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Lisu

A language of China

ISO 639-3: lis

Population 580,000 in China (1999 Mu Yuzhang). 467,869 are monolingual. Population total all countries: 723,000.
Region West Yunnan Province, 11 prefectures, 63 counties, upper reaches of the Salween and Mekong rivers, and Sichuan Province, Xichang Prefecture. Also spoken in India, Myanmar, Thailand.
Alternate names   Lissu, Lisaw, Li-Shaw, Li-Hsaw, Lu-Tzu, Lesuo, Li, Lishu, Liso, Leisu, Leshuoopa, Loisu, Southern Lisu, Yao Yen, Yaw-Yen, Yaw Yin, Yeh-Jen, Chung, Cheli, Chedi, Lip'a, Lusu, Khae
Dialects Hua Lisu (Flowery Lisu), Pai Lisu (White Lisu), Lu Shi Lisu. Dialect differences are not great. Dialect variation across country borders.
Classification Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Lolo-Burmese, Loloish, Northern, Lisu
Language use Vigorous. Speakers of other languages in the area use Lisu for administration, religion, and bilingual education in schools. In Drung and Nu areas, oral and written Lisu are used for Christian activities. Taught at Kumning Institute. All domains. All ages. Positive language attitude. Speakers also use Chinese. 150,000 can also speak Bai, Tibetan, Naxi, Lü, or Jingpho. Chinese is used in secondary schools.
Language development 150,000 can read it, 30,000 can write it. Roman script. Newspapers. Radio programs. Dictionary. Bible: 1968–1986.
Comments Part of the Lisu nationality. There are 2 older alphabetic orthographies and 1 indigenous script. Tonal, 4 tones. Mountain slope, valleys, riverine. Agriculturalists; animal husbandry. Polytheist, Christian.

Also spoken in:

India

Language name   Lisu
Population 1,000 in India (2000 J.R.L. Breton).
Region Arunachal Pradesh, Changlang District, Miao and Vijaynagar circles.
Alternate names   Yobin, Yawyin
Language development Literacy rate is low.
Comments Script is consistent across country borders. Agriculturalists. Christian, Buddhist.
   

Myanmar

Language name   Lisu
Population 126,000 in Myanmar (1987).
Region Around Lashio, in Wa State, around Myitkyina and Bhamo, around Putar towards Assam border, around Loilem area in Shan States.
Alternate names   Lisaw, Li-Shaw, Li-Hsaw, Lu-Tzu, Southern Lisu, Yao Yen, Yaw-Yen, Yaw Yin, Yeh-Jeh, Central Lisu
Dialects Hwa Lisu (Flowery Lisu), Black Lisu, White Lisu, Lu Shi Lisu.
Language development Literacy rate in first language: 30% to 60%. Literacy rate in second language: 50% to 75%.
Comments All four dialects are in Myanmar. Black Lisu is the most distinct. Burmese and Thai Lisu have difficulties in communicating because of dialect differences. Yawgin, Tangsir, Hkwinhpang are dialects or ethnic groups. Polytheist, Christian.
   

Thailand

Language name   Lisu
Population 16,000 in Thailand (1993 Johnstone).
Region Chiangmai, Chiangrai, Maehongson, Tak, Sukhothai, Kamphaeng Phet provinces. Some have migrated to northwest Thailand from Myanmar.
Alternate names   Lisaw, Li-Shaw, Li-Hsaw, Lu-Tzu, Southern Lisu, Yao Yen, Yaw-Yen, Yaw Yin, Yeh-Jen, Liso
Dialects Lu Shi Lisu.
Language development Literacy rate in first language: 5% to 10%. Literacy rate in second language: 50% to 75%.
Comments Traditional religion, Christian.