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Kunigami language facts for kids

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Kunigami language
Native to Japan
Region Northern Okinawa
Ethnicity Ryukyuan people
Native speakers 5,000 (2004)  (date missing)
Language family
  • Ryukyuan
    • Northern Ryukyuan
      • Kunigami language

The Kunigami language (Kunigami: 山原言葉, Yanbaru kutūba) is an endangered Ryukyuan language spoken in the Kunigami area of Okinawa, Japan.

Japan calls it a dialect while most linguists put Kunigami as its own language within the Ryukyuan languages group.

Kunigami is somewhat understandable to people who speak the Okinawan language. However, Japanese speakers wouldn’t be able to understand Kunigami. There are also different dialects of Kunigami, such as the one on Okinoerabu.


Okinoerabu dialect

Thank you. = みへでぃろ。(Mihediro).

Welcome. = うがみやぶら。/ めんしょーり。(Ugamiyabura. / Menshoori.)


A famous sanshin song known as “Aha Bushi” is sung in Kunigami.

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