Bu-Nao language

Native to China
Region Guangxi, Yunnan, and Guizhou[1]
Ethnicity Bunu
Native speakers
390,000 (2001)[1]
  • Dongnu (Tung Nu)
  • Nunu (Nu Nu)
  • Bunuo (Pu No)
  • Baonao (Nao Klao)
  • Numao (Nu Mhou)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bwx
Glottolog buna1273[2]

Bu-Nao, or Bunu proper (Chinese: 布努语 bùnǔyǔ), is a Hmongic (Miao) dialect cluster spoken in Guangxi, Yunnan, and Guizhou in China. Its speakers are among the Bunu (Chinese: 布努): ethnic Yao (Mien) speakers of Miao languages.


The Bunu people are the Yao people who speak Hmongic languages. That is, Bunu in the broad sense is a cultural rather than linguistic group. Strecker (1987) had classified Bu-Nao (Bunu proper) as a Western (Chuanqiandian) Hmongic language, and the other Bunu languages—Younuo (Yuno), Wunai (Hm Nai), and Jiongnai (Kiong Nai)—as distinct branches of Hmongic. Matisoff (2001) grouped all of these together in a Bunu branch of Hmongic (that is, outside Western Hmongic). Ratliff (2010) returned Bu-Nao to Western Hmongic, and moved Jiongnai to its own peripheral branch of Hmongic, but did not address Younuo or Wunai.[3] Chinese sources generally do not treat the languages as Hmongic because the speakers are not ethnic Miao, but Wang & Deng (2003) classify Bunao as a cousin of Western Hmongic, and Jiongnai and Younuo as independent branches.[4]


Bu-Nao dialects include:[1]

These add up to a total number of 390,000 speakers.

The Guizhou Province Gazetteer (2002) lists the following autonyms for these villages in Libo County, Guizhou.[7]

The Yunnan Province Gazetteer (1989) reports that a Bunu dialect known as pu˥ʐa˩ (布咋) is spoken by about 7,000 people in Guichao 归朝乡 and Dongbo 洞波瑶族乡 (including in Dadongzhai 大洞寨, Saxiangdong Village 三湘洞村) townships of Funing County, Yunnan.

The Shaoyang Prefecture Gazetteer (1997:533) reports that the Miao of Xinning County, Hunan, speak a Bunu-branch language.

Intelligibility among these varieties is difficult, and they may be separate languages. Strecker (1987) went so far as to suggest they may not form a group at all, but separate languages within West Hmongic. [8]


The following peoples may also speak Bunu languages.[9]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 蒙朝吉 / Meng Chaoji. 2001. 瑤族布努语方言研究 / Yao zu Bunu yu fang yan yan jiu [A Study of the Bunu Dialects of the Yao People]. Beijing: 民族出版社 / Min zu chu ban she.
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Bu-Nao Bunu". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Ratliff, Martha. 2010. Hmong–Mien language history. Canberra, Australia: Pacific Linguistics.
  4. 王士元、邓晓华,《苗瑶语族语言亲缘关系的计量研究——词源统计分析方法》,《中国语文》,2003(294)。
  5. 1 2 3 4 http://yaozu.baike.com/article-71835.html
  6. 龙麻布努语语音系统
  7. Guizhou Province Gazetteer: Ethnic Gazetteer [贵州省志. 民族志] (2002). Guiyang: Guizhou Ethnic Publishing House [貴州民族出版社].
  8. Strecker, David. 1987. Some Comments on Benedict's "Miao–Yao Enigma: The Na-e Language". In Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, 10 , no. 2: 22–42.
  9. http://asiaharvest.org/index.php/people-group-profiles/china/
  10. http://asiaharvest.org/wp-content/themes/asia/docs/people-groups/China/chinaPeoples/B/Beidalao.pdf
  11. http://asiaharvest.org/wp-content/themes/asia/docs/people-groups/China/chinaPeoples/B/Beidongnuo.pdf
  12. 1 2 Bradley, David. 2007. "East and Southeast Asia." In Moseley, Christopher (ed). Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages. New York: Routledge.
  13. http://asiaharvest.org/wp-content/themes/asia/docs/people-groups/China/chinaPeoples/C/Changpao.pdf
  14. http://asiaharvest.org/wp-content/themes/asia/docs/people-groups/China/chinaPeoples/Y/Youmai.pdf
  15. 李云兵,《苗语方言划分遗留问题研究》,中央民族大学出版社,2000年。

External links

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