Learn Okinawan dialect in English

Learn Okinawan dialect in English

Masashi Sakihara (on the left) and Lucila Etsuko Gibo show the textbook at the International Institute for Okinawa Studies at the University of the Ryukyus in September


October 2, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Part-time teacher at Seisa Kokusai High School Masashi Sakihara and three academics studying the Okinawan dialect are creating a textbook called Rikka, Uchinaa-nakai! that is designed to help people learn the Okinawan dialect through the medium of English.
They intend to print an initial run of 400 copies, timing this to coincide with the upcoming 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival, and to present them to the people involved with Okinawa Kenjinkai (associations of people from Okinawa) and researchers who teach the Okinawan dialect in the United States.

The three other people working with Sakihara on the project are Professor Shigehisa Karimata and Associate Professor Seisei Shimabukuro of the University of the Ryukyus and research associate Lucila Etsuko Gibo. The four of them have been working since 2009 on this project initiated by the University of the Ryukyus.

The textbook has a total of 15 lessons and adopts a narrative form in which third-generation Okinawan-Americans Amy and David travel around Okinawa, learning about its geography and history. Taking into account feedback from people who review the book, the creators intend to publish four textbooks in which there will be a total of 50 lessons.
They plan to publish the textbooks and within two years to establish a teaching program using the books.

The creators are also in the process of translating the text into Portuguese for Okinawan Brazilians currently residing in the prefecture and hope to complete the translation of the 15 lessons before the end of the year.
Sakihara said, “We would like Okinawans, or people of Okinawan descent who now live overseas, to make use of this textbook.”
For further details, call the International Institute for Okinawa Studies at the University of the Ryukyus at 098 (895) 8475.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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