Yei Zhuang language

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Yei Zhuang
Pronunciation [pu˨jai˩˧]
Native to China
Region Wenshan Prefecture, Yunnan; western Guangxi
Ethnicity Sha
Native speakers
1 million +  (2007)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
zgn – Guibian Zhuang
zqe – Qiubei Zhuang

Yei Zhuang is a Northern Tai language complex spoken in Wenshan Prefecture, Yunnan, China. Its speakers are also known as the Sha (沙族).


In Yunnan, Yei Zhuang dialects are spoken in Funing and Guangnan counties (also in Guangxi to the east and north), as well as Qiubei (probably also in Qujing Municipality to the north). The largest concentrations of Yei Zhuang speakers are found in Qiubei (80% of total Zhuang population) and Funing (50% of total Zhuang population) counties (Johnson 2011a:43).

Po-ai, a Tai language of Funing County described by Fang-kuei Li in the mid-1900s, was determined by Johnson (2011b) to be a Yei Zhuang dialect.


Below are various names (both autonyms and exonyms) for speakers of Yei Zhuang (Johnson 2011a:43).

  • pu Nong (濮侬)
  • pu˧˥ʔjai˧˦, pu˧juei˧˦, pu˨jai˩˧; bu ji (Qiubei)
  • bu Yai (布雅衣)
  • bu Yei (布依, 布瑞, 布越)
  • Shazu (沙族) or Sharen (沙人)
  • Baisha (白沙)
  • Nongqianbeng (侬迁绷)
  • Zhongjia (仲家)

Many of these are names of Bouyei as well.


There are no palatalized consonants in Qiubei Zhuang. /pj/ in standard Zhuang is /p/, as in /pja1/[clarification needed] "fish", pjak7(vegetable) is pa1、pak7. mJ is m or n,for example mja:k3(slippery), mja:i2(saliva) as ma6、 na:i2. kJ is merged into k or t,for example kja:ŋ1(middle)、kja4(orphan) is ka:ŋ3, tsa4. The consonant k before i、e is changed to ts, for instance ki3(several), ki:ŋ2(Triangular cooker), ke5(old) as tʃi1、tʃi:ŋ2、tʃes. 声母阱入v,h变成ɣ,而ɣ又变读作6。如fuuq2(手)、 fa:i5(棉)读əŋ2、va:i5、hau4(米)、haɯ3(给)变读ɣau4、ɣaɯ3;ɣam4(水)、ɣum2(风)、ɣo:k8(外)变渎为6am4、6em2、6ue5。


  1. ^ The Chinese name. An approximation, as Yei and Yai are not possible in Mandarin.
  2. ^ Guibian Zhuang at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Qiubei Zhuang at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)