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A language of China

ISO 639-3: khb

Population 250,000 in China (1990 Svantesson). 50% monolingual. Population total all countries: 672,064.
Region South Yunnan, Jinghong (Chiang Hung, Chien Rung), Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, west of the Lixianjiang (Black) River. Also spoken in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam.
Alternate names   Tai Lu, Lue, Ly, Lu, Dai, Dai Le, Xishuangbanna Dai, Sipsongpanna Dai, Pai-I, Pai'i', Shui-Pai-I
Dialects Mu'ang Yong and dialects in the Lanna area may converge phonologically with Lanna (Diller 1990). Low intelligibility of Shan (Dehong). Different from Tai Nüa, each having their own traditions. Most closely related to Khun. Lexical similarity 88% with Northern Thai, 74% with Central Thai.
Classification Tai-Kadai, Kam-Tai, Be-Tai, Tai-Sek, Tai, Southwestern, Northwest
Language use Official regional language. Vigorous. Some speakers of other languages use Lü as second language for trade. All domains. All ages. Positive language attitude. Speakers also use Chinese or Jingpho. Some schools only teach in Chinese.
Language development Old Lü script. Magazines. Newspapers. Radio programs. TV. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1933.
Comments Part of the Dai nationality. An official nationality in Viet Nam. SVO; modifiers follow noun heads. Valleys, plateaus, plains. Agriculturalists: wet rice; merchants; small businessmen. Traditional religion, Buddhist.

Also spoken in:


Language name  
Population 134,100 in Laos (2000).
Region Western Phongsali, Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Udomxay, Xanyabouli, Luang Prabang provinces.
Alternate names   Lue, Lu, Pai-I, Shui-Pai-I
Comments Traditional religion, Buddhist.


Language name  
Population 200,000 in Myanmar (1981).
Region Kengtung District.
Alternate names   Pai-I, Shu-Ai-I, Lue, Tai Lu
Comments Traditional religion, Buddhist.


Language name  
Population 83,000 in Thailand (2001 Johnstone and Mandryk).
Region Chiangrai, Payao, Lamphun, Nan, Chiang Kham, and throughout northern Thailand.
Alternate names   Lue, Tai Lue, Thai Lu, Tai Lu, Lu, Pai-I, Pai-Yi, Shui-Pai-I
Language use All domains. All ages. Positive language attitude. Central Thai is used in schools and on the radio. Northern Thai is the language used in town for trade, employment, and with Northern Thai speakers. Many thousands of Lü speakers, including men and women, younger and older people understand very little Central Thai.
Language development Literacy rate in first language: 1% to 5%. Literacy rate in second language: 50% to 75%. High in Central Thai in Thai script.
Comments Valleys. Tropical forest. Agriculturalists: wet rice; fishermen. Traditional religion, Buddhist.

Viet Nam

Language name  
Population 4,964 in Viet Nam (1999 census).
Region Lai Chau Province, northern Viet Nam in the Binh Lu area.
Alternate names   Pai-I, Shui-Pai-I, Lue, Tai Lu, Nhuon, Duon
Comments An official nationality in Viet Nam. Traditional religion, Buddhist.