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Zhuang Language Facts and Information

Information About Zhuang Language

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Zhuang speakers in the Phrasebase community
Extinct: no
Family: Sino-Tibetan
Branch: Tai
Continent: Asia
Country: China
Region: NORTHERN: Northern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Wenshan Zhuang-Miao Autonomous Prefecture. Guizhou Province, Congjiang County, southwestern Hunan and northeastern Guangdong in Lianshan Zhuang-Yao Autonomous County. Yongbei is north of the Yongjiang and Youjiang rivers in the area from Hengxian to Pingguo; Hongshuihe is along the Red Water River; Liujiang around the town of Liujiang west of Liuzhou city; Youjiang straddles the Youjiang River in the area from Tiandong to Baise; Guibian in the northwesternmost region of Guangxi (Guibian lies across north central Guangxi); and Quibei around the town of Qiubei in Yunnan. SOUTHERN: Southwest Guangxi and southern Wenshan Zhuang-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of southeastern Yunnan Province. Yongnan is south of the Yongjiang River from Yongning in the east to Long"an in the west; Zuojiang is in southwestern Guangxi around Tiandeng, Daxin, Chongzuo, Longzhou, Pingxiang, and Ningming, down to the Viet Nam border; De-Jing is in southwestern Guangxi around Debao, Jingxi, and Napo, down to the Yunnan and Viet Nam borders; Wen-Ma is in southeastern Yunnan Province south of Wenshan and Malipo, but excluding an area west of Maguan; Yan-Guang is in southeastern Yunnan Province north of Wenshan and Malipo, including Yanshan and north to Guangnan, and west of Maguan along the Viet Nam border.
Countries Where Spoken: NORTHERN: 10,000,000 speakers (1992 J.A. Edmondson) out of 15,489,630 in the Zhuang nationality (1990 census), including Yongbei 1,600,000, Youjiang 732,000, Guibian 522,000, Liujiang 1,300,000, Guibei 1,300,000, Hongshuihe 2,700,000, Qiubei (not available). SOUTHERN: 4,000,000 speakers (1990 J-O Svantesson) out of 15,489,630 in the Zhuang nationality (1990 census), including Yongnan 1,400,000, Zuojiang 1,400,000, De-Jing 980,000, Yan-Guang (not available), Wen-Ma 100,000.
Countries Where Official: China
Native Speakers: 14,000,000
Speakers Total: 15,489,630
Phrasebase members who speak Zhuang at a native level: 0
Phrasebase members who speak Zhuang at a conversational level: 0
Phrasebase members primary language they are trying to learn is Zhuang: 0
Phrasebase members secondary language they are trying to learn is Zhuang: 0
Three Letter Code: CCX
Summary: NORTHERN: Dialect chain to Bouyei. "Biao" (Pumen) is a special variety spoken in Lianshan area of northwestern Guangdong and in eastern Guangxi around He Xian. 75% to 86% lexical similarity between the dialects; average 65% between Northern and Southern Zhuang; Northern Zhuang has 49% with Dong, 44% with Laka, 32% with Buyang, 30% with Laqua and Hlai, 28% with Lati, 25% with Gelo. In a Mandarin-speaking area, but some also speak Cantonese. Many in more developed locations control a variety of Chinese to some useful degree, but the majority in the countryside do not. Everywhere except in major cities the clear preference is to speak Zhuang, even in sizable towns. One of the five main official nationalities. Dictionary. SVO; modifiers follow heads; Wuming dialect has 6 tone categories in unchecked syllables and 2 (split into 4 according to vowel length) in checked syllables; most dialects lack aspirated stop series; rich in reduplicating modifiers and sound symbolism employing vowel gradation; several historical layers of borrowing from Chinese. Literacy rate in second language: 67%. Literacy generally low except in major towns and cities. Roman script based on the pronunciation of the Yongbei dialect spoken in Wuming County. May be difficult for some dialect speakers to use. Traditional ideographic script based on Chinese characters. Not standardized or widely used for general purposes. Mountain slope. Agriculturalists: paddy rice. Polytheist. Bible portions 1904. SOUTHERN: Dialect chain into Vietnam. Speakers of the varieties between the Youjiang River and the Vietnam border (particularly Zuojiang and De-Jing) refer to their language as "Tho", share many regional characteristics, and are intelligible with the Tay ("Tho") of Vietnam. The Yan-Guang and De-Jing varieties are intelligible with Nung (and Tay) of Vietnam, and refer to their language as "Nong". Man Cao Lan may be close to the Yan-Guang dialect (if found in China--that name is not used) of Viet Nam. Dialects share about 70% lexical similarity, about 65% with Northern Zhuang. Similar to Northern Zhuang, but has aspirated stop series.

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