Okinawan Japanese (ウチナーヤマトゥグチ, 沖縄大和口 Uchinaa Yamato-guchi) is the Japanese language as spoken by people of Okinawa Prefecture. Okinawan Japanese's accents and words are influenced by traditional Ryukyuan languages. Okinawan Japanese has some loanwords from American English due to the United States administration after the Battle of Okinawa. Okinawan Japanese is a Japanese dialect (方言), unlike the Okinawan language (which is, nevertheless, also officially considered a Japanese dialect in Japan).
There are a number of aspects of Okinawan Japanese that are borrowed from the Japanese language, but have different uses or meanings. For example, a number of verb inflections and words indicating aspect and mood are the same in Japanese and Okinawan Japanese, but have different uses in both. Hazu means "due, scheduled, or supposed to occur", which indicates a high degree of probability in Japanese. Yet in Okinawan Japanese it indicates a much lower degree of probability, more like "probably" or "may occur". In Japanese, the auxiliaries masho, yo, and o are combined with the particle -ne after a verb and used to make a suggestion. An example is ikimasho ne (Let's go). In Okinawan Japanese, this would express a speaker's will. It would mean "I will go" instead.
Particles and demonstratives are another aspect of Okinawan Japanese grammar that is borrowed from Japanese. The particle kara which means "from" or "since" in Japanese, means "as" or "because" in Okinawan Japanese. So, kara is used in Okinawan Japanese where wo or de is used in Japanese.
Some words are borrowed from Japanese, but have different meanings. For example, aruku meanings "go around" or "work" in Okinawan Japanese, but means "walk" in Japanese. Korosu means "hit" in Okinawan Japanese and "kill" in Japanese.
Although not nearly as substantial as the borrowings from Japanese, Okinawan Japanese does contain some English loan words. Examples are paaraa (parlor), biichii paatii (beach party), and takoraisu (rice with tacos). One word combines the English word 'rich' with the Okinawan suffix -aa to create ricchaa (a rich person).
- Noguchi, M.G. (2001). Studies in Japanese Bilungualism. Multilingual Matters Ltd. ISBN 978-1853594892.