Nisu, Southern


A language of China

Alternate Names
Yuan-Mo Yi

210,000 (2007), decreasing.


Yunnan Province, Honghe, Yuanyang, Lüchun (Eastern), Jinping, Shiping (Southern), and Yuanjiang (Southeastern) counties.

Language Maps
Language Status

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


Mojiang Nisu, Yuanyang Nisu.

Language Use

Use active in areas with high concentrations of Nisu. However, increasing lexical borrowing from Chinese. Code switching common between Nisu and Chinese. Many men and women spend part of the year working in predominantly Chinese towns or cities. Home, village. Actively used by people middle-aged and above. Neutral attitudes. Many parents teach their children the Chinese [cmn] local dialect as L1 so they can do well in school. Village children eventually learn Nisu (with many loan words from Chinese). Chinese is the L2, spoken with outsiders, government officials who are not Nisu, non-Nisu people in township markets, elementary school teachers.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 0%.

Yi script [Yiii], traditional, limited usage.

Other Comments

Traditional religion.