Bisoid languages

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Southern China and Indochina
Linguistic classificationSino-Tibetan

The Bisoid (Phunoi) languages belong to the Southern Loloish (Hanoish) branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Most Bisoid languages are spoken in Phongsaly Province, northern Laos, with smaller numbers of speakers living in China (Yunnan), Vietnam (Lai Chau Province), Myanmar (Shan State), and northern Thailand.


The Bisoid languages are:


Bradley (2007)[edit]

David Bradley (2007)[2] considers the following Bisoid dialects to be closely related.

  • Bisu: 500 ethnic members in northern Thailand, with far fewer speakers
  • Hpyin (Pyen): 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 Menghai County
  • law˧pan˩ (Lao-Pan in Kingsada (1999))

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

Other Bisoid languages include:

  • Phongset (pʰoŋ˧ set˥) (Shintani 2001)
  • Phunyot (pʰu˨˩ ɲɔt˩) (Kato 2008)

Udomkool (2006)[edit]

Kitjapol Udomkool (2006:34),[3] citing data from Wright,[4] also lists the following Bisoid (Phunoi) languages.

Kitjapol Udomkool (2006) gives the following computational classification for the Bisoid (Phunoi) group, using the UPGMA method.





Tsukong, Cốông




Laoseng, Phongset


Bisu, Pyen

Laopin, Laomian

Wright (n.d.)[edit]

Wright (n.d.)[4] tentatively classifies the Singsali (Phunoi) languages of Phongsaly Province, Laos as follows. Phongku may or may not belong as the same group as Laoseng, Phongset, Cantan, and Singsali.

Hsiu (2016, 2018)[edit]

Bisoid languages were also analyzed in a 2016 computational phylogenetic lexical analysis by Hsiu (2016).[5]


The Bisoid classification above was subsequently revised by Hsiu (2018)[6] as follows, with Habei added to Bisoid.


Muda is also noted as having a Bisoid substratum and Akha superstratu. Khongsat and Laoseng have Siloid loanwords.[6]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bisoid". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Bradley, David. 2007. "East and Southeast Asia." In Moseley, Christopher (ed.), Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages, 349-424. London & New York: Routledge.
  3. ^ Udomkool, Kitjapol. 2006. A phonological comparison of selected Bisoid varieties Archived 2015-05-26 at the Wayback Machine. M.A. dissertation. Chiang Mai: Payap University.
  4. ^ a b Wright, Pamela Sue. n.d. Singsali (Phunoi) Speech Varieties Of Phongsali Province. m.s.
  5. ^ Hsiu, Andrew. 2016. The classification of Cosao: a Lolo-Burmese language of China and Laos. Presented at the 22nd Himalayan Languages Symposium, Guwahati, India.
  6. ^ a b Hsiu, Andrew. 2018. Classifications of some lesser-known Lolo-Burmese languages.
  • Lama, Ziwo Qiu-Fuyuan (2012), Subgrouping of Nisoic (Yi) Languages, thesis, University of Texas at Arlington (archived)
  • Kingsadā, Thō̜ngphet, and Tadahiko Shintani. 1999 Basic Vocabularies of the Languages Spoken in Phongxaly, Lao P.D.R. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).
  • Shintani, Tadahiko, Ryuichi Kosaka, and Takashi Kato. 2001. Linguistic Survey of Phongxaly, Lao P.D.R. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).
  • Kato, Takashi. 2008. Linguistic Survey of Tibeto-Burman languages in Lao P.D.R. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).
  • Tun, Maung Maung. 2014. A Sociolinguistic Survey of Selected Bisoid Varieties: Pyen, Laomian and Laopin. Master’s thesis.