Southern Qiang language

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Southern Qiang
RegionSichuan Province
EthnicityQiang people
Native speakers
81,000 (1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3qxs
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Southern Qiang is a Sino-Tibetan language of the Qiangic branch spoken by approximately 81,300 people along the Minjiang (Chinese: 岷江) river in Sichuan Province, China.

Unlike its close relative Northern Qiang, Southern Qiang is a tonal language.

Southern Qiang dialects[edit]

Southern Qiang is spoken in Li County (in Taoping Chinese: 桃坪, etc.), Wenchuan County (in Longxi 龙溪, Luobozhai 萝卜寨, Miansi 绵虒, etc.), and parts of Mao County. It consists of seven dialects: Dajishan, Taoping, Longxi, Mianchi, Heihu, Sanlong, and Jiaochang, which are greatly divergent and are not mutually intelligible.

Names seen in the older literature for Southern Qiang dialects include Lofuchai (Lophuchai, Lopu Chai), Wagsod (Wa-gsod, Waszu),[3] and Outside/Outer Mantse (Man-tzŭ).[4] The Southern Qiang dialect of Puxi Township has been documented in detail by Huang (2007).[5]

Liu (1998) adds Sānlóng (Chinese: 三龍) and Jiàocháng (較場) to the Southern subdialects.[6]

Sims (2016)[7] characterizes Southern Qiang as the perfective agreement suffixes innovation group. Individual dialects are highlighted in italics.

Southern Qiang
  • 'inward' *ji innovation subgroup
  • 'downward' *ɚ innovation subgroup
    • Western Lixian: Puxi 蒲溪乡, Xuecheng 薛城镇, Muka 木卡乡, Jiuzi 九子村
    • Eastern Lixian: Taoping 桃坪乡, Tonghua 通化乡

Southern Qiang consonants[edit]

Consonants are presented in the table below.[8]

Labial Dental Retroflex Palato-alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular
Voiceless stop p t k q
Aspirated stop
Voiced stop b d ɡ ɢ
Voiceless affricate ts ʈʂ
Aspirated affricate tsʰ ʈʂʰ tʃʰ tɕʰ
Voiced affricate dz ɖʐ
Voiceless fricative f s ʂ ɕ x χ
Voiced fricative z ʐ ʑ ɣ ʁ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Lateral l
Semivowel j, ɥ w


As with many of the Qiangic languages, Southern Qiang is becoming increasingly threatened. Because the education system largely uses Standard Chinese as a medium of instruction for the Qiang people, and as a result of the universal access to schooling and TV, most Qiang children are fluent or even monolingual in Chinese while an increasing percentage cannot speak Qiang.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Southern Qiang at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Southern Qiang". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ John McCoy & Timothy Light, ed., 1986, Contributions to Sino-Tibetan Studies, pp. 40, 65.
  4. ^ UC Berkeley, 1992, Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, vol. 15, pp. 76–77.
  5. ^ Huang, Chenlong 黄成龙. 2007. Puyuxi Qiangyu yanjiu 蒲溪羌语研究 (Studies on Puxi Qiang). Beijing: Ethnic Publishing House 民族出版社. ISBN 9787105089772. (in Chinese)
  6. ^ Liu, Guangkun (1998). Mawo Qiangyu Yanjiu. Sichuan Nationality Press.
  7. ^ Sims, Nathaniel. 2016. Towards a More Comprehensive Understanding of Qiang Dialectology. Language and Linguistics 17(3), 351–381. DOI:10.1177/1606822X15586685
  8. ^ Sun, Hongkai (1981). Qiangyu Jianzhi. Nationality Press.
  9. ^ Randy J. LaPolla, Chenglong Huan (2003). A Grammar of Qiang: With annotated texts and glossary. Mouton de Gruyter. p. 5. ISBN 978-3110178296.


  • Bradley, David. (1997). "Tibeto-Burman languages and classification". In D. Bradley (Ed.), Papers in South East Asian linguistics: Tibeto-Burman languages of the Himalayas (No. 14, pp. 1–71). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Chang, Kun. 1967. "A comparative study of the Southern Ch'iang dialects". Monumenta Serica, XXVI:422 - 443.
  • Evans, Jonathan P. 2001a. Introduction to Qiang Lexicon and Phonology: Synchrony and Diachrony. Tokyo:ILCAA, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.