The Ryukyuan languages, the indigenous languages of southern Japan, are related to the Japanese language. Should questions on them be on-topic on JL&U?

If they are, I will be asking a few questions on Okinawan.

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It is up to you, but it might be better to ask one question first and see how it goes instead of asking a few at the same time. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 26 '12 at 11:20
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Sounds like an interesting proposal to make them on-topic, but are there enough people here who have knowledge of Okinawan or other Ryukyuan languages? I guess the biggest problem that I could see is questions being asked and nobody being able to answer them. Still, I don't think it'd hurt to ask one or two and find out. –  cypher Sep 26 '12 at 13:00

1 Answer 1

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Yes

  • Since Ryukyuan languages are genetically related to Japanese, questions about Ryukyuan languages can expose or touch upon interesting aspects of historical Japanese. For example, Okinawan's use of nu as a non-honorific nominative particle is related to the nominative use of の in Classical Japanese. Historical Japanese is explicitly on-topic, so allowing Ryukyuan languages is a straightforward extension.
  • Ryukyuan languages act as a substratum for the dialects of Japanese spoken in the Ryukyus (e.g. Okinawan Japanese). Hence Ryukyuan languages are directly relevant for discussing Japanese dialects, which are also explicitly on-topic.
  • Considering the small number of speakers, these languages will never get their own Language and Usage sites. If questions on them go anywhere, it would be here.
  • For the same reason, questions on Ryukyuan languages are unlikely to swamp pure-Japanese questions or detract from the JL&U site.
  • JL&U has many users in Japan, who are more likely to be familiar with or interested in Ryukyuan languages than users on a general Languages site.
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