Essay On Okinawa Language

982 Words4 Pages
Language is said to be a representation of culture. Through Language - whether they are visual, verbal, or even objects - we are able to express ourselves in different ways and stand for certain concepts, ideas and feelings. We use language to maintain and convey our beliefs. Therefore representation through language is referred as the processes of cultural meanings.

Okinawa Prefecture is located in the most southern part of Japan, consisting a number of small islands. In these islands people speak various Okinawan Languages that was originally stimulated from the Ryukyu Kingdom. Some linguists argue whether the Okinawan Language is an independent language or just one of the dialects in Japan.

Uchinaguchi is one of the local languages spoken
…show more content…
I feel ashamed for not even understanding the Okinawan jokes.” says an elementary student.

The loss of Language means so much more than the uses but it forms an important part of anyone’s culture and identity. The Okinawan theater plays are performed in a mixture of several Okinawan Languages including Uchinaguchi where language has the ability to express a variety of roles such as the Japanese traditional samurai. If Okinawa loses its language, it may also result with the loss of traditional jokes, music and literature.

As the loss of language always corresponds with changes of local culture, language acts as a powerful symbol that represents Okinawa and it’s cultural historical backgrounds. Despite the minorities that use the Okinawan Language, we cannot guarantee these languages will be spoken forever because the reality is that Language can vanish within its present speakers. Without local awareness and efforts made by the citizens of the Ryukyu Islands, there is no one else who can choose to spread the languages to a wider population. Yet not everyone supports the effort to save these languages. Some may criticize that there is no such thing as an “Okinawan Identity” because of the mixture of diverse cultures. The Lack of appreciation of the traditional language is what challenges younger generations to keep interests; and as soon as the last speaker of the language dies, Okinawa will no longer be a unique part of the country
Open Document