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Gelao

A language of China

ISO 639-3gio

Population  3,000 (1999 L. Jinfang). 500 monolinguals. Qau 2000, A’ou 1500, Hagei 1700, Duoluo 1200, Tu’lu 1500. Ethnic population: 579,357 (2000 census).
Region  Guizhou Province, Zunyi, Daozhen Gelao and Miao, Wuchuan Gelao and Miao autonomous counties; southwest Guizhou Province, Anshun, and Bijie prefectures; southeast Yunnan Province, Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous District Prefecture, Maguan and Malipo counties, and those near Vietnam border; Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Baise Prefecture, Longlin PanMultiple-Nationalities Autonomous County; Hunan Province.
Language map  Southwestern China
Alternate names   Chilao, Gelo, Ilao, Kehlao, Kelao, Keleo, Khi, Klau, Klo, Lao
Dialects  Qau (Gao, Aqao), A’ou (A’uo), Hagei (Hakei, Hakhi), Duoluo (Toluo). Dialects probably not mutually intelligible. Tu’lu is a speech form of uncertain status spoken by Baigelao (White Gelao) people in Yunnan, Wenshan Prefecture, Malipo County. Lexical similarity: 45% with Lu [khb], 40% with Dong [doc], 36% with Lachi [lbt], 32% with Qabiao [laq], 24% with Dong [doc], 22% with Lakkia [lbc], 27%–40% with Hlai [lic], 10%–15% with Hmong Djua [hnj], 5%–15% with Iu Mien [ium].
Classification  Tai-Kadai, Kadai, Ge-Yang
Language use  Most domains by older adults. Most are older adults, used about half time by adults, young people use more Chinese; children may not speak it. Positive attitude. About 2,500 also use Hmong Djua, Chinese [cmn], or Vietnamese [vie].
Language development  Literacy rate in L2: 82%.
Comments  Classified as Gelao nationality. SVO; adjectives follow noun head; negative follows predicate but other adverbials precede predicate; only final consonants are alveolar and velar nasals; nasal-stop and some obstruent-lateral onset clusters; tonal, 6 tones. Agriculturalists. Polytheist, traditional religion.
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