Lisoish languages

Central Loloish
Southern China, Vietnam
Linguistic classification:


Glottolog: liso1234[1]

The Lisoish languages, also known in broader scope as the Central Loloish or Central Ngwi languages, are a branch of the Loloish languages that includes several of the Yi languages


Central Loloish was proposed by Bradley (1997) and Thurgood (2003).[2] Thurgood removed the Sani–Azha languages. Lama (2012) removed Lahu and Jinuo, and did not address Micha, calling the remaining core Lisoish.

There is no single phonological innovation that defines Lisoish.

Languages and classifications

Lama (2012)


Lipo, Lolopo, Hlersu (Shansu)

Toloza (Tanglang)


Lalo (Laluba), Lavu (Talu)

Close to Lisu within Central Loloish, but not addressed directly by Lama (2012), are the Micha languages:

Another Central Loloish language, possibly Lisoish, is Lang’e (La’u), as apparently is Naluo. Yang (2011) reports Lawu, which is closest to Lavu/Talu. Other languages that are unclassified within Central Loloish are Limi and Mili.

Two of the six Yi languages (fangyan 方言) officially recognized by the Chinese government belong to Lama's Lisoish clade:

The remaining four are Nisoish.

Chen (2010)

Chen (2010) lists the following dialects for "Lolo" (倮倮) languages, which corresponds to part of Lama's Lisoish clade, but in a narrower scope. The position of Lisu is not addressed. Also listed are the counties where each respective dialect is spoken.

Lolo 倮倮方言

Other languages

Cathryn Yang (2010)[3] lists the following 4 languages as peripheral Lalo languages.

Andy Castro, et al. (2010)[4] have reported the discovery of 5 languages in Heqing County, Yunnan that are most closely related to Talu (他留话) of Yongsheng County. Autonyms are from Castro (2010:25). Sonaga is the most divergent, while the other four languages comprise a core subclade.

Gomotage (ɣɔ˨˩mɔ˧ta˥ɣə˨˩), an undocumented and little-known Loloish language of Eryuan County, is also probably related to Kua-nsi (Yang 2010:7). Yang (2010:7) also suggests that Wotizo (wɔ˨˩ti˧zɔ˨˩) of Midu County may probably be related to Lolo (Lolopo).

Bradley (2007) reports a moribund language Samatu.

Other languages that may be Lisoish include (see also List of lesser-known Loloish languages):


Lama (2012) lists the following sound changes from Proto-Loloish as Lisoish innovations.

Pelkey (2011:367) lists the following as Central Ngwi innovations.


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Lisoid". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. Thurgood & LaPolla, 2003, The Sino-Tibetan languages, p. 8
  3. Yang, Cathryn. 2010. Lalo regional varieties: Phylogeny, dialectometry, and sociolinguistics. Melbourne: La Trobe University PhD dissertation.
  4. Andy Castro, Brian Crook, Royce Flaming. 2010. A sociolinguistic survey of Kua-nsi and related Yi varieties in Heqing county, Yunnan province, China. SIL International.
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