A language of China

Alternate Names

20,000 (Bradley 2007b). Very few monolinguals. Ethnic population: 28,000 (Bradley 2007b).


Yunnan province: Guandu district, Ala and surrounding communities, Kunming, 47 villages; west Yiliang County, 7 villages.

Language Maps
Language Status

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

Language Use

Extinct in some villages close to Kunming, severely endangered to the east in northeast Guandu and Yiliang, endangered in Ala Township, which is the center of the Samei distribution and where most villages are entirely or largely Samei (Bradley 2007a). Some young people, all adults. Most also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: High in Chinese.


Yi script [Yiii], traditional, no longer in use.

Other Comments

Traditional religion.

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