Iu Mien


A language of China

Alternate Names
Ban Yao, Highland Yao, Mian, Mien, Myen, Pan Yao, Yao, Yiu Mien, Youmian

383,000 in China (Wang Fushi and Mao Zhongwu 1995). Population total all countries: 819,835.


Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Dayao mountains, Guangdong in Ruyuan county, Yunnan and Hunan provinces; Guizhou Province, Rongjiang, Congjiang, and Libo counties. Also in Belgium, Denmark, France, Laos, New Zealand, Switzerland, Thailand, United States, Viet Nam.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Guoshan Yao. Dialects may not be intelligible. Biao Mon [bmt] may be a dialect of Iu Mien. Differences from other Mienic languages are in the tone system, consonants, vowel quality, vowel length. Chinese linguists consider the Iu Mien spoken in Changdong, Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County, Guangxi to be the standard. May be most similar to Mandarin Chinese [cmn]. Lexical similarity: 78% with Kim Mun [mji], 70% with Biao-Jiao Mien [bje], 61% with Dzao Min [bpn].


Tonal, 7 tones

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Adults also use Chinese.

Language Development
Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 2008.
Lao script. Latin script. Thai script.
Other Comments

Largest language in Yao nationality. Ethnic groups: Hua Lan, Hua, Hung, Cao Long, Coc, Khoc, Quan Coc, Quan Trang, Son Trang, Sung, Tien (Tiao Tchaine), Yaya. The Lakkia, Mun, Bunu languages, plus speakers of other Mienic and Hmongic languages, and ethnic Yao who speak Chinese, are officially classified within Yao nationality in China. Pingdi Yao (Piongtuojo, Piongtoajeu) is a variety of Chinese with 1,000,000 speakers, half of whom are members of Yao nationality, Guangdong Province, Hunan-Guangxi border. Daoist, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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