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Encyclopedia > Ainu language
Ainu
アイヌ イタ Aynu itak 
Pronunciation: ai̯nu itak̚
Spoken in: Japan, Russia 
Region: Hokkaidō, formerly Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, the tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula, and Tōhoku in Honshū
Total speakers: near-extinct, 15 speakers in Japan were known in 1991[1]
Language family: language isolate
 Ainu
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2: ain[2]
ISO 639-3: ain

The Ainu language (Ainu: アイヌ イタ, aynu itak; Japanese: アイヌ語 ainu-go) is spoken by the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō. It was once spoken in the Kurile Islands, the northern part of Honshū, and the southern half of Sakhalin. Not to be confused with the Ainu language. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ...   literally North Sea Circuit, Ainu: Mosir), formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japans second largest island and the largest of its 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. ... Sakhalin (Russian: , IPA: ; Japanese: 樺太 ) or サハリン )); Chinese: 庫頁; also Saghalien, is a large elongated island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50 and 54°24 N. It is part of Russia and is its largest island, administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast. ... For the political history of the sovereignty conflict, see Kuril Islands dispute. ... “Kamchatka” redirects here. ... Tohoku region, Japan The Tōhoku region (東北地方; Tōhoku-chihō) is a geographical area of Japan. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical (or genetic) relationship with other living languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common to any other language. ... ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... ISO 639-3 is an international standard for language codes. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... Ainu IPA: /ʔáınu/) (also called Ezo in historical texts) are an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaidō, northern HonshÅ«, the Kuril Islands, much of Sakhalin, and the southernmost third of the Kamchatka peninsula. ...   literally North Sea Circuit, Ainu: Mosir), formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japans second largest island and the largest of its 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. ... The Kuril Islands The Kuril Islands (Russian: Кури́льские острова́), also known as Kurile Islands, stretch northeast from Hokkaido, Japan, to Kamchatka, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Sakhalin (Russian: , IPA: ; Japanese: 樺太 ) or サハリン )); Chinese: 庫頁; also Saghalien, is a large elongated island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50 and 54°24 N. It is part of Russia and is its largest island, administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast. ...

Contents

Relation to other languages

Ainu is currently considered a language isolate with no known relation to other languages. It is sometimes grouped with the Paleosiberian languages, but this is merely a cover term for several isolates and small language families believed to have been present in Siberia prior to the arrival of Turkic and Tungusic speakers; it is not a proper language family. Most linguists believe the shared vocabulary between Ainu and Nivkh (spoken in the northern half of Sakhalin and on the Asian mainland facing it) is due to borrowing; there are also loanwords both from Ainu to Japanese and Japanese to Ainu. In recent years, the Japanese linguist Shichiro Murayama and others have tried to link it by both vocabulary and cultural comparisons to the Austronesian languages. Alexander Vovin (1993) presented evidence suggesting a distant connection with Austroasiatic; he regards this hypothesis as preliminary. Evidence from studies of the genetics of Ainu and other world populations suggests that the Ainu people, and therefore also their language, may have some distant connection to Japanese, Koreans, or Turkic peoples of Central Asia, but it is clear from all forms of inquiry that the Ainu people and language have a very long history of isolation and independent development. They do appear, however, to have experienced some intensive contact with the Nivkhs during the course of their history; it is not known to what extent this might have affected the Ainu language. A language isolate, in the absolute sense, is a natural language with no demonstrable genealogical (or genetic) relationship with other living languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common to any other language. ... Paleosiberian (Palaeosiberian, Paleo-Siberian) languages or Paleoasian languages (from Greek palaios, ancient) is a term of convenience used in linguistics to classify a disparate group of languages spoken in remote regions of Siberia. ... The Turkic languages constitute a language family of some thirty languages, spoken across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are traditionally considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family. ... Tungusic languages (or Manchu-Tungus languages) are spoken in Eastern Siberia and Manchuria. ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... Nivchische Sprache Nivkh language ---- (more info) Stage 1 : Request (How-to) Danke!! Yupik 23:25, 18 January 2007 (UTC) Because the German article contains a ton of info that the English does not. ... Sakhalin (Russian: , IPA: ; Japanese: 樺太 ) or サハリン )); Chinese: 庫頁; also Saghalien, is a large elongated island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50 and 54°24 N. It is part of Russia and is its largest island, administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast. ... A loanword (or loan word) is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ... A loanword (or loan word) is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ... A vocabulary is a set of words known to a person or other entity, or that are part of a specific language. ... The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia. ... Alexander vovin is a professor of eastern languages and linguistics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. ... Austro-Asiatic languages The Austro-Asiatic languages are a large language family of Southeast Asia, and also scattered throughout India and Bangladesh. ... Population genetics is the study of the distribution of and change in allele frequencies under the influence of the four evolutionary forces: natural selection, genetic drift, mutation, and migration. ... This article is about the various peoples speaking one of the Turkic languages. ... Map of Central Asia showing three sets of possible boundaries for the region Central Asia located as a region of the world Central Asia is a vast landlocked region of Asia. ... The Nivkhs (also Nivkh or Gilyak; ethnonym: Nivxi; language, нивхгу - Nivxgu) are an indigenous people inhabiting the region of the region of the Amur River estuary and on nearby Sakhalin Island. ...


Speakers

Ainu is a moribund language, and has been endangered for at least the past few decades. Most of the 150,000 ethnic Ainu in Japan speak only Japanese. In the town of Nibutani (part of Biratori, Hokkaido) where many of the remaining native speakers live, there are 100 speakers, out of which only 15 used the language every day in the late 1980s. The number of speakers today (by whatever definition one may use) is not known with any certainty. In all of Hokkaidō, it is estimated that there are perhaps 1,000 native speakers, almost all older than 30.[citation needed] Among Ainu speakers (broadly defined), second-language learners presently outnumber native ones. An endangered language is a language with so few surviving speakers that it is in danger of falling out of use. ... Ainu IPA: /ʔáınu/) (also called Ezo in historical texts) are an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaidō, northern HonshÅ«, the Kuril Islands, much of Sakhalin, and the southernmost third of the Kamchatka peninsula. ... Reconstruction of a traditional Ainu dwelling (cise, pronounced chee-seh), outside of the Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum The Nibutani (二風谷) district is part of the town of Biratori in Hokkaidō, Japan, a particularly large proportion of the population of which is of the indigenous Ainu ethnicity. ... Biratori (平取町; -chou) is a town located in Saru District, Hidaka, Hokkaido, Japan. ...   literally North Sea Circuit, Ainu: Mosir), formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japans second largest island and the largest of its 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. ... First language (native language, mother tongue) is the language a person learns first. ...


However, use of the language is on the rise. There is currently an active movement to revitalize the language — mainly in Hokkaidō but also elsewhere — to reverse the centuries-long decline in the number of speakers. This has led to an increasing number of second-language learners, especially in Hokkaidō, in large part due to the pioneering efforts of the late Ainu folklorist, activist and former Diet member Shigeru Kayano, himself a native speaker. Language revival is the revival, by governments, political authorities, or enthusiasts, to recover the spoken use of a language that is no longer spoken or learned at home. ...   literally North Sea Circuit, Ainu: Mosir), formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japans second largest island and the largest of its 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. ... The National Diet of Japan (国会; Kokkai) is Japans legislature. ... Shigeru Kayano ) (June 15, 1926 – May 6, 2006) was one of the last native speakers of Japanese Ainu language and a leading figure in the Ainu ethnic movement in Japan. ...


Phonology

Ainu syllables are CV(C) (that is, they have an obligatory syllable onset and an optional syllable coda) and there are few consonant clusters. A syllable (Ancient Greek: ) is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. ... In phonetics and phonology, a syllable onset is the part of a syllable that precedes the syllable nucleus. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ... In linguistics, a consonant cluster is a group of consonants which have no intervening vowel. ...


There are five vowels: Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ...

The vowels of Ainu
  Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

Consonants: Vowels Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... A central vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. ... A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. ... A close vowel is a type of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. ... A mid vowel is a vowel sound used in some spoken languages. ... An open vowel is a vowel sound of a type used in most spoken languages. ... In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by a closure or stricture of the vocal tract sufficient to cause audible turbulence. ...

The consonants of Ainu
  Bilabial Labio-
velar
Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop p   t   k ʔ
Affricate     ts      
Nasal m   n      
Fricative     s     h
Approximant   w   j    
Tap/flap     ɾ      

The glottal stop /ʔ/ only occurs at the beginning of words, before an accented vowel. The sequence /ti/ is realized as [ʧi] and /s/ becomes [ʃ] before /i/ and at the end of syllables. The affricate /ts/ has voiced and post-alveolar variants. There is some variation among dialects; in the Sakhalin dialect, syllable-final /p, t, k, r/ lenited and merged into /x/. After an /i/, this /x/ is pronounced as [ç]. In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a consonant articulated with both lips. ... A labiovelar consonant is a consonant made with two blockages, one at the lips (labial) and the other at the soft palate (velar). ... A labiovelar consonant is a consonant made with two blockages, one at the lips (labial) and the other at the soft palate (velar). ... Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli (the sockets) of the superior teeth. ... Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate (the middle part of the roof of the mouth). ... Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue (the dorsum) against the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum). ... Glottal consonants are consonants articulated with the glottis. ... A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ... Affricate consonants begin as stops (most often an alveolar, such as or ) but release as a fricative (such as or or, in a couple of languages, into a fricative trill) rather than directly into the following vowel. ... A nasal consonant is produced when the velum—that fleshy part of the palate near the back—is lowered, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. ... Fricatives (or spirants) are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. ... Approximants are speech sounds that could be regarded as intermediate between vowels and typical consonants. ... In phonetics, a flap or tap is a type of consonantal sound, which is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that one articulator (such as the tongue) is thrown against another. ... Sakhalin (Russian: , IPA: ; Japanese: 樺太 ) or サハリン )); Chinese: 庫頁; also Saghalien, is a large elongated island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50 and 54°24 N. It is part of Russia and is its largest island, administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast. ... Lenition is a kind of consonant mutation that appears in many languages. ...


There is a pitch accent system. The accentuation of specific words varies somewhat from dialect to dialect. Generally, words including affixes have a high pitch on the stem, or on the first syllable if it is closed or has a diphthong, while other words have the high pitch on the second syllable, although there are exceptions to this generalization. Pitch accent is a kind of accent system employed in many languages around the world. ... Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Typology and grammar

Ainu is SOV, with postpositions. Subject and object are usually marked with postpositions. Nouns can cluster to modify one another; the head comes at the end. Verbs, which are inherently either transitive or intransitive, accept various derivational affixes. In linguistic typology, Subject Object Verb (SOV) is the type of languages in which the subject, object, and verb of a sentence appear (usually) in that order. ... A postposition is a type of adposition, a grammatical particle that expresses some sort of relationship between a noun phrase (its object) and another part of the sentence; an adpositional phrase functions as an adjective or adverb. ... In linguistics, derivation is the process of creating new lexemes from other lexemes, for example, by adding a derivational affix. ...


Typologically, Ainu is similar in word order (and some aspects of phonology) to Japanese and Korean, while its high degree of synthesis is more reminiscent of languages to its north and east. Linguistic typology is the typology that classifies languages by their features. ... A synthetic language, in linguistic typology, is a language with a high morpheme-per-word ratio. ...


Ainu traditionally featured incorporation of nouns and adverbs; this is rare in the modern colloquial language. Incorporation is a phenomenon by which a word, usually a verb, forms a kind of compound with, for instance, its direct object or adverbial modifier, while retaining its original syntactic function. ...


Applicatives may be used in Ainu to place nouns in the dative, instrumental, comitative, locative, allative, or ablative roles. Besides freestanding nouns, these roles may be assigned to incorporated nouns, and such use of applicatives is in fact mandatory for incorporating oblique nouns. Like incorporation, applicatives have grown less common in the modern language. The applicative voice is a grammatical voice which promotes an oblique argument of a verb to the (core) patient argument, and indicates the oblique role within the meaning of the verb. ... The dative case is a grammatical case generally used to indicate the noun to whom something is given. ... In linguistics, the instrumental case (also called the eighth case) indicates that a noun is the instrument or means by which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action. ... The Comitative case is used where English would use in company with or together with. It, and many other cases, are found in the Finnish language, the Hungarian language, and the Estonian language. ... Locative is a case which indicates a location. ... In the Finnish language, the Allative case is the fifth of the locative cases, with the basic meaning of onto. Its ending is -lle, for example pöytä (table) and pöydälle (onto the top of the table). ... In linguistics, ablative case (also called the sixth case) (abbreviated ABL) is a name given to cases in various languages whose common thread is that they mark motion away from something, though the details in each language may differ. ... An oblique case (Latin: ) in linguistics is a noun case of analytic languages that is used generally when a noun is the predicate of a sentence or a preposition. ...


Writing

Officially, the Ainu language is written in a modified version of the Japanese katakana syllabary. There is also a Latin-based alphabet in use. The Ainu Times publishes in both. In the Latin orthography, /ts/ is spelt c and /j/ as y; /ʔ/, which only occurs initially before accented vowels, is not written. Other phonemes use the same character as the IPA transcription given above. An equals sign (=) is used to mark morpheme boundaries, such as after a prefix. Its pitch accent is denoted by acute accent in Latin (e.g. á). It is usually not denoted in katakana. Katakana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji, and in some cases the Latin alphabet. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... The Ainu Times is the only newspaper published in the Ainu language. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... The acute accent (   ) is a diacritic mark used in many modern written languages with alphabets based on the Latin and Greek scripts. ...


Special katakana for the Ainu language

A Unicode standard exists for a set of extended katakana (Katakana Phonetic Extensions) for transliterating the Ainu language and other languages written with katakana.[3][4] These characters are used to write final consonants and sounds that cannot be expressed using conventional katakana. The extended katakana are based on regular katakana and are either smaller in size, or feature a dakuten or handakuten. As few fonts yet support these extensions, workarounds exist for many of the characters, such as the small katakana ku used as in アイヌイタ (Aynu itak). The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... Katakana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji, and in some cases the Latin alphabet. ... Dakuten ), colloquially ten-ten (dot dot), is a diacritic sign most often used in the Japanese kana syllabaries to indicate that the consonant of a syllable should be pronounced voiced. ... Dakuten (濁点), colloquially ten-ten (dot dot), is a diacritic sign most often used in the Japanese kana syllabaries to indicate that the consonant of a syllable should be pronounced voiced. ...


This is a list of special katakana used in transcribing the Ainu language. Most of the characters are of the extended set of katakana, though a few have been used historically in Japanese, and thus are part of the main set of katakana. A number of previously proposed characters have been removed from future Unicode implementations as they can be easily displayed as a combination of two existing characters.

Character Unicode Appearance Name Ainu usage
31F0 Katakana Letter Small Ku Final k
31F1 Katakana Letter Small Si Final s [ʃʲ]
31F2 Katakana Letter Small Su Final s, used to emphasize it's pronounced [s] rather than normal [ʃʲ]. [s] and [ʃ] are allophones in Ainu.
31F3 Katakana Letter Small To Final t
31F4 Katakana Letter Small Nu Final n
31F5 Katakana Letter Small Ha Final h [x], succeeding the vowel a. (e.g. ア ah) Sakhalin dialect only.
31F6 Katakana Letter Small Hi Final h [ç], succeeding the vowel i. (e.g. イ ih) Sakhalin dialect only.
31F7 Katakana Letter Small Hu Final h [x], succeeding the vowel u. (e.g. ウ uh) Sakhalin dialect only.
31F8 Katakana Letter Small He Final h [x], succeeding the vowel e. (e.g. エ eh) Sakhalin dialect only.
31F9 Katakana Letter Small Ho Final h [x], succeeding the vowel o. (e.g. オ oh) Sakhalin dialect only.
31FA Katakana Letter Small Mu Final m
31FB Katakana Letter Small Ra Final r [ɾ], succeeding the vowel a. (e.g. ア ar)
31FC Katakana Letter Small Ri Final r [ɾ], succeeding the vowel i. (e.g. イ ir)
31FD Katakana Letter Small Ru Final r [ɾ], succeeding the vowel u. (e.g. ウ ur)
31FE Katakana Letter Small Re Final r [ɾ], succeeding the vowel e. (e.g. エ er)
31FF Katakana Letter Small Ro Final r [ɾ], succeeding the vowel o. (e.g. オ or)
Rejected characters (Unicode represents them using combining characters)
31F7 + 309A Katakana Letter Small Pu Final p
30BB + 309A セ゜ Katakana Letter Se With Semi-Voiced Sound Mark ce [tse]
30C4 + 309A ツ゜ Katakana Letter Tu With Semi-Voiced Sound Mark tu. ツ゜ and ト゜ are interchangeable.
30C8 + 309A ト゜ Katakana Letter To With Semi-Voiced Sound Mark tu. ツ゜ and ト゜ are interchangeable.

Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ... In phonetics, an allophone is one of several similar phones that belong to the same phoneme. ... Combining diacritical marks are Unicode characters that are intended to modify other characters (see Diacritic). ...

Basic syllables

a
[a]
i
[i]
u
[u̜]
e
[e]
o
[o]
a ア
[a]
i イ
[i]
u ウ
[u̜]
e エ
[e]
o オ
[o]
k
[k] 1
ka カ
[ka]
ki キ
[ki]
ku ク
[ku̜]
ke ケ
[ke]
ko コ
[ko]
-k
[-k̚]
s
[s] ~ [ʃ]
sa シャ/サ 2
[sa] ~ [ʃa]
si シ
[ʃi]
su シュ/ス 2
[su̜] ~ [ʃu̜]
se シェ/セ 2
[se] ~ [ʃe]
so ショ/ソ 2
[so] ~ [ʃo]
-s / 2
[-ʃʲ]
t
[t] 1
ta タ
[ta]
ci チ
[tʃi]
tu ト゜/ツ゜ 2
[tu̜]
te テ
[te]
to ト
[to]
-t /ッ 3
[-t̚]
c
[ts] ~ [tʃ] 1
ca チャ
[tsa] ~ [tʃa]
ci チ
[tʃi]
cu チュ
[tsu̜] ~ [tʃu̜]
ce チェ
[tse] ~ [tʃe]
co チョ
[tso] ~ [tʃo]
n
[n]
na ナ
[na]
ni ニ
[nʲi]
nu ヌ
[nu̜]
ne ネ
[ne]
no ノ
[no]
-n /ン 4
[-n/-m-/-ŋ-] 5
h 6
[h]
ha ハ
[ha]
hi ヒ
[çi]
hu フ
[ɸu̜]
he ヘ
[he]
ho ホ
[ho]
-h 6
[-x]
-ah
[-ax]
-ih
[-iç]
-uh
[-u̜x]
-eh
[-ex]
-oh
[-ox]
p
[p] 1
pa パ
[pa]
pi ピ
[pi]
pu プ
[pu̜]
pe ペ
[pe]
po ポ
[po]
-p
[-p̚]
m
[m]
ma マ
[ma]
mi ミ
[mi]
mu ム
[mu̜]
me メ
[me]
mo モ
[mo]
-m
[-m]
y
[j]
ya ヤ
[ja]
yu ユ
[ju̜]
ye イェ
[je]
yo ヨ
[jo]
r
[ɾ]
ra ラ
[ɾa]
ri リ
[ɾi]
ru ル
[ɾu̜]
re レ
[ɾe]
ro ロ
[ɾo]
-ar
[-aɾ]
-ir
[-iɾ]
-ur
[-u̜ɾ]
-er
[-eɾ]
-or
[-oɾ]
w
[w]
wa ワ
[wa]
wi ウィ/ヰ 2
[wi]
we ウェ/ヱ 2
[we]
wo ウォ/ヲ 2
[wo]
1: k, t, c, p are sometimes voiced as [g], [d], [dz] ~ [dʒ], [b], respectively. It doesn't change the meaning of a word, but it sounds more rough/masculine. When they are voiced, they may be written as g, d, j, dz, b, ガ, ダ, ヂャ, ヅァ, バ, etc.
2: Both used according to actual pronunciations, or to writer's preferred styles.
3: ッ is final t at the end of a word. (e.g. pet = ペッ = ペ) In the middle of a polysyllabic word, it's a final consonant preceding the initial with a same value. (e.g. orta /otta/ = オッタ. オタ is not preferred.)
4: At the end of a word, n can be written either or ン. In the middle of a polysyllabic word, it's ン. (e.g. tan-mosir = タンモシ = タ+モシ, but not タモシ.)
5: [m] before [p], [ŋ] before [k], [n] elsewhere. Unlike Japanese, it does not become other sounds such as nasal vowels.
6: Initial h [h] and final h [x] are different phenomes. Final h exists in Sakhalin dialect only.

A nasal vowel is a vowel that is produced with a lowering of the velum so that air escapes both through nose as well as the mouth. ...

Diphthongs

Final [ɪ] is spelt y in Latin, small ィ in katakana. Final [ʊ] is spelt w in Latin, small ゥ in katakana. [ae] is spelt ae, アエ, or アェ. Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ...


Example with initial k: In phonetics and phonology, a syllable onset is the part of a syllable that precedes the syllable nucleus. ...

[kaɪ] [ku̜ɪ] [koɪ] [kaʊ] [kiʊ] [keʊ] [koʊ] [keɪ]
kay kuy koy kaw kiw kew kow key
カィ クィ コィ カゥ キゥ ケゥ コゥ ケィ

Since the above rule is used systematically, some katakana combinations have different sounds from conventional Japanese.

ウィ クィ スィ ティ トゥ フィ
Ainu [wi], [u̜ɪ] [ku̜ɪ] [su̜ɪ] [teɪ] [toʊ] [ɸu̜ɪ]
Japanese [wi] [kɰi] ~ [kwi] [si] [ti] [tɯ] [ɸi]

Long vowels

There are long vowels in Sakhalin dialect. Either circumflex or macron is used in Latin, long vowel sign (ー) is used in katakana. The circumflex ( ˆ ) (often called a caret, a hat or an uppen) is a diacritic mark used in written Greek, French, Dutch, Esperanto, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovak, Vietnamese, Japanese romaji, Welsh, Portuguese, Italian, Afrikaans and other languages, and formerly in Turkish [citation needed]. It received its English name from Latin circumflexus (bent... A macron, from Greek (makros) meaning large, is a diacritic ¯ placed over a vowel originally to indicate that the vowel is long. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 Category The chōon ) or bōsen ) mark is a Japanese symbol which is used to indicate a long vowel, especially in katakana writing. ...


Example with initial k:

[kaː] [kiː] [kuː] [keː] [koː]
カー キー クー ケー コー

Oral literature

The Ainu have rich oral tradition of hero-sagas called Yukar, which retain a number of grammatical and lexical archaisms. Oral literature corresponds in the sphere of the spoken (oral) word to literature as literature operates in the domain of the written word. ... Yukar are Ainu sagas that form a long, rich tradition of oral literature. ...


See also

The Ainu language of the Ainu people is distinct from those of the people around them. ... The Ainu people of northern Japan have an autonomous musical tradition. ... Kyosuke Kindaichi (金田一京助 Kindaichi Kyōsuke, May 5, 1882 - November 14, 1971) was an eminent Japanese linguist from Morioka, Iwate Prefecture. ... Bronisław Piotr Piłsudski Bronisław Piotr Piłsudski (November 2, 1866 – May 17, 1918), brother of Józef Piłsudski, was a Polish cultural anthropologist who conducted outstanding research on the Ainu ethnic group, which at the time inhabited Sakhalin Island, but now live mostly on the Japanese... Shigeru Kayano ) (June 15, 1926 – May 6, 2006) was one of the last native speakers of Japanese Ainu language and a leading figure in the Ainu ethnic movement in Japan. ...

Notes

  1. ^ SIL Ethnologue, 15th edition (2005)
  2. ^ ISO 639-2/RA Change Notice - Codes for the representation of names of languages (Library of Congress). Retrieved on 15 November, 2005.
  3. ^ Katakana Phonetic Extensions – Test for Unicode support in Web browsers. Retrieved on 14 December, 2005.
  4. ^ The Unicode Standard, 4.1. Retrieved on 14 December, 2006.

References

  • Patrie, James (1982). The Genetic Relationship of the Ainu Language. Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii. ISBN 0-8248-0724-3. 
  • Tamura, Suzuko (2000). The Ainu Language. Tokyo: Sanseido. ISBN 4-385-35976-8. 
  • Vovin, Alexander (1993). A Reconstruction of Proto-Ainu. Leiden: E. J. Brill. ISBN 90-04-09905-0. 
  • Shibatani, Masayoshi (1990). The Languages of Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36918-5. 
  • Greenberg, Joseph H. (2000-2002). Indo-European and Its Closest Relatives. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-3812-2, ISBN 0-8047-4624-9. 

External links

  • Listing of literature and learning materials for Ainu Language learners
  • The Book of Common Prayer in Ainu
  • (English) Ainu sentences
  • (Japanese) Radio lessons on Ainu language - Presented by Sapporo TV
  • (Japanese) Ainu word list
  • Ethnologue entry for Ainu
  • Information at the RosettaProject
  • Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Ainu in Samani, Hokkaido
  • Full text of John Batchelor's A Grammar of the Ainu Language
  • Full text of John Batchelor's An Ainu-English-Japanese Dictionary (including A Grammar of the Ainu Language.)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ainu language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (882 words)
Ainu is generally thought to be a language isolate with no known relation to other languages.
It is sometimes grouped with the Paleosiberian languages, but this is merely a cover term for several isolates and small language families believed to have been present in Siberia prior to the arrival of Turkic and Tungusic speakers; it is not a proper language family.
Ainu is a moribund language, and has been endangered for at least the past few decades.
Ainu people - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1852 words)
The Ainu (pronounced /ˈainu/, "eye-noo", アイヌ / aynu) are an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaido which is north of Honshu in Northern Japan, the Kuril Islands, much of Sakhalin, and the southernmost third of the Kamchatka peninsula.
There are most likely over 150,000 Ainu today, however the exact figure is not known as many Ainu hide their origins or in many cases are not even aware of them, their parents having kept it from them so as to protect their children from racism.
The Ainu language is significantly different from Japanese in its syntax, phonology, morphology, and vocabulary.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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