Jiamao language

Jiamao (Chinese: 加茂; pinyin: Jiāmào, Jiamao; also Tái or Sāi) is a possible language isolate spoken in southern Hainan, China.[2][3] Jiamao speakers' autonym is tʰai1.[4][5]

Sai 塞
Native toChina
Native speakers
(52,000 cited 1987)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3jio


Jiamao was long thought to be one of the Hlai languages, which are a subgrouping of the Kra–Dai family, but its many divergent words eventually lead Graham Thurgood (1992) to suggest that it might have an Austroasiatic substratum. Norquest (2007) identified various lexical items in Jiamao that do not reconstruct to Proto-Hlai and later firmly established it as a non-Hlai language.[6] Hsiu (2018) notes that Jiamao also contains various words borrowed from an unknown, currently extinct Tibeto-Burman branch.[7]


In the 1980s, Jiamao was spoken by 50,000 people in central and south-central Hainan, mostly in Jiamao Township (加茂镇) in Baoting Li and Miao Autonomous County. It shares less than half of its lexicon with the Hlai languages.[8]

In Lingshui Li Autonomous County, Jiamao is spoken in Benhao (本号), Nanping (南平), Wenluo (文罗), Zuguan (祖关), Longguang (隆广), and Tianzi (田仔).[9] In Lingshui County, Jiamao is known as Tái (台), and is also known as Sāi (塞) or Jiāwǒ (加我).[citation needed] In Qiongzhong Li and Miao Autonomous County, it is spoken in Zhongping Town (中平镇) and Shengpo Farm (乘坡农场), in a total of 30 villages.[citation needed]

There are four Jiamao dialects,[10] namely Jiamao (加茂), Liugong (六弓), Tianzi (田仔), and Qunying (群英).[citation needed]

Jiamao is spoken in the following villages and townships of southern Hainan.[citation needed]

  • Baoting Li and Miao Autonomous County (保亭黎族苗族自治县)
    • Jiamao Township (加茂乡)
    • Liugong Township (六弓乡)
    • Shiling Town (什玲镇, in Jie 介村 and Shisheng 什胜村 villages)
  • Lingshui Li Autonomous County (陵水黎族自治县)
    • Longguang Town (隆广镇)
    • Benhao Town (本号镇)
  • Sanya (三亚市)
    • Haitangwan Town (海棠湾镇, northeastern part: in Longtoucai 龙头菜村, Xiepei 协配村, and Maohou 毛喉村 villages)

The Liaoergong (廖二弓) dialect is documented in Huang (2011).[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jiamao at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Miyake, Marc (September 20, 2011). " Is Jiamao Hlai?". www.amritas.com. Archived from the original on August 4, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  3. ^ Norquest (2015)
  4. ^ See Proto-Tai_language#Tones for an explanation of the tone codes.
  5. ^ Liu, Yuanchao 刘援朝 (2008). "Líyǔ Jiāmàohuà gàikuàng" 黎语加茂话概况. Mínzú yǔwén 民族語文 (in Chinese). 5.
  6. ^ Norquest (2015), p. 3
  7. ^ Hsiu, Andrew (December 2017). "The Origins of Jiamao". MSEA Languages. Archived from the original on 2020-10-09.
  8. ^ Norquest (2007)
  9. ^ Lang, Alang 郎啊朗 (2006-09-27). ""Bǎotíng Jiāmào Lízú" shì zhēn dí Lízú ma?" “保亭加茂黎族”是真的黎族吗?. Tiānyá shèqū (in Chinese).
  10. ^ Xin, Shibiao 辛世彪 (2009-02-14). "Jiāmào Líyǔ de sìdà fāngyán" 加茂黎语的四大方言 [The Four Dialects of Jiamao]. Xīnlàng bókè (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  11. ^ Yang, Yiqi 杨遗旗 (2014). "Líyǔ héxīn rénchēng dàicí yánjiū" 黎语核心人称代词研究 [A Study of Core Personal Pronouns in Li Language]. Hǎinán shīfàn dàxué xuébào (Shèhuì kēxué bǎn) 海南师范大学学报 (社会科学版) (in Chinese). 27 (7): 118–123. doi:10.16061/j.cnki.cn46-1076/c.2014.07.051.

Works citedEdit

  • Thurgood, Graham (1992). "The Aberrancy of the Jiamao Dialect of Hlai: Speculation on its Origins and History". In Ratliff, Martha S.; Schiller, E. (eds.). Papers from the First Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. Arizona State University, Program for Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 417–433.
  • Norquest, Peter Kristian (2007). A Phonological Reconstruction of Proto-Hlai (PhD dissertation thesis). University of Arizona. hdl:10150/194203.
  • Norquest, Peter K. (2015). A Phonological Reconstruction of Proto-Hlai. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-30052-1.

Further readingEdit

  • Huang, Quan 黄权 (2011). Hàn-Lí zìdiǎn (Sài fāngyán) 汉黎字典 (赛方言) [Chinese-Hlai Dictionary (Sai Dialect)] (in Chinese). Yunnan minzu chubanshe. ISBN 978-75367-4971-9.
  • Yang, Wenping 杨文平 (2016). Hàn-Lí zìdiǎn: Tái fāngyán (Língshuǐ) 汉黎字典: 台方言 (陵水) [Chinese-Hlai Dictionary: Tai Dialect (Lingshui)] (in Chinese). Nanhai chuban gongsi. ISBN 978-7-5442-8130-0.
  • Zeng, Kewen 曾科文; Liang, Zhenzhen 梁珍珍 (2016). Lízú: Sài fāngyán 黎族: 赛方言 [The Li Ethnic Group: Sai Dialect] (in Chinese). Nanhai chuban gongsi. ISBN 978-7-5442-8364-9.