Forthcoming: A grammar of Yuwan

Yuto Niinaga  


This grammar provides a synchronic grammatical description of Yuwan, a regional variety of Amami, a Northern Ryukyuan language in the Japonic language family. Yuwan is spoken by about a hundred people in a small community of Amami-Oshima island in Japan. The study is based on four hours of recordings of monologues and conversations among Yuwan speakers, complemented by targeted elicitation. The grammar is written in a typological framework. After a general introduction to the language, the grammar discusses the following topics: phonology, nominal phrases, verbal morphology, predicate phrases, particles, and subordinate clauses. Of special interest to linguists, typologists, and Ryukyuan specialists are the following in-depth analyses and descriptions: animacy hierarchy in NPs, singular use of plural markers, grammaticalization of a non-finite verb to a case particle, rich morphophonological alternations in verbs and some particles, finite use of subordinate clauses (so-called “insubordination”), and a restriction on the co-occurrence of some focus particles and verbal inflections (so-called “Kakari-musubi” in Japanese linguistics). This study provides a starting point of comparison for further studies on other Ryukyuan varieties.

Author Biography

Yuto Niinaga

Yuto Niinaga is Assistant Professor of Japanese Linguistics at Hirosaki University. He wrote a reference grammar of Yuwan (a dialect of Amami) as his PhD dissertation in 2014. His current interest is in writing a reference grammar of Kudaka (a dialect of Okinawa) and making a concise Boasian trilogy (grammar, word list, and text) of 14 dialects of Uken village in Amami-Oshima, the biggest island of Amami.


March 22, 2021
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Niinaga, Yuto. Forthcoming. A grammar of Yuwan. (Comprehensive Grammar Library). Berlin: Language Science Press.


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