Okinoerabu dialect cluster

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Okinoerabu
島ムニ
Shimamuni
Native to Japan
Region Okinoerabu Island of the Amami Islands, Kagoshima Prefecture
Native speakers
3,200 (2004)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 okn
Glottolog okin1246[2]

The Okinoerabu dialect cluster (島ムニ Shimamuni), also Oki-no-Erabu, is a dialect cluster spoken on Okinoerabu Island, Kagoshima Prefecture of southwestern Japan. It is part of the Amami–Okinawan languages, which are part of the Japonic languages.

Dialects[edit]

Isoglosses

Okinoerabu dialects are classified into two groups:

  • Eastern Okinoerabu
  • Western Okinoerabu

The linguistic boundary between Eastern and Western Okinoerabu roughly corresponds to the administrative boundary between Wadomari (east) and China (west). In addition, the eastern community of Kunigami (part of Eastern Okinoerabu and not to be confused with Northern Okinawa) is known for sporadically retaining a centralized vowel, which is a characteristic of Northern Amami. For example, [nɨː] ("root", Standard Japanese /ne/) is contrasted with [niː] ("loads", Standard Japanese /ni/). The northwestern community of Tamina (part of Western Okinoerabu) has a distinctive accentual system.

Folk terminology[edit]

Takahashi Takayo (b. 1967), a cultural anthropologist from the island, stated that the language of each community or the island as a whole was called shimamuni. Each language variety within the island had distinctive characteristics. The language of the community of Kunigami on the island, for example, was referred to as Kunigami-bushi. It retained mutually intelligibility with the languages of the island's other communities. It is said that Okinoerabu was mutually unintelligible with neighboring Yoron and Tokunoshima.[3]

Phonology[edit]

Eastern Okinoerabu[edit]

The following is the phonology of the Wadomari dialect (part of Eastern Okinoerabu), which is based on Hirayama et al. (1986).[4]

As with most Ryukyuan languages to the north of Central Okinawan, stops are described as "plain" C’ and "glottolized" C‘. Phonetically, the two series are lightly aspirated [Cʰ] and tenuis [C˭], respectively.[5]

Consonants[edit]

Consonant phonemes
Bilabial Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Glottal Moraic
Nasal m n  Q
N
Stop b d ɡ ʔ
Affricate t͡ʃʰ t͡ʃ˭ dz
Fricative s h
Approximant j w
Flap r[clarification needed]

Notes

  • The zero onset /'/ may be added. It contrasts with glottal /h/ and /ʔ/. A minimal pair is /ʔiː/ [ʔiː] ("stomach"), /hiː/ [çiː] ("day") and /'iː/ [iː] ("soft rush").
  • "Tense" /k˭/, /t˭/ and /t͡ʃ˭/ are in process of merging into "plain" /kʰ/, /tʰ/ and /t͡ʃʰ/, respectively.
  • /h/ is [ç] before /i/ and /j/, and [ɸ] before /u/ and /w/.
  • /pʰ/ is new and infrequent.
  • /si/ and /t͡ʃʰu/ are realized as [ʃi] and [t͡sʰu], respectively.
  • /dz/ is [d͡ʒ] before /i/ and /j/, and [d͡z] elsewhere.
  • [ʃa], [ʃu] and [ʃo] are phonemically analyzed as /sja/, /sju/ and /sjo/, respectively.
  • [t͡ʃʰa], [t͡ʃʰu] and [t͡ʃʰo] are phonemically analyzed as /t͡ʃʰja/, /t͡ʃʰju/ and /t͡ʃʰjo/, respectively.
  • [t͡ʃa], [t͡ʃu] and [t͡ʃo] are phonemically analyzed as /t͡ʃ˭ja/, /t͡ʃ˭ju/ and /t͡ʃ˭jo/, respectively.

Vowels[edit]

Eastern Okinoerabu has /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/, long and short.

Correspondences to Standard Japanese[edit]

Only major sound correspondences are listed.[6]

  • Standard Japanese /e/ is merged into /i/.
  • Standard Japanese /o/ is merged into /u/.
  • Eastern Okinoerabu /e/ and /o/ are of secondary origin and mostly correspond to Standard Japanese diphthongs.
  • Standard Japanese /t͡ʃu/, /su/ and /zu/ correspond to /t͡ʃʰi/ [t͡ʃʰi], /si/ [ʃi] and /dzi/ [dʒi].
  • Standard Japanese /k/ corresponds to /h/ by default. Japanese /ki/ and /ku/ are usually /kʰ/ in Eastern Okinoerabu, but some words have /t͡ʃʰi/ for Standard Japanese /ki/. Reflexes in /k˭/ is occasionally found as well.
  • Historical /r/ is dropped when it appears between any vowel and /i/.
  • /kʰ/ and /g/ palatalized before /i/. Standard Japanese /ki/ and /gi/ correspond to Eastern Okinoerabu /t͡ʃʰi/ and /dzi/.
  • Standard Japanese /ke/ corresponds to /hi/ in the word-initial position and to /kʰi/ elsewhere.
  • The fusion of consecutive morae resulted in the glottalized and 'tense' consonants in Eastern Okinoerabu.

Western Okinoerabu[edit]

The following is the phonology of the China dialect (part of Western Okinoerabu), which is based on Hirayama et al. (1986).[4]

Consonants[edit]

Consonant phonemes
Bilabial Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Glottal Moraic
Nasal m n  Q
N
Stop b d ɡ ʔ
Affricate t͡ʃʰ dz
Fricative s h
Approximant j w
Flap r

Notes

  • The zero onset /'/ may be added. It contrasts with glottal /h/ and /ʔ/.
  • /h/ is [ç] before /i/ and /j/, and [ɸ] before /u/ and /w/.
  • /pʰ/ is new and infrequent.
  • /si/ and /t͡ʃʰu/ are realized as [ʃi] and [t͡sʰu], respectively.
  • /dz/ is [d͡ʒ] before /i/ and /j/, and [d͡z] elsewhere.
  • [ʃa], [ʃe], [ʃu] and [ʃo] are phonemically analyzed as /sja/, /sje/, /sju/ and /sjo/, respectively.
  • [t͡ʃʰa], [t͡ʃʰu] and [t͡ʃʰo] are phonemically analyzed as /t͡ʃʰja/, /t͡ʃʰju/ and /t͡ʃʰjo/, respectively.

Vowels[edit]

Western Okinoerabu has /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/, long and short.

Differences between Eastern and Western Okinoerabu[edit]

  • Standard Japanese /gi/ and /ge/ are merged into /gi/ in Western Okinoerabu while they correspond to /dzi/ and /gi/ in Eastern Okinoerabu.
  • Similarly, Western Okinoerabu /kʰ/ has not undergone palatalization.
  • Western Okinoerabu does not have /k˭/, /t˭/ or /t͡ʃ˭/.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Okinoerabu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Oki-No-Erabu". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Takahashi Takayo 高橋孝代 (2006). "Okinoerabu-jima no gaikan 沖永良部島の概観". Kyōkaisei no jinruigaku 境界性の人類学 (in Japanese). pp. 65–111. 
  4. ^ a b Hirayama Teruo 平山輝男, ed. (1986). Amami hōgen kiso goi no kenkyū 奄美方言基礎語彙の研究 (in Japanese). 
  5. ^ Samuel E. Martin (1970) "Shodon: A Dialect of the Northern Ryukyus", in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 90, no. 1 (Jan–Mar), pp. 97–139.
  6. ^ Hirayama Teruo 平山輝男, Ōshima Ichirō 大島一郎 and Nakamoto Masachie 中本正智 (1969). "Gengo 言語". In Hirayama Teruo 平山輝男. Satsunan shotō no sōgōteki kenkyū 薩南諸島の総合的研究 (in Japanese). pp. 235–478. 

Further reading[edit]