A language of China

Alternate Names
Lomi, Mu, Nahsi, Nakhi, Nasi, “Mo-Su” (pej.), “Moso” (pej.), “Mosso” (pej.)

300,000 (2000 census). 100,000 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 326,000 (2010 census).


Northwest Yunnan Province, a majority (over 200,000) in Yulong (formerly Lijiang) Naxi autonomous county. Some scattered through Weixi, Zhongdian, Ninglang, Deqing, Yongsheng, Heqing, Jianchuan, and Lanping counties. Some in Sichuan Province, Yanyuan, Yanbian, and Muli counties. A few in Tibet Autonomous Region, Mangkang county.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing). Language of recognized nationality: Naxi. Official ethnic language of the Narua nationality.


Lapao, Lijiang, Ludian. Reportedly similar to Narua [nru].


SOV; no checked syllables; tonal, 4 tones (some sub-dialects have only 3 tones).

Language Use

Lijiang Old Town attitudes somewhat negative, decreasing number of young speakers. All domains. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use Central Bai [bca], Central Tibetan [bod], English [eng]. Also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn], in speaking and especially in writing. Used as L2 by Central Bai [bca], Central Tibetan [bod], Lisu [lis], Northern Pumi [pmi], Nuosu [iii], Shuhi [sxg], Southern Pumi [pmj].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 5%. Literacy rate in L2: 40% in Mandarin Chinese [cmn]. Used as the medium of communication in several Naxi area primary schools. Taught in some schools as a subject for 1 or 2 years. Literature. Radio. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. Bible portions: 1932.


Latin script [Latn], developed in the 1950s and revised in 1984, primary usage. Lisu (Fraser) script [Lisu], experimental use in the 1920s and 1930s. Naxi Dongba script [Nkdb]. Naxi Geba script [Nkgb], no longer in use.

Other Comments

Official ethnic language of the Narua nationality. Buddhist, Confucianist, Daoist.

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