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 Ryukyu (Okinawa)

shiija [ɕiːd͡ʑa]


Noun, adjective

  1. Oldest; older; eldest; elder; senior; superior
    1. しーじゃかた
      "the elderly", "seniors", "superiors"
  2. Older sibling; older brother; big brother; older sister; big sister
    1. しーじゃにぬまったん
      shiija ni numattan
      "It was drunk by my older brother"


Cognate to Amami (Sani) せぃざ sïza; Amami (Yuwan) しだー shidaa; Kunigami (Iheya) Yaeyama しじゃ shija; Tokunoshima and Yoron しだ shida; Okinawan (Tsukuen) しーざ shiiza; Okinawan (Shuri, Tsuken) しーじゃ shiija; Miyako (Ikema) すじゃ suja; Yaeyama (Ishigaki) ひっちゃ hitcha and ひじゃ hija; and Yonaguni すだ suda and だ da ~ や ya (used in compound words) "older (brother, sibling)".

Historical attestations include:

  • 先扎 (possibly indicating [siɛn.tʃaʔ]) — 琉球館譯語 Liúqiú guăn yìyŭ (1470)* & 使琉球錄 Shĭ liúqiú lù (1534)*
  • せさ (せざ) seza (possibly pronounced [ɕeⁿd͡za] or [ɕeⁿd͡ʑa] at the time) — おもろさうし Omoro Saushi (1531-1623)
  • 신자 [sin.tsa] — 海東諸國記 (해동제국기) Haedong jeguggi (1506-1623)*
  • すさ (すざ) suza (possibly indicating *sɨza) — 混効験集 Konkoukenshuu (1711)

*Source: Lin, Chihkai. A reconstruction of Old Okinawan: A corpus-based approach (2015).

Several different origins for this term are proposed in すらからの速御船 Sura kara no haya oune (2002), by Kiyoshi Sato, but none are accepted with confidence.


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