Ainu

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A language of Japan

Alternate Names
Ainu Itak
Population

10 (Bradley 2007). Ethnic population: 15,000.

Location

Kuril islands (Tsishima), Hokkaido.

Language Status

8b (Nearly extinct).

Dialects

Hokkaido (Ezo, Yezo), Kuril (Shikotan, Tsishima), Sakhalin (Saghilin), Taraika. There were at least 19 dialects.

Typology

SOV

Language Use

Shifting to Japanese [jpn]. Small numbers of young people are learning Ainu in classes; revival efforts underway (2007). Fluent speakers are 80 and older; some additional semi-speakers are 60 and older (2012).

Language Development
Newspapers. New media. Dictionary. NT: 1897.
Writing
Katakana script, primary usage. Latin script.
Other Comments

Ainu [aib] in China is a different, unrelated language.