|アイヌ イタク Aynu itak|
|Language family||Ainu. When considered a single language, classified as a language isolate|
|Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.|
Ainu (Ainu: アイヌ イタク, aynu itak; Japanese: アイヌ語 ainu-go; Cyrillic alphabet: Айну итак) is one of the Ainu languages, spoken by members of the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō.
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. All but the Hokkaidō language are extinct, with the last speaker of Sakhalin Ainu having died in 1994; and Hokkaidō Ainu is moribund, though there are ongoing attempts to revive it.
Ainu is a moribund language, and has been endangered for at least the past few decades. Most of the 25,000 – 200,000 ethnic Ainu in Japan speak only Japanese. In the town of Nibutani (part of Biratori, Hokkaidō) where many of the remaining native speakers live, there are 100 speakers, out of which only 15 used the language every day in the late 1980s.
However, use of the language is on the rise. There is currently an active movement to revitalize the language — mainly in Hokkaidō but also elsewhere — to reverse the centuries-long decline in the number of speakers. This has led to an increasing number of second-language learners, especially in Hokkaidō, in large part due to the pioneering efforts of the late Ainu folklorist, activist and former Diet member Shigeru Kayano, himself a native speaker.
There are five vowels:
The glottal stop /ʔ/ only occurs at the beginning of words, before an accented vowel. The sequence /ti/ is realized as [t͡ʃi], and /s/ becomes [ʃ] before /i/ and at the end of syllables. The affricate /ts/ has voiced and post-alveolar variants. There is some variation among dialects; in the Sakhalin dialect, syllable-final /p, t, k, r/ lenited and merged into /x/. After an /i/, this /x/ is pronounced [ç].
There is a pitch accent system. The accentuation of specific words varies somewhat from dialect to dialect. Generally, words including affixes have a high pitch on the stem, or on the first syllable if it is closed or has a diphthong, while other words have the high pitch on the second syllable, although there are exceptions to this generalization.
Ainu is SOV, with postpositions. Subject and object are usually marked with postpositions. Nouns can cluster to modify one another; the head comes at the end. Verbs, which are inherently either transitive or intransitive, accept various derivational affixes.
Ainu traditionally featured incorporation of nouns and adverbs; this is rare in the modern colloquial language.
Applicatives may be used in Ainu to place nouns in the dative, instrumental, comitative, locative, allative, or ablative roles. Besides freestanding nouns, these roles may be assigned to incorporated nouns, and such use of applicatives is in fact mandatory for incorporating oblique nouns. Like incorporation, applicatives have grown less common in the modern language.
Officially, the Ainu language is written in a modified version of the Japanese katakana syllabary. There is also a Latin-based alphabet in use. The Ainu Times publishes in both. In the Latin orthography, /ts/ is spelt c and /j/ as y; /ʔ/, which only occurs initially before accented vowels, is not written. Other phonemes use the same character as the IPA transcription given above. An equals sign (=) is used to mark morpheme boundaries, such as after a prefix. Its pitch accent is denoted by acute accent in Latin (e.g. á). This is usually not denoted in katakana.
A Unicode standard exists for a set of extended katakana (Katakana Phonetic Extensions) for transliterating the Ainu language and other languages written with katakana. These characters are used to write final consonants and sounds that cannot be expressed using conventional katakana. The extended katakana are based on regular katakana and either are smaller in size or have a handakuten. As few fonts yet support these extensions, workarounds exist for many of the characters, such as the small katakana ㇰ ku used as in アイヌイタㇰ (Aynu itak).
This is a list of special katakana used in transcribing the Ainu language. Most of the characters are of the extended set of katakana, though a few have been used historically in Japanese, and thus are part of the main set of katakana. A number of previously proposed characters have not been added to Unicode as they can be represented as a sequence of two existing codepoints.
|ㇰ||31F0||ク||Katakana Letter Small Ku||Final k|
|ㇱ||31F1||シ||Katakana Letter Small Shi||Final s [ɕ]|
|ㇲ||31F2||ス||Katakana Letter Small Su||Final s, used to emphasize it's pronounced [s] rather than normal [ɕ]. [s] and [ʃ] are allophones in Ainu.|
|ㇳ||31F3||ト||Katakana Letter Small To||Final t|
|ㇴ||31F4||ヌ||Katakana Letter Small Nu||Final n|
|ㇵ||31F5||ハ||Katakana Letter Small Ha||Final h [x], succeeding the vowel a. (e.g. アㇵ ah) Sakhalin dialect only.|
|ㇶ||31F6||ヒ||Katakana Letter Small Hi||Final h [ç], succeeding the vowel i. (e.g. イㇶ ih) Sakhalin dialect only.|
|ㇷ||31F7||フ||Katakana Letter Small Fu||Final h [x], succeeding the vowel u. (e.g. ウㇷ uh) Sakhalin dialect only.|
|ㇸ||31F8||ヘ||Katakana Letter Small He||Final h [x], succeeding the vowel e. (e.g. エㇸ eh) Sakhalin dialect only.|
|ㇹ||31F9||ホ||Katakana Letter Small Ho||Final h [x], succeeding the vowel o. (e.g. オㇹ oh) Sakhalin dialect only.|
|ㇺ||31FA||ム||Katakana Letter Small Mu||Final m|
|ㇻ||31FB||ラ||Katakana Letter Small Ra||Final r [ɾ], succeeding the vowel a. (e.g. アㇻ ar)|
|ㇼ||31FC||リ||Katakana Letter Small Ri||Final r [ɾ], succeeding the vowel i. (e.g. イㇼ ir)|
|ㇽ||31FD||ル||Katakana Letter Small Ru||Final r [ɾ], succeeding the vowel u. (e.g. ウㇽ ur)|
|ㇾ||31FE||レ||Katakana Letter Small Re||Final r [ɾ], succeeding the vowel e. (e.g. エㇾ er)|
|ㇿ||31FF||ロ||Katakana Letter Small Ro||Final r [ɾ], succeeding the vowel o. (e.g. オㇿ or)|
|Rejected characters (Unicode represents them using combining characters)|
|ㇷ゚||31F7 + 309A||プ||Katakana Letter Small Pu||Final p|
|セ゚||30BB + 309A||セ゜||Katakana Letter Se With Semi-Voiced Sound Mark||ce [tse]|
|ツ゚||30C4 + 309A||ツ゜||Katakana Letter Tu With Semi-Voiced Sound Mark||tu. ツ゜ and ト゜ are interchangeable.|
|ト゚||30C8 + 309A||ト゜||Katakana Letter To With Semi-Voiced Sound Mark||tu. ツ゜ and ト゜ are interchangeable.|
[s] ~ [ʃ]
|sa シャ/サ 2
[sa] ~ [ʃa]
|su シュ/ス 2
[su̜] ~ [ʃu̜]
|se シェ/セ 2
[se] ~ [ʃe]
|so ショ/ソ 2
[so] ~ [ʃo]
|-s シ/ス 2
|tu ト゜/ツ゜ 2
|-t ト/ッ 3
[ts] ~ [tʃ] 1
[tsa] ~ [tʃa]
[tsu̜] ~ [tʃu̜]
[tse] ~ [tʃe]
[tso] ~ [tʃo]
|-n ヌ/ン 4
[-n, -m-, -ŋ-] 5
|wi ウィ/ヰ 2
|we ウェ/ヱ 2
|wo ウォ/ヲ 2
Final [ɪ] is spelt y in Latin, small ィ in katakana. Final [ʊ] is spelt w in Latin, small ゥ in katakana. [ae] is spelt ae, アエ, or アェ.
Example with initial k:
Since the above rule is used systematically, some katakana combinations have different sounds from conventional Japanese.
|Japanese||[wi]||[kɰi] ~ [kwi]||[si]||[ti]||[tɯ]||[ɸi]|
Example with initial k:
Ainu is a language used in Hokkaido, Japan. Ainu means "human being". It has no characters. If it is written in characters, an alphabet or Katakana is used. Because of the increase in the use of the Japanese language, the use of Ainu is decreasing.