Ikema is the language spoken in Nishihara. Ryukyuan is the name for the various dialects spoken throughout the Ryukyu islands, and Ikema is a subdialect of Southern Miyako Ryukyuan. Ryukyuan is the only language group that is known to be genetically related to Japanese. Outside of Nishihara, Ikema is also spoken on Ikema Island and in the Sarahama district of Irabu Island. Nishihara and Sarahama are both areas that were settled by people who migrated from Ikema Island, Nishihara being formed about 140 years ago and Sarahama being settled about 300 years ago.
In the Study Room, you can explore various learning resources in the three spaces below.
History of the Language
Explore the history of the language and how it is related to other languages and dialects spoken in the Ryukyu islands and on the main islands of Japan. Discover how the Ikema language has diverged from other Ryukyuan and Japanese dialects through a series of phonological changes.
Sketch of the Language
Learn some expressions frequently used by the local people, with a brief introduction to the basic grammar of the Ikema language. Follow the links to the multimedia database where you can find learning materials including audio recordings and other contents.
A list of basic vocabulary and some terminology for cultural events in Nishihara.