The Bunu (Punu) are the Yao people who speak Hmongic languages. That is, Bunu in the broad sense is a cultural rather than linguistic group. Strecker (1987) had classified Bunu proper (Bu-Nao) as a Western (Chuanqiandian) Hmongic language, and the other Bunu (or Punuic) languages—Younuo, Wunai (Hm Nai), and Jiongnai (Kiong Nai)—as distinct branches of Hmongic. Matisoff (2001) grouped all of these together in a Bunu branch of Hmongic (that is, outside Western Hmongic). Ratliff (2010) returned Bunu proper (Bu-Nao) to Western Hmongic, and moved Jiongnai to its own peripheral branch of Hmongic, but did not address Younuo or Wunai. Mao Zongwu (1997) found that Younuo, Wunai, and Pa-Hng form a distinct branch of Hmongic.
The Bunu languages form a group in Chinese classification, but that is because Chinese classifications are not purely linguistic, but take into account ethnic identity.
- Strecker, David. 1987. "The Hmong-Mien Languages." In Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, 10 , no. 2: 1-11.
- Ratliff, Martha. 2010. Hmong–Mien language history. Canberra, Australia: Pacific Linguistics.
- 毛宗武, 李云兵 / Mao Zongwu, Li Yunbing. 1997. 巴哼语研究 / Baheng yu yan jiu (A Study of Baheng [Pa-Hng]). Shanghai: 上海远东出版社 / Shanghai yuan dong chu ban she.
- Wang Fushi, cited in Strecker (1987b)
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