|Region||Huanjiang County, Hechi, northern Guangxi|
Approximately half of all Maonan people are capable of speaking Maonan. In addition to this, many Maonan also speak Chinese or a Zhuang language. About 1/3 of all people who self-identify as Maonan are concentrated in the southern Guizhou province. They speak a mutually unintelligible dialect commonly called Yanghuang, which is more common known as the Then language in Western literature. The Maonan do not have a writing system.
- Nandan County, Guangxi
- Du'an Yao Autonomous County, Guangxi
- Yizhou, Guangxi
- Libo County, Guizhou
- Pingtang County, Guizhou
man2 na4 kʰaːu3
3SG eat wine
"S/He drinks wine."
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man2 paːi1 hɯ1
3SG go market
"S/He goes to the market."
Maonan displays a head-first modification structure, i.e. the modifier occurring after the modifier (Lu 2008:170). For example:
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Occasionally, a head-final modification structure is also possible with the involvement of a possessive particle (P.P.) ti5. For example:
jaːn1 ndaːu1 ti5 bo4
house/family 1PL P.P. buffalo
"Our family's buffalo"
(cf. the more common bo4 jaːn1 ndaːu1) (Lu 2008:173-174).
The Maonan writing system was established in 2010 based on the 26 Latin alphabets to facilitate standard keyboard input. The letters z, j, x, s, h are attached to the end of each syllable as tonal markers, representing tones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 respectively. The first tone is not written. Syllables ending in -b, -d, -g, -p, -t, -k do not distinguish tone either. The writing system is being used among a limited number of Maonan intellectuals. For example:
Writing: Hez suen ngz nhieij hux gangs deih tuet mad
IPA: ɦe² suːn¹ ŋ² ˀnjai³ ɦu⁴ kaːŋ⁵ dai⁶ tuːt⁷' maːt⁸'
Gloss: 1SG teach 2SG buy rice stitch bag take-off sock
Meaning: "I teach you (how) to buy rice, stitch bags and take off (your) socks."
- Maonan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Maonan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Lu, Tian Qiao (2008). A Grammar of Maonan. Boca Raton, Florida: Universal Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59942-971-7.
- Guangxi Minority Languages Orthography Committee. 2008. Vocabularies of Guangxi ethnic languages [广西民族语言方音词汇]. Beijing: Nationalities Publishing House [民族出版社].
- Maonan website: http://maonan.org/wenzi/HagLeaMauhnanh.asp?boardid=24
- Maonan website: http://maonan.org/wenzi/shengdiao.asp