Northern Tai languages
Last updated on 10 February 2017
The Northern Tai languages are an established branch of the Tai languages of Southeast Asia. They include the northern Zhuang languages and Bouyei of China, Tai Mène of Laos and Yoy of Thailand.
Ethnologue distinguishes the following languages.
- Saek (Laos and northeast Thailand; listed outside Tai proper in the Ethnologue classification, though said to be similar to Tai Maen, which is listed as Northern Tai)
- Tai Maen (Laos)
- Yoy (Thailand) [?]
- Bouyei (Buyi) (China) (including the language of the Giáy people of Vietnam)
- Central Hongshuihe Zhuang
- Eastern Hongshuihe Zhuang
- Guibei Zhuang
- Yei Zhuang
- Lianshan Zhuang
- Liujiang Zhuang
- Liuqian Zhuang
- Yongbei Zhuang
- Youjiang Zhuang
(See varieties of Zhuang.)
Yoy is elsewhere classified as Southwestern Tai, and E, which appears to be a mixed language on a Northern Thai base.
Longsang Zhuang, a recently described Northern Tai language, is spoken Longsang Township, Debao County, Guangxi, China.
Pittayaporn (2009:300) distinguishes a similar group of Zhuang varieties as group "N", defined by the phonological shifts *ɯj, *ɯw → *aj, *aw. He moves the prestige dialect of Zhuang, the Wuming dialect, from the Northern Tai Yongbei Zhuang to Yongnan Zhuang - purportedly Central Tai - as it lacks these shifts. The various languages and localities Pittayaporn includes in group N, along with their Ethnologue equivalents, are:
- Bouyei 布依 (including the language of the Giáy people of Vietnam)
- Yei Zhuang 剥隘
- (Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan)
- Guangnan Sha 广南沙族 = Guibian Zhuang (north Guangnan; south Guangnan is Nong Zhuang)
- Qiubei 丘北县 = Qiubei Zhuang
- (Baise, Guangxi)
- (Nanning Prefecture, Guangxi)
- Hengxian 横县 = Yongbei Zhuang
- Shanglin 上林县 = Hongshuihe Zhuang
- Yongbei 邕北 = Yongbei Zhuang
- (Guigang Prefecture, Guangxi)
- Laibin 来宾 Prefecture, Guangxi = Hongshuihe Zhuang (south Laibin), Liujiang Zhuang (north Laibin)
- (Hechi Prefecture, Guangxi)
- (Liuzhou Prefecture, Guangxi)
- Longsheng 龙胜县, Guilin 桂林, Guangxi = Guibei Zhuang
- Dong’an 东安县, Yongzhou 永州, Hunan
- Lianshan 连山县, Qingyuan 清远, Guangdong = Lianshan Zhuang
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