Okinawan language

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沖縄口/ウチナーグチ Uchinaaguchi
Native toJapan
RegionOkinawa Islands
Native speakers
980,000 (2000)[1]
Okinawan, Japanese, Rōmaji
Language codes
ISO 639-3ryu
Boundaries of the Okinawan Languages.svg
     (South–Central) Okinawan, AKA Shuri–Naha
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The Okinawan language (沖縄語 おきなわご Okinawago, 沖縄方言 おきなわほうげん Okinawa hôgen 沖縄口 うちなーぐち Uchinaaguchi) is a Ryukyuan language that is spoken in the Okinawa and Amami regions of Japan.

Some linguists believe that it branched off from ancient Japanese, but others classify it is a dialect of Japanese. Okinawan was the official language of the Ryukyu Kingdom but was spoken well before the kingdom existed.

Sample words[change | change source]

  • Mensooree (めんそーれー) - Welcome, Hello (when receiving)
  • Haisai (はいさい) - Hello (male only)
  • Haitai (はいたい) - Hello (female only)
  • Ganjyuu (がんじゅー) - Fine health (in greeting)
  • Uchinaaguchi (沖縄口/うちなーぐち) - Okinawan language
  • Yamatunchu (大和人/やまとぅんちゅ) - Japanese person
  • Yuntaku (ゆんたく) - Talking
  • Waa (わー) - Informal me or I
  • Wan (我ん/わん) - Formal me or I
  • Iyaa (いやー) - Informal You
  • Unjyoo (御所/うんじょー) - Formal you
  • Un, uu (うん、うー) - Yes
  • Aibiran (あいびらん) - No
  • Furaa (ふらー) - Foolish
  • Yinagu (女/よぃなぐ) - Woman
  • Yikiga (男/よぃきが) - Man
  • Warabaa, Warabi (わらばー、わらび) - Children
  • Uya (うや) - Parents
  • Kwa (きゎ) - A child ( as opposed to Parents)
  • Niisee (にーせー) - A young man
  • Boujya (ぼうじゃ) - A baby
  • In (犬/いん) - A dog
  • In-gwa (犬小/いんぎゎ) - Puppy
  • Mayaa (猫/まやー) - A cat
  • Mayaa-gwa (猫小/まやーぎゎ) - Kitty
  • Hiijyaa (ひーじゃー) - A goat

References[change | change source]

  1. Okinawan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Central Okinawan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. 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.