Kathu language

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Native to China
Region Guangnan County
Ethnicity Yi
Native speakers
5,000 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ykt
Glottolog kath1251[2]

Kathu (Thou; Chinese: 嘎苏话) is a Lolo-Burmese language of Balong (坝聋), Nanping Township (南屏镇), Guangnan County, Yunnan, China.[3] The Kathu are locally known as the White Yi (白彝). Wu Zili (2004) estimates that Kathu has a total of more than 7,000 speakers in Guangnan County (including in Dayashao 大牙少[4]), as well as in Jinping County, Yunnan.

Kathu is notable for having initial consonant clusters, which within the Lolo-Burmese branch are also found in Written Burmese (Old Burmese) and Jinuo (Hsiu 2014:66). Wu (2004) lists the onset clusters pl, pʰl, bl, ml, kl, kʰl, gl, ql, qʰl, ɢl, ŋl.


Hsiu (2014:65) identifies two varieties, both spoken in Nanping Township (南屏镇).

  • Kathu (autonym: ka˧θu˧), spoken in Anwang village 安王村
  • Thou (autonym: θou̯˥˧), spoken in Balong village 坝聋村


  1. ^ Kathu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Kathu". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ http://www.ynszxc.gov.cn/villagePage/vIndex.aspx?departmentid=229605
  4. ^ http://www.ynszxc.gov.cn/villagePage/vIndex.aspx?departmentid=229567
  • Hsiu, Andrew. 2014. "Mondzish: a new subgroup of Lolo-Burmese". In Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Chinese Languages and Linguistics (IsCLL-14). Taipei: Academia Sinica.
  • Wu Zili [武自立]. 1994. A preliminary study of the Gasu language of Guangnan County, Yunnan Province [云南省广南县嘎苏话初探]. Minzu Yuwen 2. http://wuxizazhi.cnki.net/Search/MZYW402.006.html
  • Wu Zili [武自立]. 2004. "Gasu language [嘎僳话]". In Studies on selected languages of Yunnan [云南特殊语言研究], 486-513. Kunming: Yunnan People's Press [云南民族出版社]. ISBN 7536730624