Derung language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dulong, Derung, Qiuzu
Tvrung kvt
Pronunciation[tə˧˩ɻuŋ˥˧ kət˥]
Native toChina
RegionYunnan, Tibet
EthnicityAnu (northern Anung) of Nu nationality
Derung people
Native speakers
14,000 (2000)[1]
  • Dulong River
  • Nu River
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3duu
Glottologdrun1238  Drung

Dulong (simplified Chinese: 独龙语; traditional Chinese: 獨龍語; pinyin: Dúlóng) or Drung, Derung, Rawang, or Trung, is a Sino-Tibetan language in China. Dulong is closely related to the Rawang language of Myanmar (Burma).[1] Although almost all ethnic Derung people speak the language to some degree, most are multilingual, also speaking Burmese, Lisu, and Mandarin Chinese[2] except for a few very elderly people[3]

Dulong is also called: Taron, Kiu, Qui, Kiutze, Qiuzi, Kiupa, Kiao, Metu, Melam, Tamalu, Tukiumu, Qiu, Nung, Nu-tzŭ.[4]


Dulong belongs to the Nungish language family of the Central Tibeto-Burman branch of the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.[2] The other two languages in the same family are Anong and Rawang.


Dulong/Rawang is a Tibeto-Burman language cluster spoken on both sides of the China/Myanmar (Burma) border just south and east of Tibet. Within Myanmar, the people who speak the Dulong language (possibly up to 100,000 people) live in northern Kachin State, particularly along the Mae Hka ('Nmai Hka) and Mali Hka (Mali Hka) River valleys. In the past, they had been called 'Hkanung' or 'Nung', and have often been considered to be a subgroup of the Kachin (Jinghpaw). Around 1950, speakers of this language in Myanmar began a movement to use the name /rəwɑŋ/ (spelled 'Rvwang' in the Rawang orthographies) to represent all of its speakers. The speakers in China, though, continue to use the name 'Dulong'.[5]

Geographic distribution[edit]

There are 14,000 (2,000 census) people speaking in two dialects: 8,500 in Nu River dialect, and 5,500 in Dulong River dialect. The locations of Dulong are Yunnan province (Gongshan Dulong-Nu autonomous county), Xizang Autonomous Region (Gongshan Dulong-Nu autonomous county west to Chayu (Zayü) county), Gongshan county, Bingzhongluo, and Tibet (Chayu county, Chawalong district).[2] In the past, the Dulong River was known as the Kiu (Qiu) river, and the Dulong people were known as the Kiu (Qiu), Kiutze (Qiuzi), Kiupa, or Kiao.[1]


Dulong has two dialects: Dulong River (Central Dulongjiang, Derung River, Northern Dulongjiang, Southern Dulongjiang), and Nu River (Nujiang Dulong). Dialects reportedly inherently intelligible (Thurgood and LaPolla 2003). Other possible dialect names are Melam, Metu, Tamalu, and Tukiumu.[2]



Dulong has twenty-four initial consonants at six points of articulation, plus the consonant clusters /pr, br, mr, kr, xr, gr, pl, bl, ml, kl, gl/ in initial position; only the consonants /p, t, ʔ, k, n, m, ŋ, r, l/ occur in final position.[1]


Dulong has seven vowels, /i, ε, ə, ɑ, ɔ, ɯ, u/, and three diphthongs, /əi, ɑi, ɯi/, which only appear in open syllables.[1]


Dulong has 3 tones: high level, high falling, and low falling. In the Dulong language, tone has the role of differentiating the meaning of a few words, with about 8% words (out of about 4000) completely relying on tones to distinguish them.[6]


Words can be formed by prefixation, suffixation, or compounding. Word classes include nouns, defined by the ability to appear with a numeral classifier; verbs, defined by the ability to appear with negation and the person and tense marking; postpositions, which are enclitic to NPs, numerals, and classifiers. Adjectives are a subset of stative verbs for which reduplication means intensification or adverbialization rather than the perfective aspect (reduplication with nouns has a distributive meaning, ‘every’). Adjectives can be used as predicates or can appear nominalized in a copula clause.[1]


Lexical similarity: 74% with Matwang dialect of Rawang.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Thurgood, Graham; LaPolla, Randy J. (2003). The Sino-Tibetan languages. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. pp. 674–682. ISBN 0-203-27573-X.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Drung". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
  3. ^ Perlin, Ross (April 2009). "Language Attitudes of the T'rung" (PDF). Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area. 32 (1): 91–113.
  4. ^ "Did you know Drung is vulnerable?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  5. ^ LaPolla, Randy J. (2000). "Valency-changing derivations in Dulong/Rawang" (PDF). Changing Valency: Case Studies in Transitivity, ed. By R. M. W. Dixon & Alexandra y. Aikhcnvald. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 282–311. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511627750.009. ISBN 9780521660396.
  6. ^ Sun, Hongkai (1982). Dúlóngyǔ jiǎnzhì (A sketch of the Dulong language). Beijing: Minzu Chubanshe.

External links[edit]