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A language of China

ISO 639-3lic

Population  667,000 (1999 J. Ouyang). 160,000 monolinguals. 432,000 Ha, 178,000 Qi, 44,000 Bendi, 30,000 Meifu (1990 census). Ethnic population: 1,247,814 (2000 census).
Region  Central and southern Hainan Province, Wanning, Tunchang, Danxiang, Chengmai, Baisha.
Language map  Southern China
Alternate names   Bli, Dai, Day, Dli, Klai, La, Lai, Le, Li, Loi, Slai
Dialects  Ha (Luohua-Hayan-Baoxian), Qi (Gei, Tongshi-Qiandui-Baocheng), Meifu (Moifau), Bendi (Zwn, Baisha-Yuanmen, Local Li). Some dialects may be separate languages. Matisoff (1988) lists 8 varieties: Baoding, Xifang, Tongshi, Baisha, Qiandiu, Heitu, Yuanmen, Baocheng. Luowo subdialect of Ha dialect is considered the standard. Lexical similarity: 27% with Gelao [gio], 26% with Dong [doc] and Qabiao [laq], 25% with Lachi [lbt].
Classification  Tai-Kadai, Hlai
Language use  Vigorous. Some local Han can also speak Hlai. All domains. All ages. Positive attitude. Also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn], Iu Mien [ium], or Northern Zhuang [ccx].
Language development  Literacy rate in L2: 88%. Dictionary.
Writing system  Latin script.
Comments  Classified as Li nationality. Traditional culture. Agriculturalists: rice, coconut, betel nut, sisal, hemp, lemon grass, cocoa, coffee, rubber, palm oil; textiles; traditionally hunters. Polytheist.