Bunu, Bu-Nao


A language of China

Alternate Names
Bunao, Po-Nau, Punu

258,000 (McConnell 1995). 97,000 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 439,000 (1982 census). 100,000 ethnic Bunu speak Central Hongshuihe Zhuang [zch] as L1.


Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region: 22 counties, Bama, Bose, Dahua, Debao, Donglan, Du’an, Fengshan, Hechi, Laibin, Leye, Lingyun, Long’an, Luocheng, Mashan, Nandan, Pingguo, Shanglin, Tiandeng, Tiandong, Tianlin, Tianyang, and Xincheng; Guizhou province: Libo county; Hunan province: near Guangxi border; Yunnan province: Funing county.

Language Maps
Language Status

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


Dongnu (Bunu, Punu, Tung Nu), Nunu, Bunuo (Pu No), Naogelao (Baonuo, Nao Khalo, Nao Klao, Nau Klau, Pounou), Numao (Hong Yao, Nu Mhou), Cingsui Longlin, Hontou Longlin. The dialects listed may be at least 5 languages (Strecker 1987), communication is difficult (McConnell 1995).


SVO; modifiers follow heads; up to 11 affixes; complex set of initials including prenasalized stops; relatively simple rhymes; tonal, most dialects have 8 tones.

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. Some of all ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Bouyei [pcc]. Also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn]. Mandarin Chinese used in schools.

Language Development



Latin script [Latn], used at least since 1988.

Other Comments

Daoist, traditional religion.

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