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Hani languages

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Hani languages

Southern Loloish
Southern China and Indochina
Linguistic classification: Sino-Tibetan
Glottolog: None
haya1251  (Ha-Ya)[1]
honi1244  (Hao-Bai)[2]

The Hani languages is a group of closely related but distinct languages of the Loloish (Yi) branch of the Tibeto-Burman linguistic group. Approximately 1.5 million people speak these languages, mainly in China, Laos, Burma (Myanmar), and Vietnam; more than 90% of the speakers of these languages live in China. Various ethnicities that use Hani languages are grouped into a single class recognized nationality named Hani after the largest subgroup. In China, the languages of this group—which include Hani proper, Akha, and Hao-Bai (Honi and Baihong)—are considered dialects. Western scholars, however, have traditionally classified them as separate languages.


In China, Akha and other related languages are considered to be derivatives of Hani. They are not mutually intelligible, which means that speakers of one language do not necessarily understand speakers of the other language. In 2007, according to Ethnologue, there were almost 1.5 million speakers of all Hani varieties. Slightly more than half (760,000) of these speakers can speak Hani properly (considering age etc.). Lama (2012) groups the principal varieties of the Hani languages identified by Bradley (2007) as follows: Yunnan locations and speaker populations are from Haniyu Jianzhi 哈尼语简志 according to information from 1986.

  • Ha-Ya 哈雅 had 850,000 speakers in 1982. The representative dialect is Dazhai 大寨 and is spoken in Lüchun County.[3]
    • Hani 哈尼 (autonym: xa˨˩ni˨˩; orthography: "Haqniqdoq") has 520,000 speakers in south-central Yunnan, China and 12,500 speakers in Vietnam. In Yunnan is spoken in Honghe, Yuanyang, Lüchun, and Jinping counties.
    • Akha 阿卡 AKA Yani 雅尼 (ritual autonym: za˨˩ni˨˩; orthography: "Aqkaqdoq") has 550,000 speakers: 250,000 in China, 220,000 in Burma, 35,000 in northern Thailand, and 35,000 in northern Laos. In Yunnan, China it is spoken in Sipsongpanna. Representative dialect is Gelanghe Township 格朗和哈尼族乡, Menghai County.
    • Muda 木达 has over 2,000 speakers in Nanlianshan township 南联山乡, Jinghong City, Yunnan, China (Xu 1991).[4]
  • Hao-Bai 豪白: 210,000 speakers in Mojiang, Yuanjiang, and Pu'er counties. Representative dialect: Shuigui 水癸, Mojiang County.[5]
    • Haoni 豪尼 AKA Honi (autonym: xɒ˨˩ni˨˩) has 120,000 speakers.
    • Baihong 白宏 (autonym: pɤ˧˩xɔ̃˧˩) has 60,000 speakers.

In China, all of the Bi-Ka languages (Chinese: 碧卡) are considered to form a single Hani dialect cluster (Chinese: 方言 fangyan), and the speakers are officially classified as ethnic Hani (Haniyu Jianzhi 哈尼语简志 1986). Recognized dialects include Biyue 碧约 (autonym: bi31 jɔ31), Kaduo 卡多, and Enu 峨努. In Yunnan, China, they are spoken in Mojiang, Jiangcheng, Jingdong, and other counties, with a total of 370,000 speakers. The representative dialect is that of Caiyuan 菜园, Mojiang County.[6][7]

Yunnan Provincial Gazetteer

The Yunnan Provincial Gazetteer (云南省志:少数民族语言文字志, p. 113) classifies the Hani languages as follows. Additional dialects and datapoints from Zhang (1998)[8] are also included.

  • Ha-Ya 哈雅方言, 680,000 people
    • Hani 哈尼次方言
      • Dazhai, Lvchun County dialect 绿春大寨哈尼土语 (also includes the datapoint of Dashuigou 大水沟[8])
      • Angluo 昂倮 ("Hhaqloldoq"):[8] Malizhai, Yuanyang County dialect 元阳麻栗寨哈尼土语[9] (also includes the datapoint of Guozong 果统[8])
      • Luobi 罗碧 ("Lolbiqdoq"):[8] Dazhai, Jinping County 金平大寨; Adebo, Jinping County 金平阿得博
      • Malutang, Jinping County dialect 金平马鹿塘哈尼土语
      • Lami 腊咪 ("Laqmildoq"):[8] Jiayin, Honghe County dialect 红河甲寅哈尼土语 (also includes the datapoint of Leyu 乐育[8])
      • Langzha, Honghe County dialect 红河浪杂哈尼土语 (includes Yiche[10])
    • Yani 雅尼次方言
      • Gelanghe, Xishuangbanna dialect 西双版纳格朗和雅尼土语
      • Naduo, Lancang County dialect 澜沧那多雅尼土语[11]
  • Haoni 豪白方言, 180,000 people
    • Haoni 豪尼: Shuigui, Mojiang County dialect 墨江水癸土语[5]
    • Baihong 白宏: Bali, Mojiang County dialect 墨江坝利土语[12]
  • Bi-Ka 碧卡方言, 300,000 people
    • Biyue 碧约: Caiyuan Township, Mojiang County dialect 墨江菜园乡土语
    • Kaduo 卡多: Minxing Township, Mojiang County dialect 墨江民兴乡土语
    • Enu 哦怒: Dazhai, Yayi Township, Mojiang County dialect 墨江雅邑大寨土语[13]



In China, Hani languages are spoken mostly in areas east of the Mekong River in the south-central Yunnan province, concentrated in the Pu'er and Honghe prefectures as well as in parts of other surrounding prefectures. Hani is also spoken in Lai Châu Province of northwestern Vietnam, northern Laos, and Shan State of northeastern Burma.


Edmondson (2002) reports that the Hani of Vietnam is distributed in 2 provinces of northwestern Vietnam. The earliest Hani pioneers to Vietnam probably numbered around 5 to 6 families, and arrived in Mường Tè District from Jinping County and Lüchun County in Yunnan about 325 years ago. The Hani of Phong Thổ District and Bát Xát District arrived later, about 175 years ago from Yunnan. The Hani of Vietnam claim to be able to communicate in the Hani language with ethnic Hani from different areas of Vietnam despite significant geographical barriers. Edmondson (2002), however, reported different Hani speech varieties in various parts of northwestern Vietnam, which differ mostly lexically.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Xu Shixuan [徐世璇] (1991). 缅彝语几种音类的演变. Minzu Yuwen.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Zhang Peizhi [张佩芝]. 1998. Comparative vocabulary lists of the Ha-Ya dialects of the Hani language [哈尼语哈雅方言土语词汇对照]. Kunming: Yunnan Ethnic Publishing House [云南民族出版社].
  9. ^
  10. ^ Lan Qing [澜清]. 2009. Fertility: The kinship of China Yicyu [丰饶:哈尼族奕车人的亲属关系]. Yunnan People's Press [云南人民出版社]. ISBN 9787222058439
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  • Edmondson, Jerold A. 2002. "The Central and Southern Loloish Languages of Vietnam". Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: Special Session on Tibeto-Burman and Southeast Asian Linguistics (2002), pp. 1–13.

External links

  • Hani language recordings at
  • (Japanese) Hani–Japanese wordlist with comparison with related languages (in Japanese)
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