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与那国物言/ドゥナンムヌイ Dunan Munui
Native to Japan
Region "Yonaguni
Native speakers
400 (2015)[1]
Language codes
"ISO 639-3 yoi
"Glottolog yona1241[2]
This article contains "IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper "rendering support, you may see "question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of "Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see "Help:IPA.

The Yonaguni language (与那国物言/ドゥナンムヌイ Dunan Munui) is a "Southern Ryukyuan language spoken by around 400 people on the island of "Yonaguni, in the "Ryukyu Islands, the westernmost of the chain lying just east of "Taiwan.[3] It is most closely related to "Yaeyama. Due to the Japanese policy on languages, the language is not recognized by the government, which instead calls it the Yonaguni dialect (与那国方言, Yonaguni hōgen).




The table below shows the "vowels present in the Yonaguni language. Vowels which are only "allophonic appear in parentheses.

"Front "Near-front "Central "Near-back "Back
"Close "i "u
"Near-close ("ɪ) ("ʊ)
"Close-Mid "o[a]
"Open "a ("ɑ)
^a [o] can also probably be recognized as an independent phoneme and not just as an allophone of /u/. However, its distribution is very limited. Excluding a few interjections, the only morpheme in which it appears is the sentence-final, exclamatory particle do.


The table below shows the "consonants present in the Yonaguni language. Consonants which are only "allophonic appear in parentheses. Plosive and affricate "phonemes have three-way contrast between fortis, lenis, and voiced consonants.

"Labial "Labio-
"Alveolar "Alveolo-
"Palatal "Velar "Glottal
"Plosive "p "b "t "d "k "g
"Fricative ("ɸ) "s ("ɕ) ("ç) "h
"Affricate "t͡s ("t͡ɕ)
"Nasal "m "n "ŋ
"Flap "ɾ
"Approximant ("ʍ) "w "j

Phonological cognates[edit]

In the Yonaguni language, as well as in "Miyako, "Yaeyama, /b/ is cognate with "Standard Japanese /w/. Yonaguni also has /d/ where Japanese and other Ryukyuan languages have /j/. Thus, for example, Yonaguni /dami(-n)/ ('to hurt, to ache') is cognate with the archaic or dialectal Japanese verb /jame(-ru)/ ('to hurt, to ache') rather than with Japanese /itam(-u)/ (same meaning). Yonaguni /d/ is probably a recent development from an earlier */j/, however, judging from the fact that even the */j/ in loanwords of "Sinitic origin is pronounced /d/ by speakers of the Yonaguni language.

The Yonaguni language also exhibits intervocalic voicing of "plosives, as do many Japonic languages.

Syllable structure[edit]

Below is the syllable template for Dunan:

(C (G) ) V1 (V2) (N)

The "onset allows for a single consonant with the occasional presence of a glide. The "nucleus can contain up to two vowels. The only allowable "coda is a moraic nasal.

Writing system[edit]

Yonaguni was once written with a unique writing system called "Kaidā logograms. However, after conquest by the "Ryukyu Kingdom and later annexation by the "Empire of Japan, the logograms were replaced by Japanese kana and Chinese characters.


  1. ^ Yamada, Masahiro; Pellard, Thomas; Shimoji, Michinori (2015). Heinrich, Patrick; Miyara, Shinsho; Shimaji, Michinori, eds. Handbook of the Ryukyuan Languages: History, Structure, and Use. Handbooks of Japanese Language and Linguistics. 11. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 449–478. "ISBN "978-1-61451-161-8. 
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Yonaguni". "Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Pellard, Thomas; Yamada, Masahiro (2017). "Verb Morphology and Conjugation Classes in Dunan (Yonaguni)". In Kiefer, Ferenc; Blevins, James P.; Bartos, Huba. Perspectives on Morphological Organization: Data and Analyses. BRILL. "ISBN "978-90-04-34293-4. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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