Irabu Dialects Dictionary presented to Miyakojima Mayor
September 15, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo
On September 11, members of the Irabu Branch of the Miyako City Senior Club visited Mayor Toshihiko Shimoji at the Miyako-jima Municipal Office in Hirara and presented him with a compilation of Irabu dialects, Irabu panali and sumautsu: Indigenous people’s life and language.
It covers the four languages that were spoken in the four communities of Irabu, Kuninaka, Sawada, and Sarahama. The former head of the branch, Genshin Nakasone served as a chief editor, and members from each district assisted with the editing. The compilation includes words related to body parts, plants, animals, foods, agricultural work, fisheries, and culture. For example, family is “yaade” in Irabu, “yaaji” in Kuninaka, “yaapito” in Sawada, and “yaaninju” in Sarahama. Each district has a different way of saying the same word. Also at the end of a book, there is a list of the place names on Irabu Island and Shimoji Island and the lyrics of each district’s youth club song are included.
Nakasone says, “Because each district has different dialects and customs, it was impossible to do all of the editing by myself.” Mayor Shimoji praised them for their hard work. The branch put together approximately 70 books and Mayor Shimoji said, “I want to make these accessible to people to read in libraries.”
(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)
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