Okinawan definitely has a particle equivalent to the Japanese subject particle が.

But I can't seem to find something like the topic particle は or the object particle を.

Then again I only have limited materials and they're in Japanese, which I can't really read very much of.

So I'm not sure whether this is a big difference between the languages, or there are such particles but I just can't find them.

Information on these particles in any of the other sister languages of Japanese is welcome.

(For the purposes of this question I'm only asking about these three particles that show the major grammatical roles of the nouns, I'm not asking about any of the other particles for now thanks.)

1 Answer 1


Most definitely they do! (this pdf - http://lingdy.aacore.jp/jp/material/An_introduction_to_Ryukyuan_languages.pdf - is what I'm using as my source, it might be very helpful to you (^_^) )

Most of Ryuukyuuan uses =ja as a topic marker (though with some contextual variation in some languages).

South Ryuukyuuan outside of Yaeyama uses =u for object marking (Yaeyama uses just word order). North Ryuukyuuan uses =ba, probably a descendant of the topic/object combo marker =woba visible in Old Japanese.

Equivalents for Japanese =ga and =no are actually a lot more interesting, as most of Ryuukyuuan uses both =ga and =nu for both subject and genitive. That pdf has a better description of this than I can give here.

  • Oh, and be warned - the table-of-contents hyperlinking in that pdf is -terrible-.
    – Sjiveru
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 18:35
  • 1
    Yes I got a glimpse of the ga/no stuff in secondhand bookshop in Ginowan today, which is where I didn't spot the other particles. Sadly the book was outside my price range or I would've loved to buy it. Anyway the ga/no stuff looked too interesting to lump in here - it probably deserves at least one question of its own (-: Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 18:54
  • Also, depending on how broadly you define "sister" languages, Korean has a particle structure very similar to Japanese as well. Any relationship between Korean and Japanese is a hotly-debated topic, however, so make of this what you will.
    – Kaji
    Commented Mar 17, 2014 at 21:00

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