A language of China

Alternate Names
Aci, Aji, Atshi, Atsi, Atsi-Maru, Atzi, Azi, Szi, Tsaiwa, Xiaoshanhua

80,000 in China (1999 X. Xijian). 20,000 monolinguals. Population total all countries: 110,000.


Yunnan Province, Dehong Dai-Jingpo autonomous prefecture, Luxi, Ruili, Longchuan, Yingjiang, and Bangwa counties. Also in Myanmar.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Bengwa, Longzhun, Tingzhu. Some consider Pela [bxd] (Bola, Polo, Pala), Lashi [lsi] (Leqi), and Maru [mhx] (Langsu, Langwa) to be dialects of Zaiwa. Related to Hpon [hpo] and Achang [acn]. Dialects have only minor phonological differences.


SOV; 3 tone categories in unchecked syllables and 2 in checked; tense-lax vowel contrast

Language Use

Vigorous. Speakers of other languages in the area also speak Zaiwa. All domains. All ages. Used less by young people and children. Positive attitudes. Intellectuals are concerned about preservation of Zaiwa. Most also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn], Lisu [lis], or Bai [bca]. A few also use Lachi [lbt], Maru [mhx], or Jingpho [kac].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 50,000 can read and write. Taught in primary schools. Newspapers. Radio programs. TV. Dictionary. NT: 2009.
Latin script, developed in 1957, modified in 1997. Lisu (Fraser) script, no longer in use.
Other Comments

Officially classified within Jingpo nationality. Traditional religion, Daoist, Christian.

Also spoken in:

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