Dulong, Derung, Qiuzu
Tvrung kvt
Pronunciation[tə˧˩ɻuŋ˥˧ kət˥]
Native toChina
RegionYunnan, Tibet
EthnicityAnu (northern Anung) of Nu nationality
Derung people
Native speakers
10,000 (2000–2013)[1]
  • Dulong River
  • Nu River
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3duu
Glottologdrun1238  Drung

Dulong (simplified Chinese: 独龙语; traditional Chinese: 獨龍語; pinyin: Dúlóng) or Drung, Derung, Rawang, or Trung, is a Sino-Tibetan language in China. Dulong is closely related to the Rawang language of Myanmar (Burma).[2] Although almost all ethnic Derung people speak the language to some degree, most are multilingual, also speaking Burmese, Lisu, and Mandarin Chinese[1] except for a few very elderly people.[3]

Dulong is also called: Taron, Kiu, Qui, Kiutze, Qiuzi, Kiupa, Kiao, Metu, Melam, Tamalu, Tukiumu, Qiu, Nung, Nu-tzŭ.[4]



Dulong belongs to the Nungish language family of the Central Tibeto-Burman branch of the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.[1] The other two languages in the same family are Anong and Rawang.



Dulong/Rawang is a Tibeto-Burman language cluster spoken on both sides of the China/Myanmar border just south and east of Tibet. Within Myanmar, the people who speak the Dulong language (possibly up to 100,000 people) live in northern Kachin State, particularly along the Mae Hka ('Nmai Hka) and Mali Hka (Mali Hka) River valleys. In the past, they had been called 'Hkanung' or 'Nung', and have often been considered to be a subgroup of the Kachin (Jinghpaw). Around 1950, speakers of this language in Myanmar began a movement to use the name /rəwɑŋ/ (spelled 'Rvwang' in the Rawang orthographies) to represent all of its speakers. The speakers in China, though, continue to use the name 'Dulong'.[5]

Geographic distribution


There are 14,000 (2,000 census) people speaking in two dialects: 8,500 in Nu River dialect, and 5,500 in Dulong River dialect. The locations of Dulong are Yunnan province (Gongshan Dulong-Nu autonomous county), Xizang Autonomous Region (Chayu (Zayü) county, Chawalong Town), and Bingzhongluo.[1] In the past, the Dulong River was known as the Kiu (Qiu) river, and the Dulong people were known as the Kiu (Qiu), Kiutze (Qiuzi), Kiupa, or Kiao.[2]



Dulong has two dialects: Dulong River (Central Dulongjiang, Derung River, Northern Dulongjiang, Southern Dulongjiang), and Nu River (Nujiang Dulong). Dialects reportedly inherently intelligible (Thurgood and LaPolla 2003). Other possible dialect names are Melam, Metu, Tamalu, and Tukiumu.[1]




Labial Dental/
Velar Glottal
plain pal. plain lab.
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ ŋʷ
Stop voiceless p t c k ʔ
voiced b d ɟ ɡ ɡʷ
Affricate ts
Fricative voiceless s ɕ x
voiced z ʑ
Lateral l
Approximant ɹ j w

Dulong has twenty-four initial consonants at six points of articulation, plus the consonant clusters /pr, br, mr, kr, xr, gr, pl, bl, ml, kl, gl/ in initial position; only the consonants /p, t, ʔ, k, n, m, ŋ, r, l/ occur in final position.[2]



Dulong has seven vowels, /i, ε, ə, ɑ, ɔ, ɯ, u/, and three diphthongs, /əi, ɑi, ɯi/, which only appear in open syllables. Vowel length is also evenly distributed.[2][6]



Dulong has 3 tones: high level, high falling, and low falling. In the Dulong language, tone has the role of differentiating the meaning of a few words, with about 8% words (out of about 4000) completely relying on tones to distinguish them.[7]



Words can be formed by prefixation, suffixation, or compounding. Word classes include nouns, defined by the ability to appear with a numeral classifier; verbs, defined by the ability to appear with negation and the person and tense marking; postpositions, which are enclitic to NPs, numerals, and classifiers. Adjectives are a subset of stative verbs for which reduplication means intensification or adverbialization rather than the perfective aspect (reduplication with nouns has a distributive meaning, ‘every’). Adjectives can be used as predicates or can appear nominalized in a copula clause.[2]

The grammar of the language is documented extensively by Perlin (2019).[8]

Verb conjugation


Derung verbs inflect fusionally for person and number and agglutinatively otherwise. Verbal conjugation uses a mix of affixes, a direct-inverse person-marking hierarchy, apophony, and tone changes.[8]

Intransitive verbs


Intransitive verbs are conjugated to agree with the subject in person and number.

The first-person plural form is formed via vowel ablaut, primarily characterized by the lengthening of the root vowel. If the root vowel is the schwa /ə/, the schwa is replaced with /ɑː/. If the root ends in /ɑ, u, ɯ/, these vowels are further converted into long diphthongs /ɑːi, uːi, ɯːi/.

Intransitive person/number affixes in Derung
Person Singular Dual Plural
1st -ŋ⁵⁵ [a]
-k⁵⁵ [b]
-⁵⁵ [c]
-ɕɯ³¹ (ablaut)
2nd -∅ -n⁵³
3rd -∅
  1. ^ If the verb root ends in a vowel.
  2. ^ If the verb root ends in a glottal stop.
  3. ^ If the verb root ends in a consonant other than the glottal stop. If the root already has level tone, the first-person singular inflection becomes zero.

Transitive verbs


Transitive verbs in Derung may agree with both agent and object in three grammatical persons (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) and three grammatical numbers (singular, dual, and plural). The persons are ranked in a direct-inverse hierarchy, with the first person ranking above the second person, and the second person itself ranking above the third person. If this hierarchy is violated, the marked scenario prefix /nə³¹-/ is prefixed. However, second-person agents are also marked with /nə³¹-/ regardless of the hierarchy.



Derung shares 74% lexical similarity with the Matwang dialect of Rawang, and 73% to 76% with Anong.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Drung at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ a b c d e Thurgood, Graham; LaPolla, Randy J. (2003). The Sino-Tibetan languages. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. pp. 674–682. ISBN 0-203-27573-X.
  3. ^ Perlin, Ross (April 2009). "Language Attitudes of the T'rung" (PDF). Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area. 32 (1): 91–113.
  4. ^ "Did you know Drung is vulnerable?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  5. ^ LaPolla, Randy J. (2000). "Valency-changing derivations in Dulong/Rawang" (PDF). Changing Valency. pp. 282–311. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511627750.009. ISBN 9780521660396. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  6. ^ Perlin, Ross Adam (2019). A Grammar of Trung. Santa Barbara. Himalayan Linguistics, University of California at Santa Barbara.
  7. ^ Sun, Hongkai (1982). Dúlóngyǔ jiǎnzhì (A sketch of the Dulong language). Beijing: Minzu Chubanshe.
  8. ^ a b Perlin, Ross (2019). "A Grammar of Trung". Himalayan Linguistics. 18 (2). doi:10.5070/H918244579.