CONTRIBUTED BY MEREDITH NOVARIO
Kelly will be joining us on island in April and she’s trying to get her Japanese groove on early. As in the language. Here’s what she’s thinking.
Learning the native language in is really important to me. I know a lot of people have told me that I won’t need to learn it because a lot of people speak English anyway, but I would really prefer to learn the language and maybe raise my kids to speak it as well. My question is what is most commonly spoken there? Basic Japanese or Okinawan dialects?
I found a GREAT beginner’s Japanese course available free online, but I’ve heard that Okinawan Japanese differs. Some sources say that Okinawans were once forbidden from speaking the national language of Japanese (which scared me – would someone be offended if I spoke Japanese?!) and other sources said that Japanese is now the most common spoken language on Okinawa with only the older generations speaking the Ryukyu-based Okinawan Japanese (Basically saying that nearly everyone speaks basic Japanese there now). I guess I’m hoping that is true because there are more free resources for Japanese than there are for Okinawan dialects. I was wondering what others experience was with this. I would hate to spend time studying the wrong language.
I am no expert but I am sure that standard Japanese is spoken, or at least understood, here. Some words vary between the dialects. Not sure they are technically dialects. Maybe it’s much like British English and American English differ. Same, same but different.
Any further thoughts on the differences between the two kinds of Japanese? What are they called anyway? Ryukyuan Japanese and Standard Japanese?
HERE is a link to a previous post about learning Japanese while you’re here. There are certainly lots of opportunities to learn here.