Native toVietnam
Native speakers
300 (2002)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3lgh
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Laghuu (Vietnamese: Xá Phó, Phù Lá Lão) is a Loloish language spoken in northwestern Vietnam.[2] In Nậm Sài, Sa Pa Town, the speakers' autonym is la21 ɣɯ44, while in Sơn La Province it is la21 ɔ44.[3] The people are also called the Phù Lá Lão by the Vietnamese.

Edmondson considers Laghuu to be related to but not part of the Yi language complex of China. Jamin Pelkey (2011) considers Laghuu to be a Southeastern Loloish language.


Laghuu is spoken in the following locations by a total of about 1,000 people (Edmondson 1999 & 2002).

The Vietnam, Laghuu speakers are officially classified as part of the Phù Lá ethnic group. Some Laghuu are known as "Black Phu La," and others as "Flowery Phu La."



Words in Laghuu are typically disyllabic compounds, consisting of two single-syllable morphemes, as in other Yi languages. A syllable may be divided into an initial, a rhyme, and a tone. The initial is not obligatory, and it usually consists of a single consonant, though it may also be a cluster consisting of a velar stop followed by a lateral. The rhyme consists of a nuclear vowel followed by a glide /-i, -u/ or a nasal coda /-m, -n, -ŋ/, with /ŋ/ being the most common coda nasal.[3]


Laghuu has the following consonants. In addition to these single consonants, Laghuu also allows syllables to begin with velar stop + alveolar lateral sequences: /kl, khɬ, gl, ŋkhɬ/.[3]

Labial Alveolar Post-
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive and
prenasalized ᵐb ⁿd ᵑɡ
aspirated tʃʰ
tenuis p t k ʔ
voiced b d ɡ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x h
voiced v z ʒ ɣ
Approximant l


Laghuu has the following vowels. Also, the diphthongs /ai/, /au/, /ɯi/ occur.[3]

front central back
unrounded rounded
High i ɿ ɯ u
Hi-mid ə o
Lo-mid ɛ ɔ
Low a


Laghuu has five tones:[3]


  1. ^ Laghuu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Raymond G. Gordon Jr., ed. 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th edition. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
  3. ^ a b c d e Edmondson, Jerold A.; Lama, Ziwo (1999). "Laghuu or Xá Phó, A New Language of the Yi Group" (PDF). Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area. 22 (1): 1–10. Retrieved 20 January 2024.