Lolopo language

Central Yi
Native to China
Ethnicity Yi
Native speakers
570,000 (2002–2007)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 yclinclusive code
Individual code:
ysp  Southern Lolopo[3]
Glottolog lolo1259[4]

Lolopo (autonyms: lɔ˨˩lo˧pʰɔ˨˩, lo˧˩lo˧˩pʰo˧˩; Chinese: 倮倮泼; Central Yi) is a Loloish language spoken by half a million Yi people of China. Chinese linguists call it "Central Yi" as well, which is one of the six Yi languages recognized by the government of China.


Lolo speakers are referred to by a variety of exonyms. Below is a list of exonyms followed by their respective autonyms and demographics.[5]

  • Mili: lo²¹lo³³pʰo²¹ (spoken by about 12,000 people in Jingdong County). Also called Alie.
  • Enipu (ɣɯ⁵⁵ni²¹pa̱²¹ 'water buffalo people', an offensive exonym used by Lalo speakers): lo²¹lo³³pʰo²¹ (spoken in Nanjian County). Spoken by nearly 20,000 people in Weishan County (Qinghua Township) and Nanjian County (in Wuliang, Xiaowandong, and Langcang townships)
  • Tu (Tuzu): lo²¹lo³³pʰo²¹ (spoken by nearly 10,000 people in southern Xiangyun County)
  • Qiangyi: lɔ̱²¹lɔ³³sɿ⁵⁵ (spoken by nearly 15,000 people in northern and central Xiangyun County)
  • Eastern Lalu: lo̱²¹lo̱³³ (spoken by nearly 20,000 people in Xinping County and Zhenyuan County)
  • Lolo (of northeastern Binchuan County): lo̱²¹lo³³pʰo²¹
  • Xiangtang (spoken in Zhenkang County). Widespread distribution in Jinggu, Zhenyuan, Pu'er, Jiangcheng, Mengla, Jinghong, and Zhenkang counties, with perhaps under 80,000 speakers.
  • Lolo (of Nanhua County): lo̱²¹lo̱³³pʰo²¹
  • Lolo (of Yao'an County): lo²¹la³³pʰo²¹
  • Wotizo: wɔ²¹ti³³zɔ²¹ (Yang 2010:7)[6]


Yang (2011) proposes this tentative internal classification of Lolo.

  • Southern Lolo (?)
    • Western Lolo (Southern Lolopo in Ethnologue, ISO 639 ysp)
    • Xiangtang
    • Jingdong Lolo (Mili)
  • Southern Dali Lolo (Enipu)
  • Nanhua Lolo
    • Eastern Lalu
    • Tu
  • Binchuan Lolo (?)
  • Yao'an Lolo (Qiangyi) (?)

The Chuxiong Prefecture Ethnic Gazetteer (2013:364) lists the following cognacy 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)


  1. Hammarström (2015) Ethnologue 16/17/18th editions: a comprehensive review: online appendices
  2. Lolopo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Southern Lolopo[1] at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. Hammarström (2015) Ethnologue 16/17/18th editions: a comprehensive review: online appendices
  4. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Lolopo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. Yang, Cathryn. 2011. Assessment of the Lolo languages: Current understanding and recommended next steps. m.s.
  6. Yang, Cathryn. 2010. Lalo regional varieties: Phylogeny, dialectometry, and sociolinguistics. Melbourne: La Trobe University PhD dissertation.
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