A language of China

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

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


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

Language Status

5 (Developing). Language of recognized nationality: Jingpo.


Bengwa, Longzhun, Tingzhu. Some consider Pela [bxd] (Bola, Polo, Pala), Lashi [lsi] (Leqi), and Maru [mhx] (Langsu, Langwa) to be dialects of Zaiwa. 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. Also use Central Bai [bca], Jingpho [kac], Lachi [lbt], Lhao Vo [mhx], Lisu [lis], Mandarin Chinese [cmn]. Used as L2 by Jingpho [kac], Lhaovo [mhx].

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 [Latn], developed in 1957, modified in 1997. Lisu (Fraser) script [Lisu], no longer in use.

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Christian, Daoist.

Also spoken in:

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