Talk:Okinawan language

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Change the title of japanese article[edit]

My name is Furansowakun2 and I tried to change the title of the japanese version of the article, to make it "okinawa language" (in japanese okinawago) and not "okinawa dialect" (okinawa hougen) as it is in the japanese version ... I fought with japanese wikipedia users during days to convince them why it was not a dialect, but they don't want to change it, and it's just in japanese version that we have this very strange expression, which is so stupid. For them, okinawan is a dialect of japanese and that's all ... Also the page in japanese about the language of Ryukyu, we have this expression of dialects, but originally the languages spoken in the kingdom of Ryukyu are not linked with japanese and are different languages, as it is said in every article (this one, english, and other, french, korean, spanish etc etc). It's just the japanese one which is totally wrong.

They will also try to say sometimes that it's not a dialect of japanese, but a "dialect of Ryukyu", which just doesn't make sense at all. In the article in japanese about ryukyu languages there is also this stupid expression of "ryukyu dialects", but okinawa language is a language on its own, and when you say "okinawa dialect" in japanese like this, it's sure for every one that it's a dialect of "japanese" and nothing else. I wanted to know what could be done in that situation, where just one language's article is wrong ? It's really frustrating to have this "okinawa dialect" in japanese, as it's not a dialect at all, but a language itself. For people who can read japanese, I had tough debates with them on the page, but most of japanese users looked like robots not able to think by themselves but just able to repeat propaganda of their state, which says to them that the language of Okinawa is just a dialect of their language. The idea behind that debate Dialect VS Language, with the win of Dialect, is to say it was ok for Japan Empire to invade and to destroy Ryukyu Kingdom and to eliminate their language (which was not a language anyway, but just a "dialect" of japanese in the ideology). They don't want to hear about scientists theories, and linguists, with all of them saying languages spoken in Ryukyu are languages and not dialects, and prefer to repeat the politic propaganda of their state. What could be done in such a situation ? Thanks a lot for your replies and your help.--Furansowakun3 (talk) 20:12, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Using WP:BOLD as a pretext, I changed the Ja title to 沖縄口. 琉球 135! ミーラー強斗武 (talk) 18:32, 11 March 2014 (UTC)


I was wondering wether or not a list of Uchinaaguchi words should be put up.

Here's a page that lists a lot of Okinawan words with English meanings. Most words have IPA transcriptions. You know, for a start. Moneynoob (talk) 06:54, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
This looks great, it should be used. ミーラー強斗武 (talk) 22:06, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Here's a link to an order page of an illustrated Ryukyu language dictionary (Japanese edition), if anyone has the money to buy it. Also, this too.Minfremi (talk) 21:40, 5 January 2015 (UTC)


I have created a conjugation table at /Conjugation. Any ideas for how it can be simplified/presented? - 刘 (劉) 振霖 04:03, Jun 9, 2005 (UTC)

刘 (劉) 振霖: It's a little confusing, considering it's written in (I believe) IPA but pretty much presented as rōmaji; since I know 一點兒中文, I read them as if one would pronounce pinyin. I think it should be written with rōmaji (for the English users), kana (in parenthesis; for the Japanese users), and IPA (in brackets or slashes; for the linguists) (one in each line all in one cell), with an example for each paradigm in rōmaji, kana, IPA, and English (and Japanese?). I apologize for the 10 year wait. Minfremi (talk) 00:31, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
Update: I have just looked at the history of the conjugation table page, and it seems 刘 (劉) 振霖 started off with full kana/kanji usage, but another user edited it. I would like the kana/kanji back, with the IPA revised so that the characters match the ones in the table here for consistency and ease without confusion. Minfremi (talk) 00:31, 6 January 2015 (UTC)


"Mingo" is a Japanese term. The Okinawan word for the Okinawa language is "uchinaguchi." "Uchina" is the Okinawan word for Okinawa and "guchi" is literally mouth.

Removed mention of "mingo" because it does not appear in Jim Breen's Dictionary or in Daijirin Dictionary. It should not be used because it is most likely not a word, or it is not common enough. Tongpoo 02:08, 13 Oct 2003 (UTC)

  • Mingo = min-go, ie, the language of the people. Just because you can't find it in a dictionary doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Okinawan writing[edit]

What do we know about how Okinawan was (or is) written? Does it use Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana in the same way as modern Japanese? Does the sound system differ at all? I'm very interested. — Hippietrail 02:25, 15 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Information about Okinawan orthography is almost impossible to find on the internet. If someone has access to a book or has expertise, please provide!

The way the name uchinaguchi is presented in hiragana but with a katakana lengthening mark, and then romanized with a really weird-looking colon-like lengthening mark, is just strange. (Both the hiragana and the romanized versions look strange, and in both cases it's because of something anomalous about the vowel-lengthener. In (standard Japanese) hiragana one expects an "a" for an -a-lengthener, thus: うちなぐち and in IPA I think a normal colon (Ucina:guci)would look less irregular than the symbol in Ucinaːguci (which in both IE and Firefox looks to me like it has a space on each side, as well as looking handwritten). May just be my fonts, though, but since it's that way in both browsers I have my doubts. --Haruo 11:58, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but Okinawan isn't standard Japanese, is it? As for the IPA symbol, it's your fonts. It looks fine in my browser. --Node 08:17, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
I have found digitalized files on the Ryūkyū University website here. There were files with mixed Kana and Kanji (cursive), and also texts with all Kanji. Since I am only a beginner cursive reader, I was not able to tell whether if the texts were about Ryūkyū in classical Japanese from a mainlander point of view, or in Okinawan about Ryūkyū from the Okinawan point of view. Can someone with a higher reading proficiency in cursive writing verify? (links to individual texts worked yesterday... for some reason 404 error comes up at the time of this post. Minfremi (talk) 01:36, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
@Minfremi: Wow, just reading the links makes me sad that they come up as a 404 error; they look like valuable sources. If I can pull them up eventually my wife or her parents can read them. Thanks for posting this! ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 03:26, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
@Sturmgewehr88:. I guess Ryūkyū University library decided to move everything to another place on the web, which is now here. These are digitalized old text, but I can't tell if it's written in Classical Japanese or Classical Ryūkyūan. Here is the Okinawa Hōgen Shinbun, written with mix of Kanji and Kana, supposedly in Okinawan. I don't know how legitly Okinawan this shinbun is though. Minfremi (talk) 00:53, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
@Minfremi: I looked through some of the texts, especially their copy of Chūzan Seifu, and they're written in Classical Chinese. I haven't looked through enough yet, so I'm sure a few might be written in Okinawan or Japanese The documents labeled おもろそうし were really hard to read because of the handwritting, but they're definitely Okinawan poems; see Omoro Sōshi. Oh and the shinbun is Okinawan, although I don't know why they'd use 方言 instead of 口 (and the ads were in Japanese). ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 07:32, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

This page needs more explanation[edit]

There is a chart contrasing with Japanese, but it doesn't explain the nature of the contrast. I'm assuming that this is a differnce in pronunciation. However, how does this difference in pronunciation constitute a different language? Also, the chart of examples makes no sense. 1)The column heading "Tokyo". Does this mean that the list below illustrates how the word is pronounced in Tokyo? If Shuri is a different language from Japanese, shouldn't that column head read "Japanese". 2) Many of the examples show no difference between the two columns. What does it tell me about Okinawan language that they call hot water "ju", just like they do in Tokyo.

It says "Tokyo" because pronunciations and lexical items vary 'drastically' in languages and dialects generally all lumped together when you use the word "Japanese." A dialect must be used as a frame of reference, but just because Tokyo Japanese is considered standard doesn't mean that it's the "proper" Japanese. We're descriptive, not prescriptive. (talk) 10:02, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

It's just a specific list of correspondences between Tokyo pronunciation and Shuri pronunciation, intended to illustrate the earlier table of sound correspondences. (This is just being specific. The Ryukyuan languages further subdivide into Amami, Okinawa, Miyako, Yaeyama and Yonaguni - each of which has a slightly different set of correspondences with standard Japanese. For instance, in the case of vowels, Amami has /ï/ for Tokyo /e/, whereas Shuri has /i/ and on the other hand, Miyako and Yaeyama have /ï/ for Tokyo /i/ and /i/ for Tokyo /e/; and let's not start talking about the extra vowels Miyako, Kikaijima, Ishigakijima and Hateruma have, let alone some of the mainland ones with eight or nine vowels, such as Nagoya.)

Of course, this is not the only thing that justifies Okinawan being considered a different language. Most linguists posit that Okinawan split from Japanese around the first century AD - in contrast, the Romance languages probably did not split until the sixth century AD; yet the opposite is also seen with the Chinese spoken language (most modern "dialects" split during or after the Middle Chinese period, which was 7th - 11th century AD).

But ultimately, once it is proven that two languages are related, whether to call them languages or dialects becomes a moot point.

Of course, there are more than just pronunciation differences between Tokyo and Shuri, just like there are between Mandarin and Cantonese - there are lexical and grammatical differences as well. What is on this article is just the tip of the iceberg, based on what few materials I have access to. - 刘 (劉) 振霖 10:58, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC)

From what i was told Ryukyuan language was written in Hiragana introduced in the 13th century from Japan. Within the Shuri court, written Chinese was used. Yonaguni is beleived to have developed a seperate written language but there is contreversy over it. Arn't Cantonese and mandarin seperate languages? I guess they can be compared to the Ryukyuan Languages/Japanese situation since the big arguement on the Ryukyuan Languages being dialects of Japanese is that the Ryukyuan languages have many words from ancient Japanese in it. Cantonese pronounciation and vocabulary is much closer to that of ancient Chinese than that of Mandarin. Would it be a good idea to put up some words and phrases in the Ryukyuan languages? --Carlos Tamanaha 08:17, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Proposed Merger Tag Removal[edit]

This merger hasn't been discussed seriously either here or at Ryukyuan languages. I think everyone agrees that Okinawan language is a language categorized as Ryukyuan language. I am removing the merger proposal. Turly-burly 01:53, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Why is the title of the page "Okinawan language"?[edit]

Why is the title of the page "Okinawan language" when "Okinawa" is in Japanese, not in Uchināguchi language? Why not "Uchināguchi"? Lily1104 (talk) 11:23, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Because "Okinawa" is the standard name for the island and related topics in English. This is the same reason that the French language, Spanish language, and Japanese language articles are not called Français, Español, and Nihongo. LordAmeth (talk) 02:19, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Also, if we titled language articles using the native language of the language mentioned in the article, 1, not everyone will understand it, and 2, how would we transcribe languages not using the latin script such as 日本語、中文、etc? Minfremi (talk) 22:29, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

How do we pronounce "c"?[edit]

The Grammar section of the article makes extensive use of the letter "c" in the romanization of Okinawan roots and words. For example, kacuru is said to derive from kaci-uru. However, since "c" is not used in any standard form of Japanese romanization (except in a "ch" sound), and since the letter "c" has no single consistent pronunciation in English, it is unclear as to what pronunciation this is trying to reproduce.

Is kaci-uru the same as kaki-uru (かきうる)? Is it the same as kashi-uru (かしうる) or kasiuru (かすぃうる), that is to say, the same as the pronunciation of the English words "see" or "sea"? Or is it another sound entirely? LordAmeth (talk) 17:18, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

The romanized <c> in the Shuri dialect should represent //, or // in the Standard language (unlike Standard Japanese however, <c> consists of an entirely separate phoneme rather than just being an allophonic variation of /t/ before /i/. I don't know enough about the dialect or its historical linguistics, but it seems likely that it arised via palatalization of /k/). Thus, kacuru should be rendered /katʃuru/ (カチュル). It's also mentioned in the syllable chart provided right above the Grammar section. - Io Katai (talk) 03:19, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, okay. Well, after looking over the WP:IPA page, and googling several of these technical linguistics jargon words, I think I understand what you're saying. I still believe that the "c" is extremely unclear, and should be replaced either with IPA symbols (which plenty of people, including myself, will not understand one bit) or with something that falls within the realms of standard Japanese romanization practice, which is what is used primarily, as far as I know, in all contexts outside of professional, technical, linguistics circles. For example, I have read quite a few books on Okinawan history and culture in both English and Japanese, and none of them have ever used a "c" by itself to spell, for example, uchinaa or uchinaaguchi. LordAmeth (talk) 10:53, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Sorry if I made it sound complicated, but basically <c> roughly represents the <ch> sound. I don't think it really makes any difference if you use either spelling, since it's just a romanization convention; actual Okinawans don't use the Latin alphabet, but rather the Japanese syllabary. If you based yourself on the fact that it's historically palatalized (i.e. kya -> cha, or kaki+uru -> kakiuru -> kachuru), you could even romanize it as <ky> (but this is less helpful since modern Okinawan distinguishes kya from cha). The thing about using <ch> is that it's easier for most speakers of European languages to understand, but otherwise it's not always helpful in underlying the actual phonetics (e.g. how Japanese <chi> is actually just /ti/). Although it might make a difference whether you use <si> or <shi>, for <ch> it doesn't.
This article seems to have originally used ʔucināguci to write out the language name, but seeing how it's been replaced by uchinā-guchi over time, it might be best to conform the spelling throughout the article (i.e. change c to ch). - Io Katai (talk) 15:57, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Ok so I brought the change, but there might be other things that should be fixed. What do your sources use, <j> or <y>? What about glotalized (ʔ) vowels, do they use <ʔu>, <'u>, or just <u>? - Io Katai (talk) 21:17, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

I appreciate you making these changes, and I hope you don't feel I've pressured you into it. All of my sources use straightforward Hepburn romanization or another standard form of Japanese romanization. So, things with a や or ゆ, like 安里屋ゆんた (Asadoya yunta) are spelled with 'y' and things with じゃ, like 謝名親方 (Jana Ueekata) are spelled with 'j'. As for glottalization, I'm afraid I'm no linguist, and wouldn't recognize the difference. I've seen use of an apostrophe to mark the separation of morae, that is, the difference between ぬ (nu) and んう (n'u), but nothing like the Hawai'ian okina which marks glottalization.
I think it is perfectly fine, and perhaps even better, to use your linguistics symbols, IPA, whatever, in the charts under the Phonology section. It's only in the other sections, such as Grammar, where you're representing whole words in romanization that I think a standard romanization system needs to be used. Thanks again for your understanding and flexibility. I think this article is improving greatly under your care, and I thank you for your efforts. LordAmeth (talk) 01:39, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Alright, so I discovered where the syllabary originates from, but the only place I could find that used this system was this and this website in the links section. Seeing how it was published nearly 50 years ago, I think it's safe to bring the other changes to make it more similar to how Standard Japanese is transcribed. I decided to use the apostrophe for the glottalization, as it was already in use on the Okinawan writing system article. But I also added a table at the end for comparison between the two romanization systems.
And no, it wasn't too much trouble; always glad I can help. - Io Katai (talk) 16:57, 3 April 2009 (UTC)


When I was in Okinawa I heard this language called Hogan. Why is this name not in the article? - (Talk) 01:08, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

In English, the preferred term for referring to the Ryukyuan language or dialect spoken throughout and around Okinawa is the 'Okinawan language'. Hōgen 方言 (variously pronounced Hogan) is a misnomer, as it comes directly from the Japanese word for 'dialect', used in the sense of 'our dialect' or as a shortened form of 沖縄方言 (Okinawa (no) Hōgen), which in English is retranslated as 'Okinawan language' out of context. Although, you can certainly still add this alternative name to the article, but keep 'Okinawan language' elsewhere throughout. - Io Katai (talk) 01:52, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Complicated particles[edit]

The particles seem to be more complicated than in (regular) Japanese. Is this a feature retained from Ancient Japanese or did Okinawan get more complicated? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:25, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Particles in Modern Japanese do not only consist of the simple て, に, を, は, が, の, へ. There are also 助詞(auxiliary verbs), 副詞(adverbs), 連体詞(prenominal adjectives), 接続詞(conjunctions), 感動詞(interrogations (exclamations)), etc, and I believe this is consistent with Okinawan. Classical Japanese do have these things, however. The chart needs to separate the different particle types, and labeled with the appropriate type (with Japanese translations included). Minfremi (talk) 22:12, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

what about "n"[edit]

not final "n", but "n" as in "NAra". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yjfstorehouse (talkcontribs) 06:04, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

If you are talking IPA (international phonetic alphabet), the /n/ you are referring to corresponds to "n" in "NAra". Final "n" in IPA is transcribed as /ɴ/, all pronounced [n̩], [m̩], or [ŋ̩] (note the syllabizing symbol " ̩ " underneath each IPA symbol) depending on what sound follows it, or if a sound follows it or not.
I also do not really understand what you are asking: What about what about "n"? Minfremi (talk) 22:20, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm gonna ping @Yjfstorehouse:, because otherwise I don't think he'll respond. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 00:59, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
I am referring to kana for "n"-related sounds, as in "na, ni, nu, ne, no". I hope they will be added to the Okinawan kana list. Yjfstorehouse (talk)please leave a reply. :D 13:31, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
@Yjfstorehouse:: I believe you are referring to the table that was in the "Orthography>>Syllabary" section of the page. That table was, to me, really hard to follow, so I do not know whether or not it had the なにぬねの (NA NI NU NE NO) sounds, but with a little help from other users I was able to replace it with a hopefully better looking, better organized table that has the same content as the old one. And yes, it has the sounds that were potentially missing. Please give me any comments or questions about the new syllabary table. --Minfremi (talk) 04:14, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

口 vs. 語[edit]

I hate to fight over such a trivial issue like this, but うちなーぐち uchinaaguchi is rightfully spelled as 沖縄口 in Kanji, which accurately corresponds to both its pronunciation and etymological origin, as well as its semantic meaning. Guchi does not correspond solely to "language", but can be used in the context of dialects as in /naaɸagut͡ɕi/ "Naha dialect"; general speech as in [ʔan̩dagut͡ɕi] "fawning; prattle", [googut͡ɕi] "complaint" or [ʔamagut͡ɕi] "sweet words; flattery"; and can also be used to roughly signify "mouth", "entrance" or "beginning". The morpheme 語, on the other hand, is a loan pronounced [go] as in 英語 [ʲeːgo] "English". Using the spelling 沖縄語 would actually suggest */ʔut͡ɕinaaɡo/, which is nonsensical and why it's uniquely read through Japanese as /okinawago/. Moreover, 沖縄口 is also the spelling employed on the Japanese Wikipedia and the only one provided in the EDICT dictionary. — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 04:16, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Seconding this. 沖縄語 might be (one of) the name(s) in Japanese, but it certainly isn't Okinawan, as 語 cannot be cognate with guchi. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email 07:37, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
While I personally prefer 口, does this argument even make sense? Since when has Okinawan had a standard set of kanji readings? Should we give kanji for this at all? You speak of "The morpheme 語", but 語 is not a morpheme, it's a grapheme, and could potentially be used to write anything the writer desires, just as it is used for the two morphemes go and kataru in Japanese. Is there an established set of Okinawan morphemes written with either 語 or 口? — kwami (talk) 07:57, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, it's a morphographeme, and while Okinawan doesn't have a spelling standard per se, it does have spelling guidelines which indicate that corresponding Japanese characters are to be used, except when the meaning is so warped from its etymological equivalent in standard Japanese (see, for example, Y. Funatsu [1], [2], 清ら vs 美ら, and 口 vs 語 (p5)). If you can find me an Okinawan source that actually spells uchinaaguchi as 沖縄語, I might be more inclined to agree, but so far I've only seen it used in Japanese. — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 16:22, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't arguing that it should be 語, just that that doesn't necessarily mean that it should therefore be 口. But it looks like you've got the sources to support 口. — kwami (talk) 17:01, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
The Okinawan form of 語 is pronounced "guchi". While it is Okinawa-go in Japanese, it's uchinaaguchi in Okinawan.—Ryulong (竜龙) 21:12, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
The link you provided says "Okinawago" in Japanese right beside the Kanji, and it's mentioned as a definition only on the subsequent page. I assume you used the Japanese search function, as everything in actual Okinawan on that website is written explicitly in Katakana, never Kanji, never Hiragana. Therefore it would be incorrect to assume 語 is pronounced guchi using that website as support. — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 03:40, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Particle table やてぃん example[edit]

In the the particles table at the end of your article, the やてぃん example:

Nihon yatin inchirii-n guchi binchoosun

has an inconsistency in the phonetic rendition of the particle を.  Though it is written, is the を not actually pronounced?  I shall delete this question after I read your answer.  Howard McCay (talk) 18:41, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure where the examples originate from, but Okinawan doesn't use an object particle, so を shouldn't appear there. (No need to remove your question) — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 18:52, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Vocabulary of the language spoken at the Great Loo-Choo island in the Japan Sea By Herbert John Clifford[edit]

Vocabulary of the language spoken at the Great Loo-Choo island in the Japan Sea By Herbert John Clifford

Rajmaan (talk) 15:29, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Issues added by[edit]

I don't have the time to go over all the changes, but some of the stuff cited doesn't apply to Central Okinawan and should instead be integrated into the article Ryukyuan languages. For example, the section "Wh-Questions" cites a paper and examples that apply to Miyara Yaeyaman. The section Japanese Borrowings talks more about modern Okinawan Japanese, a Japanese dialect influenced by the Ryukyuan languages, not an evolution of the Okinawan language itself. And I wonder about the relevance of the addition of the number of Okinawans in the lead, considering that we're talking about a language, not an ethnicity. — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 03:51, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

I brought this up at SPI because I thought it was fishy (which they rejected), but I never actually checked the sources. I'll undo these changes here and move them to where they need to go. ミーラー強斗武 (talk) 05:38, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Wow, most of the IP's edits didn't belong here. Well now I've moved them all to their appropriate article (didn't actually erase anything). ミーラー強斗武 (talk) 06:08, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Who's the Davis 2013 you added to Yaeyama? — kwami (talk) 08:11, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
User:Kwamikagami, I just copied and pasted what the IP put here. ミーラー強斗武 (talk) 13:49, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for looking into it. The edits were well-intentioned, but it seems the user wasn't able to distinguish that Okinawan doesn't refer to Ryukyuan as a whole. Anyhow, I copied the applicable references over to Yaeyama language and Okinawan Japanese (since this article uses the sfn template. — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 16:04, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Alright, thanks. ミーラー強斗武 (talk) 00:11, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

So-called "rare" vowels /e/ and /o/[edit]

The vowel section states as having two sides, a chart with /e/ and /o/, and one without.

I have a doubt about the one without /e/ and /o/, because of the word めんそーれー[men̩soːɾeː]. According to JLect, it is "an expression used to greet the arrival of someone, especially when entering a store or an establishment. 'Welcome! How may I help you?'". If I assume correctly, this expression is used somewhere in Okinawa everyday. I wouldn't consider said sounds "rare" or "non-existant". --Moneynoob (talk) 10:29, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

User:Moneynoob, an IP came here and added a lot of information that didn't belong here a month or so ago, and I guess I missed this. The only source said nothing about e and o not being Okinawan vowels, and no other sources supported the "some scholars" statement, so I removed that. And yes, めんそーれ is used fairly often in some places, but in general these sounds are rare, as in not found in most words. If I came up with a random list of Okinawan words, only about 1/10 words would have either sound. If we're talking about frequency of use, then we could maybe rewrite the section to clarify. ミーラー強斗武 (talk) 11:10, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
I wish I came across this problem earlier. I wrote a short paper on Central Okinawan phonology for a linguistics class using this Wikipedia page as a main resource not too long ago and briefly stated that there are two sides to this. At least I stated later on the paragraph that these sounds were rare, and not non-existant. How would めんそーれー Be pronounced if /e/ and /o/ did not exist anyway? みんすーりー [min̩suːɾiː]? Weird. Moneynoob (talk) 06:50, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Wow, that's really too bad. But "みんすーりー", haha that's golden. ミーラー強斗武 (talk) 15:48, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
The short vowels /e/ and /o/ are considered rare in Okinawan because they only occur in very few native Okinawan words, and typically only in heavy syllables with the pattern /CeN/ or /CoN/. めんそーれー being an example. Note, however, that while the short vowels /e/ and /o/ are rare in Okinawan, their long-vowel counterparts /oː/ and /eː/ are not, and occur in a ton of Okinawan words. The "other part" stating they didn't exist at all was added by an IP user a while back and wasn't accurate at all (the IP user was likely confusing Okinawan with the Yonaguni language, which only has three vowels that contrast for length). That said, めんそーれー would indeed be close to [men̩soːɾeː], and you can hear Fija Byron pronounce it in this video. — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 22:16, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks a lot User:Io Katai! ミーラー強斗武 (talk) 22:41, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
I should have added this in a while ago but I was looking through the JLect dictionary and found that between consonant and /N/, within numbers, within foreign words, and within onomatopoeia (animal cry), the short /e/ and /o/ exist. Examples include "mensooree (welcome)", "yasochi, momosochi (80, 100)", "amerika- (American)", "kokkoreko- (cockadoodledoo)". Minfremi (talk) 22:22, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

Kun-yomi and On-yomi?[edit]

In Japanese, a kanji will typically have a kun-yomi(Japanese pronunciation) and a on-yomi(Chinese pronunciation), or multiple yomi's. Is this also the case with Central Okinawan, if we consider written Okinawan is written with a mixture of kanji and kana, similar to Japanese? Moneynoob (talk) 21:04, 14 May 2014 (UTC) Minfremi (talk) 21:14, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

I'm unsure of this. I know Ryūkyūans used kanji with Okinawan readings, but I don't know if they also used Chinese readings within Okinawan, although with a heavy Chinese influence surely they did, but I couldn't provide an example. ミーラー強斗武 (talk) 21:53, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
I have a Okinawan song called 唐船ドーイ(Tuushin dooi), and in the lyrics, I found two different yomi for the kanji 上:
  • "那覇にうちんかてぃサー 首里に上(ヌ)る"
  • "夜ぬ明てぃ太陽ぬサー 上(アガ)るまでぃん"
Does this difference have anything to do with Chinese yomi and Okinawan yomi? Minfremi (talk) 01:45, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
Since it essentially uses the Japanese writing system and is part of the same language family, the answer would be yes, there are on (Chinese) and kun (native) readings / borrowings. Both on and kun readings differ from their Japanese counterparts due to different phonological changes that occurred in Okinawan and Japanese, but Okinawan also (especially today) borrows Japanese on and kun readings directly. In your example, 唐船 tuushin is equivalent to Japanese とうせん tousen, which is considered an on reading. Conversely, 上(アガ)る is considered a kun reading in Japanese and is thus the same in Okinawan.
However, since the spelling isn't formalized in Okinawan, you see authors take some liberties. So rather than choosing a Kanji that corresponds one-to-one with its Japanese cognate, they'll choose one that conveys the meaning more accurately. So in your examples, 上(ヌ)る is cognate to Japanese 乗る, though the author chose the same Kanji as 上る noboru and 上がる agaru (in all cases, these are kun readings). The same applies to 愛さん kanasan: it's etymologically related to 悲しい in Japanese, but it's written with the kanji 愛 since it's closer in meaning to Japanese 愛しい. In this case, we'd have a Kanji reading/usage unique to Okinawan. — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 03:58, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

Nasal vowels?[edit]

I know French and I believe English has this also to a certain extent: whenever a vowel precedes a nasal sound, that vowel goes from being oral to nasal. /V/ → [nasV]/__nasC.

Does this rule also exist in Okinawan? Minfremi (talk) 05:21, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Can you give a French or English example? ミーラー強斗武 (talk) 05:23, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
For probably any language, there's likely to be some assimilation to a nasal consonant, but not necessarily enough for the vowel to be considered nasal. It's not true for French, for example: 'good' is masculine /bɔ̃/, feminine /bɔn/, where the vowel actually denasalizes before a nasal consonant. — kwami (talk) 07:39, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe any variant of Okinawan has nasalization, but, if I recall correctly, some variants of Amami might. I'm also not aware of any studies on the phonetic presence of nasalization before /N/, as in Japanese, but it's possible that the general pattern is similar to Japanese. — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 03:32, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

"Particles" section[edit]

Can someone add Japanese equivalents of the Okinawan sentences to the particles chart to see how Okinawan particles differ from Japanese (and make it easier for people like me who are Japanese)? Can Okinawan equivalents of Japanese particles てにをはがへの be added too, along with sentence enders such as Japanese です、ですか etc? Maybe possible to move particles under the previous grammar section instead of having a separate part? Minfremi (talk) 01:06, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

I can add some of it, however I don't know all of the equivalents. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 03:29, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Okay, I wasn't that smart back then, lol. When I meant add particles I meant add Parts of Speech. Copulae obviously are not particles (助詞). Fortunately I am in the process of adding not only particles but other parts of speech in my Sandbox. When I am done with those I will move the info to this page. --Minfremi (talk) 03:38, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Pitch Accents[edit]

Both Okinawan and Uchinaayamatuguchi have distinct pitch accenting different from that of standard Japanese. Can someone add to the phonology section of this page explaining the differences between Okinawan and Japanese, using IPA? Minfremi (talk) 19:42, 27 December 2014 (UTC)