Central Yi
Native toChina
Native speakers
570,000 (2002–2007)[1]
Yi script
Language codes
ISO 639-3ycl – inclusive code
Individual code:
ysp – Southern Lolopo

Lolopo (autonyms: lɔ21 lo33 pʰɔ21, lo31 lo31 pʰo31; Chinese: 彝语中部方言; Central Yi) is a Loloish language spoken by half a million Yi people of China. Chinese speakers call it Central Yi, as the name Lolopo does not exist in Chinese. It is one of the six Yi languages recognized by the government of China.


The Lolo language is mainly spoken in central Yunnan. It is also spoken on different sides of the China-MyanmarLaos border.

In Laos, Lolo is spoken in three villages of Phongsaly Province, where the language is usually referred to as Lolopho.

In Myanmar, Lolo is spoken in Shan State. The language is usually referred to as Eastern Gaisu, and they are classified as the Gaisu subgroup of the Lisu people.


Lolo speakers are referred to by a variety of exonyms. Below is a list of exonyms followed by their respective autonyms and demographics.[2]


Yang (2011) proposes this tentative internal classification of Lolo.

The Chuxiong Prefecture Ethnic Gazetteer (2013:364)[6] lists the following cognacy percentages between Lolopo 罗罗濮 and other Yi languages in Chuxiong Prefecture.



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
voiceless p t ts k ʔ
aspirated tsʰ tʃʰ
voiced b d dz ɡ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x
voiced v z ʝ ɣ
Nasal m n ŋ
Lateral l~ɮ
Semivowel w


There is distinction between tight-throat vowels and lax-throat (plain) vowels.

Front Back
lax tight lax tight
Close i i ɯ ɯ
Near-close ʊ ʊ
Mid e e o o
Near-open æ æ
Open a a
Front Back
Mid ʲo, ʲo
Open ʲɛ, ʲæ ʲa, ʲa


Name Pitch Symbol
Low 21 ˨
Mid 33 ˧
High 55 ˦


  1. ^ a b Lolopo at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
    Southern Lolopo at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Yang, Cathryn. 2011. Assessment of the Lolo languages: Current understanding and recommended next steps. m.s.
  3. ^ Wang, Guoxu 王国旭 (2020). Xinping Yiyu Laluhua yanjiu 新平彝语腊鲁话研究. Kunming: Yunnan People's Press 云南人民出版社. OCLC 1248644107.
  4. ^ Yang, Cathryn. 2010. Lalo regional varieties: Phylogeny, dialectometry, and sociolinguistics. Melbourne: La Trobe University PhD dissertation.
  5. ^ Hammarström (2015) Ethnologue 16/17/18th editions: a comprehensive review: online appendices
  6. ^ 楚雄彝族自治州民族事务委员会编. 2013. 楚雄彝族自治州民族志. 云南民族出版社.
  7. ^ Merrifield, W. Scott (2012). Yáo'ān Central Yi Phonology. SIL.