Okinawan language

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Okinawan
沖縄口/ウチナーグチ Uchinaaguchi
Pronunciation [ʔut͡ɕinaːɡut͡ɕi]
Native to Japan
Region Okinawa Islands
Native speakers
980,000 (2000)[1]
Okinawan, Japanese, Rōmaji
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ryu
Glottolog cent2126[2]
Linguasphere 45-CAC-ai
45-CAC-aj
45-CAC-ak[3]
Boundaries of the Okinawan Languages.svg
  (South–Central) Okinawan, AKA Shuri–Naha
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

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.[4] 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.[5]

Though Okinawan encompasses a number of local dialects,[6] the Shuri-Naha variant is generally recognized as the de facto standard,[7] as it had been used as the official language of the Ryūkyū Kingdom[8] 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,[8][7] 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. Language use in Okinawa today is far from stable. Okinawans are assimilating to standard Japanese due to the standardized education system, the expanding media, and expanding contact with mainlanders.[9] Okinawan is still spoken by many older people. It is also kept alive in theaters featuring a local drama called uchinaa shibai, which depict local customs and manners.[10]

History[edit]

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.[11]

Ryukyu Kingdom Era
Pre-Satsuma
Hiragana was much more popular than kanji; poems were commonly written solely in hiragana or with little kanji.
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.
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.

American Occupation

Under American administration, there was an attempt to revive and standardize Okinawan, however this proved difficult and was shelved in favor of Japanese. 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, however few native Okinawans desire to learn the language.[12]

Classification[edit]

Okinawan is sometimes grouped with Kunigami as the Okinawan languages, however some linguists don't use this grouping or claim that Kunigami is a dialect of Okinawan.[13] 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 was 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.[14] The present-day official stance of the Japanese government remains of the idea 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.

Dialect 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.[15]

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.

Phonology[edit]

Vowels[edit]

Front Central Back
Close i (ɨ) u
Close-Mid e o
Open a

The Okinawan language has five vowels, all of which may be long or short, though the short vowels /e/ and /o/ are considerably rare[16] as they only occur 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/, and this distinction can simply be attributed to the fact that palatalization took place prior to this vowel shift.

Consonants[edit]

The Okinawan language counts some 20 distinctive segments shown in the chart below, with major allophones presented in parentheses.

IPA chart of Okinawan consonants
Labial Alveolar Alveolo-
palatal
Palatal Labio-
velar
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n (ŋ)
Plosive p   b t   d t͡ɕ   d͡ʑ   ɡʷ k   ɡ ʔ
Fricative ɸ s  (z) (ɕ) (ç) h
Flap ɾ
Approximant j w

The only consonant that can occur as a syllable coda is the archiphoneme //n//. Many analyses treat it as an additional phoneme /N/, 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.[17] 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.
Palatalization
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.[18] 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.[18] Compare */uwa//ʔwa/ qwa "pig" to /wa/ wa "I", or */ine//ʔɴni/ qnni "rice plant" to */mune//ɴni/ nni "chest".[19]
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[edit]

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").


Japanese Okinawan Notes
/e/ /iː/[20]
/i/
/a/ /a/[20]
/o/ /u/[20]
/u/
/ai/ /eː/
/ae/
/au/ /oː/
/ao/
/aja/
/k/ /k/ /ɡ/ also occurs
/ka/ /ka/ /ha/ also occurs
/ki/ /t͡ɕi/ [t͡ɕi]
/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
/de/ /ri/
/do/ /ru/
/ni/ /ni/ Moraic /ɴ/ also occurs
/nu/ /nu/
/ha/ /ɸa/ /pa/ also occurs, but rarely
/hi/ /pi/ ~ /hi/
/he/
/mi/ /mi/ Moraic /ɴ/ also occurs
/mu/ /mu/
/ri/ /i/ /iri/ unaffected
/wa/ /wa/ Tends to become /a/ medially

Orthography[edit]

The Tamaoton no Hinomon (玉陵の碑文), referred to as the Tamaudun no Hinomon in modern Japanese, is the oldest known inscription of Okinawan using both hiragana and kanji.
Further information: Okinawan writing system

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.[21][22] 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 uniquely transcribed using this script. The Omoro Saushi (おもろさうし), a sixteenth-century compilation of songs and poetry,[23] and a few preserved writs of appointments dating from the same century were written solely in Hiragana.[24] Kanji were gradually adopted due to the growing influence of mainland Japan and to the linguistic affinity between the Okinawan and Japanese languages.[25] 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.[26][27]

After the invasion of Okinawa by the Shimazu clan of Satsuma in 1609, Okinawan ceased to be used in official affairs.[21] It was replaced by standard Japanese writing and a form of Classical Chinese writing known as kanbun.[21] 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.[28] To promote national unity, the government then introduced standard education and opened Japanese-language schools based on the Tokyo dialect.[28] 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.

Syllabary

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.

A I U E O YA YI YU YE YO WA WI WU WE WO N
Ø あ・ア
a
[a]
い・イ
i
[i]
う・ウ
u
[u]
え・エ
e
[e]
お・オ
o
[o]
や・ヤ
ya
[ja]
いぃ・イィ
yi
[ji]
ゆ・ユ
yu
[ju]
えぇ・エェ
ye
[je]
よ・ヨ
yo
[jo]
わ・ワ
wa
[wa]
ゐ・ヰ
wi
[wi]
をぅ・ヲゥ
wu
[wu]
ゑ・ヱ
we
[we]
を・ヲ
wo
[wo]
ん・ン
n
[ɴ] ([], [ŋ̣], [])
Q
(glottal stop)
あ・ア
Qa
[ʔa]
い・イ
Qi
[ʔi]
う・ウ
Qu
[ʔu]
え・エ
Qe
[ʔe]
お・オ
Qo
[ʔo]
っや・ッヤ
Qya
[ʔʲa]
っゆ・ッユ
Qyu
[ʔʲu]
っよ・ッヨ
Qyo
[ʔʲo]
っわ・ッワ
Qwa
[ʔʷa]
っゐ・ッヰ
Qwi
[ʔʷi]
っゑ・ッヱ
Qwe
[ʔʷe]
っを・ッヲ
Qwo
[ʔʷo]
っん・ッン
Qn
[ʔɴ] ([ʔn̩], [ʔṃ])
K か・カ
ka
[ka]
き・キ
ki
[ki]
く・ク
ku
[ku]
け・ケ
ke
[ke]
こ・コ
ko
[ko]
きゃ・キャ
kya
[kʲa]
きゅ・キュ
kyu
[kʲu]
きょ・キョ
kyo
[kʲo]
くゎ・クヮ
kwa
[kʷa]
くぃ・クィ
kwi
[kʷi]
くぇ・クェ
kwe
[kʷe]
くぉ・クォ
kwo
[kʷo]
G が・ガ
ga
[ga]
ぎ・ギ
gi
[gi]
ぐ・グ
gu
[gu]
げ・ゲ
ge
[ge]
ご・ゴ
go
[go]
ぎゃ・ギャ
gya
[gʲa]
ぎゅ・ギュ
gyu
[gʲu]
ぎょ・ギョ
gyo
[gʲo]
ぐゎ・グヮ
gwa
[gʷa]
ぐぃ・グィ
gwi
[gʷi]
ぐぇ・グェ
gwe
[gʷe]
ぐぉ・グォ
gwo
[gʷo]
S さ・サ
sa
[sa]
すぃ・スィ
si
[si]
す・ス
su
[su]
せ・セ
se
[se]
そ・ソ
so
[so]
SH しゃ・シャ
sha
[ɕa]
し・シ
shi
[ɕi]
しゅ・シュ
shu
[ɕu]
しぇ・シェ
she
[ɕe]
しょ・ショ
sho
[ɕo]
Z ざ・ザ
za
[za]
ずぃ・ズィ
zi
[zi]
ず・ズ
zu
[zu]
ぜ・ゼ
ze
[ze]
ぞ・ゾ
zo
[zo]
J じゃ・ジャ
(ぢゃ・ヂャ)
ja
[dʑa]
じ・ジ
(ぢ・ヂ)
ji
[dʑi]
じゅ・ヂュ
(ぢゅ・ヂュ)
ju
[dʑu]
じぇ・ジェ
(ぢぇ・ヂェ)
je
[dʑe]
じょ・ジョ
(ぢょ・ヂョ)
jo
[dʑo]
T た・タ
ta
[ta]
てぃ・ティ
ti
[ti]
とぅ・トゥ
tu
[tu]
て・テ
te
[te]
と・ト
to
[to]
D だ・ダ
da
[da]
でぃ・ディ
di
[di]
どぅ・ドゥ
du
[du]
で・デ
de
[de]
ど・ド
do
[do]
TS つぁ・ツァ
tsa
[tsa]
つぃ・ツィ
tsi
[tsi]
つ・ツ
tsu
[tsu]
つぇ・ツェ
tse
[tse]
つぉ・ツォ
tso
[tso]
CH ちゃ・チャ
cha
[tɕa]
ち・チ
chi
[tɕi]
ちゅ・チュ
chu
[tɕu]
ちぇ・チェ
che
[tɕe]
ちょ・チョ
cho
[tɕo]
YA YU YO
N な・ナ
na
[na]
に・ニ
ni
[ni]
ぬ・ヌ
nu
[nu]
ね・ネ
ne
[ne]
の・ノ
no
[no]
にゃ・ニャ
nya
[ɲa]
にゅ・ニュ
nyu
[ɲu]
にょ・ニョ
nyo
[ɲo]
Long Vowel Double Consonant
〜(あ、い、う、え、お)・ー
~(a, i, u, e, o)
~[]
っ・ッ
(Any consonant)
[]
H は・ハ
ha
[ha]
ひ・ヒ
hi
[çi]
へ・ヘ
he
[he]
ほ・ホ
ho
[ho]
ひゃ・ヒャ
hya
[ça]
ひゅ・ヒュ
hyu
[çu]
ひょ・ヒョ
hyo
[ço]
F ふぁ・ファ
fa
[ɸa]
ふぃ・フィ
fi
[ɸi]
ふ・フ
fu/hu
[ɸu]
ふぇ・フェ
fe
[ɸe]
ふぉ・フォ
fo
[ɸo]
B ば・バ
ba
[ba]
び・ビ
bi
[bi]
ぶ・ブ
bu
[bu]
べ・ベ
be
[be]
ぼ・ボ
bo
[bo]
P ぱ・パ
pa
[pa]
ぴ・ピ
pi
[pi]
ぷ・プ
pu
[pu]
ぺ・ペ
pe
[pe]
ぽ・ポ
po
[po]
M ま・マ
ma
[ma]
み・ミ
mi
[mi]
む・ム
mu
[mu]
め・メ
me
[me]
も・モ
mo
[mo]
みゃ・ミャ
mya
[mʲa]
みゅ・ミュ
myu
[mʲu]
みょ・ミョ
myo
[mʲo]
R ら・ラ
ra
[ɾa]
り・リ
ri
[ɾi]
る・ル
ru
[ɾu]
れ・レ
re
[ɾe]
ろ・ロ
ro
[ɾo]
りゃ・リャ
rya
[ɾʲa]
りゅ・リュ
ryu
[ɾʲu]
りょ・リョ
ryo
[ɾʲo]

Grammar[edit]

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 ga (lost in the Shuri dialect), the nominative function of nu (Japanese: no), as well as honorific/plain distribution of ga and nu in nominative use.

書く kaku
to write
Classical Shuri
Irrealis 未然形 書か kaka- kaka-
Continuative 連用形 書き kaki- kachi-
Terminal 終止形 書く kaku kachun
Attributive 連体形 書く kaku kachuru
Realis 已然形 書け kake- kaki-
Imperative 命令形 書け kake kaki

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 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[edit]

Nature of the Part of Speech in a Sentence Part of Speech
Independent No Conjugation Can become a subject Noun (名詞)
Pronoun (代名詞)
Cannot become a subject Other words come after Modifies Modifies a declinable word Adverb (副詞)
Modifies a substantive Prenominal Adjective (連体詞)
Connects Conjunction (接続詞)
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 ??? (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.

Okinawan Pronouns
Singular Plural
Personal Demonstrative Personal Demonstrative
Thing Place Direction Thing Place Direction
1st Person
  • 我ん (wan?)
  • わみ (wami?)
  • わったあ (wattaa?)
  • いがろう (igarou?)
2nd Person
  • やー (yaa?)
  • やーみ (yaami?)
  • なー (naa?)
  • なあみ (naami?)
  • 御所 (unnjyu?)
  • いったー (ittaa?)
  • なったー (nattaa?)
  • うんじゅなーたー (unjyunaataa?)
3rd Person Proximal くり (kuri?) くり (kuri?) くま (kuma?)
  • くま (kuma?)
  • くがた (kugata?)
くったー (kuttaa?) くったー (kuttaa?) くま (kuma?)
  • くま (kuma?)
  • くがた (kugata?)
Medial うり (uri?) うり (uri?) うま (uma?)
  • うま (uma?)
  • うがた (ugata?)
うったー (uttaa?) うったー (uttaa?) うま (uma?)
  • うま (uma?)
  • うがた (ugata?)
Distal あり (ari?) あり (ari?) あま (ama?)
  • あま (ama?)
  • あがた (agata?)
あったー (attaa?) あったー (attaa?) あま (ama?)
  • あま (ama?)
  • あがた (agata?)
Indefinite
  • たー (taa?)
  • (ta?)
じる (jiru?) まー (maa?)
  • まー (maa?)
  • まーかた (maakata?)
たったー (tattaa?) じる (jiru?) まー (maa?)
  • まー (maa?)
  • まーかた (maakata?)

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.

Okinawan Adverbs
Adverbs that shows state or condition
Shows... Okinawan Japanese English Example
Time ひっちー (hicchii?) しょっちゅう (shocchuu?)
いつも (itsumo?)
始終 (shijyuu?)
Always
  • あぬ夫婦ふぃとぅんだあ ひっちー、たっくゎいむっくゎいびけーそーん。

anu fitundaa hicchii, takkwaimukkwai bikeesoon.

  • あの夫婦はいつも、寄り添ってばかりいる。

ano fuufu ha itsumo, yorisotte bakari iru.

  • That couple is always sticking close.
まーるけえてぃ (maarukeeti?) たまに (tamani?) Occasionally
  • くゎー まーるけーてぃうや加勢かしーしーが行ちゅん。

kwam maarukeeti, uyanu kashiishiga ichun

  • 子供はたまに、親の手伝いに行く。

kodomo ha tamani, oyano tetsudai ni iku.

  • The kid occasionally goes to help his/her parent.
ちゃーき (chaaki?) 直ぐ (sugu?) Already
  • くぬ車あーちゃーき、けーやんでぃとーんたん。
  • この車は直ぐ、壊れてしまっていた。

Kono kuruma ha sugu, kowarete shimatteita.

  • This car broke already.
やがてぃ (yagati?) やがて Shortly
  • やがてぃ太陽てぃだてぃゆしが、御所うんじゅおーうん。

Yagati, tida nu utiyushiga, unjyuoo kuun.

  • やがて、太陽が落ちるが、あなたはこない。

Yagate, taiyou ga ochiruga, anatawa konai.

  • The sun will disappear shortly, but you are not here.
未だ (naada?) まだ (mada?) Yet
  • 彼女ありが ちむおー なーのーらん。

Ariga chimuoo naada, nooran.

  • 彼女の機嫌はまだ、直らない。

kanojyo no kigenwa mada, naoranai.

  • Her mood has yet to become better.
ちゃー (chaa?) いつも (itsumo?) Always
  • あまぬいんおー ちゃー、あびとーん。
  • あそこの犬はいつも、吠えている。
  • The dog over there is always barking.
ちゅてーや (chuteeya?) 少しは (sukoshiwa?) A little
  • ちゅてーや、待っちょーきよー。
  • 少しは、待っておいてよ。
  • Wait a little.
あっとぅむす (attumusu?) 急に (kyuuni?)
  • どぅしぬ あっとぅむす、はっょーたんどお。
  • 友達が急に、来ていたよ。
まるひーじーや (maruhiijiiya?) 普段は (fudanwa?) Normally
  • とぅない三郎主さんだーすーや まるひーじーや んてぃどぅゆる。
  • 隣の三郎爺は普段は寝ている。
いっとぅちゃー (ittuchaa?) しばらくは (shibarakuwa?)
  • いっとぅちゃー門口じょーぐちんじ っちょーけー。
  • しばらくは、門で待っておけ。
  • Wait at the gate a little while.
Quantity いふぃ (ifi?) 少し (sukoshi?)
  • 三郎さんだーいふぃえー、やあたましから 分きてぃとぅらせー。
  • 三郎、少しは君の分から分けてくれ。
ちゃっさきー (chassakii?) 沢山 (takusan?)
  • 御主前うすめーや 山から ちゃっさきーたむんぇーん。
  • お爺さんは山から沢山、薪を持ってきてある。
はてぃるか (hatiruka?) 随分 (zuibun?)
  • 昨日ちぬーや はてぃるかっちゃん。
  • 昨日は随分、歩いた。
ぐゎさない (gwasanai?) わんさか (wansaka?)
  • わったーはるんかいや うーじえー ぐゎさない、まんどーんどー。
  • 私達の畑には砂糖黍はわんさかあるよ。
満っちゃきー (micchakii?)
満っちゃかー (micchakaa?)
一杯 (ippai?) A lot
  • んむやれー、しんめーんなーびんかい っちゃきーっちゃかー)、あんどー。
  • 芋なら大鍋に、一杯、あるよ。
ゆっかりうっさ (yukkariussa?) 随分 (zuibun?)
  • 糸満いくまんんかいや ちゅかーぎぬ ゆっかりうっさゆんでぃ。
  • 糸満には美人が随分、いるそうだ。
うすまさ (usumasa?) 恐ろしく (osoroshiku?)
  • がじゃんびらんかいや うすまさ、がじゃんぬゆたんでぃ。
  • がじゃん坂には恐ろしく、蚊が居たとさ。
まんたきー (mantakii?) 一杯 (ippai?)
  • みじえー まんたきーりてぃ、たじらしよー。
  • 水は一杯、入れて、焚いてね。
なーふぃん (naafin?) もっと (motto?)
  • くぬ湯んかい 水、なーふぃん、んべーてぃくぃれー。
  • このお湯に水をもっと、足してくれ。
軽ってんぐゎ (kattengwa?) 少しだけ (sukoshidake?)
  • 今日ちゅー持飯むちばんめーや ってんぐゎりてぃとぅらせー。
  • 今日の弁当は少しだけ、容れてちょうだい。
Degree でーじな (deejina?) 大変 (taihen?)
  • 御所うんじゅが 三味線さんしんかーや でーじな、上等やんやー。
  • あなたの三味線の皮は大変、上等ですね。
じまま (jimama?) 随分 (zuibun?)
  • んねー 若さいにーや じまま勉強びんちょーしゃん。
  • 私は若い頃は、随分、勉強した。
よねー (yonee?) そんなには (son'naniwa?)
  • 今度くんどぅ正月しょーぐゎちえ よねー、ゆくららんさー。
  • 今度の正月は、そんなには、休めないな。
いーるく (iiruku?) 良く (yoku?)
  • くぬ海んじえ いーるくういじゅんどー。
  • この海では、良く、泳ぐよ。
にりるか (niriruka?) うんざりするほど (unzarisuruhodo?)
  • 昨日ちぬーや にりるかにー、かやーちゃん。
  • 昨日は、うんざりするほど、荷を運んだ。
わじるか (wajiruka?) 怒るほど (okoruhodo?)
  • 次郎じらーが つくたる書類や 課長が わじるか間違ばっぺーとーたん。
  • 次郎が作った書類は課長が怒るほど、間違っていた。
あいゆか (aiyuka?) とても (totemo?)
  • んねー あいゆかわたでぃ、ひらきとーたん。
  • 私はとても、お腹が痛くて、しゃがんでいた。
ゆくん (yukun?) 余計 (yokei?)
  • いったーやっちいや ゆくん、ちじどぅやる。
  • 君達の兄は余計、駄目だ。
たった (tatta?) 余計 (yokei?)
  • 時間ぬちいねー、ありが やんめーや たったっさなゆんどー。
  • 時間が経てば、彼の病気は余計、悪くなるよ。
ちゅふぁーら (chufaara?) 一杯 (ippai?)
  • むぬお なー、ちゅふぁーらだん。
  • 食事はもう、一杯、食べた。
あんすかー (ansukaa?) それほどは (sorehodowa?)
  • すーや 三味線さんしんや あんすかー上手じょーじえあらん。
  • お父さんは三味線はそれほどは、上手ではない。
散ん散んとぅ (chinchintu?) 散り散りに (chirichirini?)
  • くまぬまんぐらー ん散んとぅどぅ、やーやーたる。
  • この辺りは散り散りにしか家はなかった。
Situation 早く (heeku?) 早く (hayaku?)
  • 今日ちゅーや へーてぃとぅらしよー。
  • 今日は早く、集まってくれよ。
ようんなー (youn'naa?) ゆっくり (yukkuri?)
  • むぬおー慌てぃらんようい、ようんなーめー。
  • 食事は慌てず、ゆっくり、食べよ。
なんくる (nankuru?) 自ずと (onozuto?)
  • とーないねー、なんくる、じんぶんぬん じてぃゅーさに。
  • いざとなれば、自ずと、知恵も出てくるだろう。
ゆったいくゎたい (yuttaikwatai?) どんぶらこと (donburakoto?)
  • かーらういはたから まぎ桃ぬ ゆったいくゎったいるーりてぃゃん。
  • 川の上の方から大きな桃がどんぶらこと、流れて来た。
なぐりなぐりとぅ (nagurinaguritu?) なごりなごりと (nagorinagorito?)
  • なぐりなぐりとぅわかりぬ挨拶えーさちすん。
  • なごりなごりと、別れの挨拶をする。
しんじんとぅ (shinjintu?) しみじみと (shimijimito?)
  • しんじんとぅ節歌ふしうたやてぃん、歌てぃんだ。
  • しみじみと、節歌でも、歌ってみよう。
次第次第 (shideeshidee?) 次第次第 (shidaishidai?)
  • 太陽てぃだー 西いりーんかい 次第次第しでーしでーてぃてぃ行ちゅん。
  • 太陽は西へ次第次第に、沈んで行く。
ちゅらーさ (churaasa?) 残らず (nokorazu?)
  • がらさーぬ ちりぶくるちゅらさー、きざあちねーらん。
  • 烏がちり袋を、残らず、漁ってしまった。
どぅく (duku?) あまりにも (amarinimo?)
  • どぅく、ゆくしびけー、しーねー、ばちかんじゅん。
  • あまりにも、嘘ばかりついたら、罰が当たる。
だんだんだんだん (dandandandan?) 段々 (dandan?)
  • なあふえとぅお だんだんだんだん、ましなとおん。
  • あなたの笛の音は段々、良くなっている。
次第に (shideeni?) 次第に (shidaini?)
  • いがろうん、次第しでえとぅしとぅたんやあ。
  • 我々も次第に歳を取ったね。
どぅくだら (dukudara?) ひどく (hidoku?)
  • どぅくだら、ひみちしいねえ、医者んかい診しらんでえ。
  • ひどく、せき込んだら、医者に診せないと。
まっすぐ (massugu?) まっすぐ (massugu?)
  • くまから あまんかい まっすぐちいねえ、海んかいじゆん。
  • ここからあそこへ、まっすぐ、行くと、海に出る。
まっとうば (mattouba?) 正しく (tadashiku?)
  • やあや 沖縄語うちなあぐちえ まっとうば使ちかりよお。
  • 君は沖縄語を正しく使ってよ。
だってぃどぅ (dattidu?) ちゃんと (channto?)
  • やあや だってぃどぅつくゆんどお。
  • 家はちゃんと、作るんだよ。
だてん (daten?) きちんと (kichinto?)
  • あんまあや 今日ちゅうや だてん、すがとおん。
  • 母は今日はきちんと、身なりを整えている。
さっぱっとぅ (sappattu?) さっぱり (sappari?)
  • 断髪だんぱちさあに、さっぱっとぅ、そおん。
  • 散髪をして、さっぱりしている。
しかっとぅ (shikattu?) しっかり (shikkari?)
  • うやし、しかっとぅちょうきよお。
  • 親の言うことをしっかり、聞いておけよ。
うかっとぅお (ukattuo?) うかつには (ukatsuniwa?)
  • あんしん、試験のお、うかっとぅおきららん。
  • それでも、試験はうかつには受けられない。
たった (tatta?) 余計 (yokei?)
  • うぬやんめえや にじいねえ、たった、悪っさなゆんどお。
  • その病気は我慢すると、余計、悪くなるよ。
Adverbs that shows judgement
Shows... Okinawan Japanese English Example
Assumption むし (mushi?) もし (moshi?) If
  • むしいばっぺえしいねえ、如何いちゃすか。
  • もし、言い間違えたら、どうするか。
  • What would we do If we said something wrong.
たとぅい (tatui?) 例え (tatoe?) Even if
  • たとぅい大風うふかじぬ 吹ちん、くぬやあや とおおりらん。
  • 例え、大風が吹いても、この家は倒れない。
  • Even if a strong wind blew, this house will not fall down.
例れー (taturee?) 例えば (tatoeba?)
  • 例れー沖縄うちなあや 日本ぬハワイやさ。
  • 例えば沖縄は日本のハワイさ。
Supposition いやりん (iyarin?) きっと(いかにも) (kitto (ikanimo)?)
  • いやりん、くぬすうさあや 山原やんばるくぇえなどぅ やさに。
  • きっと(いかにも)、この鳥は山原クイナなのだろうか。
まさか (masaka?) まさか (masaka?)
  • まさか、ちゅ村んかい 従弟いちくぬ 住どおんでえ、うまあんたん
  • まさか、同じ村に従弟が住んでいるとは思わなかった。
むしや (mushiya?) もしや (moshiya?)
  • むしや、うんじゅお わんとぅちるめえや あらに。
  • もしや、あなたは私と同じ歳ではないだろうか。
むしか (mushika?) もしや (moshiya?)
  • むしか今頃なまぐる我事わあくとぅ心配しわしえらんさに。
  • もしや、今頃、私のことを心配していないだろうな。
まさか (masaka?) まさか (masaka?)
  • まさか今日ちゅうや うまちいんでえ うまあんたん。
  • まさか、今日はウマチーとは思わなかった。
  • Translation note: まち:「お祭り」の意味。沖縄では稲、麦などの農耕に関して行われる。
あたまに (atamani?) ほんとに (hontoni?)
  • あたまに今日ちゅうや あちさっさあやあ。
  • ほんとに、今日は暑いねえ。
Wish どうでぃん (doudin?) どうか (douka?)
  • どうでぃんわあが 御願うにげえ、ちたぼうり。
  • どうか、私のお願いを聞いてください。
たんでぃ (tandi?) どうぞ (douzo?)
  • たんでぃわんにんかい みじまちくぃみそおれえ。
  • どうぞ、私に水を飲ましてください。
必じ (kan'naji?) 必ず (kanarazu?)
  • 二男じなぬうや かんな、サッカー部んかい ゆんでぃ。
  • 二男は必ず、サッカー部に入るんだと。
如何しん (chaashin?) どうしても (doushitemo?)
  • あぬ映画えいぐゎ如何ちゃあしんじいぶしゃん。
  • あの映画をどうしても、見たい。
Doubt 如何し (chaashi?) どうやって (douyatte?)
  • くぬパソコンや 如何ちゃあんじゅかすが。
  • このパソコンはどうやって、動かすのか。
みったい (mittai?) 一体 (ittai?)
  • みったい、うんじゅお、我どぅ うせえとおるい。
  • 一体、あなたは私を馬鹿にしているのか。
あんすか (ansuka?) そんなに (son'nani?)
  • くしぬあばあや あんすか歌上手うたじょうじいやんなあ。
  • 後隣りのあ姉さんはそんなに、歌が上手なのか。
何んち (nuunchi?) 何故 (naze?)
  • ぬうんちすうや 行かんが。
  • 何故、父は行かないか。
Denial
or
Negation
あちらん (achiran?) 一向に (ikkouni?)
  • ちゃっさ、あさがちしん、あちらんめーあがちんならん。
  • いくら、焦っても、一向に、前に進むことも出来ない。
じょうい (jyoui?) 絶対 (zettai?) Definitely
  • うぬ石えーわらびのーじょういっちいゆさん。
  • この石は子供は絶対、持てない。
  • This rock, the child definitely cannot hold.
ちゃっさん (chassan?) 度を超して (dowokoshite?)
  • ちゃっさんあしばんしえーまし。
  • 度を超して、遊ばない方が良い。
いふぃん (ifin?) 少しも (sukoshimo?)
  • どぅく、いちゅなさぬ、いふぃん、ゆくららん。
  • あまりにも、忙しくて、少しも、休めない。
如何ん (chaan?) どうすることも (dousurukotomo?)
  • じかじん かんくとぅ、如何ちゃー、ならん。
  • 言うことも聞かないから、どうすることも出来ない。
Decision じゅんに (jyun'ni?) 本当に (hontouni?)
  • くぬ三味線さんしんや じゅんに秀物そうむんやっさー。
  • この三味線は本当に、立派なものだな。
必じ (kan'naji?) 必ず (kanarazu?)
  • んねーかんな御所うんじゅとぅくるんかい 行ちゃん。
  • 私は必ず、あなたの所に行く。
うん如おりー (ungutuorii?) そのような事 (sonoyounakoto?)
  • うんぐとぅおりーや 当いめーなかい、たーがん なゆん。
  • そのような事は、当然、誰にでもできる。
Others いちゃんだん (ichandan?) むやみに (muyamini?)
  • んかしちゅおーいちゃんだん、戦、そーたん。
  • 昔の人はむやみに戦争をしていた。
うったてぃ (uttati?) わざと (wazato?)
  • あんぐゎーなかい だりーんねーし、二歳にーせーうったてぃ、どぅげーりゆたん。
  • 女の子に見られようと、青年はわざと、転びよった。
なー (naa?) もう (mou?)
  • ちゃくおーなー、いたん。
  • お客さんはもう、行ってしまった。

Prenominal Adjectives (連体詞)
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).
Okinawan Japanese English
いぃー (yii?) 良い (ii?)

Conjunctions (接続詞)
Conjunctions (接続詞)
Conjunctions are classified as an independent,
non-conjugating part of speech that connects words
coming after to words coming before.
Okinawan Japanese English
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?)
それから (sorekara?)
"And then"
やくとぅ (yakutu?) だから (dakara?) "So"
やしが (yashiga?) しかし (shikashi?)
そうではあるが (soudewa'aruga?)
"But"

Interjections / Exclamations (感動詞)
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.
Okinawan Japanese English Notes
あい (ai?) おや (oya?) 驚きの気持ちを表す
あきさみよー (akisamiyo?) あらまあ (aramaa?)
あきとーなー (akitoonaa?) おやまあ 失敗した時や驚いた時などに発する
うー (uu?) はい (hai?)
あいびらん (aibiran?)
をぅーをぅー (wuuwuu?)
いいえ (iie?) 目上の人に対して用いる
だー (daa?) おい (oi?)
どれ (dore?)
ほら (hora?)
とー (too?) ほら (hora?)
よし (yoshi?)
とーとー (tootoo?) よしよし (yoshiyoshi?)
ほらほら (horahora?)
はっさみよー (hassamiyoo?) おやまあ (oyamaa?) 呆れ返った時などに発する語
んちゃ (ncha?) なるほど (naruhodo?)
やっぱり (yappari?)
予定通りだ (yoteidourida?)

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)

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 (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?).
Okinawan Japanese English Example
あぎーん (agiin?)
あぎゆん (agiyun?)
しつつある (shitsutsuaru?)
ぎさん (gisan?) そうだ (souda?)
ぐとーん (gutoon?) のようだ (noyouda?)
しみゆん (shimiyun?)
すん (sun?)
させる (saseru?)
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?)
りゆん (riyun?)
りーん (riin?)
れる (reru?)
られる (rareru?)

Particles (助詞)
Case Markers (格助詞)
Attaches to a substantive and marks the relationship between other words.
Okinawan Japanese Notes/English Example
(nu?)
(ga?)
(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.
  • いんあびゆん。わああびゆん。
  • 吠える。私喋る。
っし (sshi?) (de?) Indicates the means by which something is achieved.
  • バスっし(?)ちゃびら。
  • バス行こう。
  • Let's go by bus.
Ø (Archaic:(yu?)) || を (wo?) || Modern Okinawan does not use an direct object particle, like casual Japanese speech . "yu" exists mainly in old literary composition.
なかい (nakai?) (e?)・{{nihongo3|に|ni} 手段・方法
やか (yaka?) より (yori?) "as much as"; upper limit.
  • (あり?)やか大和口 (やまとぅぐち?)ぬ上手 (じょおじ?)やあらん。
  • より日本語が上手ではない。
  • My Japanese isn't as good as his.
さあに (saani?) Indicates the means by which something is achieved.
  • 沖縄口 (うちなあぐち?)さーに手紙 (てぃがみ?)(?)ちゃん。
  • 沖縄語手紙を書いた。
  • I wrote the letter in Okinawan.
から (kara?) から (kara?) 起点
んかい (nkai?) (e?) "to, in"; direction
  • 沖縄 (うちなあ?)んかいめんそーれー!
  • 沖縄へようこそ!
  • Welcome to Okinawa!
なありい (naarii?) 場所・位置
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".
をぅとおてぃ (wutooti?) Progressive form of をぅてぃ, and also includes time.
  • くまをぅとおてぃ(ゆくぃ?)(?)さん。
  • ここ休みたい。
  • I want to rest (at) here.
んじ (nji?) (de?) 場所
(n?) 所属等
(nu?) (no?) Possessive marker. It may be difficult to differentiate between the subject marker ぬ (nu?) and possessive marker ぬ (nu?).
  • うわあししみいねえ、からだんかいましやん。
  • 肉を食べると体に良い。
ぬ→「〜している」「〜である」「〜い・しい」pp459.
とぅ (tu?) (to?) 相手
んでぃ (ndi?) (to?) Quotative.
(ni?) 時・場所等
Adverbial Particles (副助詞)
Okinawan Japanese Notes/English Example
びけえ (bikee?) だけ (dake?)
びけーん (bikeen?) ぱかり (bakari?) "only; limit"
  • ローマ字 (?)びけーんぬ書物 (すむち?)
  • ローマ字ばかりの書物。
  • A rōmaji only book.
だき (daki?) だけ (dake?)
までぃ (madi?) まで (made?) "up to, until, as far as"
  • くぬ電車 (でんしゃ?)あ、首里 (しゅい?)までぃ(?)ちゃびーん。帰 (けえ?)までぃ(?)ちょーいびーん。
  • この電車は首里まで行く。帰るまで待つ。
  • This train goes as far as Shuri. I'll wait until you come home.
くれえ (kuree?) ぐらい (gurai?) "around, about, approximately"
  • 十分 (じっぷん?)くれえかかゆん。
  • 十分ぐらいかかる。
  • It will take about 10 minutes.
ふどぅ (fudu?) ほど (hodo?)
あたい (atai?) ぐらい (gurai?) as much as; upper limit.
  • うぬ建物 (たてぃむの?)お思 (うむ?)ゆるあたい(たか?)こーねーやびらん。
  • あの建物は思うぐらい高くないよ。
  • That building is not as tall as you imagine it to be.
んちょうん (nchoun?) さえ (sae?)
うっさ (ussa?) だけ (dake?)
うっぴ (uppi?) だけ (dake?)
  • (?)んじ欲 (?)しゃるうっぴ(?)んでぃん済 (?)まびいん。
  • 寝たいだけ寝ていいよ。
  • You can sleep as much as you want.
うひ (uhi?) だけ (dake?)
さく (saku?) ほど (hodo?)、だけ (dake?)
Binding Particles (係助詞)
Okinawan Japanese Notes/English Example
(ya?) (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.

(a?)
(e?)
(o?)
のお (noo?)
(n?) (mo?) "Also"
やてぃん (yatin?) でも (demo?) "even, also in"
  • 宇宙 (うちゅう?)からやてぃん万里 (まんり?)ぬ長城 (ちょうじょう?)ぬ見 (?)いゆん。大和 (やまとぅ?)やてぃんいんちりーん口 (ぐち?)を勉強 (びんちょお?)すん。
  • 万里の長城は宇宙からでも見れる。日本でも英語を習う
  • The Great Wall of China can even be seen from space. Also in Japan, we study English.
がん (gan?) でも (demo?)
ぬん (demo?) 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?)
(ya?)
どぅ (du?) (zo?)
こそ (koso?)
(ru?) (zo?)
こそ (koso?)
Sentence Ending Particles (終助詞)
Okinawan Japanese Notes/English Example
(ga?)

やが (yaga?)

(ka?) Final interrogatory particle.
(mi?) (ka?) Final interrogatory particle
(ni?) 可否疑問
(i?) 強調疑問
がやあ (gayaa?) かな (kana?)
さに (sani?) だろう (darou?)
なあ (naa?) (no?) Final particle expressing 問いかけ・念押し
ばあ (baa?) 軽い疑問
どお (doo?) (zo?)
(yo?)
(yo?) (yo?)
ふう (fuu?) 軽く言う
(na?) (na?) Prohibitive
(e?) 命令
(sa?) (sa?)
でむね (demune?) 断定
せえ (see?) 断定
Interjectory Particles (間投助詞)
Okinawan Japanese Notes/English Example
てえ (tee?) (ne?)
(yo?)
よお (yoo?)
(ne?)
(yo?)
(ya?)
やあ (yaa?)
(nu?)
(yo?)
なあ (naa?) (ne?)
さり (sari?) ねえ (nee?)
ひゃあ (hyaa?) 意外、軽蔑
Conjunctive Particles (接続助詞)
Okinawan Japanese Notes/English Example
a

Prefix (接頭語)

Suffix (接尾語)

Others[edit]

Copula[edit]

Okinawan Past Tense Japanese
あびーん (abiin?)
いびーん (ibiin?)
A ます (masu?)

です (desu?)

やいびーん (yaibiin?)

でーびる (deebiru?)
A
でございます (degozaimasu?)

Question Words (疑問詞)[edit]

Okinawan Japanese English
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?) (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?)
いくら (ikura?)
"How much"
ちゃっぴ (chappi?)
ちゃぬあたい (chanuatai?)
どれほど (dorehodo?) "How"
ちゃぬ (chanu?) どの (dono?)
どのような (donoyouna?)
"What kind"
ぬー (nuu?) (nani?) "What"
ぬーんち (nuunchi?) どうして (doushite?) "Why"
まー (maa?) どこ (doko?) "Where"

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Okinawan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Central Okinawan". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Mimizun.com 2005, Comment #658 – 45-CAC-ai comprises most of Central Okinawa, including Shuri (Naha), Ginowan and Nishihara; 45-CAC-aj comprises the southern tip of Okinawa Island, including Itoman, Mabuni and Takamine; 45-CAC-ak encompasses the region west of Okinawa Island, including the Kerama Islands, Kumejima and Aguni.
  4. ^ Lewis 2009.
  5. ^ Moseley 2010.
  6. ^ Kerr 2000, p. xvii.
  7. ^ a b Brown & Ogilvie 2008, p. 908.
  8. ^ a b Kaplan 2008, p. 130.
  9. ^ Noguchi 2001, p. 87.
  10. ^ Noguchi 2001, p. 76.
  11. ^ Hung, Eva and Judy Wakabayashi. Asian Translation Traditions. 2014. Routledge. Pg 18.
  12. ^ http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/05/19/national/okinawans-push-to-preserve-unique-language/#.VNrermK9KK0
  13. ^ Heinrich, Patrick et al. Handbook of the Ryukyuan Languages. 2015. Pp 14–15.
  14. ^ Heinrich, Patrick. The Making of Monolingual Japan. 2012. Pp 85–87.
  15. ^ Nakasone, Seizen. Festschrift. 1962. Pp. 619.
  16. ^ Noguchi & Fotos 2001, p. 81.
  17. ^ Miyara 2009, p. 179.
  18. ^ a b Curry 2004, §2.2.2.1.9.
  19. ^ Miyara 2009, p. 186.
  20. ^ a b c Noguchi 2001, p. 83.
  21. ^ a b c Kodansha 1983, p. 355.
  22. ^ OPG 2003.
  23. ^ Kerr 2000, p. 35.
  24. ^ Takara 1994-1995, p. 2.
  25. ^ WPL 1977, p. 30.
  26. ^ Ishikawa 2002, p. 10.
  27. ^ Okinawa Style 2005, p. 138.
  28. ^ a b Tanji 2006, p. 26.

References[edit]

External links[edit]