Yoron language

Yunnu Futuba
Native to Japan
Region Yoronjima within the Amami Islands, Kagoshima Prefecture
Native speakers
950 (2004)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 yox
Glottolog yoro1243[2]

The Yoron language (ユンヌフトゥバ Yunnu Futuba) is a dialect continuum spoken on Yoronjima in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan. It is one of the Northern Ryukyuan languages, which are a sub-branch within the Japonic languages family.


According to local folklorist Kiku Chiyo, Yoron dialects can be divided into three groups:[3]

The Mugiya district is often considered to have a distinct form of accent and intonation.

Folk terminology

According to Kiku Hidenori, who leads conservation activities, people of Yoron Island, Kagoshima Prefecture call their language "Yunnu Futuba."[4] More precisely, a dictionary compiled by his mother Kiku Chiyo (b. 1927) gives /junnuhu⸢tuba/ as the word form of her home community, Mugiya-higashiku. Other words she collected include /junnu⸢jun/ (Yoron accent), /nizjancju⸢jun/ (accent of people of Mugiya-higashiku and Mugiya-nishiku), /sima⸢jun/ (speaking the dialect), /sima⸢guci/ and /simahu⸢tuba/ (the island/home community's language).[3] Yamada Minoru (b. 1916) provides the word forms of the community of Chabana: /⸢ju⸣nnu ⸢fu⸣tuba/ and /⸢ʃi⸣ma ⸢fu⸣tuba/ (the island's language).[5]


The following is the phonology of the Mugiya dialect, which is based on Hirayama et al. (1969).[6]


Consonant phonemes
Bilabial Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal Moraic
Nasal m n  Q
Stop pb td kɡ ʔ
Affricate t͡ʃ
Fricative sz h
Approximant j w
Flap r



The Yoron language has /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/, long and short.

Correspondences to Standard Japanese

Only major sound correspondences are listed.



  1. Yoron at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Yoron". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. 1 2 Kiku Chiyo 菊千代 and Takahashi Toshizō 高橋俊三 (2005). Yoro hōgen jiten 与論方言辞典 (in Japanese).
  4. Kiku Hidenori 菊秀史 (2011). "Yoron no kotoba de hanasō 与論の言葉で話そう". Nihon no hōgen no tayōsei o mamoru tame ni 日本の方言の多様性を守るために (PDF) (in Japanese). pp. 12–23.
  5. Yamada Minoru 山田實 (1995). Yorontō-go jiten 与論島語辞典 (in Japanese).
  6. Hirayama Teruo 平山輝男, Ōshima Ichirō 大島一郎 and Nakamoto Masachie 中本正智 (1969). "Gengo 言語". In Hirayama Teruo 平山輝男. Satsunan shotō no sōgōteki kenkyū 薩南諸島の総合的研究 (in Japanese). pp. 235–478.

Further reading

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