A language of China

Alternate Names
Bao’an, Baonan, Boan, Paoan, Paongan

6,000. Very few monolinguals. Ethnic population: 24,500. Includes 16,500 Jishishan and 8000 Tongren.


Southwest Gansu Province, Linxia Hui autonomous prefecture, Jishishan Bao’an-Dongxiang-Sala Autonomous county; east Qinghai Province, Tongren county.

Language Maps
Language Status

7 (Shifting). Language of recognized nationality: Blang. Speakers of the Jishishan dialect moved from Qinghai Province to Gansu, 1858–1863; officially classified within Bonan nationality.


Jishishan (Dahejia, Dajiahe, Dakheczjha), Tongren (Tungyen). Jishishan subdialects are Ganhetan and Dadun; Tongren subdialects are Nianduhu, Guomari, Gajiuri, and Lower Bao’an. Jishishan dialect has been influenced by Mandarin Chinese [cmn], Tongren by Tibetan [bod]. There are phonological and grammatical differences between them, and inherent intelligibility may be low.


SOV; stress on final syllable; modifiers precede noun heads; Tongren dialect allows onset consonant clusters which resemble Tibetan; Jishishan dialect has Chinese-type syllable structure.

Language Use

Religion, local administration, home; for Tongren, not used for religion. Tongren: all ages. Positive attitudes, except in Tongren. Also use Amdo Tibetan [adx], Mandarin Chinese [cmn].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 44% (2000 census, Baoan nationality). No written language; no desire for one. Amdo Tibetan is local LWC. Chinese required to excel in school and find a good job. Dictionary. Grammar.
Other Comments

Muslim (Sunni), Buddhist (Lamaist), traditional religion.