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Okinawan Studies: Languages (Uchinaaguchi/Ryukyuan)

This guide to introduce you to resources on Okinawa and Ryukyu.

Printed Dictionaries

Ryukyuan (Okinawan) Dictionaries

Dialect Dictionaries / 方言辞典 (including Okinawan dialects)

Accent (Pronunciation) Dictionaries / アクセント (発音) 辞典

Printed Language Guide Books

Online Databases

  • Ryukyuan Language Database / 琉球語音声データベース 
    This database is developed by the University of the Ryukyus and contains Amami and Miyako dialects.

            ryudai database

Update: As of September 3, 2020, this database is no longer available. The University of Ryukyus Library plans to renew the database sometime in October 2020. 

Last updated: September 2020

           

Shimakutuba / しまくとぅば

In 2006 Okinawa Prefectural Government proclaimed September 18 as "Island languages Day" (Shimakutuba no hi / しまくとぅばの日). 

Okinawa Prefectural Government has a list of websites that promotes the use of Uchinaaguchi or Shimakutuba, Okinawan languages.

shimakutuba logo

http://www.pref.okinawa.jp/site/bunka-sports/bunka/documents/shimajyoho.html

https://shimakotoba-navi.jp/

 

Okinawan Languages Statistics

Research published by the Agency of Cultural Affairs (文化庁) in Japan 

Research by NINJL

Articles by Researchers

  • Davis, Christopher. (March 2014). "Yaeyama Miyara dialetcts in Okinawa Prefecture" in The Report on the endangered languages and dialects [in Japan] / クリストファー・デイビス、「沖縄県宮良方言」、文化庁委託事業「危機的な状況にある言語・方言の実態に関する調査研究」報告書(2014 年 3 月)所収。 (in PDF ; in Japanese only)
  • Karimata, Shigehisa. (March 2003). "Problems in the study of grammatical aspects of Ryukyuan dialects as endangered languages" Nihon Toyo Bunka Ronshu, (10): 57-77. /  狩俣繁久、「危機言語としての琉球語の文法研究の課題」、『日本東洋文化論集 、第10号、57-77頁.  (in PDF ; in Japanese only)

Aloha Uchinaaguchi Lessons

Aloha Uchinaaguchi Channel on Youtube
There are 15 videos created by Aloha Uchinaaguchi and you are able to learn basic conversation in Uchinaaguchi.

Let's Play with Uchinaa! / うちなーであそぼ

         

Uchina De Asobo / うちなーであそぼ is a five-minute TV program broadcasted by NHK Okinawa.  (JPN version) 

As of April 22, 2017, some of the contents created and maintained by NHK are no longer availalbe on their site. For excample, the page that used to have a story titld "Usagi to kame (The tortoise and the hare)" is no longer available at http://www.nhk.or.jp/okinawa/asobo/archives/125.html.

Other Useful Sites and Resources

National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL) 国立国語研究所

Corpora and other useful resources are available. Use the search on the top page with keywords, such as 琉球. 

Ryukyuan Language Resources available at the Okinawa Collection at George Washington University Library

Last updated: April 15, 2021.

Uchinaguchi Channel on YouTube

Skid Sid Kobashigawa has recently started a Youtube channel called the “Uchinaguchi Study Group." The target audience are individuals who have a desire to learn the Okinawan language. The lessons are conducted in English, and no prior knowledge of Uchinanguchi is necessary.  It will cover vocabulary, grammar, phrases and situational conversations in Uchinanguchi. Videos will be released every week and each will be about 8 – 15 minutes long.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQabjJxRQB58rPyZL_cYSTg

Last updated: April 16, 2021