Guizhou, China
Linguistic classificationSino-Tibetan
  • Macro-Bai

The Macro-Bai or simply Bai languages (Chinese: 白语支) are a putative group of Sino-Tibetan languages proposed in 2010 by the linguist Zhengzhang, who argued that Bai and Caijia are sister languages.[1] In contrast, Sagart (2011) argues that Caijia and the Waxiang language of northwestern Hunan constitute an early split off from Old Chinese.[2] Additionally, Longjia and Luren are two extinct languages of western Guizhou closely related to Caijia (Guizhou 1984).[3][4][5][6]


The languages are:

Hölzl (2021) shows that Caijia, Longjia, and Luren are all closely related to each other as part of a linguistic group that he calls Ta–Li or Cai–Long.[7]

Bai has over a million speakers, but Longjia and Luren may both be extinct, while Caijia is highly endangered with approximately 1,000 speakers. The Qixingmin people of Weining County, Guizhou may have also spoken a Macro-Bai language, but currently speak Luoji.

Similarities among Old Chinese, Waxiang, Caijia, and Bai have been pointed out by Wu & Shen (2010).[8] Gong Xun (2015) notes that Bai has both a Sino-Bai vocabulary layer and a non-Sinitic vocabulary layer, which may be Qiangic.[9] Gong also suggested that the Old Chinese layer in Bai is more similar to early 3rd-century central varieties of Old Chinese in Ji, Yan, Si, and Yu that display the phonological innovation from Old Chinese *l̥ˤ- > *xˤ-, than to the eastern Old Chinese varieties (i.e. Qingzhou and Xuzhou, etc.) that later impacted Middle Chinese, which show OC *l̥ˤ- > *tʰˤ- > MC th-. This east-west dialectal division in Old Chinese has also been noted by Baxter & Sagart (2014:113-114).[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b Zhèngzhāng Shàngfāng [郑张尚芳]. 2010. Càijiāhuà Báiyǔ guānxì jí cígēn bǐjiào [蔡家话白语关系及词根比较]. In Pān Wǔyún and Shěn Zhōngwěi [潘悟云、沈钟伟] (eds.). Yánjūzhī Lè, The Joy of Research [研究之乐-庆祝王士元先生七十五寿辰学术论文集], II, 389–400. Shanghai: Shanghai Educational Publishing House.
  2. ^ Sagart, Laurent. 2011. Classifying Chinese dialects/Sinitic languages on shared innovations. Talk given at Centre de recherches linguistiques sur l’Asie orientale, Norgent sur Marne.
  3. ^ Guizhou provincial ethnic classification commission, linguistic division [贵州省民族识别工作队语言组]. 1982. The language of the Caijia [Caijia de yuyan 蔡家的语言]. m.s.
  4. ^ a b Guizhou provincial ethnic classification commission [贵州省民族识别工作队]. 1984. Report on ethnic classification issues of the Nanlong people (Nanjing-Longjia) [南龙人(南京-龙家)族别问题调查报告]. m.s.
  5. ^ Guizhou Province Gazetteer: Ethnic Gazetteer [贵州省志. 民族志] (2002). Guiyang: Guizhou Ethnic Publishing House [貴州民族出版社].
  6. ^ "白族家园-讲义寨". 2011-01-28. Archived from the original on 2014-10-17. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  7. ^ a b Hölzl, Andreas. 2021. Longjia (China) - Language Contexts. Language Documentation and Description 20, 13-34.
  8. ^ Wu Yunji, Shen Ruiqing [伍云姬、沈瑞清]. 2010. An Investigative Report of Waxianghua of Guzhang County, Xiangxi Prefecture [湘西古丈瓦乡话调查报告]. Shanghai Educational Press [上海教育出版社].
  9. ^ Gong Xun (2015). How Old is the Chinese in Bái? Reexamining Sino-Bái under the Baxter-Sagart reconstruction Archived 2021-03-05 at the Wayback Machine. Paper presented at the Recent Advances in Old Chinese Historical Phonology workshop, SOAS, London.
  10. ^ Baxter, William H.; Sagart, Laurent (2014), Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-994537-5.