Mashan Miao

Not to be confused with Mang language.
Mashan Miao
Pronunciation mʱaŋ˨
Native to China
Region Guizhou
Native speakers
140,000 (1995)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
hmm  Central
hmp  Northern
hma  Southern
hmw  Western
Glottolog mash1238[2]

Mang, or Mashan Miao AKA Mashan Hmong (麻山 máshān), is a Miao language of China. The endonym is Mang, similar to other West Hmongic languages such as Mong.


Mang was classified as a branch of Western Hmongic in Wang (1985), who listed four varieties.[3] Matisoff (2001) gave these four varieties the status of separate languages, and, conservatively, did not retain them as a single group within West Hmongic. Li Yunbing (2000) added two minor varieties which had been left unclassified in Wang, Southeastern (Strecker's "Luodian Muyin") and Southwestern ("Wangmo").[4]

Phonology and script

A pinyin alphabet had been created for Mang in 1985, but proved to have deficiencies. Wu and Yang (2010) report the creation of a new alphabet, albeit a tentative one, based on the Central Mang dialect of Ziyun County, Zōngdì 宗地 township, Dàdìbà 大地坝 village.[5]

Consonants, in pinyin, are:

labial: b p nb np, m f v, by py nby my, bl pl nbl npl ml
lateral: l lj
dental or alveolar stops: d t dl dj nd nt n
dental affricates: z c s nz nc
retroflex: dr tr ndr nr sh r
alveolo-palatal: j q nj x y ny
velar or uvular: g k ngg ng, h w hw
(zero onset)

The Latin voiced/voiceless opposition has been coopted to indicate aspiration, as usual in pinyin alphabets.

Correspondences between Central Mang dialects include Dadiba retroflex dr, tr with dental z, c in another village of the same Zongdi township, Sanjiao (三脚 Sānjiǎo). The other five varieties of Mang have more palatalized initials than Central Mang, though these can be transcribed as medial -i-. The onsets by, py, nby, my are pronounced [pʐ pʰʐ mpʐ mʐ] in Central Mang and [pj pʰj mpj mj] in the other five Mang varieties.

Vowels and finals, including those needed for Chinese loans, are:

a aa [ã] ai ao ain ang
e ea ei en ein eu ew eng
i iou in ie iu iao ian iang
o ou ow ong
u uw ua ui ue un uai uan uang

Most Central Mang and Western Mang dialects have eleven to thirteen tones. Compared to the eight tone categories of other Western Hmongic languages, the odd-numbered tones are each split into two. The tones of at least three villages of Central Mang have been documented: Dadiba (Wu & Yang 2010), Jiaotuozhai (Wang & Mao 1995; Li 2000), and Jingshuiping (Xian 1990; Mortensen 2006[6]), all in the Zongdi township of Ziyun County. They lie several kilometers apart and have minor differences.

Central Mang tone
        Dadiba Jingshuiping Jiaotuozhai
1a -b ˦˨ 42 ˧ 3 ˧˨ 32
1b -p ˨ 2
2 -x ˥ 5 ˦˨ 42 ˥˧ 53
3a -d ˥˧ 53 ˦˨ 42
3b -z ˨˧˨ 232
4 -l ˩ 1
5a -t ˥ 55
5b -c ˨˦ 24 ˧˥ 35
6 -s ˩˧ 13
6' -p ˨ 2 ˧ 3
7a -k ˧ 3 ˦ 4
7b -s ˩˧ 13
8 -f ˨˩ 21

Although some pairs of tones (such as tones 6 and 7b) have the same value when pronounced alone, they behave differently with regard to tone sandhi and should be treated as different phonologically. Tones also interact with phonation types and vowel quality. Jiaotuozhai tones 4 and 6 are breathy voiced and have higher vowels.


  1. Central at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Northern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Southern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Western at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Mashan". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. 王辅世主编,《苗语简志》,民族出版社,1985年。
  4. 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。
  5. Wú Zhèngbiāo and Yáng Guāngyīng, 2010. 麻山次方言区苗文方案的设计与使用——兼谈苗族英雄史诗《亚鲁王》的记译整理问题, 民族翻译.
    Several consonants were added to the 1985 alphabet, while bz, pz, nbz, mz and gh were removed.
  6. Mortensen (2006), Diachronic Universals and Synchronic Parochialisms: Explaining Tone-Vowel Interactions.
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