OPG publishes book to help elementary and junior high students learn Shimakutuba

OPG publishes book to help elementary and junior high students learn Shimakutuba

The Okinawa Prefectural Government has published a booklet to help elementary and junior high-school students learn Shimakutuba - the Okinawan dialects.


April 4, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) has for the first time published a booklet to help elementary and junior high students learn Shimakutuba – the local dialects of Okinawa. The booklets are designed for fifth-grade elementary school students and second-grade junior high-school students. On April 3, the OPG distributed them to schools across the prefecture. The OPG is asking schools to use the booklets during Japanese language lessons or in integrated study classes.

According to the government’s guidelines, fifth-grade elementary school students and second-grade junior high-school students can study the dialects along with the Japanese language. The OPG has published 36,000 copies at a cost of about 17.74 million yen. The OPG will publish the materials on its website in May. Mitsuyoshi Nohara, emeritus professor at Okinawa International University, supervised the booklet. It contains five local dialects used in Naha, Kush in Nago, Hirara in Miyako, four districts in Ishigaki-jima, and Sonai on Yonaguni Island. As more than five dialects are spoken in Okinawa, the books also have space for students to write down their own local dialects, if they are not already included. The booklet contains everyday vocabulary used in school life and is accompanied by a CD ROM.

An official of the OPG said, “The words published in this booklet do not represent all the Okinawan dialects. We hope students can use it to learn their own dialects at home.”

Naha City Government published a similar booklet which was delivered to all elementary and junior high-school students in the city in2013.

(English translation by T&CT)

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