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Want to learn the Ainu language?

The Ainu are an indigenous people living in Japan. They have lived on Hokkaidō, Sakhalin Island, Kuril islands and Kamchatka and today the Ainu people reside mostly in Hokkaidō. However, large diaspora groups are also present outside of the island, for example in Tokyo and the US. The history of the Ainu people has been turbulent and somewhat harsh.

Within Japan, but also abroad, Ainu are often depicted as an enigmatic people. In general, misconception and inaccuracy influence information about them – one such example is the wrong idea that the Ainu language is dead. The Ainu language has mysterious origins and many experts consider it a language isolate, unrelated to any other language. This is one of the reasons why it attracts many linguists and language lovers.

In this course, you will learn Saru Ainu (Hokkaidō variety), which is one of the most widely studied dialects.

Can anyone sign up for this?

Good news! Anyone over the age of 13 year can take a course on Tribalingual

You don’t need formal qualifications or language learning abilities to take any our courses. You might need specialist equipment for some (like our music or art courses), but we’ll tell you this on the course information page, in the Requirements section.




When I first learned about Ainu at university, I was shocked that such a wonderful language and its cultural heritage was being left in a state of torpor and that all initiatives to save the language had failed. I started to teach myself Ainu by consulting and reading several Ainu grammars, and later by translating into English texts of the Ainu tradition, such as folktales and songs. At present I am a PhD student in linguistics at SOAS. I want to make a difference by teaching the language and culture of the Ainu and I want everybody to realise that we can all make a difference, no matter where we are in the world, no matter how far a culture may appear to us. Ainu is a special part of the world we cannot afford to lose.
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