Buyang (Chinese: 布央语) is a Kra language spoken in Guangnan and Funing counties, Yunnan Province, China by the Buyang people. It is important to the reconstruction of the hypothetical macrofamily Austro-Tai as it retains the disyllabic roots characteristic of Austronesian languages. Examples are /matɛ́/ "to die", /matá/ "eye", /qaðù/ "head", and /maðû/ "eight". (See Austro-Tai for proposed connections.)
The Buyang language was only discovered in 1990 by Chinese linguist Liang Min. In 1999, a doctoral dissertation and book was published for Buyang. The book has also recently been translated into English.
Many speakers of Buyang are also fluent in Zhuang.
The Buyang (布央) dialect cluster is spoken by a total of around 2,000 people living mostly in the Gula (谷拉) River valley of southeastern Yunnan Province, China. It is spoken in at least eight villages in Gula Township 谷拉乡, Funing County 富宁县, Wenshan Zhuang–Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan, China. Buyang is divided into the following groups:
Weera Ostapirat (2000) splits the Buyang language into two branches:
Ostapirat also classifies Buyang and Qabiao together as Eastern Kra, while Paha is classified as Central Kra. Together, the two branches form one of the two primary Kra branches, namely Central-East Kra. The En language has also been recently included in Eastern Kra (also called Yang–Biao, from [Bu]yang–[Pu]biao).
Li (2010) divides the Buyang language as follows:
Languages closely related to Buyang include Qabiao, En, and also Paha if considered a separate language.
Further information: Paha language § Phonology
Pre-Buyang, the stage in the evolution of the language that can be reconstructed from internal evidence, appears to have had a slightly different phonemic inventory than the modern dialects: a voiced stop *ɢ paired with *q, as well as voiced *ɦ alongside *h, and a pair of sibilants *s, *z. In addition, it doesn't appear to have had a series of aspirated consonants, a condition still found in the Ecun dialect. Thus reconstructed pre-Buyang is more similar in its phonemic inventory to reconstructed Proto-Austronesian than is any modern dialect of Buyang.[further explanation needed]