600,000 (2000 census), increasing. Total users in all countries: 942,700.
Sichuan province: southwest Liangshan prefecture; Yunnan province: 11 prefectures, 63 counties, upper reaches of Mekong and Salween rivers.
3 (Wider communication). Language of recognized nationality: Lisu. Some 7,000 members of the Nu nationality in China, and more in Myanmar, speak only Lisu.
Bai Lisu (White Lisu), Dechang Lisu, Hei Lisu (Black Lisu), Hua Lisu (Flowery Lisu), Lu Shi Lisu, Ninglang Lisu, Northern Lisu, Nujiang Lisu, Shibacha Lisu, Western Lisu. Much dialectal variation; some do not understand each other.
SOV; tonal, 6 tones.
Vigorous. Speakers of other languages in the area use Lisu for administration, religion, and bilingual education in schools. In Drung and Nu areas, oral and written Lisu are used for Christian activities. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Central Bai [bca], Central Tibetan [bod], Jingpho [kac], Lü [khb], Naxi [nxq]. Also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn], especially in secondary schools. Used as L2 by Anong [nun], Central Bai [bca], Drung [duu], Northern Pumi [pmi], Nusu [nuf], Southern Pumi [pmj], Zaiwa [atb], Zauzou [zal].
Traditional religion, Christian.