çi] also occurs
|/tu/||/t͡ɕi/||[t͡ɕi]; formerly distinguished as [tsi]|
|/da/||/ra/||[d] and [ɾ] have merged|
|/ni/||/ni/||Moraic /ɴ/ also occurs|
|/ha/||/ɸa/||/pa/ also occurs, but rarely|
|/hi/||/pi/ ~ /hi/|
|/mi/||/mi/||Moraic /ɴ/ also occurs|
|/wa/||/wa/||Tends to become /a/ medially|
The Okinawan language was historically written using an admixture of kanji and hiragana. The hiragana syllabary is believed to have first been introduced from mainland Japan to the Ryukyu Kingdom some time during the reign of king Shunten in the early thirteenth century. It is likely that Okinawans were already in contact with hanzi (Chinese characters) due to extensive trade between the Ryukyu Kingdom and China, Japan and Korea. However, hiragana gained more widespread acceptance throughout the Ryukyu Islands, and most documents and letters were exclusively transcribed using this script. The Omoro Saushi (おもろさうし), a sixteenth-century compilation of songs and poetry, and a few preserved writs of appointments dating from the same century were written solely in Hiragana. Kanji were gradually adopted due to the growing influence of mainland Japan and to the linguistic affinity between the Okinawan and Japanese languages. However, it was mainly limited to affairs of high importance and to documents sent towards the mainland. The oldest inscription of Okinawan exemplifying its use along with Hiragana can be found on a stone stele at the Tamaudun mausoleum, dating back to 1501.
After the invasion of Okinawa by the Shimazu clan of Satsuma in 1609, Okinawan ceased to be used in official affairs. It was replaced by standard Japanese writing and a form of Classical Chinese writing known as kanbun. Despite this change, Okinawan still continued to prosper in local literature up until the nineteenth century. Following the Meiji Restoration, the Japanese government abolished the domain system and formally annexed the Ryukyu Islands to Japan as the Okinawa Prefecture in 1879. To promote national unity, the government then introduced standard education and opened Japanese-language schools based on the Tokyo dialect. Students were discouraged and chastised for speaking or even writing in the local "dialect", notably through the use of "dialect cards" (方言札). As a result, Okinawan gradually ceased to be written entirely until the American takeover in 1945.
Since then, Japanese and American scholars have variously transcribed the regional language using a number of ad hoc romanization schemes or the katakana syllabary to demarcate its foreign nature with standard Japanese. Proponents of Okinawan tend to be more traditionalist and continue to write the language using hiragana with kanji. In any case, no standard or consensus concerning spelling issues has ever been formalized, so discrepancies between modern literary works are common.
Technically, they are not syllables, but rather morae. Each mora in Okinawan will consist of one or two kana characters. If two, then a smaller version of kana follows the normal sized kana. In each cell of the table below, the top row is the kana (hiragana to the left, katakana to the right of the dot), the middle row in rōmaji (Hepburn romanization), and the bottom row in IPA.
[ɴ] ([n̩], [ŋ̣], [ṃ])
[ʔɴ] ([ʔn̩], [ʔṃ])
Okinawan follows a subject>object>verb word order and makes large use of particles as in Japanese. Okinawan dialects retain a number of grammatical features of classical Japanese, such as a distinction between the terminal form (終止形) and the attributive form (連体形), the genitive function of が ga (lost in the Shuri dialect), the nominative function of ぬ nu (Japanese: の no), as well as honorific/plain distribution of ga and nu in nominative use.
One etymology given for the -un and -uru endings is the continuative form suffixed with uri (Classical Japanese: 居り wori, to be; to exist): -un developed from the terminal form uri; -uru developed from the attributive form uru, i.e.:
- kachuru derives from kachi-uru;
- kachun derives from kachi-uri; and
- yumun (Japanese: 読む yomu, to read) derives from yumi + uri.
A similar etymology is given for the terminal -san and attributive -saru endings for adjectives: the stem suffixed with さ sa (nominalises adjectives, i.e. high → height, hot → heat), suffixed with ari (Classical Japanese: 有り ari, to exist; to have), i.e.:
- takasan (Japanese: 高い takai, high; tall) derives from taka-sa-ari;
- achisan (Japanese: 暑い atsui, hot; warm) derives from atsu-sa-ari; and
- yutasaru (good; pleasant) derives from yuta-sa-aru.
Parts of Speech
|Nature of the Part of Speech in a Sentence||Part of Speech|
|Independent||No Conjugation||Can become a subject||Noun (名詞)|
|Cannot become a subject||Other words come after||Modifies||Modifies a declinable word||Adverb (副詞)|
|Modifies a substantive||Prenominal Adjective (連体詞)|
|Other words may not come after||Interjection / Exclamation (感動詞)|
|Conjugates||Declinable word||Shows movements||Conclusive form ends in "ん (n)"||Verb (動詞)|
|Shows the property or state||Conclusive form ends in "さん (san)"||Adjective (形容詞)|
|Shows existence or decision of a certain thing||"やん (yan)" attaches to a substantive such as a noun||Existential-Identificative Verb (存在動詞)|
|Shows state of existence of events||"やん (yan)" attaches to the word that shows state||Adjectival Verb (形容動詞)|
|Dependent||Conjugates||Makes up for the meanings of conjugated words||Conclusive form ends in "ん (n)"||Auxiliary Verb (助動詞)|
|No Conjugation||Attaches to other words and shows the relationship between words||Particle(助詞)|
|Attaches to the head of a word and adds meaning or makes a new word||Prefix (接頭語)|
|Attaches to the end of a word and adds meaning or makes a new word||Suffix (接尾語)|
- Nouns (名詞)
Nouns are classified as independent, non-conjugating part of speech that can become a subject of a sentence
- Pronouns (代名詞)
Pronouns are classified the same as nouns, except that pronouns are more broad.
|3rd Person||Proximal||くり (kuri)||くり (kuri)||くま (kuma)||
||くったー (kuttaa)||くったー (kuttaa)||くま (kuma)||
|Medial||うり (uri)||うり (uri)||うま (uma)||
||うったー (uttaa)||うったー (uttaa)||うま (uma)||
|Distal||あり (ari)||あり (ari)||あま (ama)||
||あったー (attaa)||あったー (attaa)||あま (ama)||
||じる (jiru)||まー (maa)||
||たったー (tattaa)||じる (jiru)||まー (maa)||
- Adverbs (副詞)
Adverbs are classified as an independent, non-conjugating part of speech that cannot become a subject of a sentence and modifies a declinable word (用言; verbs, adverbs, adjectives) that comes after the adverb. There are two main categories to adverbs and several subcategories within each category, as shown in the table below.
|Adverbs that shows state or condition|
|Time||ひっちー (hicchii)||しょっちゅう (shocchuu)
Anu fitundaa hicchii, takkwaimukkwai bikeesoon.
Ano fuufu wa itsumo, yorisotte bakari iru.
|まーるけえてぃ (maarukeeti)||たまに (tamani)||Occasionally||
Kwaa maarukeeti, uya nu kashiishiga ichun.
Kodomo wa tamani, oya no tetsudai ni iku.
|ちゃーき (chaaki)||直ぐ (sugu)||Already||
Kunu kurumaa chaaki, keeyanditoontan.
Kono kuruma wa sugu, kowarete shimatteita.
Yagati, tida nu utiyushiga, unjuoo kuun.
Yagate, taiyou ga ochiruga, anata wa konai.
|未だ (naada)||まだ (mada)||Yet||
Ariga chimoo naada, nooran.
Kanojo no kigen wa mada, naoranai.
|ちゃー (chaa)||いつも (itsumo)||Always||
Ama nu inoo chaa, abitoon.
Asoko no inu wa itsumo, hoeteiru.
|ちゅてーや (chuteeya)||少しは (sukoshiwa)||A little||
|あっとぅむす (attumusu)||急に (kyuuni)||Suddenly||
Dushi nu attumusu, hachootandoo.
Tomodachi ga kyuuni, kiteitayo.
|まるひーじーや (maruhiijiiya)||普段は (fudanwa)||Normally||
Tunai nu Sandaasuu ya maruhiijiiya nintiduuyuru.
Tonari no Sandaa-jii fudanwa neteiru.
|いっとぅちゃー (ittuchaa)||しばらくは (shibarakuwa)||A little while||
Ittuchaa, jooguchi nji macchookee.
Shibarakuwa, mon de matteoke.
|Quantity||いふぃ (ifi)||少し (sukoshi)||A little||
Sandaa, ifi ee, yaa tamashi kara wakititurasee.
Sandaa, sukoshi wa kimi no bun kara waketekure.
|ちゃっさきー (chassakii)||沢山 (takusan)||Many, a lot of||
Usumee ya yama kara chassakii, tamun, muchicheen.
Ojii-san wa yama kara takusan, maki mottekitearu.
|はてぃるか (hatiruka)||随分 (zuibun)||A lot||
Chinuu ya hatiruka, acchan.
Kinou wa zuibun, aruita.
|ぐゎさない (gwasanai)||わんさか (wansaka)||Abundant||
Wattaa haru nkai ya uujee gwasanai, mandoondoo.
Watashitachi no hatake ni wa satoukibi wa wansaka aruyo.
|一杯 (ippai)||A lot||
Nmu yaree, shinmeen naabi nkai micchakii (micchakaa), andoo.
Imo nara oonabe ni, ippai, aruyo.
|ゆっかりうっさ (yukkariussa)||随分 (zuibun)||A lot||
Ikuman nkai ya churakaagi nu yukkariussa, uyu ndi.
Itoman ni wa bijin ga zuibin, iru souda.
|うすまさ (usumasa)||恐ろしく (osoroshiku)||Extremely, a lot of||
Gajanbira nkai ya usumasa, gajan nu uyuta ndi.
Gajanbira ni wa osoroshiku, ka ga ita souda.
|まんたきー (mantakii)||一杯 (ippai)||Full, a lot||
Mijii mantakii, iriti, dajirashiyoo.
Mizu wa ippai, irete, taitene.
|なーふぃん (naafin)||もっと (motto)||More||
Kunu yu nkai mijee, naafin, nbeetikwiree.
Kono oyu ni mizu wo motto, tashitekure.
|軽ってんぐゎ (kattengwa)||少しだけ (sukoshidake)||A little||
Chiyuu nu muchiban meeya kattengwa, irititurasee.
Kyou no bentou wa sukoshidake, iretechoudai.
|Degree||でーじな (deejina)||大変 (taihen)||Very||
Unju ga sanshin nu kaa ya deejina, jootoo yanyaa
Anata no shamisen wa taihen, joutou desune.
|じまま (jimama)||随分 (zuibun)||Fairly, quite||
Wan'nee wakasainii ya jimama, binchoo shan.
Watashi wa wakaikoro wa, zuibun, benkyou shita.
|よねー (yonee)||そんなには (son'naniwa)||Not too much||
Kundu nu shoogwachi e yonee, yukuraransaa.
Kondo no shougatsu wa, son'naniwa, yasumenaina.
|いーるく (iiruku)||良く (yoku)||Often||
Kunu umi nji e iiruku, uijundoo.
Kono umi de wa, yoku, oyoguyo.
|にりるか (niriruka)||うんざりするほど (unzarisuruhodo)||To a sickening degree||
Chinuu ya niriruka, nii, kayaachan.
Kinou wa, unzarisuruhodo, ni wo hokonda.
|わじるか (wajiruka)||怒るほど (okoruhodo)||To the extent someone gets irritated||
Jiraa ga chukutaru shorui ya kachoo ga wajiruka, bappeetootan.
Jiraa ga tsukutta shorui wa kachou ga okoruhodo, machigetteita.
|あいゆか (aiyuka)||とても (totemo)||Very||
Wan'nee aiyuka, wata nu yadi, hirakitootan.
Watashi wa totemo, onaka ga itakute, shagandeita.
|ゆくん (yukun)||余計 (yokei)||Even more||
Ittaa yacchii ya yukun, chijiduyaru.
Kimitachi no ani wa yokei, dame da.
|たった (tatta)||余計 (yokei)||Even more||
Jikan nu tachiinee, ari ga yanmee ya tatta, wassanayundoo.
Jikan ga tateba, kare no byouki wa yokei, warukunaruyo.
|ちゅふぁーら (chufaara)||一杯 (ippai)||Full, enough||
Munoo naa, chufaara, kadan.
Shokuji wa mou, ippai, tabeta.
|あんすかー (ansukaa)||それほどは (sorehodowa)||Not so...||
Suu ya sanshin ya ansukaa, jooji earan.
Otou-san wa shamisen sorehodowam jouzu dewanai.
|散ん散んとぅ (chinchintu)||散り散りに (chirijirini)||Dispersed, scattered||
Kuma nu manguraa chinchintu du, yaa yaataru.
Kono atari wa chirijirini ie ga natta.
|Situation||早く (heeku)||早く (hayaku)||Quickly||
Chuu ya heeku, sutiturashiyoo.
Kyou wa hayaku, atsumattekureyo.
|ようんなー (youn'naa)||ゆっくり (yukkuri)||Slowly||
Munoo awatiranyoui, youn'naa, kamee.
Shokuji wa awatezu, yukkuri, tabeyo.
|なんくる (nankuru)||自ずと (onozuto)||Naturally||
Toonainee, nankuru, jinbunmen njitichuusani.
Iza to nareba, onozuto, chie mo detekuru darou.
|ゆったいくゎったい (yuttaikwattai)||どんぶらこと (donburakoto)||Adverb for something heavy floating down on water||
Kaa nu ui nu hata kara magi mumu nu yuttaikwattai, ruuritichan.
Kawa no ue no hou kara ookina momo ga donburakoto, nagaretekita.
|なぐりなぐりとぅ (nagurinaguritu)||なごりなごりと (nagorinagorito)||Reluctantly, Nostalgically||
Nagurinaguritu, wakari nu eesachi sun.
Nagorinagorito, wakare no aisatsu wo suru.
|しんじんとぅ (shinjintu)||しみじみと (shimijimito)||Nostalgically||
Shinjintu, fushiuta yatin, utatinda.
Shimijimito, fushiuta demo, utattemiyou.
|次第次第 (shideeshidee)||次第に (shidaini)||Gradually||
Tidaa irii nkai shideeshidee, utitiichun.
Taiyou wa nishi he shidaini, shizundeiku.
|ちゅらーさ (churaasa)||残らず (nokorazu)||Completely||
Garasaa nu chiribukuru, churaasa, kizaachineeran.
Karasu ga gomibukuro, nokorazu, asatteshimatta.
|どぅく (duku)||あまりにも (amarinimo)||Too much, excessively||
Duku, yukushi bikee, shiinee, bachi, kanjun.
Amarinimo, uso bakari tsuitara, batsu ga ataru.
|だんだんだんだん (dandandandan)||段々 (dandan)||Gradually||
Naa fwansoo nu utu o dandandandan, mashinatoon.
Anata no fue no oto wa dandan, yokunatteiru.
|次第に (shideeni)||次第に (shidaini)||Gradually||
Igaroun, shideeni, tushi, tutanyaa.
Wareware mo shidaini toshi wo totta ne.
|どぅくだら (dukudara)||ひどく (hidoku)||Badly||
Dukudara, himichi shiinee, isa nkai mishirandee.
Hidoku, seki kondara, isha ni misenaito.
|まっすぐ (massugu)||まっすぐ (massugu)||Straight||
Kuma kara ama nkai massugu, ichiinee, umi nkai njiyun.
Koko kara asoko he, massugu, ikuto, umi ni deru.
|まっとうば (mattouba)||正しく (tadashiku)||Correctly||
Naa ya uchinaaguchee mattouba, chikariyoo.
Kimi wa okinawago wo tadashiku tsukatteyo.
|だってぃどぅ (dattidu)||ちゃんと (channto)||Properly||
Yaa ya dattidu, chukuyundoo.
Ie wa chanto, tsukurundayo.
|だてん (daten)||きちんと (kichinto)||Neatly||
Anmaa ya chuu ya daten, sugatoon.
Haha wa kyou wa kichinto, minari wo totonoeteiru.
|さっぱっとぅ (sappattu)||さっぱり (sappari)||Freshly||
Danbachi saani, sappattu, soon.
Sanpatsu wo shite, sappari shiteiru.
|しかっとぅ (shikattu)||しっかり (shikkari)||Carefully||
Uya nu yushi, shikattu, chichoukiyoo.
Oya no iukoto wo shikkari, kiiteokeyo.
|うかっとぅお (ukattuo)||うかつには (ukatsuniwa)||Thoughtlessly, carelessly||
Anshin, shikennoo, ukattuo, ukiraran.
Soredemo, shiken wa ukatsuniwa ukerarenai.
|たった (tatta)||余計 (yokei)||Even more||
Unu yanmee ya nijiinee, tatta, wassanayundoo.
Sono byouki wa gaman suru to, yokei, warukunaruyo.
|Adverbs that shows judgement|
|Assumption||むし (mushi)||もし (moshi)||If||
Mushi, iibappeeshiinee, icha suka.
Moshi, iimachigaetara, dou suruka.
|たとぅい (tatui)||例え (tatoe)||Even if||
Tatui, ufukaji nu fuchin, kunu yaa ya toooriran.
Tatoe, ookaze ga fuitemo, kono ie wa taorenai.
|例れー (taturee)||例えば (tatoeba)||For example, if you compare||
Taturee, Uchinaa ya Yamatu nu Hawai yasa.
Tatoteba Okinawa wa Nihon no Hawai sa.
|Supposition||いやりん (iyarin)||きっと（いかにも） (kitto (ikanimo))||Indeed, surely||
Iyarin, kunu suusaa ya yanbaru kweena du yasani.
Kitto (ikanimo), kono tori wa yanbaru kuina nano darouka.
|まさか (masaka)||まさか (masaka)||No way, no idea, unlikely, it is impossible that…||
Masaka, chu shima nkai ichiku nu shimayu ndee, umaantan.
Masaka, onaji mura ni itoko ga sundeiru towa omowanakatta.
|むしや (mushiya)||もしや (moshiya)||By chance||
|むしか (mushika)||もしや (moshiya)||Perhaps||
|まさか (masaka)||まさか (masaka)||No way, no idea, unlikely, it is impossible that…||
|あたまに (atamani)||ほんとに (hontoni)||Really||
|Wish||どうでぃん (doudin)||どうか (douka)||Please||
|たんでぃ (tandi)||どうぞ (douzo)||Please||
|必じ (kan'naji)||必ず (kanarazu)||Always, have to||
|如何しん (chaashin)||どうしても (doushitemo)||Have to, at any cost||
|Doubt||如何し (chaashi)||どうやって (douyatte)||How||
|みったい (mittai)||一体 (ittai)||Really||
|あんすか (ansuka)||そんなに (son'nani)||So much, really||
|何んち (nuunchi)||何故 (naze)||Why||
|あちらん (achiran)||一向に (ikkouni)||Completely, at all||
|じょーい (jyoui)||絶対 (zettai)||Definitely||
|ちゃっさん (chassan)||度を超して (dowokoshite)||Go too far||
|いふぃん (ifin)||少しも (sukoshimo)||At all||
|如何ん (chaan)||どうすることも (dousurukotomo)||Cannot do anything||
|Decision||じゅんに (jyun'ni)||本当に (hontouni)||Really, truly||
|必じ (kan'naji)||必ず (kanarazu)||Definitely||
|うん如おりー (ungutuorii)||そのような事 (sonoyounakoto)||Such a thing||
|Others||いちゃんだん (ichandan)||むやみに (muyamini)||Recklessly||
|うったてぃ (uttati)||わざと (wazato)||On purpose||
|なー (naa)||もう (mou)||Already||
- Prenominal Adjectives (連体詞)
|Prenominal Adjectives are classified the same as adverbs,|
except instead of modifying a declinable word, it modifies
a substantive (体言; nouns and pronouns).
|いぃー (yii)||良い (ii)||good|
- Conjunctions (接続詞)
|Conjunctions are classified as an independent,|
non-conjugating part of speech that connects words
coming after to words coming before.
|あんさびーくとぅ (ansabiikutu)||そういうわけですから (souiuwakedesukara)||"For that reason"|
|あんし (anshi)||それで (sorede)
|やくとぅ (yakutu)||だから (dakara)||"So"|
|やしが (yashiga)||しかし (shikashi)
- Interjections / Exclamations (感動詞)
|Interjections are classified as an independent, non-conjugating part of speech,|
where it does not modify or connect anything, and other words may not come after it.
|あい (ai)||おや (oya)||Oh, Wow||驚きの気持ちを表す
Expression of surprise
|あきさみよー (akisamiyo)||あらまあ (aramaa)||Oh dear||Expression of dismay, concern, or worry|
|あきとーなー (akitoonaa)||おやまあ||Oh dear||失敗した時や驚いた時などに発する
Expression of dismay, concern, or worry
|うー (uu)||はい (hai)||Yes||Honorific "yes"|
|だー (daa)||おい (oi)
|とー (too)||ほら (hora)
|All right||Expression of pleasure, joy, or permission|
|とーとー (tootoo)||よしよし (yoshiyoshi)
|はっさみよー (hassamiyoo)||おやまあ (oyamaa)||Oh dear||呆れ返った時などに発する語|
|んちゃ (ncha)||なるほど (naruhodo)
|Sure enough, As I expected|
- Verbs (動詞)
Verbs are classified as an independent, conjugating part of speech that shows movements. The conclusive form ends in ん (n).
- Adjectives (形容詞)
Adjectives are classified as an independent, conjugating part of speech that shows property or state. The conclusive form ends in さん (san).
存在動詞 are classified as an independent, conjugating part of speech that shows existence or decision of a certain thing. やん (yan) attaches to a substantive.
- Adjectival Verbs (形容動詞)
Adjectival verbs are classified as an independent, conjugating part of speech that shows the state of existence of events. やん (yan) attaches to words that shows state.
- Auxiliary Verbs (助動詞)
|Auxiliary verbs are classified as a dependent, conjugating part of speech that|
makes up the meanings of conjugated words. The conclusive form ends in ん (n).
|ぎさん (gisan)||そうだ (souda)|
|ぐとーん (gutoon)||のようだ (noyouda)|
|ぶさん (busan)||したい (shitai)|
|みしぇーびーん (misheebiin)||なさいます (nasaimasu)|
|みしぇーん (misheen)||なさる (nasaru)|
|ゆーすん (yuusun)||ことができる (kotogadekiru)|
|Case Markers (格助詞)|
|Attaches to a substantive and marks the relationship between other words.|
|が (ga)||Subject marker. Normally ぬ (nu). However, if a pronoun is the subject of the sentence, が (ga) is used. が (ga) can also be used for names. ぬ (nu) can be used for any situation.||
|っし (sshi)||で (de)||Indicates the means by which something is achieved.||
|Ø (Archaic: ゆ (yu))||を (wo)||Modern Okinawan does not use a direct object particle, like casual Japanese speech. "yu" exists mainly in old literary composition.||
|なかい (nakai)||へ (e)・に (ni)||手段・方法||
|やか (yaka)||より (yori)||"as much as"; upper limit.||
|さーに (saani)||Indicates the means by which something is achieved.||
|から (kara)||から (kara)||起点||
|んかい (nkai)||へ (e)||"to, in"; direction||
|をぅてぃ (wuti)||Indicates the location where an action pertaining to an animate subject takes place. Derives from the participle form of the verb をぅん wun "to be, to exist".||
|をぅとーてぃ (wutooti)||Progressive form of をぅてぃ, and also includes time.||
|んじ (nji)||で (de)||場所||
|ぬ (nu)||の (no)||Possessive marker. It may be difficult to differentiate between the subject marker ぬ (nu) and possessive marker ぬ (nu).||
|とぅ (tu)||と (to)||相手||
|んでぃ (ndi)||と (to)||Quotative.||
|Adverbial Particles (副助詞)|
|びけー (bikee)||だけ (dake)||
|びけーん (bikeen)||ぱかり (bakari)||"only; limit"||
|だき (daki)||だけ (dake)||
|までぃ (madi)||まで (made)||"up to, until, as far as"||
|くれー (kuree)||ぐらい (gurai)||"around, about, approximately"||
|ふどぅ (fudu)||ほど (hodo)||
|あたい (atai)||ぐらい (gurai)等||as much as; upper limit.||
|んちょーん (nchoun)||さえ (sae)||
|うっさ (ussa)||だけ (dake)等||
|うっぴ (uppi)||だけ (dake)等||
|うひ (uhi)||だけ (dake)等||
|さく (saku)||ほど (hodo)、だけ (dake)||
|Binding Particles (係助詞)|
|や (ya)||は (wa)||Topic particle for long vowels, proper nouns, or names.
For other nouns, the particle fuses with short vowels. a → aa, i → ee, u → oo, e → ee, o → oo, n → noo. Pronoun 我ん (wan?) (I) becomes topicalized as 我んねー (wan'nee?) instead of 我んのー (wan'noo?) or 我んや (wan'ya?), although the latter does appear in some musical or literary works.
|ん (n)||も (mo)||"Also"||
|やてぃん (yatin)||でも (demo)||"even, also in"||
|がん (gan)||でも (demo)||
|ぬん (nun)||でも (demo)||
|しか (shika)||しか (shika)||
|てぃらむん (tiramun)||たるもの (tarumono)||
|とぅか (tuka)||とか (toka)
|どぅ (du)||ぞ (zo)
|る (ru)||ぞ (zo)
|Sentence Ending Particles (終助詞)|
|か (ka)||Final interrogatory particle.||
|み (mi)||か (ka)||Final interrogatory particle||
|がやー (gayaa)||かな (kana)||
|さに (sani)||だろう (darou)||
|なー (naa)||の (no)||Final particle expressing 問いかけ・念押し||
|どー (doo)||ぞ (zo)
|よ (yo)||よ (yo)||
|な (na)||な (na)||Prohibitive||
|さ (sa)||さ (sa)||
|Interjectory Particles (間投助詞)|
|てー (tee)||ね (ne)等||
|なー (naa)||ね (ne)等||
|さり (sari)||ねえ (nee)等||
|Conjunctive Particles (接続助詞)|
- Prefix (接頭語)
- Suffix (接尾語)
Question Words (疑問詞)
|いくち (ikuchi)||いくつ (ikutsu)||"How much"|
|いち (ichi)||いつ (itsu)||"When"|
|じる (jiru)||どれ (dore)||"Which"|
|たー (taa)||誰 (dare)||"Who"|
|たったー (tattaa)||誰々 (daredare)||"Who" (plural)|
|ちゃー (chaa)||どう (dou)||"How" (in what way)|
|ちぁっさ (chassa)||どれだけ (doredake)
|ちゃぬ (chanu)||どの (dono)
|ぬー (nuu)||何 (nani)||"What"|
|ぬーんち (nuunchi)||どうして (doushite)||"Why"|
|まー (maa)||どこ (doko)||"Where"|
- Okinawan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
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- Lewis 2009.
- Moseley 2010.
- Kerr 2000, p. xvii.
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|Okinawan language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
|Okinawan language repository of Wikisource, the free library|