"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more
The Ryukyu Islands in the southwest of Japan are home to 6 endangered languages. Five of them are located in Okinawa prefecture, one, the Amami language, in Kagoshima. The linguistic situation in Amami differs from that of the Ryukyuan languages in Okinawa Prefecture and these difference remain little understood. In collaboration with local researchers and activists, this symposium seeks to enhance an understanding of the peculiarities of the language ecology in Amami.