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I conjecture it is from ぬ <- の. Why? Okinawan actually has a regular sound change ぬ -> ん. For example, 犬{いぬ} -> いん. So I presume that somehow the regular sound changes got applied twice, and you get ん <- ぬ <- の.


It's a small version of の just as you guessed. This happens a lot in Japanese, I wouldn't be surprised if you hear it elsewhere in Okinawa. Searching the net, I found that the word has been translated to normal Japanese: ウチナーンチュ is literally equal to 沖縄の人 we already know ウチナー is Okinawa and チュ is person, so the only remaining thing is the it could be is ...

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