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Languages in Yaeyama Islands

Due to their isolation the Yaeyama Islands are a linguist's dream. While standard Japanese is spoken everywhere and the main Okinawan language is also well understood, there is a unique Yaeyaman language (yaimamunii) as well. Ishigaki, Iriomote and Taketomi all have their own dialects of this, and Yonaguni's is so distinct that it's usually considered its own language. An indigenous ideographical writing system known as kaidā was once employed on Taketomi and Yonaguni, but is now primarily found on T-shirts in souvenir shops. See also: Yaeyama phrasebook, Yonaguni phrasebook

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Yaeyama Islands Travel Photos

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Photographers: - , - , - ,ZUU - Taketomi Island,atom70 - yuhujima suigyusha 由布島水牛車,mariemon - うんどうや 黒島 東筋,pochiwoo - 小浜島・アラマンダ リゾート,pochiwoo - 大岳展望台・眺望,y_komatsu - 沖縄 小浜島 kohama Island Okinawa,Demon Boil - Taketomi (星砂浜、竹富島),mariemon - パナリ上地島 恋路ヶ浜,9m2ji1etu - 黒島(Kuroshima Is.),pochiwoo - 西表島・サキシマスオウノキ,mariemon - 黒島研究所,pochiwoo - 小浜港待合い所,mariemon - 伊古桟橋 満潮時,tamawe - 竹富島、Okinawa、Japan,tetsu-ozawa - Road to the ocean,Demon Boil - Taketomi (竹富島),Demon Boil - Taketomi (コンドイ浜、竹富島),K☆N☆Y☆ - 竹富島にて,y_komatsu - Taketomi Island 竹富島 なごみの塔,mariemon - 伊古桟橋 満潮時,mariemon - 黒島ビジターセンター,mariemon - 黒島港,mariemon - 宮里海岸,Ryoji - 竹富島,mariemon - 黒島展望台,mariemon - 民宿西表屋の跡,yoshipin - water buffalo car (Iriomote, Okinawa) / 西表島・水牛車,mariemon - パナリ上地島港,mariemon - 黒島小学校黒島中学校,mariemon - 黒島 東筋 くぴぴん,mariemon - 水道記念碑,Ryoji - 竹富島,mariemon - バラス幻の島 黒島と西表の間にある,

Handy Yaeyaman glossary

Some words you may run into:

  • やいま yaima - Yaeyama
  • おーりとーり ōritōri - welcome
  • くよーナーら kuyōnāra - hello
  • にーふぁいゆー nīfaiyū - thank you
  • まーさん māsan - delicious

Note that spellings and pronunciations vary not just from island to island, but according to the speaker's preferred rendering in kana.


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Yaeyama Islands Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.


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