|Southern China and Southeast Asia|
The Lolo-Burmese languages (also Burmic languages) of Burma and southern China form a coherent branch of the Sino-Tibetan family.
Until ca. 1950, the endonym Lolo was written with derogatory characters in Chinese, and for this reason has sometimes been avoided. Shafer (1966–1974) used the term "Burmic" for the Lolo-Burmese languages. The Chinese term is Mian–Yi, after the Chinese name for Burmese and one of several words for Tai, reassigned to replace Lolo by the Chinese government after 1950.
The position of Naxi (Moso) within the family is unclear, and it is often left as a third branch besides Loloish and Burmish. Lama (2012) considers it to be a branch of Loloish, while Guillaume Jacques has suggested that it is a Qiangic language.
The Pyu language that preceded Burmese in Burma is sometimes linked to the Lolo-Burmese family, but there is no good evidence for any particular classification, and it is best left unclassified within Sino-Tibetan.
However, the unclassified Mru language is thought to be more likely to be related to Lolo-Burmese.
Pai-lang, attested from the 3rd century, is Lolo-Burmese, perhaps Loloish.
Guillaume Jacques & Alexis Michaud (2011) argue for a Burmo-Qiangic branch with two primary subbranches, Na-Qiangic (i.e. Naxi-Qiangic) and Lolo-Burmese. Similarly, David Bradley (2008) also proposes an Eastern Tibeto-Burman branch that includes the two subbranches of Burmic (AKA Lolo-Burmese) and Qiangic.
Bradley (1997, quoted in Peiros 1997) gives the following classification for the Lolo-Burmese languages.
Lama (2012) recognizes 9 unambiguous groups of Lolo-Burmese languages, whereas Bradley considers there to be 5 groups (Burmish, Southern Ngwi, Northern Ngwi, Southeastern Ngwi, and Central Ngwi).[Does neither accept Loloish?]
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Lolo-Burmese". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Jacques, Guillaume, and Alexis Michaud. 2011. "Approaching the historical phonology of three highly eroded Sino-Tibetan languages." Diachronica 28:468-498.
- Bradley, David. 2008. The Position of Namuyi in Tibeto-Burman.
- Bradley, David (1997). "Tibeto-Burman languages and classification". In Tibeto-Burman languages of the Himalayas, Papers in South East Asian linguistics. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
- Lama, Ziwo Qiu-Fuyuan (2012), Subgrouping of Nisoic (Yi) Languages, thesis, University of Texas at Arlington (archived)
- Van Driem, George (2001). Languages of the Himalayas: An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater Himalayan Region. Brill.