75,000 (2004), decreasing.
Yunnan Province, Jianshui, Tonghai, Gejiu, Kaiyuan, Mengzi, Pingbian, and Hekou counties.
6b (Threatened). Language of recognized nationality: Yi.
Language is active in areas with high concentrations of Nisu. Language use higher for older people, women, uneducated men, or villages further removed from main roads. Nisu living in cities or counties are generally Sinicized. Many parents teach their children the Chinese local dialect as L1 so they can do well in school. There is increasing borrowing of lexical items from Chinese. Code switching between Nisu and Chinese is common. Many men and women spend part of the year working in predominantly Chinese towns or cities. Home, in the fields, with village friends and relatives. Active use by people middle-aged and older. Neutral attitudes. Also use local Chinese [cmn] dialect. Chinese is the L2, spoken with outsiders, non-Nisu government officials, non-Nisu markets, or elementary school teachers. Also use Northern Nisu [yiv]. Village children eventually learn Nisu (with many loan words from Chinese). Used as L2 by Hlersu [hle], Northern Nisu [yiv].
Yi script [Yiii], traditional, limited usage.