Bai (Baip‧ngvp‧zix)

Bai is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken mainly in northwest Yunnan province in southwest China. In 2003 there were 1.3 million Bai speakers. There are three main dialects of Bai: Jianchuan (Central), Dali (Southern), and Bijiang (Northern). Speakers of the Jianchuan and Dali dialects are able to understand one another if they spend some time together. The Bijiang dialect is not mutually intelligible with the other two, and may be a separate language, or in fact two languages: Panyi and Lama.

Bai is traditionally classified as a Tibeto-Burman language, however some linguists think it is closer to the Sinitic (Chinese) languages.

Bai alphabet and prounciation

Bai alphabet and pronunciation

The way to indicate tones was changed in 1982: rt became p, rl became b, and the tone indicated by rx is no longer indicated.

Download an alphabet chart for Bai (Excel)

Information about the Bai alphabet provided by Michael Peter Füstumum. With corrections by Wolfram Siegel.

Sample videos in and about Bai


Information about the Bai language

Sino-Tibetan languages

Angami, Bai, Darmiya, Galo, Miju, Rawang, Tangut, Thangmi, Tujia

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 10.02.24


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