Hani language

For the more inclusive grouping of all languages spoken by the Hani nationality of China, see Hani languages.
Native to Southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Burma
Ethnicity Hani
Native speakers
760,000 (2007, 1999, 1995)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 hni
Glottolog hani1248[2]

The Hani language (Hani: Haqniqdoq or xa˧˩nʲi˧˩; simplified Chinese: 哈尼语; traditional Chinese: 哈尼語; pinyin: Hāníyǔ; Vietnamese: Tiếng Hà Nhì) is a language of the Loloish (Yi) branch of the Tibeto-Burman linguistic group spoken in China, Laos, and Vietnam by the Hani people.


In China, Hani is spoken mostly in areas to the east of the Mekong River in south-central Yunnan province, mostly in Pu'er and Honghe prefectures, as well as in parts of other surrounding prefectures. Hani is also spoken in Lai Châu and Lào Cai provinces of northwestern Vietnam and in Phongsaly Province of Laos along the border with Yunnan.

Edmondson (2002) reports that the Hani of Vietnam are distributed in 2 provinces of northwestern Vietnam where two distinct dialects are found, one east of Muong Te and the other to the west. The Hani of Vietnam claim to be able to communicate in the Hani language with ethnic Hani from different areas of Vietnam despite significant geographical barriers. Edmondson (2002), reported that the different Hani speech varieties in Vietnam differ mostly in lexicon.


Hani has three main tones and two types of short vowels.

Writing systems

Oral tradition tells of an ancient written script for Hani but says it was lost when the Hani migrated from Sichuan. In China, Hani now uses a romanization of the Haya dialect of Luchun in the Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture as a written script developed by Chinese authorities and promulgated in 1957. As with the Latin-based scripts of the Zhuang, Hmong and Iu Mien languages, it uses final consonant letters to designate tone.

Sample text

Aqsol liq yoqdeivq yoqpyuq bo, meeqyaovq ssolnei colpyuq qiq kov dei. Davqtavcolssaq neenyuq bel neema meeq ya siq, laongaoq meilnaol nadul meil e gaq ssol hhyul hha bavqduv nia. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

See also


  1. Hani at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Hani". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
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