Ainu

Print

A language of Japan

Alternate Names
Ainu Itak
Autonym
アイヌ イタㇰ‎ (Aynu itak)
Population

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

Location

Hokkaido prefecture: Kuril and Tsishima islands.

Language Status

8b (Nearly extinct).

Dialects

Sakhalin (Saghilin), Taraika, Hokkaido (Ezo, Yezo), Kuril (Shikotan, Tsishima). There were at least 19 dialects. The last speaker of Sakhalin Ainu, Take Asai, died in 1994.

Typology

SOV; postpositions; noun head final; case-marking; verb affixes mark person, number; aspect; 12 consonant and 5 vowel phonemes; non-tonal.

Language Use

Shifting to Japanese [jpn]. Elderly only.

Language Development
Newspapers. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1897. Small numbers of young people are learning Ainu in classes; revival efforts underway (Bradley 2007a).
Writing

Katakana script [Kana], primary usage. Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

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

Page Views Left: