In this paper, I will discuss the question of whether the varieties spoken in the Ryūkyū archipelago should be regarded as dialects or separate languages. Since the appearance of Tōjō's pioneering work on dialect division of Japanese in 1927, Japanese dialectologists have generally regarded "Ryukyuan" as a group of dialects. However, in the Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger published in 2009, UNESCO recognizes, using as sole criterion mutual intelligibility, six Ryukyuan languages, of which two are severely endangered, Yaeyama and Yonaguni, and four are classified as definitely endangered, Amami, Kunigami, Okinawa and Miyako. If, on the one hand, the status of "language" can play a crucial role in language revitalization, on the other the six languages proposed by UNESCO fail to fully satisfy the conditions of sociolinguistics, under which they could be considered as separate languages.

Le varietà linguistiche delle isole Ryūkyū: lingue o dialetti?

Giuseppe Pappalardo
2014-01-01

Abstract

In this paper, I will discuss the question of whether the varieties spoken in the Ryūkyū archipelago should be regarded as dialects or separate languages. Since the appearance of Tōjō's pioneering work on dialect division of Japanese in 1927, Japanese dialectologists have generally regarded "Ryukyuan" as a group of dialects. However, in the Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger published in 2009, UNESCO recognizes, using as sole criterion mutual intelligibility, six Ryukyuan languages, of which two are severely endangered, Yaeyama and Yonaguni, and four are classified as definitely endangered, Amami, Kunigami, Okinawa and Miyako. If, on the one hand, the status of "language" can play a crucial role in language revitalization, on the other the six languages proposed by UNESCO fail to fully satisfy the conditions of sociolinguistics, under which they could be considered as separate languages.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3698304
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