Native toChina
Language codes
ISO 639-3giu

Mulao (simplified Chinese: 木佬语; traditional Chinese: 木佬語; pinyin: Mùlǎoyǔ), also known as Ayo,[2] is a possibly extinct Kra language spoken in Guizhou, China.[2][3][4] Spoken in Longli County and Majiang County in Guizhou,[2][4] it is estimated that the language may be extinct or have only have a few living speakers.[2][4] As of 2011, there are no newspapers, radio programs, or television broadcasts in the language, and it is not recognized by the government, nor taught in schools.[4] Mulao speakers are classified as Gelao people by the government of China, but Mulao speakers do not understand the Gelao languages.[2][4] It is closely related to A'ou.[5][6]


The Mulao number 28,000 people, and are distributed in Majiang, Kaili, Huangping, Duyun, Weng'an, Fuquan, and other counties of southeastern Guizhou. The Mulao of Xuanwei and Jidong villages refer to themselves as the Mu, and in Longli village (龙里寨) they call themselves qa24 ɣo53. Luo (1997) describes the two Mulao varieties of qa24 o53 (qa24 ɣo53) in Majiang County and lei35 wo33 in Kaili City.[7] One dialect is represented by the datapoints of Bamaozhai (巴茅寨) and Madizhai (马碲寨) of Xuanwei District (宣威区), Majiang County (Luo 1997:105, 115), and the other by Bailazhai (白腊寨), Lushan [zh] (炉山镇), Kaili City (Luo 1997:189); the latter is also spoken in Dafengdong (大风洞), Pingliang (平良), and Chong'anjiang (重安江).

The last speaker in Longli County was recorded by Bo Wenze (2003).[8]


Monographs of Mulao include Bo (2003)[8] and Luo (1997).[7] A word list is also given in Zhang (1993).[9]

Mulao data from Majiang and Kaili is also given in Guizhou (1985).[10]



Labial Alveolar (Alveolo-)
Velar Uvular Glottal
plain lateral
Nasal m n ɲ̟ ŋ
Stop voiceless p t k q
Affricate voiceless ts
aspirated tsʰ tɕʰ
Fricative voiceless f s ɬ ɕ x h
voiced v z ʑ ɣ
Approximant (w) l (j)


Front Central Back
Close i y ɯ u
Mid e ø ə o
Open a


  1. ^ Mulao at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ a b c d e "Mulao". Endangered Languages Project. Archived from the original on 2020-08-20. Retrieved 2021-08-19.
  3. ^ "UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in danger". Retrieved 2021-08-19.
  4. ^ a b c d e Yang, Cathryn (2011-05-18). "ISO 639-3 Registration Authority: Request for New Language Code Element in ISO 639-3" (PDF). SIL International. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-12-11. Retrieved 2021-08-19.
  5. ^ Li Jinfang [李锦芳]. 2006. Studies on endangered languages in the Southwest China [西南地区濒危语言调查研究]. Beijing: Minzu University [中央民族大学出版社].
  6. ^ Zhou Guoyan 周国炎. 2004. Gelaozu muyu shengtai yanjiu 仡佬族母語生态硏究 (Studies on the linguistic ecology of the Gelao people). Beijing: Ethnic Publishing House 民族出版社.
  7. ^ a b Luo, Shiqing [罗世庆]. 1997. The ethnic Mulao of Guizhou [贵州仫佬族]. Guiyang: Guizhou People's Press [贵州民族出版社].
  8. ^ a b c Bo, Wenze 薄文泽. 2003. Mulaoyu yanjiu (A Study of Mulao) [木佬语硏究]. Beijing: Central University for Nationalities Publishing House [中央民族大学出版社].
  9. ^ Zhang, Jimin 张済民. 1993. Gelaoyu yanjiu 仡佬语研究 (A study of Gelao). Guiyang, China: Guizhou People's Press 贵州民族出版社.
  10. ^ Guizhou provincial ethnic classification commission [贵州省民委民族识别办公室编]. 1985. Guizhou ethnic classification materials, no. 5: Ethnic classification of the Mulao people [贵州民族识别资料集, 第5集: 木佬人族识别问题调查资料专辑]. m.s.