The Ikema dialect is generally thought to be one of a few dialects of the Miyako language residing within the Miyako island cluster. However, all of the Miyako dialects are quite different from each other, making communication slightly difficult between different dialect speakers. The Miyako language is also part of the Ryukyuan language group, which is a part of the larger Japonic family (which includes Japanese, its dialects, and Hachijo). Ikema speakers live on Ikema island and in Nishihara city on the main island of Miyako. Ikema island itself is quite small - with an area of less than 3km2 and a population around 800. Based on population estimates, if all those who are over 60 and living in Ikema speaking areas are speakers, around 2,000 people may still speak Ikema fluently. But as there is evidence that some speakers as young as 40 may still be fluent, the number could be slightly higher than that.*
The purposes of this dictionary are indeed many. It is intended to:
This dictionary is being developed for the web using the Webonary theme for WordPress and - for the time being - is being graciously hosted for free by SIL. The main contents of the dictionary are being collected, edited, and stored in a database called Fieldworks Language Explorer, a popular dictionary-making and language-analysis tool developed by SIL. The database is currently being developed through an international collaboration between researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kyoto University, and those currently in the field in Miyako.
This online version of the Ikema Online Dictionary is in its early stages. Many planned features either do not work or have not yet been implemented. In addition, there are only 363 out, out of 3,281 total entries, that have most fields completed. The following table shows the current status of the dictionary's database.
Ikema Dictionary Status
|3281||100.0%||# Entries Total|
Data Field Completion
Headwords / Lexemes
|3279||99.9%||Latin Orthography / Romaji|
|2939||89.6%||Japanese Orthography / Kana|
|1153||35.1%||Latin / Romaji|
Pictures & Illustrations
Grammatical Category / Part of Speech
|10||0.3%||Categories, Links, Comments, Etc.|
Word Variation Forms
*Hayashi, Yuka. “Ikema (Miyako Ryukyuan).” An Introduction to Ryukyuan Languages (2010): 168.