Bunu, Bu-Nao


A language of China

Alternate Names
Bunao, Po-Nau, Punu

258,000 (McConnell 1995). 97,000 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 439,000 (1982 census). 100,000 ethnic Bunu speak Central Hongshuihe Zhuang [zch] as L1.


Western Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, 22 counties: Du’an, Bama, Dahua, Lingyun, Nandan, Tiandong, Tianyang, Pingguo, Fengshan, Donglan, Hechi, Mashan, Bose, Tianlin, Leye, Tiandeng, Xincheng, Shanglin, Long’an, Debao, Laibin, and Luocheng; Guizhou Province, Libo county; Yunnan Province, Funing county. Southwest Hunan Province, near Guangxi border.

Language Status

6b (Threatened). Language of recognized nationality: Yao.


Bunuo (Pu No), Cingsui Longlin, Dongnu (Bunu, Punu, Tung Nu), Hontou Longlin, Naogelao (Baonuo, Nao Khalo, Nao Klao, Nau Klau, Pounou), Numao (Hong Yao, Nu Mhou), Nunu. The dialects listed may be at least 5 languages (Strecker 1987), communication is difficult (McConnell 1995).


SVO; modifiers follow heads; up to 11 affixes; complex set of initials including prenasalized stops; relatively simple rhymes; tonal, most dialects have 8 tones.

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Chinese [cmn]. Mandarin Chinese used in schools. Also use Bouyei [pcc].

Language Development

Latin script [Latn], used at least since 1988.

Other Comments

Daoist, traditional religion.