Ryukyuan languages

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The Ryukyuan languages, though often described as "dialects" (方言, Japanese: hôgen), are distinct languages within the broader Japonic languages family. Spoken across the Ryukyu Islands chain, they include Amami language, Okinawan language, Miyako language, Yaeyama language, and Yonaguni language. Along with Japanese, they form the Japonic family of languages.

The languages each have their own dialects, spoken on different islands or in different portions of the same island. These can be roughly divided as follows:

  • Amami language:
  • Okinawan language:
    • Northern Okinawan: spoken in the northern portion of Okinawa Island, and on nearby islands. Sometimes known as Nakijin dialect
    • Central Okinawan: known as Naha-Shuri dialect
    • Southern Okinawan: spoken in southern portions of Okinawa Island
  • Miyako language
  • Yaeyama language
  • Yonaguni language


  • Gallery labels, Amami Museum.