A language of China

Alternate Names
Ai Sui, Shui, Sui Li, Suipo

300,000 in China (Bradley 2007b). Ethnic population: 412,000 (2010 census). Total users in all countries: 300,120.


Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region: Nandan, and Rongshui counties; Guizhou province: Congjiang, Danzhai, Dushan, Duyun, Leishan, Libo, and Rongjiang counties, centered in Sandu; Yunnan province: Fuyuan county.

Language Status

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


Sandong (Central Sui, Southern Sui), Pandong, Yang’an. Some communication difficulty between dialects. Sandong (Central) is the standard and most intelligible in the area (Castro 2011).


SVO; noun head initial; 70 onsets, 50 rhymes; 8 tones (Wei and Edmondson 2008).

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Some also use Chinese [zho], especially in writing. Bilingualism is low in the main areas. Used as L2 by Bouyei [pcc].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: 78% in any language for Shui nationality (2000 census). Not formally taught. Literature. Dictionary. Texts.


Han (Hanzi, Kanji, Hanja) script [Hani], used by folk singers aged 40–60.

Other Comments

Traditional religion.

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