Nisu, Eastern


A language of China

Alternate Names
Nisu, Nisupho, Shiping-Jianshui Nisu, Shiping-Jianshui Yi

75,000 (2004), decreasing.


Yunnan Province, Jianshui, Tonghai, Gejiu, Kaiyuan, Mengzi, Pingbian, and Hekou counties.

Language Maps
Language Status

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

Language Use

Language is active in areas with high concentrations of Nisu. Language use higher for older people, women, uneducated men, or villages further removed from main roads. Nisu living in cities or counties are generally Sinicized. Many parents teach their children the Chinese local dialect as L1 so they can do well in school. There is increasing borrowing of lexical items from Chinese. Code switching between Nisu and Chinese is common. Many men and women spend part of the year working in predominantly Chinese towns or cities. Home, in the fields, with village friends and relatives. Some of all ages. Neutral attitudes. Also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn], a local dialect, spoken with outsiders, non-Nisu government officials, non-Nisu markets, or elementary school teachers. Also use Northern Nisu [yiv]. Village children eventually learn it. Used as L2 by Hlersu [hle], Northern Nisu [yiv].


Yi script [Yiii], traditional, limited usage.

Other Comments

Traditional religion.

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