A language of China

Alternate Names
Sibe, Sibin, Sibo, Xibo

30,000 (2000 A. Jun). Few monolinguals. Ethnic population: 189,000 (2000 census).


Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Qapqal, Huocheng, Gongliu, Xinyuan, Nilka, Tekes, and Zhaosu counties; Ili prefecture, Yining city; Tacheng prefecture, Tacheng county; Bortala prefecture, Bole county, Ürümqi city.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened). Statutory language of provincial identity in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (1984, Ethnic Regional Autonomy Act, Articles 10 and 21).


Inherently intelligible of Manchu [mnc].


SOV; genitives, articles, adjectives, numerals precede noun heads; question word initial; complex vowel harmony

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. All ages in rural areas. Positive attitudes. Also use Chinese [cmn], Uyghur [uig], Kazakh [kaz], English [eng], or Russian [rus].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 50%. Literacy rate in L2: 52%. Taught in primary schools. Newspapers. Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar.
Mongolian script, Sibe style.
Other Comments

Officially classified within Xibe nationality. Descendants of an 18th century Qing dynasty military garrison. Loans from Uyghur, Kazakh, and Chinese. Traditional religion.