[an error occurred while processing this directive] Skip Menu

Ainu Language

Page Content

  1. About Ainu
  2. Test Site and Fonts
  3. Typing Ainu
  4. Ainu on the Web
  5. Katakana Phonetic Extensions
  6. Links
  7. Japanese Page New Page
  8. Katakana Unicode Chart New Page

About Ainu

Ainu (Anyu-itak / アィヌ・イタㇰor アイヌ語 in Japanese) is an indigenous language of northern Japan which is unrelated to Japanese. Previously, it was spoken in both Japan (Hokkaido) and the southern tip of the Sakhalin peninsula in Russia, but numbers have dropped to less than 1,000 in Japan and no known speakers in Russia, making Ainu a language in danger of become extinct. However, there is an Ainu revitalization movement in Japan.
Note: About 150,000 Japanese identify themselves as being of the Ainu ethnic group even if they do not speak Ainu.

Writing Ainu

Ainu was not widely written, but there are written conventions for wither the Katakana script (Japan) or the Roman alphabet (western linguists). In Uncode, the Katakana Phonetic Extensions can be used to write final consonants and non-Japanese sounds. The characters are slightly smalller than mainstream Katakna, but the characters can be found in many Japanese fonts.

Test Site and Fonts

Test Sites

Finding Ainu written in katakana is still relatively rare, but some examples can be found on Wikipedia.

Another source with written Ainu is the SOAS Ainu Talking Dictionary.

Fonts

Windows

Most modern versions of the Microsoft Japanese fonts include the phonetic extensions.

Macintosh

Recent versions of Hiragano Japanese fonts and others include the correct letters.

Typing Ainu (Katakana)

Windows

Microsoft does not officially support Ainu, but you can use the the Character Map (Windows) to insert any characters not available through Japanese input methods.

Macintosh

Recent versions of the Mac operating system include an Ainu keyboard. See the Mac Keyboard page for information on activating the keyboard.

Typing Western letter corresponding to the katakana will trigger conversions to the correct Ainu katakana forms.

Ainu on the Web

This section presents information specific to Ainu. For general information about developing non-English Web sites, see the Encoding Tutorial or the Web Layout sections.

Encoding

Unicode (utf-8) is the preferred encoding for Web sites.

Language Tags

Language Tags allow browsers and other software to process text more efficiently.

Adding Katakana Phonetic Extensions

Use these codes to input accented letters in HTML. For instance, if you want to type the small katakana ku () as in the Ainu word itak (イタㇰ) you would type イタ&‌#x31F0;.

See the Katakana page for additional symbols.

Katakana Characters for Ainu
Character Name Character Entity Hex Entity
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL KU &‌#12784;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL SI &‌#12785;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL SU &‌#12786;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL TO &‌#12787;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL NU &‌#12788;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL HA &‌#12789;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL HI &‌#12790;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL HU &‌#12791;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL HE &‌#12792;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL HO &‌#12793;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL MU &‌#12794;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL RA &‌#12795;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL RI &‌#12796;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL RU &‌#12797;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL RE &‌#12798;
KATAKANA LETTER SMALL RO &‌#12799;

 

Top of Page