A language of China

Alternate Names
Bo-I, Bui, Buyei, Buyi, Buyui, Chung-Chia, Dioi, Giay, Pu-I, Pu-Jui, Pui, Pujai, Puyi, Puyoi, Shuihu, Tujia, Yay, Zhongjia

2,600,000 in China (2000 census). Ethnic population: 2,870,000 (2010 census). Includes Ai-Cham [aih], Mak [mkg], and T’en [tct] languages. Total users in all countries: 2,664,440.


Guizhou province: Buyi-Miao and Miao-Dong autonomous prefectures, Guanling and Zhenning counties on Guizhou-Yunnan plateau; Sichuan province: Huidong and Ningnan counties; Yunnan province: Luoping county.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous). Language of recognized nationality: Bouyei.


Qiannan (Bouyei 1, Southern Guizhou), Qianzhong (Bouyei 2, Central Guizhou), Qianxi (Bouyei 3, Western Guizhou).


SVO; modifiers follow heads; highly monosyllabic; tonal, 6 tone categories in open syllables and 4 in closed syllables.

Language Use

Vigorous. Rare oral use in local administration, commerce, education. Used by all. Also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn], Sui [swi]. Used as L2 by Bu-Nao Bunu [bwx], Mak [mkg], T’en [tct].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: Very low. Literacy rate in L2: 76% (2000 census). Literature. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. Bible portions: 1904.


Han (Hanzi, Kanji, Hanja) script [Hani], dating from late Ming/early Qing dynasty, limited use in ritual texts and folk literature. Latin script [Latn], experimental, small-scale use in education and literature in China.

Other Comments

Quinnan hua (Quinnan speech) also refers to a dialect of southwestern Mandarin spoken in Guizhou, and should not be confused with the Qiannan Bouyei dialect. Traditional religion, Buddhist, Daoist.

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