L1 users: 100,000 (2007).
Yunnan province: Luxi, Mile, Qiubei, Shilin, and Yilang counties.
6a (Vigorous). Language of recognized nationality: Yi.
Northern Sani, Southern Sani.
All ages. Also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn].
Yi script [Yiii], traditional, limited usage.
The Samei, an Eastern Yi group east of Kunming in the Guandu region, call themselves Sani, but are not part of the Sani in Shilin. Tones differ on the 2 names, sa21 ni53 versus sa21 ni21. An Eastern Yi group with a similar name call themselves Sanie, immediately west of Kunming in Xishan region and in Anning and Fumin counties. For the Samei, Sani is their autonym. For the Sani in Shilin, Sani is an exonym. The Sani of Shilin call themselves ni21, but outsiders know them by the Chinese name Sani. Traditional religion.