Nisu is a Loloish language spoken by about 460,000 people in the south of Yunnan Province in southern China. It is classified as a Southeastern Loloish by some linguists, and Northern Loloish by other linguists. Nisu is traditionally divided into three dialects: Shijian, which is spoken in Shiping, Jianshui, Tonghai, Gejiu, Kaiyuan, Mengzi and Hekou counties; Yuanjin, which is spoken in Yuanyang, Jinping, Mojiang, Yuanjiang, Pu'er, Jiangcheng and Honghe counties; and Exin, which is spoken in Eshan, Xinping, Jiangchuan, Yuxi, Yimen and Kunming counties. Alternatively Nisu could be divided into northern and southern dialects.

Nisu is also known as Nishu or Southern Yi. It is officially recognised by the Chinese government. It was traditionally written with the Yi script, however few people can still read it in that script. It can also be written with the Latin alphabet.

Latin alphabet for Nisu

Latin alphabet for Nisu

Download this chart (Excel)


There are three tones: high, mid and low falling. It is not clear how they are indiciated in writing. There are more vowels sounds, but I am not sure how they are written.

Sample video in Nisu


Information about Nisu彝语南部方言

Lolo-Burmese languages

Burmese/Myanmar, Lahu, Lipo, Marma, Nuosu, Sani

Page created: 12.09.23. Last modified: 28.09.23


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