The Bunu people are the Yao people who speak Hmongic languages. That is, Bunu in the broad sense is a cultural rather than linguistic group. Strecker (1987) had classified Bu-Nao (Bunu proper) as a Western (Chuanqiandian) Hmongic language, and the other Bunu languages—Younuo (Yuno), Wunai (Hm Nai), and Jiongnai (Kiong Nai)—as distinct branches of Hmongic. Matisoff (2001) grouped all of these together in a Bunu branch of Hmongic (that is, outside Western Hmongic). Ratliff (2010) returned Bu-Nao to Western Hmongic, and moved Jiongnai to its own peripheral branch of Hmongic, but did not address Younuo or Wunai. Chinese sources generally do not treat the languages as Hmongic because the speakers are not ethnic Miao, but Wang & Deng (2003) classify Bunao as a cousin of Western Hmongic, and Jiongnai and Younuo as independent branches.
Bunu 布努 (Pu Nu) - 359,474 speakers; representative dialect: Nongjing, Qibainong Township, Dahua County 大化七百弄乡弄京
Dongnu 东努 (Tung Nu, autonyms: no˨, tuŋ˩no˨) - 293,489 speakers in Funing County, Yunnan (in Longshao 龙绍, etc.) and northern Guangxi: Du'an (in Meizhu 梅珠, etc.), Dahua, Bama, Pingguo, Tiandong, Mashan, Debao, Long'an, Baise, Tianyang, Donglan, Hechi, Shanglin, Xicheng, Yishan, Laibin. In Funing County, they are known as Buzha 布咋 (their autonym) or the Mountain Yao 山瑶.
Nunu 努努 (Nu Nu, autonyms: no˨no˨, po˧no˨) - 53,870 speakers in northwestern Guangxi: Lingyun (in Taohua 陶化, etc.), Fengshan, Donglan, Bama (in Xishan 西山, etc.), Tianlin, Leye
Bunuo 布诺 (Pu No, autonym: pu˧no˨) - 12,115 speakers in Du'an (in Sanzhiyang 三只羊; Longma 龙麻 of Xia'ao 下坳乡, etc.), Guangxi
Baonao 包瑙 (Nao Klao, Naogelao 瑙格劳, autonyms: pou˧nou˨, [tɔ˩] m̥ɔu˩tlou˩) - 28,952 speakers in Nandan, Hechi, and Tian'e in Guangxi as well as Libo County, Guizhou; representative dialect: Lihu Township, Nandan County 南丹里湖瑶族乡
Numao 努茂 (Nu Mhou, autonym: nu˨m̥ou˩) - 1,715 speakers in Libo County, Guizhou; representative dialect: Yaolu Township, Libo County 荔波瑶麓瑶族乡
Numao 努茂 (Nu Mhou, White-Trouser Yao 白裤瑶, autonym: nu˨m̥ou˩) - about 1,200 speakers in the townships of Yaolu 瑶麓 and Jiarong 佳荣
Dongmeng 冬孟 (Long-Shirt Yao 长衫瑶, autonym: toŋ˩nu˨, toŋ˩m̥uŋ˩) - about 400 speakers in the townships of Maolan 茂兰, Dongtang, 洞塘, and Weng'ang 翁昂
These add up to a total number of 390,000 speakers.
The Guizhou Province Gazetteer (2002) lists the following autonyms for these villages in Libo County, Guizhou.
nu˥m̥au˧: Yaolu 瑶麓
təu˥m̥u˥: Yaoshan 瑶山
tuŋ˧m̥uŋ˧: Yao'ai 瑶埃
The Yunnan Province Gazetteer (1989) reports that a Bunu dialect known as pu˥ʐa˩ (布咋) is spoken by about 7,000 people in Guichao 归朝乡 and Dongbo 洞波瑶族乡 (including in Dadongzhai 大洞寨, Saxiangdong Village 三湘洞村) townships of Funing County, Yunnan.
The Shaoyang Prefecture Gazetteer (1997:533) reports that the Miao of Xinning County, Hunan, speak a Bunu-branch language.
Intelligibility among these varieties is difficult, and they may be separate languages. Strecker (1987) went so far as to suggest they may not form a group at all, but separate languages within West Hmongic.
The following peoples may also speak Bunu languages.
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