Language of the day - Ainu
Ainu /ˈaɪnuː/ (Ainu: アィヌ・イタㇰ Aynu itak; Japanese: アイヌ語 Ainu-go) is the sole survivor of the Ainu languages, spoken by members of the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Until the twentieth century, Ainu languages were also spoken throughout the southern half of the island of Sakhalin and by small numbers of people in the Kuril Islands. Only the Hokkaido variant survives, with the last speaker of Sakhalin Ainu having died in 1994; and Hokkaido Ainu is moribund, though there are ongoing attempts to revive it. Ainu has no generally accepted genealogical relationship to any other language family. For the most frequent proposals, see Ainu languages
Ainu is spoken on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido by maybe 15 families. It was once spoken in the Kurile Islands, the northern part of Honshu and the southern half of Sakhalin. The last Ainu speaker on Sakhalin died in 1994. Ainu is a language isolate, unrelated to any other language.
The vast majority of the 150,000 people who claim to be ethnically Ainu speak only Japanese. The actual number of people of Ainu descent is thought to be higher, however many are unaware of their ethnicity or deny it through fear of discrimiation.
Efforts are currently being made to revive and revitalise Ainu, particularly by Shigeru Kayano, a native speaker of the Tsishima dialect of Ainu (the only surviving dialect). He has set up a school to teach the language and has started collecting traditional Ainu stories.
Ainu is officially written with a version of the Japanese katakana syllabary. A Latin-based alphabet is also used. The Ainu also have a rich oral tradition, including Yukar (sagas of heros), Kamui Yukar (stories of the gods) and Uwepeker (old stories).
Tomorrow I'm doing Maltese. Who's excited!
Oh my God! This seems and is so cool! Who would've though that a culture... and dicsrimination... and a culture dying. I'm literally speechless, I was going to review this, but so much is entering and processing inside my head right now. Congratulations on the great post by the way!
It's so good that they're trying to revive Ainu. I remember being scared I will not be able to learn it. That's a funny memory from a few years back but for some reason it made me really sad at that time, to think that this language would just die.
btw. going back to that memory and remembering my desire to learn Ainu I went on Memrise to look for a course and (to my surprise!) I found two. Just some basics but for now it'll do ;)
Yeah there are heaps of Memrise courses for endangered languages :)
Good on you for wanting to learn it!
You know who will be totally excited for Maltese-StrapsOption. He wants the language on here so bad, he'll appreciate the support!
Next do Armenian! Please. It is a wonderful language (the Eastern especially)