Kathu language

Native to China
Region Guangnan County
Ethnicity Yi
Native speakers
5,000 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ykt
Glottolog kath1251[2]

Kathu (Thou; Chinese: 嘎苏话) is a Lolo-Burmese language of Balong (坝聋), Nanping Township (南屏镇), Guangnan County, Yunnan, China.[3] The Kathu are locally known as the White Yi (白彝). Wu Zili (2004) estimates that Kathu has a total of more than 7,000 speakers in Guangnan County (including in Dayashao 大牙少[4]), as well as in Jinping County, Yunnan.

Kathu is notable for having initial consonant clusters, which within the Lolo-Burmese branch are also found in Written Burmese (Old Burmese) and Jinuo (Hsiu 2014:66). Wu (2004) lists the onset clusters pl, pʰl, bl, ml, kl, kʰl, gl, ql, qʰl, ɢl, ŋl.


Hsiu (2014:65) identifies two varieties, both spoken in Nanping Township (南屏镇).


  1. Kathu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Kathu". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. http://www.ynszxc.gov.cn/villagePage/vIndex.aspx?departmentid=229605
  4. http://www.ynszxc.gov.cn/villagePage/vIndex.aspx?departmentid=229567

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