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A language of China

ISO 639-3bzi

Population  240 in China (Xu 2005). No monolinguals. Population total all countries: 1,240. Ethnic population: 240.
Region  Southwest Yunan Province, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Menghai County, Mengzhe village; Simao Prefecture, Lancang Lahu Autonomous County, Zhutang, Laba, Donglang, and Fubang villages; Meglian Dai, Lahu, and Va autonomous counties, Jingxin, Fuyan, and Nanya villages; parts of Ximeng Va Autonomous County. Possibly also in Laos. Also in Myanmar, Thailand.
Language map  Southwestern China
Alternate names   Misu, Mibisu, Mbi, Laopin, Lawa, Lua, Pin
Dialects  Lanmeng, Huaipa, Dakao. Similar to Mpi [mpz], Pyen [pyy], Phunoi [pho]. Some dialect differences based on Dai [dij] versus Lahu [lhu] loanwords. Lexical similarity: 36% with Hani [hni], 32% with Lahu, 31% with Lisu [lis].
Classification  Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Burmic, Ngwi, Southern
Language use  Shifting to Lahu or Lu [khb]. Home, village. Positive attitude. Most also use Lu [khb], Lahu [lhu], or Chinese. 10% can speak all of those and Hani [hni].
Language development  Literacy rate in L2: 70%. Grammar.
Writing system  Thai script.
Comments  Some classified as Hani nationality, others classified as ‘Nationality Not Yet Determined’. Some view Bisu as an important link to their culture and hope to preserve it. SVO; simple syllable structure; certain obstruent onsets may be prenasalized, aspirated, or palatalized, but otherwise no consonant clusters; syllables may be closed by stop or nasal; 3 tones, tone sandhi; words have 1 or 2 syllables; modifiers follow heads; loanwords from Dai and Chinese. Agriculturalists. Traditional religion.

Also spoken in:


Language name   Bisu
Population  1,000 in Thailand (1987 E. Purnell).
Region  Southwest Chiangrai, North Lampang. 2 main villages, the largest with 100 houses.
Language map  Northern Thailand, reference number 3
Alternate names  Mbisu, Mibisu
Language use  Vigorous. All ages.
Language development  Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Literacy rate in L2: Below 5%.
Comments  Traditional religion.