On the diminutive morpheme -gama in Ikema, a Ryukyuan language
Ikema is defined as ‘definitely endangered’ by UNESCO (2009). The study examines an evaluative morpheme -gama used by old Ikema speakers aged 64 to 86 when speaking between Ikema speakers and when speaking Standard Japanese with outsiders. Descriptive grammar of Ikema (Hayashi 2010; Hayashi 2013 inter alia) has treated -gama as diminutive morpheme, representing smallness such as tui-gama ‘small bird’ or showing the affections to the base noun. The observations on naturally occurring data, however, revealed that the Ikema speakers barely used -gama by means of describing smallness: the most frequent use of -gama was found to be non-supplementary (Shetter 1959) and carries various socio-pragmatic functions. The related meanings/functions of -gama are presented in radial category (Lakoff 1987).
Keywords: Ikema, diminutive, gendered language, radical category
Published online: 19 October 2018
Anderson, M. R.
Fillmore, C. J., P. Kay, & M. C. O’Connor
Iwasaki, S. & T. Ono
Nakayama, T. & T. Ono[ p. 753 ]
Shetter, W. Z.
Traugott, E. C., & R. B. Dasher