Lisoish languages

Central Loloish
Southern China, Vietnam
Linguistic classification Sino-Tibetan
Glottolog liso1234[1]

The Lisoish languages are a branch of the Loloish languages proposed by Ziwo Lama (2012) that includes Lisu and several of the Yi languages. David Bradley (1997)[2] considers Lisoish languages to be part of the Central Loloish branch.

Languages and classifications

Lama (2012)


Lipo, Lolopo, Hlersu (Shansu)

Toloza (Tanglang)


Lalo (Laluba), Lavu (+ other Taloid languages)

David Bradley (2007)[3] considers Lisu, Lipo, and Lamu to form a Lisoid subgroup.

Other Lisoish languages are:

The following two of the six Yi languages (fangyan 方言) officially recognized by the Chinese government belong to Lama's Lisoish clade. (The remaining four are Nisoish.)

  • Western Yi (Lalo 腊罗)
  • Central Yi (Lolopo 倮倮泼)

Chen (2010)

Chen (2010) lists the following dialects for "Lolo" (倮倮) languages, which corresponds to Lama's (2012) Lisoish clade. The position of Lisu is not addressed. Also listed are the counties where each respective dialect is spoken.

Lolo 倮倮方言
  • Lolo, Luóluó 倮倮次方言 (lo̱˨˩lo̱˧pʰo˨˩): 600,000 speakers in all counties of Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture
  • Lalu, Làlǔ 腊鲁次方言
    • Lalu, Làlǔ 腊鲁 (la˨˩lu̱˧pa˨˩): 250,000 speakers in Dali, Weishan, Midu, Yongping, Baoshan, etc.
    • Lalo, Làluó 腊罗 (la˨˩lo̱˨˩ɣɑ˥ly˥): 250,000 speakers in Dali, Weishan, Yunxian, Changning, Nanjian, Lincang, Shuangjiang, Midu, Jingdong, Jinggu, etc.
  • Lipo, Lǐpō 里泼次方言
    • Lipo, Lǐpō 里泼 (li˧pʰo˨˩): 200,000 speakers in Luquan, Wuding, Yongsheng, Huaping, etc.
    • Lavu, Lāwù 拉务 (la˨˩u˨˩): 50,000 speakers in Yongsheng
    • Talu, Tǎlǔ 塔鲁 (tʰa˨˩lu˥): 50,000 speakers in Yongsheng, Huaping, etc.
    • Toloza, Tánglángràng 堂郎让 (tʰo˧lo˧za˧): 2,000+ speakers in Tai'an Township, Lijiang County

Other languages

The Chuxiong Prefecture Ethnic Gazetteer (2013:364) lists the following cognate percentages between Lolopo 罗罗濮 and other Yi languages in Chuxiong Prefecture.

  • Ache 阿车: 74.86% (211/282)
  • Chesu 车苏: 55% (155/282)
  • Luowu 罗武: 75.89% (214/282)
  • Shansu 山苏: 78.4% (221/282)
  • Lipo 里濮: 93.36% (253/271)

Yang, et al. (2017)[4] lists the following languages as part of the Taloid branch, whose speakers are descendants of soldiers sent by the Nanzhao Kingdom from the Dali region to be stationed in northwestern Yunnan. Taloid languages are most closely related to Lalo, Lolopo, and Lipo, all of which share the lexical innovation a¹toL for 'fire'. They are spoken primarily in Yongsheng County and Heqing County. Popei 泼佩 is spoken in Huaping County, while Gomotage is spoken in Eryuan County.

Tazhi of Puwei Township 普威镇, northern Miyi County 米易县, Sichuan may also be a Taloid language.

Cathryn Yang (2010:7)[5] also suggests that Wotizo (wɔ˨˩ti˧zɔ˨˩) of Midu County may probably be related to Lolo (Lolopo).

Cathryn Yang (2010)[5] lists the following 4 languages as peripheral Lalo languages.

Bradley (2007) reports the moribund language Samatu as a Laloid language.

Other languages that may be Lisoish include (see also List of lesser-known Loloish languages):

  • Gaiji 改积 of central Yun County
  • Gaisu, Western 改苏(西) (Luoren) of northeastern Yongde County
  • Gepo, Western 葛泼(西) of Liuhe Township 六合彝族乡, Heqing County
  • Pengzi 棚子 of Wumulong Township 乌木龙彝族乡 (and possibly also Mengban Township 勐板乡), Yongde County
  • Suan 蒜 of Wumulong Township 乌木龙彝族乡 and Mengban Township 勐板乡, Yongde County
  • Western Samadu 撒马堵(西) of Zhenkang County (pop. 6,000), Yongde County (pop. 1,500)

Lolopo varieties:

Below are autonyms of Central Yi (彝语中部方言) speakers as listed in the Yunnan Province Ethnic Minority Languages Gazetteer (1997) (云南省志:少数民族语言文字志; p. 57):


Lama (2012) lists the following sound changes from Proto-Loloish as Lisoish innovations.

  • *m- > zero
  • *m- > p-


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Lisoid". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. Bradley, David (1997). "Tibeto-Burman languages and classification". In Tibeto-Burman languages of the Himalayas, Papers in South East Asian linguistics. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  3. Bradley, David. 2007. East and Southeast Asia. In Moseley, Christopher (ed.), Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages, 349-424. London & New York: Routledge.
  4. Yang, Cathryn; Kwok Wailing 范秀琳 Zhou Decai 周德才; Yang Wenjing 杨文静. 2017. The Taloid Cluster of Northwestern Yunnan: Loyal Soldiers of the Nanzhao Kingdom / 滇西北彝语他留土群:忠诚的南诏战士. Presented at ICSTLL 50, Beijing, China.
  5. 1 2 Yang, Cathryn. 2010. Lalo regional varieties: Phylogeny, dialectometry, and sociolinguistics. Melbourne: La Trobe University PhD dissertation.
  6. "永仁县永定镇太平地村委会太平地村委会骂池村". Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  • Chen Kang [陈康]. 2010. A study of Yi dialects [彝语方言研究]. Beijing: China Minzu University Press.
  • Lama, Ziwo Qiu-Fuyuan (2012), Subgrouping of Nisoic (Yi) Languages, thesis, University of Texas at Arlington (archived)
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