Bugan language

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Native toChina
Native speakers
2,700 (2005)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3bbh

Bugan, Bogan, Pakan, or Bugeng (布甘语, 布干语, or 布赓语) is an Austroasiatic language.[2] The existence of the Bugan language was not known by the rest of world until recently. There are about 3000 speakers, mostly in some villages in southern Guangnan (广南) and northern Xichou (西畴), Yunnan Province, China. Bugan is an analytic language, and word order and auxiliary words have important functions in the grammar.[3]


Li Jinfang (1996)[edit]

According to Li Jinfang (1996), the Bugan-speaking population is distributed in seven villages across southern Guangnan (广南) and northern Xichou (西畴), Yunnan Province, China. As the language is highly uniform, it is not divided into any dialects.

  • Laowalong 老挖龙 (Bugan-only population); Bugan language: pə55 luŋ13
  • Xinwalong 新挖龙 (Bugan-only population); Bugan language: pə55 tsuŋ13
  • Jiuping 九平 (Bugan and Han Chinese population); Bugan language: pə55 tsiaŋ31
  • Shibeipo 石北坡 (Bugan-only population); Bugan language: pə55 ɕe13
  • Xinzhai 新寨 (Bugan and Han Chinese population); Bugan language: li̠31 laŋ13
  • Malong 马龙 (Bugan-only population); Bugan language: pə55 ɣu31
  • Nala 那拉 (Bugan and Han Chinese population)

Li Yunbing (2005)[edit]

According to a more recent survey by Li Yunbing (2005), the Bugan people, comprising a total of 500+ households and 2,700+ individuals, live in the following locations.

  • Laowalong 老挖龙, Nasa Township 那洒镇;[4] Bugan language: pə31 loŋ55
  • Xinwalong 新挖龙;[5] Bugan language: pə31 tɕoŋ55
  • Xiaoping 小坪寨 ; Bugan language: pə31 tɕaŋ55
  • Nala 那腊;[6] Bugan language: pə31 pʰja44
  • Jiuping 九坪, Zhuanjiao Township 篆角乡 (Chongtian Township 冲天乡);[7] Bugan language: pə31 tɕa̠ŋ31
  • Shibeipo 石碑坡;[8] Bugan language: pə55 ɕe24
  • Manlong 曼龙;[9] Bugan language: pu31ɣu31

Li Yunbing also uses the term Bùgēng (布赓) in place of Bùgān (布甘).


The Bugan people's autonym is pə55 ka̠n33, while the surrounding Han Chinese call them Huazu (Chinese: 花族; literally "flower people") or Hualo (Chinese: 花倮) due to their colorful clothing (Li 1996). Other autonyms are pu55 qe̠ŋ44 (in Manlong, Xichou County) and pə55 qe̠ŋ44 (in Nala and Xinwalong in Guangnan County). They are an unrecognized ethnic minority, and are currently classified as Yi. The Bugan are endogamous, and thus do not usually marry people from other ethnic groups (Li 2006).

The Bugan people also hold their own New Year's Day celebration in April of the Chinese lunar calendar, which is separate from that of the Han Chinese New Year.

Common Bugan surnames include Li 李, Wang 王, Guo 郭, Luo 罗, Yan 严, Lu 卢, Pu 普, and Yi.


Bugan is a tonal SVO language. Unlike the Bolyu language, Bugan distinguishes between tense and lax voice qualities. In current linguistic publications on Bugan, tense voice is indicated by underlining vowels. Bugan has a total of 49 onsets (including various consonant clusters) and 67 possible rimes (Li 2005).



  • Li Jinfang. 1996. "Bugan — A New Mon–Khmer Language of Yunnan Province, China." Mon–Khmer Studies 26:135-160.
  • Li Jinfang [李锦芳]. 2006. Studies on endangered languages in the Southwest China [西南地区濒危语言调查研究]. Beijing: Minzu University.
  • Li Yunbing [李云兵]. 2005. A study of Bugeng [Bugan] [布赓语研究]. Beijing: Ethnic Publishing House [民族出版社].