Mulam

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A language of China

Alternate Names
Abo, Kyam, Molao, Mulao, Mulao Miao, Muliao, Mulou
Population

86,000 (2005 GXLOUS). Fewer than 10,000 monolinguals (including women and preschool children). Ethnic population: 210,000 (2000 census).

Location

North central Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Hechi prefecture, Luocheng Mulao autonomous county (90% in Dongmen and Siba communes), also Yizhou county.

Language Maps
Language Status

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

Dialects

None known. Lexical similarity: 65% with Dong (probably Southern Dong [kmc]).

Typology

SVO; reduplication; aspirated, palatalized, labialized, voiceless nasal, lateral onsets; nasal and stop finals; many Chinese loans; 6 tone categories in unchecked syllables, 2 in checked (split into 4 according to vowel length).

Language Use

Vigorous. Most domains, Daoist and Buddhist services. 87% speak Mulam at home; 57% speak it outside the home. 82% speak Mulam to their children. (2005 GXLOUS). Mainly older adults. Positive attitudes. Written Chinese [cmn] in common use. Also use various Chinese varieties or a Northern Zhuang language.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 94% (2000 census, Mulao nationality). Taught in primary schools. Radio programs.
Other Comments

They live near the Han, Dong [doc], Hmong Njua [hnj], and Iu Mien [ium]. They call themselves Mulam. Some around Luocheng call themselves Kyam. Different from the nearly extinct Western Kra Tai-Kadai language also called Mulao [giu], previously spoken by Gelao nationality people in Guizhou. Traditional religion, Buddhist, Daoist.