Iu Mien


A language of China

Alternate Names
Ban Yao, Highland Yao, Man, Mian, Mien, Mienh, Mjen, Myen, Pan Yao, Yao, Yao Mienh, Yiu Mien, Youmian
Iu Mienh

383,000 in China (Wang and Mao 1995). Ethnic population: 2,800,000 (2010 census). Includes Biao Mon [bmt], Biao-Jiao Mien [bje], Bu-Nao Bunu [bwx], Jiongnai Bunu [pnu], Wunai Bunu [bwn], Younuo Bunu [buh], Dzao Min [bpn], Kim Mun [mji], Lakkia [lbc], Pa-Hng [pha], and Yerong [yrn] languages. Total users in all countries: 813,600.


Guangdong province: Ruyuan county; Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Dayao mountains; Guizhou province: Congjiang, Libo, and Rongjiang counties; Hunan, Jiangxi, and Yunnan provinces.

Language Status

5 (Developing). Language of recognized nationality: Yao.


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. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use Chinese [zho], especially adults. Used as L2 by Chadong [cdy], Hlai [lic], Jiongnai Bunu [pnu], Lakkia [lbc].

Language Development

Radio. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. Bible: 2008.


Han (Hanzi, Kanji, Hanja) script [Hani], dating from before Yuan dynasty, used in folk domains and text messaging. Lao script [Laoo], used in Laos. Latin script [Latn], used at least since 1930s, used in China, Thailand, United States, France, Canada. Thai script [Thai], used in Thailand.

Other Comments

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.

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