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Pollard Script

The Pollard script, which is also known as Pollard Miao or Miao, was devised in 1905 by Samuel Pollard (1864-1915), a British missionary, with help from Yang Yage and Li Shitifan. Before Pollard came along, the A-Hmao language, when written at all, was written with Chinese characters. Pollard Miao underwent many changes and revisions and only became stable in 1936, when a translation of the New Testament was published in the Pollard script.

The authorities in Beijing were not too keen on a writing system invented by a foreign missionary and in 1957 they introduced an alternative system based on Hànyŭ Pīnyīn. This was not popular among the A-Hmao people, who were already familiar with the Pollard system.

Various efforts have been made to improve Pollard Miao writing, which inadequately represents the phonetics and tones of A-Hmao and is not ideal for writing Chinese loan words. A semi-official 'reformed' Pollard script has been in use since 1988, along with the older version of the script, and the pīnyīn version.

Notable features

Used to write

A-Hmao, a Hmong-Mien language spoken by about 300,000 people in Guizhou and Yunnan provinces in southern China. This language is also known as Large Flowery Miao or 大花苗 (dàhuāmiáo) in Chinese.

Lipo (Lolopo / Lolongo), a member of the Lolo branch of Tibeto-Burman languages spoken in China, Burma, India and Thailand by about 420,000 people.

Sichuan Miao, or Sichuan-Guizhou-Yunnan Miao, a Hmong-Mien language spoken in Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan in China.

Nasu or Eastern Yi, a member of the Lolo branch of Tibeto-Burman languages spoken in Guizhou, Yunnan and Sichuan in China by about 800,000 people.

Pollard script

This chart shows the Pollard script with the Pinyin equivalents of each letter and IPA transcriptions of the pronunciation.

Pollard Miao initials


Pollard Miao initials

Tone indication

Pollard Miao initials


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Information about the Pollard script and A-Hmao language苗语滇东北次方言

Songs and Stories and a Glossary of Phrases of the Hua Miao of South West China (includes free font):

Hmong languages

Hmong, Iu Mien


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