Ethnologue > Web version > Country index > Asia > China > Mulam


A language of China

ISO 639-3mlm

Population  86,000 (2005 Guangxi Language and Orthography Use Situation). Fewer than 10,000 monolinguals (including women and preschool children). Ethnic population: 210,000 (2000 census).
Region  North central Guizhou Province, Luocheng Mulam Autonomous County (90% in Dongmen and Siba communes), adjacent counties, Majiang and Kaili City.
Language map  Southern China, reference number 42
Alternate names   Abo, Ayo, Kyam, Molao, Mulao, Mulao Miao, Muliao, Mulou
Dialects  Similar to Southern Dong [kmc]. Lexical similarity: 65% with Dong (probably Southern Dong).
Classification  Tai-Kadai, Kam-Tai, Kam-Sui
Language use  Vigorous. Many Han Chinese and Zhuang also speak Mulam. All domains. Mainly older adults. Positive attitude. Written Chinese in common use. Also use various Chinese varieties or a Northern Zhuang language.
Language development  Literacy rate in L2: 94%. Radio programs. Grammar.
Comments  Classified as Mulao (Mulam) nationality. They live near the Han [haa], Dong [doc], Hmong Njua [hnj], and Iu Mien [ium]. They call themselves Mulam. Some around Luocheng call themselves Kyam. Different from the nearly extinct Ge-Yang Tai-Kadai language also called Mulao, previously spoken by Gelao nationality people in Guizhou. SVO; reduplication; aspirated, palatalized, labialized, voiceless nasal, lateral onsets; nasal and stop finals; many Chinese loans; 6 tone categories in unchecked syllables, 2 in checked (split into 4 according to vowel length). Agriculturalists: wet rice, maize; miners. Polytheist, Daoist, Buddhist.