600,000 in China (2000 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 942,700.
West Yunnan Province, 11 prefectures, 63 counties, upper reaches of Salween and Mekong rivers; Sichuan Province, southwest Liangshan prefecture. Also in India, Myanmar, Thailand.
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. Some 7,000 members of the Nu nationality in China, and more in Myanmar, speak only Lisu; many more Nu and others speak Lisu as a L2. In Drung and Nu areas, oral and written Lisu are used for Christian activities. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Chinese. 150,000 can also use Bai [bca], Tibetan [bod], Naxi [nxq], Lü [khb], or Jingpho [kac]. Chinese is used in secondary schools.
Officially classified within Lisu nationality. Traditional religion, Christian.