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The Hlai languages (Chinese: 黎语; pinyin: Lí yǔ) are a primary branch of the Kra–Dai language family spoken in the mountains of central and south-central Hainan in China, not to be confused with the colloquial name for the Leizhou branch of Min Chinese (Chinese: 黎话; pinyin: Lí huà). They include Cun, whose speakers are ethnically distinct.[3] A quarter of Hlai speakers are monolingual. None of the Hlai languages had a writing system until the 1950s, when the Latin script was adopted for Ha.

Hlai
Li
Native to China
Region Hainan
Ethnicity Li people
Native speakers
667,000 (1999)[1]
Early form
Proto-Hlai (reconstructed)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
lic – Hlai
cuq – Cun
Glottolog nucl1241[2]

Contents

ClassificationEdit

Norquest (2007) classifies the Hlai languages as follows.[4] Individual languages are highlighted in bold. There are some 750,000 Hlai speakers.

  • Proto-Hlai
    • Bouhin (Heitu 黑土) – 73,000
    • Greater Hlai
      • Ha Em 哈 (Zhongsha 中沙) – 193,000, the basis of the literary language
      • Central Hlai
        • East Central Hlai – 344,000
          • Lauhut (Baoding 保定) – 166,000
          • Qi 杞 also known as Gei – 178,000
            • Tongzha (Tongshi 通什) – 125,000
            • Zandui (Qiandui 堑对) – 29,000
            • Baoting 保亭 – 24,000
        • North Central Hlai – 136,500
          • Northwest Central Hlai – 62,500
            • Cun (Ngan Fon, Gelong 仡隆) – 60,000
            • Nadou (Dongfang 东方) – 2,500
          • Northeast Central Hlai – 74,000
            • Meifu 美孚 (Moifau) – 30,000
            • Run (Zwn) also known as Bendi – 44,000
              • Baisha 白沙 – 36,000
              • Yuanmen 元门 – 8,000

The Fuma 府玛 dialect is spoken in one village north of Changcheng 昌城, Hainan. It had about 800 speakers in 1994.[5]

Jiamao 加茂 (52,000) is an aberrant Kra-Dai language with a Hlai superstratum and a non-Hlai substratum.

ReconstructionEdit

The Proto-Hlai language is the reconstructed ancestor of the Hlai languages. Proto-Hlai reconstructions include those of Matisoff (1988), Thurgood (1991), Ostapirat (2004), and Norquest (2007).

HistoryEdit

Liang & Zhang (1996:18-21)[6] consider the original homeland of the Hlai languages to be the Leizhou Peninsula, and estimate that the Hlai had migrated across the Hainan Strait into Hainan island about 4,000 years before present.[6]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Hlai at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Cun at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Nuclear Hlaic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Ethnologue mistakenly lists Cun among the Kra languages.
  4. ^ Norquest, Peter K. (2007). A Phonological Reconstruction of Proto-Hlai (Ph.D. dissertation). Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona. 
  5. ^ http://asiaharvest.org/wp-content/themes/asia/docs/people-groups/China/chinaPeoples/F/Fuma.pdf
  6. ^ a b Liang Min 梁敏 & Zhang Junru 张均如. 1996. Dongtai yuzu gailun 侗台语族概论 / An introduction to the Kam–Tai languages. Beijing: China Social Sciences Academy Press 中国社会科学出版社. ISBN 9787500416814

ReferencesEdit

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit