667,000 (1999 O. Jueya). 160,000 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 1,248,000 (2000 census). Includes about 52,300 Jiamao [jio] speakers.
Central and southern Hainan Province, Wanning, Tunchang, Danxiang, Chengmai, Baisha.
6a (Vigorous). Language of recognized nationality: Li.
Bendi (Baisha-Yuanmen, Local Li, Zwn), Ha (Luohua-Hayan-Baoxian), Meifu (Moifau), Qi (Gei, Tongshi-Qiandui-Baocheng). Some dialects may be separate languages. Matisoff (1988) lists 8 varieties: Baoding, Xifang, Tongshi, Baisha, Qiandiu, Heitu, Yuanmen, and Baocheng. Luowo subdialect of Ha dialect is considered the standard. Lexical similarity: 27% with Gelao, 26% with Dong [doc] and Qabiao [laq], 25% with Lachi [lbt].
Latin script [Latn], pinyin-based, used from 1958 to early 1960s and from 1985, small-scale use in literacy.
Together with speakers of Jiamao [jio]. Traditional culture. Traditional religion.