Introduction to China’s Hmongic Languages

Foundation Operation X for languages, cultures and perspectives

Written by Dakota Wang

Miao or Hmongic is a set of language families of mutually unintelligible local languages, which are chiefly spoken by the Miao people of China.

There are8,940,116 Miao people living in mainland China according to the Chinese census of 2000.

Almost half of the Miao people live in Guizhou (48.1% of Miao in the PRC), and the rest are distributed across Hunan (21.49%), Yunnan (11.67%), Chongqing (5.62%), Guangxi (5.18%), Hubei (2.40%), Sichuan (1.65%), Guangdong (1.35%), Hainan (0.69%) and other provinces (1.85%).

The Hmongic languages of various regions are quite different, and it is basically impossible to use one’s own Hmong language to communicate with that of another region.

The Miao or Hmongic language families are divided into three types by Ma: Eastern (West Hunan), Central (East Guizhou), and Western (Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan). They are also called Xong, Hmu and Ahmao respectively.

While the Miao language of…

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