The ZHUANG LANGUAGES (autonym : Vahcuengh (pre-1982: Vaƅcueŋƅ,
Sawndip : 話僮), from vah 'language' and Cuengh 'Zhuang'; simplified
Chinese : 壮语; traditional Chinese : 壯語; pinyin : Zhuàngyǔ)
are any of more than a dozen
Tai languages spoken by the Zhuang people
China in the province of
Guangxi and adjacent parts of
Guangdong . The
Zhuang languages do not form a monophyletic
linguistic unit, as northern and southern
Zhuang languages are more
closely related to other
Tai languages than to each other. Northern
Zhuang languages form a dialect continuum with Tai varieties across
the provincial border in
Guizhou , which are designated as Bouyei ,
Zhuang languages form another dialect continuum with
Nung , Tay and Caolan in
Standard Zhuang is based on the
northern Zhuang dialect of Wuming .
Tai languages are believed to have been originally spoken in what
is now southern China, with speakers of the Southwestern Tai languages
(which include Thai , Lao and Shan ) having emigrated in the face of
Chinese expansion. Noting that both the Zhuang and Thai peoples have
the same exonym for the Vietnamese, kɛɛuA1, from the Chinese
Jiaozhi in northern Vietnam,
Jerold A. Edmondson posited
that the split between Zhuang and the Southwestern Tai languages
happened no earlier than the founding of
Jiaozhi in 112 BC. He also
argues that the departure of the Thai from southern
China must predate
the 5th century AD, when the Tai who remained in
China began to take
* 1 Surveys
* 2 Varieties
* 2.1 Northern Zhuang
* 2.2 Southern Zhuang
* 3 Writing systems
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 Bibliography
* 7 External links
Sites surveyed in Zhang (1999), subgrouped according to
Pittayaporn (2009): N, M, I, C, B, F, H, L, P
Zhāng Jūnrú's (张均如) Zhuàngyǔ Fāngyán Yánjiù
(壮语方言研究 ) is the most detailed study of Zhuang
dialectology published to date. It reports survey work carried out in
the 1950s, and includes a 1465-word list covering 36 varieties of
Zhuang. For the list of the 36 Zhuang variants below from Zhang
(1999), the name of the region (usually county) is given first,
followed by the specific village. The phylogenetic position of each
variant follows that of Pittayaporn (2009) (see Tai
languages#Pittayaporn (2009) ).
* Wuming – Shuāngqiáo 双桥 – Subgroup M
* Hengxian – Nàxù 那旭 – Subgroup N
* Yongning (North) – Wǔtáng 五塘 – Subgroup N
* Pingguo – Xīnxū 新圩 – Subgroup N
* Tiandong – Héhéng 合恒 – Subgroup N
* Tianlin – Lìzhōu 利周 – Subgroup N
* Lingyue – Sìchéng 泗城 – Subgroup N
* Guangnan (Shā people 沙族) – Zhěméng Township 者孟乡 –
* Qiubei – Gēhán Township 戈寒乡 – Subgroup N
* Liujiang – Bǎipéng 百朋 – Subgroup N
* Yishan – Luòdōng 洛东 – Subgroup N
* Huanjiang – Chéngguǎn 城管 – Subgroup N
* Rong\'an – Ānzì 安治 – Subgroup N
* Longsheng – Rìxīn 日新 – Subgroup N
Hechi – Sānqū 三区 – Subgroup N
* Nandan – Mémá 么麻 – Subgroup N
* Donglan – Chéngxiāng 城厢 – Subgroup N
* Du\'an – Liùlǐ 六里 – Subgroup N
* Shanglin – Dàfēng 大丰 – Subgroup N
Laibin – Sìjiǎo 寺脚 – Subgroup N
Guigang – Shānběi 山北 – Subgroup N
* Lianshan – Xiǎosānjiāng 小三江 – Subgroup N
Qinzhou – Nàhé Township 那河乡 – Subgroup I
* Yongning (South) – Xiàfāng Township 下枋乡 – Subgroup M
* Long\'an – Xiǎolín Township 小林乡 – Subgroup M
* Fusui (Central) – Dàtáng Township 大塘乡 – Subgroup M
* Shangsi – Jiàodīng Township 叫丁乡 – Subgroup C
Chongzuo – Fùlù Township 福鹿乡 – Subgroup C
* Ningming – Fēnghuáng Township 凤璜乡 – Subgroup B
* Longzhou – Bīnqiáo Township 彬桥乡 – Subgroup F
* Daxin – Hòuyì Township 后益乡 – Subgroup H
* Debao – Yuándì'èrqū 原第二区 – Subgroup L
* Jingxi – Xīnhé Township 新和乡 – Subgroup L
* Guangnan (Nóng people 侬族) – Xiǎoguǎngnán Township
小广南乡 – Subgroup L
* Yanshan (Nóng people 侬族) – Kuāxī Township 夸西乡 –
* Wenma (Tǔ people 土族) – Hēimò Township 黑末乡大寨,
Dàzhài – Subgroup P
The Zhuang language (or language group) has been divided by Chinese
linguists into northern and southern "dialects" (fangyan 方言 in
Chinese), each of which has been divided into a number of vernacular
varieties (known as tǔyǔ 土语 in Chinese) by Chinese linguists
(Zhang Zhang 1999:29-30). The Wuming dialect of Yongbei Zhuang,
classified within the "Northern Zhuang dialect," is considered to be
the "standard " or prestige dialect of Zhuang, developed by the
government for certain official usages. Although Southern Zhuang
varieties have aspirated stops, Northern Zhuang varieties lack them.
There are over 60 distinct tonal systems with 5–11 tones depending
on the variety.
Zhang (1999) identified 13 Zhuang varieties. Later research by the
Summer Institute of Linguistics has indicated that some of these are
themselves multiple languages that are not mutually intelligible
without previous exposure on the part of speakers, resulting in 16
ISO 639-3 codes.
Northern Zhuang comprises dialects north of the Yong River , with
8,572,200 speakers (ISO 639 ccx prior to 2007):
* GUIBEI 桂北 (1,290,000 speakers): Luocheng, Huanjiang, Rongshui,
Rong'an, Sanjiang, Yongfu, Longsheng, Hechi, Nandan, Tian'e, Donglan
(ISO 639 zgb)
* LIUJIANG 柳江 (1,297,000 speakers): Liujiang,
Yishan, Liucheng, Xincheng (ISO 639 zlj)
* HONGSHUI HE 红水河 (2,823,000 speakers):
Laibin South, Du'an,
Mashan, Shilong, Guixian, Luzhai, Lipu, Yangshuo. Castro and Hansen
(2010) distinguished three mutually unintelligible varieties: Central
Hongshuihe (ISO 639 zch), Eastern Hongshuihe (ISO 639 zeh) and Liuqian
(ISO 639 zlq).
* YONGBEI 邕北 (1,448,000 speakers): Yongning North, Wuming
(prestige dialect), Binyang, Hengxian, Pingguo (ISO 639 zyb)
* YOUJIANG 右江 (732,000 speakers): Tiandong, Tianyang, Baise;
Youjiang River basin area (ISO 639 zyj)
* GUIBIAN 桂边 (Yei ; 827,000 speakers): Fengshan, Lingyun,
Yunnan Guangnan North (ISO 639 zgn)
* QIUBEI 丘北 (Yei ; 122,000 speakers):
Yunnan Qiubei area (ISO
* LIANSHAN 连山 (33,200 speakers):
Guangdong Lianshan, Huaiji
North (ISO 639 zln)
Southern Zhuang dialects are spoken south of the Yong River, with
4,232,000 speakers (ISO 639 ccy prior to 2007):
* YONGNAN 邕南 (1,466,000 speakers): Yongning South, Fusui Central
and North, Long'an, Jinzhou, Shangse,
Chongzuo areas (ISO 639 zyn)
* ZUOJIANG 左江 (1,384,000 speakers): Longzhou (Longjin), Daxin,
Tiandeng, Ningming; Zuojiang River basin area (ISO 639 zzj)
* DEJING 得靖 (979,000 speakers): Jingxi, Debao, Mubian, Napo.
Jackson, Jackson and Lau (2012) distinguished two mutually
unintelligible varieties: Yang (ISO 639 zyg) and Min (ISO 639 zgm)
* YANGUANG 砚广 (Nong ; 308,000 speakers):
Yunnan Guangnan South,
Yanshan area (ISO 639 zhn)
* WENMA 文马 (Dai ; 95,000 speakers):
Yunnan Wenshan, Malipo,
Guibian (ISO 639 zhd)
Johnson (2011) distinguishes four distinct
Zhuang languages in
Wenshan Prefecture ,
Nong Zhuang , Yei Zhuang , Dai
Zhuang , and Min Zhuang . Min Zhuang is a recently discovered variety
that has never been described previous to Johnson (2011). (See also
Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture#Ethnic groups )
Pyang Zhuang and Myang Zhuang are recently described Central Tai
languages spoken in
Debao County , Guangxi, China.
Sawndip manuscript the 81 symbols of the Poya
坡芽 Song Book used by Zhuang women in Funing County,
Zhuang languages have been written in the
Old Zhuang script ,
Sawndip , for over a thousand years, and possibly
Sawgoek previous to
that. The Old Zhuang script,
Sawndip , is a
Chinese character –based
system of writing, similar to Vietnamese chữ nôm : some sawndip
logograms were borrowed directly from Han characters, whereas others
were original characters made up from the components of Chinese
characters. It is used for writing songs about every aspect of life,
including in more recent times encouraging people to follow official
family planning policy.
There has also been the occasional use of pictographic proto-writing
, such as in the example at right.
Standard Zhuang and Bouyei are written in
Latin script .
* Languages of
Ningming Mingjiang language
* ^ Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2007" (The
World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in
* ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank,
Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Daic".
Glottolog 2.7 . Jena: Max Planck
Institute for the Science of Human History.
* ^ Bradley, David (2007). "East and Southeast Asia". In Moseley,
Christopher. Encyclopedia of the World's Engangered Languages.
Routledge. pp. 349–422. ISBN 978-1-135-79640-2 . p. 370.
* ^ A1 designates a tone.
* ^ Edmondson, Jerold A. (2007). "The power of language over the
past: Tai settlement and Tai linguistics in southern
northern Vietnam" (PDF). In Jimmy G. Harris, Somsonge Burusphat and
James E. Harris. Studies in Southeast Asian languages and linguistics.
Bangkok, Thailand: Ek Phim Thai Co. Ltd. CS1 maint: Uses editors
parameter (link ) (see page 15)
* ^ Pittayaporn, Pittayawat (2009). The Phonology of Proto-Tai
(Ph.D. thesis). Department of Linguistics, Cornell University.
* ^ A B C Zhang Yuansheng and Wei Xingyun. 1997. "Regional variants
and vernaculars in Zhuang." In
Jerold A. Edmondson and David B. Solnit
(eds.), Comparative Kadai: The Tai branch, 77–96. Publications in
Linguistics, 124. Dallas:
Summer Institute of Linguistics and the
University of Texas at Arlington. ISBN 978-1-55671-005-6 .
* ^ Luo Yongxian. 2008. "Zhuang". In Diller, Anthony, Jerold A.
Edmondson, and Yongxian Luo eds. 2008. The Tai–Kadai Languages.
Routledge Language Family Series. Psychology Press. ISBN
* ^ Johnson, Eric C. (2007). "
ISO 639-3 Registration Authority,
Change Request Number 2006-128" (PDF).
* ^ Tan, Sharon (2007). "
ISO 639-3 Registration Authority, Change
Request Number 2007-027" (PDF).
* ^ A B 张均如 / Zhang Junru, et al. 壮语方言研究 / Zhuang
yu fang yan yan jiu . Chengdu: 四川民族出版社 / Sichuan min zu
chu ban she, 1999.
* ^ Hansen, Bruce; Castro, Andy (2010). "Hongshui He Zhuang dialect
intelligibility survey". SIL Electronic Survey Reports 2010-025.
* ^ Jackson, Bruce; Jackson, Andy; Lau, Shuh Huey (2012). "A
Sociolinguistic Survey of the Dejing Zhuang Dialect Area". SIL
Electronic Survey Reports 2012-036. .
* ^ "SIL Electronic Survey Reports: A sociolinguistic introduction
to the Central Taic languages of Wenshan Prefecture, China". SIL
International. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
* ^ http://lingweb.eva.mpg.de/numeral/Zhuang-Fuping.htm
* ^ Liao Hanbo. 2016. Tonal development of Tai languages. M.A.
dissertation. Chiang Mai: Payap University.
* Zhuàng-Hàn cíhuì 壮汉词汇 (Nanning, Guǎngxī mínzú
chūbǎnshè 广西民族出版社 1984).
* Edmondson, Jerold A. and David B. Solnit, ed. Comparative Kadai:
The Tai Branch. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics; :
University of Texas at Arlington, 1997.
* Johnson, Eric C. 2010. "A sociolinguistic introduction to the
Central Taic languages of Wenshan Prefecture, China." SIL Electronic
Survey Reports 2010-027: 114 p.
* Luo Liming, Qin Yaowu, Lu Zhenyu, Chen Fulong (editors) (2004).
Zhuang–Chinese–English Dictionary / Cuengh Gun Yingh Swzdenj.
Nationality Press, 1882 pp. ISBN 7-105-07001-3 .
* Tán Xiǎoháng 覃晓航: Xiàndài Zhuàngyǔ 现代壮语
(Beijing, Mínzú chūbǎnshè 民族出版社 1995).
* Tán Guóshēng 覃国生: Zhuàngyǔ fāngyán gàilùn
壮语方言概论 (Nanning, Guǎngxī mínzú chūbǎnshè
* Wang Mingfu, Eric Johnson (2008). Zhuang Cultural and Linguistic
Heritage. The Nationalities Publishing House of Yunnan. ISBN
* Wéi Qìngwěn 韦庆稳, Tán Guóshēng 覃国生: Zhuàngyǔ
jiǎnzhì 壮语简志 (Beijing, Mínzú chūbǎnshè 民族出版社
* Zhang Junru 张均如, et al. 壮语方言研究 / Zhuang yu fang
yan yan jiu . Chengdu: 四川民族出版社 / Sichuan min zu chu ban
* Zhou, Minglang: Multilingualism in China: The Politics of Writing
Reforms for Minority Languages, 1949–2002 (Walter de Gruyter 2003);
ISBN 3-11-017896-6 ; pp. 251–258.
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