|Black Miao, hveb Hmub|
|Ethnicity||mostly Miao, some Yao|
|(2.1 million cited 1995)|
The Hmu language (hveb Hmub), also known as Qiandong Miao (黔东, Eastern Guizhou Miao), Central Miao, East Hmongic, or (somewhat ambiguously) Black Miao, is a dialect cluster of Hmongic languages of China. The best studied dialect is that of Yǎnghāo (养蒿) village,[not verified in body] Taijiang County, Guizhou Province, China.
Qanu (咯努), a Hmu variety, had 11,450 speakers as of 2000, and is spoken just south of Kaili City, Guizhou. The Qanu are ethnoculturally distinct from the other Hmu.
Autonyms include m̥ʰu33 in Kaili, mo33 in Jinping County, mu13 in Tianzhu County, m̥ə33 in Huangping County, qa33 nəu13 in some parts of Qiandongnan (Miaoyu Jianzhi 苗语简志 1985), and ta11 mu11 in Rongshui Miao Autonomous County, Guangxi. Ná-Meo, spoken by the Mieu people of Cao Minh Commune, Tràng Định District, Lạng Sơn Province, Vietnam, may be closely related.
Wang Fushi (1985) groups the Qiandong Miao languages as follows.
Wu Zhengbiao (2009) divides Hmu into seven different dialects. Past classifications usually included only three or four dialects. For example, Li Jinping & Li Tianyi (2012), based on past classifications, divide Hmu into the three dialects of Northern, Southern, and Eastern. Datapoint locations of representative dialects are from Li Yunbing (2000).
Sanqiao 三锹 (三橇) is a mixed Kam–Hmu language spoken in Liping County and Jinping County, Guizhou, China by about 6,000 people.
Hmu has been recognized as a branch of Hmongic since the 1950s. Wang (1985) recognized three varieties. Matisoff (2001) treated these as distinct languages, which is reflected in Ethnologue. Lee (2000) added a fourth variety, Western Hmu (10,000 speakers), among the Yao, and Matisoff (2006) lists seven (Daigong, Kaili [N], Lushan, Taijiang [N], Zhenfeng [N], Phö, Rongjiang [S]).
Northern Qiandong Miao, also known as Central Miao and as Eastern Guizhou Hmu (黔东方言 Qián-Dōng fāngyán), was chosen as the standard for Hmu-language textbooks in China, based on the pronunciation of Yǎnghāo (养蒿) village.[failed verification]
The phonemic inventory and alphabetic transcription are as follows.
|Nasal||voiced||m ⟨m⟩||n ⟨n⟩||nʲ ⟨ni⟩||ŋ ⟨ng⟩|
|aspirated||m̥ʰ ⟨hm⟩||n̥ʰ ⟨hn⟩||n̥ʲʰ ⟨hni⟩|
|Plosive||tenuis||p ⟨b⟩||t ⟨d⟩||tʲ ⟨di⟩||k ⟨g⟩||q ⟨gh⟩||(ʔ)|
|aspirated||pʰ ⟨p⟩||tʰ ⟨t⟩||tʲʰ ⟨ti⟩||kʰ ⟨k⟩||qʰ ⟨kh⟩|
|Affricate||tenuis||ts ⟨z⟩||tɕ ⟨j⟩|
|aspirated||tsʰ ⟨c⟩||tɕʰ ⟨q⟩|
|voiced||v ⟨w⟩||z ⟨r⟩||ʑ ⟨y⟩||ɣ ⟨v⟩|
|tenuis||f ⟨f⟩||s ⟨s⟩||ɕ ⟨x⟩||h ⟨h⟩|
|aspirated||fʰ ⟨hf⟩||sʰ ⟨hs⟩||ɕʰ ⟨hx⟩||xʰ ⟨hv⟩|
|tenuis||ɬ ⟨dl⟩||ɬʲ ⟨dli⟩|
|aspirated||ɬʰ ⟨hl⟩||ɬʲʰ ⟨hli⟩|
|Lateral approximant||l ⟨l⟩||lʲ ⟨li⟩|
[ʔ] is not distinct from a zero initial (that is, if we accept /ʔ/ as a consonant, there are no vowel-initial words in Hmu), and only occurs with tones 1, 3, 5, 7.
The aspirated nasals and fricatives do not exist in Southern or Eastern Hmu; cognates words use their unaspirated homologues. Further, in Eastern Hmu, di, ti merge into j, q; c merges into x; r (Northern /z/) merges into ni; and v is pronounced [w]. In Southern Hmu, words cognate with hni (and some with ni) are pronounced [nʲʑ]; those with r are [nz]; and some words exchange s and x.
|Close||i ⟨i⟩||u ⟨u⟩|
|Mid||ɛ ⟨ai⟩||en ⟨en⟩||ə ⟨e⟩||o ⟨o⟩||oŋ ⟨ong⟩|
|Open||ɑ ⟨a⟩||ɑŋ ⟨ang⟩|
Ai /ɛ/ does not occur after palatalized consonants. /en/ after palatalized consonants is spelled in.
|Close component is front||ej ⟨ei⟩|
|Close component is back||əw ⟨eu⟩|
Additional diphthongs occur in Chinese loans.
All dialects have eight tones. There is no sandhi. In the chart below, Northern Hmu is represented by Yanghao village (Kaili City), Eastern Hmu by 偶里 village (Jinping County), and Southern Hmu by 振民 (Rongshui County).
|1||b||˧ 3||˧ 3||˧ 3|
|3||d||˧˥ 35||˨̤ 2||˧˥ 35|
|5||t||˦ 4||˦˥ 45||˦ 4|
|7||k||˥˧ 53||˨˦ 24||˨˦ 24|
|2||x||˥ 5 ~ ˦˥ 45||˦˨ 42||˥˧ 53|
|4||l||˩̤ 1||˨˩ 21||˧˩ 31|
|6||s||˩˧̤ 13||˥ 5||˨̤ 2|
|8||f||˧˩ 31||˩˨̤ 12||˨˩˧ 213|
The lowest tones—Northern tones 4 and 6, Eastern tones 3 and 8, and Southern tone 6—are said to make the preceding consonant murmured (breathy voiced), presumably meaning that these are murmured tones as in other Hmongic languages. They are marked with ⟨◌̤⟩ in the chart.