Hanoish languages

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Southern Loloish
Southern China and Indochina
Linguistic classification: Sino-Tibetan
Glottolog: hani1249[1]

The Hanoish (Hanish) languages, also known in a broader scope as the Southern Loloish or Southern Ngwi languages, are a branch of the Loloish languages that includes Akha and Hani.


The branches included in Lama (2012), with languages from Bradley (2007), are:






Bisu (Laomian), Phunoi (Singsali, Singsili), Pyen


Sila (Sida), Phana’

Akeu (Chepya)

Hani (Akha–Hani, Honi)


Piyo, Enu, Mpi


Other Hanoish languages are:

  • Muda
  • Paza, a recently discovered Loloish language of northern Laos, is also Hanoish, but it is unclear where it should be classified within Hanoish.[2]
  • Sadu, a recently discovered Loloish language of Yuxi, Yunnan, China
  • Bana or Bala[3] in Laos. Speakers are included in the Kaw (Akha) ethnic group. The language is now being replaced by other larger languages such as Akha and Lahu.
  • Suobi 梭比 is spoken in 2 villages of Yinyuan Township 因远镇 of Yuanjiang County, namely Pugui Village 浦贵村[4] (in Pugui 浦贵,[5] Ga'e 嘎俄,[6] and Puhai 浦海[7]) and Beize Village 北泽村[8] (in Yuga 玉嘎,[9] Sanlingsan 三零三, Shuitong 水桶,[10] and Beize 北泽) (Bai Bibo 2010:118). Nuobi 糯比 is another related language closely related to Suobi.


David Bradley (2007)[3] considers the following Bisoid dialects to be closely related.

  • Bisu: 500 ethnic members in northern Thailand, with far fewer speakers
  • Hpyin: already reported as moribund in 1900, and replaced by Lahu
  • Laomian: 4,000 speakers (out of 5,000 ethnic members) in central Lancang County
  • Laopin: fewer than 1,000 speakers (out of 1,300 ethnic members) in Menglian County
  • law˧pan˩

Bradley (2007) lists the following Sinsali (formerly Phunoi) languages, which differ from each other.

  • Sinsali proper
  • pʰɔŋ˧ku˥
  • law˨˩sɛŋ˨˩
  • pi˧su˦


Many languages formerly classified as Southern Loloish were known to be divergent, but little data was available; these were split off as Southeastern Loloish by Bradley (2002). The position of Pholo is unclear: although initially kept with the Phula languages in Southeastern Loloish, Pelkey notes that it is only culturally similar, and does not share the defining features of that branch. However, Lama (2012) uses it as one of his sources for classifying Loloish, and finds that it falls in with Zuoke, which Pelkey classifies as Phula. ’Ugong is even more aberrant; Bradley (1997) places it with the Burmish languages.

Jinuo was added to Hanish by Lama (2012).


Lama (2012) lists the following changes from Proto-Loloish as Hanoish innovations.

  • *m- → zero /__[u] (Hani and Haoni)
  • *kh- > x- (Hani and Haoni)
  • *N- > NC or C (nasal hardening rule in Bisu and Sangkong)
  • Reversed order of syllables (family-wide)


  • Lama, Ziwo Qiu-Fuyuan (2012), Subgrouping of Nisoic (Yi) Languages, thesis, University of Texas at Arlington (archived)