Native toChina
Native speakers
6,000 (2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3gqi
Guichong is classified as Vulnerable by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger

Guiqiong (autonym: ɡuʨhiɐŋ; simplified Chinese: 贵琼; traditional Chinese: 貴瓊; pinyin: Guìqióng) is a Qiangic language of Sichuan, China.[2] There are differences in the phonology of the dialects, but communication is possible. Two or three varieties have low mutual intelligibility with the rest.[1]

It may be the same language as Sötati-pö in early editions of Ethnologue.[3]

Sun (1991) documents Guiqiong of Maiben Township 麦本乡, Yutong District 鱼通区, Kangding County 康定县, Sichuan (Sun 1991:227).

The Qiangic languages are split into two language clusters. Guiqiong is categorized into a specific Qiangic cluster based on its vocabulary. This Qiangic language cluster also includes Zhaba, Queya, Ersu, Shixing, and Namuzi.[4]

Outside their villages, speakers communicate utilizing the Chinese language. Guiqiong is heavily influenced by the Chinese language, as it contains many loanwords.[5]

The Guiqiong language utilizes four tones and has no written script.[6] Although Guiqiong lacks a written script, it has been able to successfully transcend from generation to generally orally.[7]

The language has no presence in media today.[8]

General information

Population of speakers

The population of speakers of this language for a long time have only been estimates. It has been difficult to provide an accurate count of how many exist because since the People's Republic of China was founded, the government has considered the Guiqiong people to be a part of the Tibetan minority. Because of this, the national census cannot provide an official count of the Guiqiong people.[2]


The general location of Guiqiong speakers is confined to a very small rectangular area. This area stretches 20 kilometers from its northern boundary to the southern boundary, and just reaches about 1 kilometer from its eastern to its western boundary. The area is situated to the west of the well-known Sichuan Province in China.[2]

Jiang (2015: 2) reports that Guiqiong is spoken in the townships of Maibeng, Shelian, Qianxi, Guzan, Lan'an, and Pengba. Jiang's (2015) data is mostly from Guzan Township.

Most groups who speak languages that are part of the Qiangic subgroup of Tibeto-Burman are classified as members of the Tibetan national minority and live in western Sichuan province.[9][10] Speakers of Guiqiong live in small communities that are intertwined among larger Chinese communities. They are distributed along the terraces of the Dadu River Yuton District, Kangding County of the Ganzi Autonomous Prefecture of the Tibetan Nationality, Sichuan.[5]

Name of the language

Guiqiong is known by many different names, some that the Guiqiong people use to refer to themselves and their language, and some that others use to refer to the Guiqiong people and their language.

The Guiqiong people refer to themselves as /ɡuʨhiɐŋ/. It is believed that Chinese names such as 貴瓊 (guiqiong) are transliterations of /ɡuʨhiɐŋ/.[2]


Consonant initials of Guiqiong
Labial Alveolar Post-alv. Retroflex (Alveolo-)
Velar Uvular
plain sibilant
Nasal m n ɳ ɲ
voiceless p t t͡s t͡ʃ t͡ʂ t͡ɕ k q
aspirated t͡sʰ t͡ʃʰ t͡ʂʰ t͡ɕʰ
voiced b d d͡z d͡ʒ d͡ʐ d͡ʑ ɡ
Fricative voiceless f ɬ s ʃ ʂ ɕ x
voiced v z ʒ ʐ ʑ ɣ
Sonorant w l j
Initial Clusters
mp nt nts ntʂ ntʃ ntɕ ŋk
mpʰ ntʰ ntsʰ ntʂʰ ntʃʰ ntɕʰ ŋkʰ
mb nd ndz ndʐ ndʒ ndʑ ŋɡ


Guiqiong distinguishes eight different vowel qualities.[13]

Front Central Back
Close i y u
Close-mid o
Mid ə
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Near-open ɐ

Nasalization and diphthongs are also used to distinguish words.[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b Guiqiong at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d Li, Jiang (2015). A Grammar of Guìqióng: A Language of Sichuan. ISBN 9789004293045.
  3. ^ Klose (2001) Sprachen der Welt
  4. ^ Thurgood, G., & LaPolla, R. J. (Eds.). (2006). The Sino-Tibetan Languages (p. 17). London, United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis elibrary.
  5. ^ a b Hongkai, S. (1990). Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area (Vols. 13 - 1, pp. 11). (J. T, Trans.).
  6. ^ Guiqiong Profile. (n.d.). In Sichuan's Ethnic Corridor. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  7. ^ Marti, F., Ortega, P., Idiazabal, I., Barrena, A., Juaristi, P., Junyent, C., & Uranga, B. (2005). Words and Worlds: World Languages Review (p. 139). Tonawanda, NY: Multilingual Matters Ltd.
  8. ^ Marti, F., Ortega, P., Idiazabal, I., Barrena, A., Juaristi, P., Junyent, C., & Uranga, B. (2005). Words and Worlds: World Languages Review (p. 179). Tonawanda, NY: Multilingual Matters Ltd.
  9. ^ Turin, M., & Zeisler, B. (Eds.). (2011). Himalayan Languages and Linguistics: Studies in Phonology, Semantics, Morphology and Syntax (p. 304). Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV.
  10. ^ Moseley, C. (Ed.). (2010). Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger (3rd ed., p. 70). Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Namkung, J. (Ed.). (1996). Phonological Inventories of Tibeto-Burman Languages (p. 114). Berkeley, CA: Center for Southeast Asia Studies.
  12. ^ Bradley, D. Anthropological Linguistics, 57(4), 456-459.
  13. ^ a b Jiang, L. (2015). A Grammar of Guiqiong: A Language of Sichuan (p. 23). Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV.

Further reading