Zhuang languages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Zhuang language)
Jump to: navigation, search
Native to China
Native speakers
16 million all Northern Zhuang languages  (2007)[1]
Standard forms
Language codes
ISO 639-1 za
ISO 639-2 zha
ISO 639-3 zhainclusive code
Individual codes:
zch – Central Hongshuihe Zhuang
zhd – Dai Zhuang (Wenma)
zeh – Eastern Hongshuihe Zhuang
zgb – Guibei Zhuang
zgn – Guibian Zhuang
zln – Lianshan Zhuang
zlj – Liujiang Zhuang
zlq – Liuqian Zhuang
zgm – Minz Zhuang
zhn – Nong Zhuang (Yanguang)
zqe – Qiubei Zhuang
zyg – Yang Zhuang (Dejing)
zyb – Yongbei Zhuang
zyn – Yongnan Zhuang
zyj – Youjiang Zhuang
zzj – Zuojiang Zhuang
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.
Books of Zhuang language

The Zhuang languages (autonym: Vahcuengh (pre-1982: Vaƅcueŋƅ, Sawndip: 话壮), from vah 'language' and Cuengh 'Zhuang'; simplified Chinese: 壮语; traditional Chinese: 壯語; pinyin: Zhuàngyǔ) are any of various Tai languages natively spoken by the Zhuang people. They are an ethnic rather than linguistic group. Most speakers live in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region within the People's Republic of China, where Standard Zhuang is an official language. Across the provincial border in Guizhou, Bouyei has also been standardized. Over one million speakers also live in China's Yunnan province.[2]

The sixteen ISO 639-3 registered Zhuang languages are not mutually intelligible without previous exposure on the part of speakers, and some of them are themselves multiple languages.[3] There is a dialect continuum between Wuming and Bouyei, as well as between Zhuang and various (other) Nung languages such as Tày, Nùng, and San Chay of northern Vietnam. However, the Zhuang languages do not form a linguistic unit; any cladistic unit that includes the various varieties of Zhuang would include all the Tai languages.

Citing the fact that both the Zhuang and Thai peoples have the same exonym for the Vietnamese, kɛɛuA1,[4] Jerold A. Edmondson of the University of Texas, Arlington posited that the split between Zhuang and the Southwest Tai languages happened no earlier than the founding of Jiaozhi (交址) in Vietnam in 112 BC, but no later than the 5th–6th century AD.[5]


The Zhuang language (or language group) has been divided by Chinese linguists into northern and southern "dialects" (fangyan 方言 in Chinese) each of which has been divided into a number of vernacular varieties (known as Tǔyǔ 土语 in Chinese) by Chinese linguists (Zhang & Wei 1997; Zhang 1999:29-30).[6] The Wuming dialect of Yongbei Zhuang, classified within the "Northern Zhuang dialect," is considered to be the "standard" or prestige dialect of Zhuang, developed by the government for certain official usages. While Southern Zhuang varieties have aspirated stops, Northern Zhuang varieties lack them.[7] There are over 60 distinct tonal systems with 5–11 tones depending on the variety.

Northern Zhuang (8,572,200 speakers;[6][8] dialects north of the Yong River. ISO 639 ccx prior to 2007)

  • 1. Guibei 桂北 - 1,290,000 speakers : Luocheng, Huanjiang, Rongshui, Rong'an, Sanjiang, Yongfu, Longsheng, Hechi, Nandan, Tian'e, Donglan (ISO 639 zgb)
  • 2. Liujiang 柳江 - 1,297,000 speakers : Liujiang, Laibin North, Yishan, Liucheng, Xincheng (ISO 639 zlj)
  • 3. Hongshui He 红水河 - 2,823,000 speakers : Laibin South, Du'an, Mashan, Shilong, Guixian, Luzhai, Lipu, Yangshuo
  • 4. Yongbei 邕北 - 1,448,000 speakers : Yongning North, Wuming (prestige dialect), Binyang, Hengxian, Pingguo (ISO 639 zyb)
  • 5. Youjiang 右江 - 732,000 speakers : Tiandong, Tianyang, Baise; Youjiang River basin area (ISO 639 zyj)
  • 6. Guibian 桂边 (Yei) - 827,000 speakers : Fengshan, Lingyun, Tianlin, Longlin, Yunnan Guangnan North (ISO 639 zgn)
  • 7. Qiubei 丘北 (Yei) - 122,000 speakers : Yunnan Qiubei area (ISO 639 zqe)
  • 8. Lianshan 连山 - 33,200 speakers : Lianshan, Huaiji North (ISO 639 zln)

Southern Zhuang (4,232,000 speakers;[6][8] dialects south of the Yongjiang River. ISO 639 ccy prior to 2007)

  • 9. Yongnan 邕南 - 1,466,000 speakers : Yongning South, Fusui Central and North, Long'an, Jinzhou, Shangse, Chongzuo areas
  • 10. Zuojiang 左江 - 1,384,000 speakers : Longzhou (Longjin), Daxin, Tiandeng, Ningming; Zuojiang River basin area
  • 11. Dejing 得靖 - 979,000 speakers : Jingxi, Debao, Mubian, Napo
  • 12. Yanguang 砚广 (Nong) - 308,000 speakers : Yunnan Guangnan South, Yanshan area
  • 13. Wenma 文马 (Dai) - 95,000 speakers : Yunnan Wenshan, Malipo, Guibian

Zhāng Jūnrú's (张均如) Zhuàngyǔ Fāngyán Yánjiù (壮语方言研究 [A Study of Zhuang dialects]) is the most detailed study of Zhuang dialectology ever published to date. It includes a 1465-word list covering 36 varieties of Zhuang. For the list of the 36 Zhuang variants below from Zhang (1999), the region (usually county) is given first, with the name of the specific village listed after the hyphen. The phylogenetic position of each variant follows that of Pittayaporn (2009)[9] (see Tai languages#Pittayaporn (2009)).

  1. Wǔmíng 武鸣 - Shuāngqiáo 双桥 - Subgroup M
  2. Héngxiàn 横县 - Nàxù 那旭 - Subgroup N
  3. Yōngběi 邕北 (邕宁北部) - Wǔtáng 五塘 - Subgroup N
  4. Píngguǒ 平果 - Xīnyú 新于 - Subgroup N
  5. Tiándōng 田东 - Héxuān 合愃 - Subgroup N
  6. Tiánlín 田林 - Lìzhōu 利周 - Subgroup N
  7. Língyuè 凌乐 - Sìchéng 泗城 - Subgroup N
  8. Guǎngnán 广南 (Shā people 沙族) - Zhěméng Township 者孟乡 - Subgroup N
  9. Qiūběi 丘北 - Gēhán Township 戈寒乡 - Subgroup N
  10. Liǔjiāng 柳江 - Bǎipéng 百朋 - Subgroup N
  11. Yíshān 宜山 - Luòdōng 洛东 - Subgroup N
  12. Huánjiāng 环江 - Chéngguǎn 城管 - Subgroup N
  13. Róng'ān 融安 - Ānzì 安治 - Subgroup N
  14. Lóngshèng 龙胜 - Rìxīn 日新 - Subgroup N
  15. Héchí 河池 - Sānqū 三区 - Subgroup N
  16. Nándān 南丹 - Mémá 么麻 - Subgroup N
  17. Dōnglán 东兰 - Chéngxiāng 城厢 - Subgroup N
  18. Dū'ān 都安 - Liùlǐ 六里 - Subgroup N
  19. Shànglín 上林 - Dàfēng 大丰 - Subgroup N
  20. Láibīn 来宾 - Sìjiǎo 寺脚 - Subgroup N
  21. Guìgǎng 贵港 - Shānběi 山北 - Subgroup N
  22. Liánshān 连山 - Xiǎosānjiāng 小三江 - Subgroup N
  23. Qīnzhōu 钦州 - Nàhé Township 那河乡 - Subgroup I
  24. Yōngnán 邕南 - Xiàfāng Township 下枋乡 - Subgroup M
  25. Lóng'ān 隆安 - Xiǎolín Township 小林乡 - Subgroup M
  26. Fúsuí (Central) 扶绥中部 - Dàtáng Township 大塘乡 - Subgroup M
  27. Shàngsī 上思 - Jiàodīng Township 叫丁乡 - Subgroup C
  28. Chóngzuǒ 崇左 - Fùlù Township 福鹿乡 - Subgroup C
  29. Níngmíng 宁明 - Fēnghuáng Township 凤璜乡 - Subgroup B
  30. Lóngzhōu 龙州 - Bīnqiáo Township 彬桥乡 - Subgroup F
  31. Dàxīn 大新 - Hòuyì Township 后益乡 - Subgroup H
  32. Débǎo 德保 - Yuándì'èrqū 原第二区 - Subgroup L
  33. Jìngxī 靖西 - Xīnhé Township 新和乡 - Subgroup L
  34. Guǎngnán 广南 (Nóng people 侬族) - Xiǎoguǎngnán Township 小广南乡 - Subgroup L
  35. Yánshān 砚山 (Nóng people 侬族) - Kuāxī Township 夸西乡 - Subgroup L
  36. Wénmǎ 文马 (Tǔ people 土族) - Dàzhài, Hēimò Township 黑末乡大寨 - Subgroup P

Johnson (2011) distinguishes four distinct Zhuang languages in Wenshan Prefecture, Yunnan, China: Nong Zhuang, Yei Zhuang, Dai Zhuang, and Min Zhuang. Min Zhuang is a recently discovered variety that has never been described previous to Johnson (2011). (See also Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture#Ethnic groups)

Pyang Zhuang, or Fuping Zhuang, is an undescribed Central Tai language spoken in Fuping Township 扶平乡, Debao County, Guangxi, China.[10]

Writing systems[edit]

Zhuang Sawndip manuscript
the 81 symbols of the Poya 坡芽 Song Book used by Zhuang women in Funing County, Yunnan, China.

The Zhuang languages have been written in the Old Zhuang script, Sawndip, for over a thousand years, and possibly Sawgoek previous to that. The Old Zhuang script, Sawndip, is a Chinese character–based system of writing, similar to Vietnamese chữ nôm: some sawndip logograms were borrowed directly from Han characters, while others were original characters made up from the components of Chinese characters. It is used for writing songs about every aspect of life, including in more recent times encouraging people to follow official family planning policy.

There has also been the occasional use of pictographic proto-writing, such as in the example at right.

In addition, Standard Zhuang and Bouyei are written in Latin script.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
  2. ^ "云南:六个少数民族人口过百万". Yn.xinhuanet.com. 2011-05-09. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  3. ^ "SIL Electronic Survey Reports: A sociolinguistic introduction to the Central Taic languages of Wenshan Prefecture, China". SIL International. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  4. ^ A1 designates a tone.
  5. ^ Edmondson, Jerold A. 2007. "The power of language over the past: Tai settlement and Tai linguistics in southern China and northern Vietnam". in Studies in Southeast Asian languages and linguistics, Jimmy G. Harris, Somsonge Burusphat and James E. Harris (eds.), Bangkok, Thailand: Ek Phim Thai Co. Ltd. (see page 15)
  6. ^ a b c Zhang Yuansheng and Wei Xingyun. 1997. "Regional variants and vernaculars in Zhuang." In Jerold A. Edmondson and David B. Solnit (eds.), Comparative Kadai: The Tai branch, 77–96. Publications in Linguistics, 124. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington. ISBN 978-1-55671-005-6.
  7. ^ Luo Yongxian. 2008. "Zhuang". In Diller, Anthony, Jerold A. Edmondson, and Yongxian Luo eds. 2008. The Tai–Kadai Languages. Routledge Language Family Series. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-7007-1457-5.
  8. ^ a b 张均如 / Zhang Junru, et al. 壮语方言研究 / Zhuang yu fang yan yan jiu [A Study of Zhuang dialects]. Chengdu: 四川民族出版社 / Sichuan min zu chu ban she, 1999.
  9. ^ Pittayaporn, Pittayawat. 2009. The Phonology of Proto-Tai. Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Linguistics, Cornell University.
  10. ^ http://lingweb.eva.mpg.de/numeral/Zhuang-Fuping.htm


  • Zhuàng-Hàn cíhuì 壮汉词汇 (Nanning, Guǎngxī mínzú chūbǎnshè 广西民族出版社 1984).
  • Edmondson, Jerold A. and David B. Solnit, ed. Comparative Kadai: The Tai Branch. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics; [Arlington]: University of Texas at Arlington, 1997.
  • Johnson, Eric C. 2010. "A sociolinguistic introduction to the Central Taic languages of Wenshan Prefecture, China." SIL Electronic Survey Reports 2010-027: 114 p. http://www.sil.org/silesr/abstract.asp?ref=2010-027.
  • Luo Liming, Qin Yaowu, Lu Zhenyu, Chen Fulong (editors) (2004). Zhuang–Chinese–English Dictionary / Cuengh Gun Yingh Swzdenj. Nationality Press, 1882 pp. ISBN 7-105-07001-3.
  • Tán Xiǎoháng 覃晓航: Xiàndài Zhuàngyǔ 现代壮语 (Beijing, Mínzú chūbǎnshè 民族出版社 1995).
  • Tán Guóshēng 覃国生: Zhuàngyǔ fāngyán gàilùn 壮语方言概论 (Nanning, Guǎngxī mínzú chūbǎnshè 广西民族出版社 1996).
  • Wang Mingfu, Eric Johnson (2008). Zhuang Cultural and Linguistic Heritage. The Nationalities Publishing House of Yunnan. ISBN 7-5367-4255-X.
  • Wéi Qìngwěn 韦庆稳, Tán Guóshēng 覃国生: Zhuàngyǔ jiǎnzhì 壮语简志 (Beijing, Mínzú chūbǎnshè 民族出版社 1980).
  • Zhang Junru 张均如, et al. 壮语方言研究 / Zhuang yu fang yan yan jiu [A Study of Zhuang dialects]. Chengdu: 四川民族出版社 / Sichuan min zu chu ban she, 1999.
  • Zhou, Minglang: Multilingualism in China: The Politics of Writing Reforms for Minority Languages, 1949–2002 (Walter de Gruyter 2003); ISBN 3-11-017896-6; pp. 251–258.

External links[edit]