Nuosu

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A language of China

Alternate Names
Black Yi, Liangshan Yi, Northern Yi, Nosu Yi, Sichuan Yi
Population

2,000,000 (2000 census), increasing. 60% monolinguals (Jiafa 1994).

Location

North Yunnan and south Sichuan provinces, mainly in Greater and Lesser Liangshan mountains. Spoken in over 40 counties.

Language Maps
Language Status

4 (Educational).

Dialects

Northern Shypnra, Southern Shypnra, Suondi (Adu), Yynuo. Chinese linguists recognize 3 primary dialects: Shengzha (standard), Northern (Lindimu-Yinuo), and Southern (Adur-Suondi) (Bradley 2007). Some dialects, such as Lindimu, are likely distinct languages.

Language Use

Many Chinese loan words are appearing. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Chinese [cmn].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Moderate in central Liangshan. Low elsewhere. Literacy rate in L2: Moderate. Nearly all literate Nuosu are literate in Chinese; some are also literate in Nuosu. Written Nuosu is used in rituals by shamans in every community. Some educated Nuosu use standardized syllabary in academic contexts. The culture is orally oriented so most would not think of writing a letter or a set of procedures in Nuosu, nor would they think of reading written instructions. The educated prefer to write in Chinese for these tasks. Taught in primary and secondary schools. Poetry. Magazines. Newspapers. Dictionary. NT: 2005.
Writing
Latin script, Pinyin-based. Yi script, standardized, primary usage.
Other Comments

Officially classified within Yi nationality. When applied to the Nuosu, terms Black Yi (Hei Yi) and White Yi (Bai Yi) refer to caste distinctions rather than to ethnic or linguistic distinctions. However, the same terms often do refer to ethnic and linguistic distinctions when applied to Yi groups in Yunnan. Also, some outsiders refer to Nuosu as Black Yi. Traditional religion, Christian.