A language of China

Alternate Names
Sibe, Sibin, Sibo, Xibo

30,000 (2000 A. Jun). Few monolinguals. Ethnic population: 190,000 (2010 census).


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

Language Maps
Language Status

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


None known. Inherently intelligible of Manchu [mnc].


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

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. Some young people, all adults. All ages in rural areas. Positive attitudes. Also use English [eng], Kazakh [kaz], Mandarin Chinese [cmn], Russian [rus], Uyghur [uig].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 50%. Literacy rate in L2: 52%. Taught in primary schools. Newspapers. Radio. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 2013.


Cyrillic script [Cyrl], 1957–1958, experimental, limited use in education. Latin script [Latn], used in 1939–1941 and since internet became popular, mainly used on internet and text messaging, favoured by younger people. Mongolian script [Mong], Sibe style, used in 1947–1966 and from 1974, official, primary usage, all domains, favoured by older generations. Mongolian script [Mong], Manchu style, used from Qing dynasty to 1947.

Other Comments

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

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