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Iu Mien

A language of China

ISO 639-3ium

Population  383,000 in China (Wang and Mao 1995). Population total all countries: 818,635.
Region  Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Dayao Mountains, Guangdong in Ruyuan County, Yunnan, Hunan provinces; Guizhou Province, Rongjiang, Congjiang, and Libo counties. Also in Belgium, Denmark, France, Laos, Myanmar, New Zealand, Switzerland, Thailand, United States, Viet Nam.
Language map  Southern China, reference number 38
Alternate names   Ban Yao, Highland Yao, Mian, Mien, Myen, Pan Yao, Yao, Yiu Mien, Youmian
Dialects  Guoshan Yao. Dialects may not be intelligible. Biao Mon [bmt] may be a dialect of Iu Mien. Differences from other Mienic languages are in the tone system, consonants, vowel quality, vowel length. Chinese linguists consider the Iu Mien spoken in Changdong, Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County, Guangxi is the standard. May be most similar to Mandarin Chinese [cmn]. Lexical similarity: 78% with Kim Mun [mji], 70% with Biao-Jiao Mien [bje], 61% with Dzao Min [bpn].
Classification  Hmong-Mien, Mienic, Mian-Jin
Language use  Vigorous. All domains. All ages. Positive attitude. Adults also use Chinese.
Language development  Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 2008.
Writing system  Lao script. Latin script. Thai script.
Comments  Largest language in Yao nationality. Ethnic groups: Hua Lan, Hua, Hung, Cao Long, Coc, Khoc, Quan Coc, Quan Trang, Son Trang, Sung, Tien (Tiao Tchaine), Yaya. The Lakkia, Mun, Bunu languages, plus speakers of other Mienic and Hmongic languages, and ethnic Yao who speak Chinese, are officially included as Yao nationality in China. Pingdi Yao (Piongtuojo, Piongtoajeu) is a variety of Chinese with 1,000,000 speakers, half of whom are members of Yao nationality, Guangdong Province, Hunan-Guangxi border. Tonal, 7 tones. Peasant agriculturalists: paddy rice; hunters; lumbermen; weavers; embroiderers. Daoist, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:


Language name   Iu Mien
Population  20,300 in Laos (2000).
Language map  Laos, reference number 17
Alternate names  Highland Yao, Man, Mien, Myen, Yao
Language use  Some language shift.
Comments  Almost all refugees in the West have come from Laos. Daoist, traditional religion.


Language name   Iu Mien
Population  40,000 in Thailand (1999).
Region  Chiangmai, Chiangrai, Phayao, Lampang, Kampaengphet, Nan, and Sukhothai provinces. 159 villages.
Language map  Northern Thailand, reference number 11
Alternate names  Highland Yao, Mian, Mien, Myen, Pan Yao, Yao, Yiu Mien, Youmian
Dialects  Chiangrai.
Language use  Also use Northern Tai [nod].
Comments  All ‘Yao’ and ‘Mien’ in Thailand are Iu Mien. Swidden agriculturalists: rice; hunters; weavers; embroiderers. Daoist, traditional religion.

Viet Nam

Language name   Iu Mien
Population  350,000 in Viet Nam (1999 H. Purnell).
Region  Widespread in north highland regions; south, Dac Lak Province.
Language maps  Northern Viet Nam, reference number 36
Northern Viet Nam, reference number 36
Northwestern Viet Nam, reference number 36
Alternate names  Dao Do, Dao Thanh Phan, Dìu, “Dong” , Highland Yao, Kim Mien, “Mán” , Mien, Myen, Red Dao, “Trai” , “Xá” , Yao, Yao Kimmien, Yao Ogang, Yu Mien
Dialects  Dao Do, Deo Tien, Dao Lan Tien, Dao Lo Gang, Cham, Quan Chet, Quan Trang.
Language use  Same language as in Thailand and Laos. Not all ethnic Yao speak Mien; many speak Chinese. Part of the population figure given for Viet Nam may be for Kim Mun.
Comments  An official ethnic community. Daoist, traditional religion.