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🌏 Region(s): Ryukyu (Okinawa: Shuri)



Pronunciation: [tiːda]



  1. Sun; solar


Cognate to Miyagi (Sendai) and Aichi おてんとさん otentosan; Niigata (Izumomaki) and Kumamoto (Amakusa) てんとさん tentosan; Fukuoka おてんとーさん otentoosan; Saga てんとーさん tentoosan; Kumamoto (Amakusa) てんとさま tentosama; Kagoshima てんど tendo and てんどさぁ tendosa(a); Kagoshima (Ichikikushikino) おてんどさー otendosaa; Kagoshima (Tokara: Takarajima) てんどー tendoo and てんとー tentoo; Amami (Kikai) てぃだ tida [tʰida]; Amami (Naze) てィだ tïda; Amami (Yamatoma) [tʰeda]; Tokunoshima (Asama) てィーだ tïïda; Amami and Yoron てぃだ tida; Kunigami (Nakijin) てぃだー tidaa [tʰidaː]; Kunigami (Sesoko) てぃら tira; Okinawan (Shuri) てぃーだ tiida; Miyako (Hirara, Nagahama, Ikema), Tarama and Yaeyama (Hatoma, Taketomi) てぃだ tida; Miyako (Ogami) てぃた tita; Yaeyama (Hateruma) しな shina; Yaeyama (Kohama) つぃんだ tsinda; Yonaguni てぃだん tidan; and standard Japanese てんとう【天道】 tentou and its variant てんどう tendou "sun". Written as てんたう tentau and てんだう tendau in Classical Japanese. Ultimately from Chinese 【天道】 (cf. Mandarin tiāndào; Cantonese tin1 dou6; Min Nan thian-tō; Sino-Korean 천도 cheondo; Sino-Vietnamese thiên đạo), reconstructed for Middle Chinese as *then dawX. See also "On the Ryukyuan word for 'sun' (PDF)" for details.


  • Aleksandra Jarosz et al. (2022) reconstruct *teda for proto-Miyako, *teda for proto-Yaeyama, *teda for proto-Sakishima and *teda for proto-Ryukyuan.
  • John Kupchik (2021) reconstructs proto-Ryukyuan *teⁿda and connects it to the Amis term cidal 'sun'.
  • Yosuke Igarashi (2018) reconstructs *tedaꟲ < *tendau and connects it to Japanese 太陽 *tentau, noting the diphthong *au in Sino-Japanese corresponds to proto-Ryukyuan *a.
  • Zachary Read (2012) reconstructs *teⁿdaᵘ for pre-proto-Ryukyuan and connects it to it to Japanese 天道 *tentau ~ *tendau, comparing its form to *sataᵘ 'sugar' and *basjaᵘ 'banana'.
  • Stewart A. Curry (2004) reconstructs *teda for proto-Ryukyuan.


  • Both Read (2012) and Igarashi (2018) remark on the regular vowel correspondance between Middle Japanese *au (and sometimes *aN) and proto-Ryukyuan *a (and sometimes *aa) in word-final position of words of Sinitic origin, citing such examples as *satau::sata 'sugar', *katjau::kacja 'mosquito net', *tabau::taba- 'busy', *baseu::basja (< *basjau) 'banana', *baubau::baabaa 'messy (hair)', *sumau::sima 'wrestling', *ikau::ikaa 'clothes rack', *juwau::juwaa 'sulfur', *pauchau::pooch[aa~oo] 'kitchen knife', etc. This is further supported by a morphological correspondence between Middle Japanese *au (< *aN < *amu) and Northern Ryukyuan *a in the volitional form, e.g. *tatakau::tataka, suggesting the change is old and dismissing the possibility that Ryukyuan borrowed these words from a different Chinese variety.
  • Kupchik (2021) makes a few counter-arguments to the 天道 hypothesis, citing some phonological issues and the issue of when the semantic change from 'heavenly way' to 'sun' took place in Japanese. Kupchik's Amis proposal reconciles morpho-syntactic issues observed in the Omoro Sōshi.


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