Northern Loloish
Northern Ngwi
Southern China, Vietnam
Linguistic classificationSino-Tibetan

The Northern Loloish languages, also known as Northern Ngwi, are a branch of the Loloish languages that includes the literary standard of the Yi people. In Lama's (2012) classification, it is called Nisoid (Nisu–Lope), which forms the Nisoish branch together with the Axi-Puoid (Southeastern Loloish) languages.


Two of the six Yi languages (fangyan 方言) officially recognized by the Chinese government belong to the Northern Loloish branch.

Another officially recognized Yi language (fangyan), Southern Yi (Nisu 尼苏), may or may not be a Northern Loloish language, as Pelkey (2011) classifies it as a Southeastern Loloish language based on phonological innovations shared with Southeastern instead of Northern Loloish languages.

Other Northern Loloish languages are listed below.

Nisu is classified as Southeastern Loloish by Pelkey (2011), but is traditionally classified as a Northern Loloish language.

Bradley (1997)[1] also lists the endangered Kathu and Mo'ang languages of Wenshan Prefecture, Yunnan, China as Northern Loloish languages, but they were later classified as Mondzish by Lama (2012) and Hsiu (2014).[2]

Bradley (2007)

Within Northern Loloish, David Bradley (2007)[3] recognizes the Nosoid and Nasoid subgroups. Lama (2012) also recognizes a distinction between the Nuosu and Nasu clusters, with the Nuosu cluster including Nuosu and Niesu, and the Nasu cluster include Nasu, Gepu, and Nesu.

Samei, Samataw, and Sanie are classified as Nasoid by Bradley (2007), but as Kazhuoish languages by Lama (2012).

Chen (2010)

Chen (2010) recognizes two topolects (Chinese: fangyan 方言), namely Nosu (Northern Yi) and Nasu (Eastern Yi).

Li (2013:245)[4] lists the following autonyms for the Yi people of these counties.

Other autonyms listed by Dai (1998:218):[5]

The ne55su33 phu55 of southwestern Guizhou reside in Pingdi 坪地, Pugu 普古, and Jichangping 鸡场坪 townships, Pan County; Longchang 龙场 and Fa'er 法耳 township, Shuicheng County (Chen 1987).[6]


Pelkey (2011:368) lists the following as Northern Ngwi innovations that had developed from Proto-Ngwi.


  1. ^ Bradley, D. 1997, "Tibeto-Burman languages and classification", in Papers in Southeast Asian Linguistics No. 14: Tibeto-Burman Languages of the Himalayas, ed. D. Bradley, vol. 14, pp. 1-72. Pacific Linguistics, the Australian National University.
  2. ^ Hsiu, Andrew. 2014. "Mondzish: a new subgroup of Lolo-Burmese". In Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Chinese Languages and Linguistics (IsCLL-14). Taipei: Academia Sinica.
  3. ^ Bradley, David. 2007. East and Southeast Asia. In Moseley, Christopher (ed.), Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages, 349-424. London & New York: Routledge.
  4. ^ Li Zeran [李泽然]. 2013. Haniyu cihuixue [哈尼语词汇学]. Beijing: Ethnic Publishing House.
  5. ^ Dai Qingxia. 1998. Yiyu cihuixue [彝语词汇学]. Beijing: Minzu University Press.
  6. ^ Chen Fuzhi 陈富智. 1987. 盘县特区坪地彝语语音浅探. In 贵州民族研究(季刊), Vol. 2 (No. 30). April 1987.