|Region||Yunnan and Sichuan|
|350,000 (2000 census – 2010)|
|Geba script or Dongba augmented with Geba, Latin script, Fraser script
Simplified Chinese (Rare)Traditional Chinese (Rare)
Naxi (Naqxi IPA: [nɑ˨˩ ɕi˧˧]), also known as Nakhi, Nasi, Lomi, Moso, Mo-su, is a Sino-Tibetan language or group of languages spoken by some 310,000 people, most of whom live in or around Lijiang City Yulong Naxi Autonomous County of the province of Yunnan, China. Nakhi is also the ethnic group that speaks it, although in detail, officially defined ethnicity and linguistic reality do not coincide neatly: there are speakers of Naxi who are not registered as "Naxi" and citizens who are officially "Naxi" but do not speak it.
See also: Naic languages
It is commonly proposed in Chinese scholarship that the Naic languages are Lolo-Burmese languages: for instance, Ziwo Lama (2012) classifies Naxi as part of a "Naxish" branch of Loloish.
However, as early as 1975, Sino-Tibetan linguist David Bradley pointed out that Naxi does not partake in the shared innovations that define Loloish. Thurgood and La Polla (2003) state that "The position of Naxi ... is still unclear despite much speculation" and leave it unclassified within Sino-Tibetan. Guillaume Jacques & Alexis Michaud (2011) classify Naxi within the Naish lower-level subgroup of Sino-Tibetan; in turn, Naish is part of Naic, itself part of a proposed "Na-Qiangic" branch.
Naxi in the broad sense (including Na/Mosuo) was initially split by the linguists He Jiren and Jiang Zhuyi into two major clusters, Western Naxi and Eastern Naxi.
Western Naxi (纳西语西部方言) is fairly homogeneous. It is spoken mainly in Lijiang, Zhongdian (Shangri-La), Weixi and Yongsheng counties. Smaller populations of Western Naxi speakers are found in Heqing, Jianchuan, Lanping, Deqin, Gongshan, Ninglang (in Bapijiang village 坝皮匠村, Yongning Township 永宁乡) Muli (in Eya 俄亚), Yanbian (Daoju 道咀) and Tibet (in Mangkang 芒康). There over 240,000 speakers total. Western Naxi consists of the Dayan, Lijiangba and Baoshanzhou dialects (He & Jiang 1985: 752).
Eastern Naxi (纳西语东部方言) consists of several mutually unintelligible varieties. It is spoken mainly in Yanyuan, Muli, and Yanbian counties. Eastern Naxi is also spoken by smaller populations in Yongsheng (in Zhangzidan 獐子旦), Weixi (in Qizong 其宗) and Lijiang (in Hailong 海龙 and Fengke 奉科) counties. There is a total of over 40,000 speakers (He & Jiang 1985: 754).
According to the 2000 Chinese census, 310,000 people speak Nakhi, and 100,000 of those are monolingual. Approximately 170,000 speak Chinese, Tibetan, Bai, or English as a second language. Most speakers live in Yunnan, but some are in Sichuan and Tibet, and it is possible that some live in Myanmar.
The language is commonly spoken among Nakhi people in everyday life and the language is in little danger of dying out soon, although the written literacy is still a rare skill. The language can be written in the Geba syllabary, Latin script or Fraser alphabet, but they are rarely used in everyday life and few people are able to read Naxi. The 1932 Naxi Gospel of Mark was published by the British and Foreign Bible Society in the Fraser alphabet.
The three most common dialects are Lijiang, Lapao, and Lutien. Lijiang, which is spoken in the western parts of the language's range, is the most uniform of the three and it is heavily influenced by Standard Chinese and Yunnanese dialects, proved by its huge volume of loan words from Chinese. The eastern dialects are much more native and have many dialectal differences.
The alphabet used here is the 1957 pinyin alphabet.
|Nasal||m ⟨m⟩||n ⟨n⟩||ɲ ⟨ni⟩||ŋ ⟨ng⟩|
|voiceless||p ⟨b⟩||t ⟨d⟩||ts ⟨z⟩||tʂ ⟨zh⟩||tɕ ⟨j⟩||c ⟨?⟩||k ⟨g⟩||ʔ|
|aspirated||pʰ ⟨p⟩||tʰ ⟨t⟩||tsʰ ⟨c⟩||tʂʰ ⟨ch⟩||tɕʰ ⟨q⟩||cʰ ⟨?⟩||kʰ ⟨k⟩|
|voiced||b ⟨bb⟩||d ⟨dd⟩||dz ⟨zz⟩||dʐ ⟨rh⟩||dʑ ⟨jj⟩||ɟ ⟨?⟩||ɡ ⟨gg⟩|
|prenasalized||ᵐb ⟨nb⟩||ⁿd ⟨nd⟩||ⁿdz ⟨nz⟩||ⁿdʐ ⟨nr⟩||ⁿdʑ ⟨nj⟩||ᶮɟ ⟨?⟩||ᵑɡ ⟨mg⟩|
|Fricative||voiceless||f ⟨f⟩||s ⟨s⟩||ʂ ⟨sh⟩||ɕ ⟨x⟩||x ⟨h⟩|
|voiced||v ⟨v⟩||z ⟨ss⟩||ʐ ⟨r⟩||ʑ ⟨y⟩||ɣ ⟨w⟩|
|Approximant||ɥ ⟨iu⟩||l ⟨l⟩||j ⟨i⟩||w ⟨u⟩|
In the Lijiang dialect, there are nine vowels as well as syllabic /v̩/: /i, e, a, ɑ, y, ɯ, ə, o, u/, written i, ei, ai, a, iu, ee, e, o, u. There is also a final /əɹ/, written er.
There are four tones: high level, mid-level, low level (or falling), and, in a few words, high rising. The tones are written -l, -, -q, -f.