Working to save a dying languageUchinaaguchi, an utterly unique language native to Okinawa, Japan, is on the brink of extinction, with the number of speakers dwindling across the world and at home. One Gardena classroom may be the only place left in the U.S. where the language is even taught.But that doesn’t stop teacher Chogi Higa from trying to keep the language alive.

Famous for its military bases and World War II battlefields, the Japanese island chain of Okinawa is also home to a language as different from Japanese as English is from German. A Japanese speaker in Higa’s class would be lost from the get-go — “good morning” in Japanese is “ohayo gozai masu.”

Read moreon the efforts to preserve linguistic diversity from Times writer Cindy Chang.
Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Working to save a dying language

Uchinaaguchi, an utterly unique language native to Okinawa, Japan, is on the brink of extinction, with the number of speakers dwindling across the world and at home. One Gardena classroom may be the only place left in the U.S. where the language is even taught.

But that doesn’t stop teacher Chogi Higa from trying to keep the language alive.

Famous for its military bases and World War II battlefields, the Japanese island chain of Okinawa is also home to a language as different from Japanese as English is from German. A Japanese speaker in Higa’s class would be lost from the get-go — “good morning” in Japanese is “ohayo gozai masu.”

Read moreon the efforts to preserve linguistic diversity from Times writer Cindy Chang.

Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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