Ho Ne
Native toChina
RegionZengcheng, Boluo County, Huidong County and Haifeng County in Guangdong
Ethnicity710,000 She (2000 census)[1]
Native speakers
910 (1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3shx
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The She language (Mandarin: 畲語, shēyǔ, Hakka 山客話, san ha ue, [sáŋ xáʔ uə̄̀]), autonym Ho Ne, /hɔ22 ne53/ or Ho Nte, is an endangered Hmong–Mien language spoken by the She people. Most of the over 709,000 She people today speak Hakka Chinese. Those who still speak She—approximately 1,200 individuals in Guangdong Province—call themselves Ho Ne, "mountain people" (活聶; huóniè). She is nearly extinct today.


There are two main dialects of She, both of which are highly endangered.[2] They are spoken in two small pockets to the west and east of Huizhou City, Guangdong.

External relationships

She has been difficult to classify due to the heavy influence of Chinese on the language. Matisoff (2001), for example, left it unclassified within the Hmongic languages, and some have considered that much to be doubtful, leaving it unclassified within (and potentially a third branch of) the Hmong–Mien languages. She has monosyllabic roots, but has mainly compound words.[2] However, due to the similar components of She, Mao & Li (2002) and Ratliff (2010) consider She to be most closely related to Jiongnai.[4][5]

Shēhuà (畲话) is not to be confused with Shēyǔ (畲语), also known as Ho Ne, which is a Hmong-Mien language spoken in east-central Guangdong. Shēhuà (Chinese: 畲话, meaning 'She dialect' or 'She speech') is an unclassified Sinitic language spoken by the She people of Fujian and Zhejiang provinces in southeastern China. Shehua and Sheyu speakers have separate histories and identities, although both are officially classified by the Chinese government as She people. The Dongjia of Majiang County, Guizhou are also officially classified as She people, but speak a Western Hmongic language closely related to Chong'anjiang Miao (重安江苗语).



She consonants
Labial Alveolar Velar Glottal
plain pal. plain pal. plain pal. lab. plain pal.
Nasal voiced m n ŋ ŋʲ
voiceless ŋ̊
Plosive unaspirated p t k (ʔ)
aspirated pʰʲ tʰʲ kʰʲ kʰʷ
Affricate unaspirated ts tsʲ
aspirated tsʰ tsʰʲ
Fricative voiceless f s h
voiced v z

Glottal stop is not distinct from zero (a vowel-initial syllable).

There are consonant mutation effects. For instance, pǐ + kiáu becomes pi̋’iáu, and kóu + tȁi becomes kóulȁi.


Vowels are /i e a ɔ ɤ u/. Finals are /j w n ŋ t k/, with /t k/ only in Hakka loans, though /ɤ/ is never followed by a final, and the only stops which follow the front vowels are /n t/.


There are six tones, reduced to two (high and low) in checked syllables (Hakka loans only). There is quite a lot of dialectical variability; two of the reported inventories (not necessarily in corresponding order) are:

[ ˥ ˦ ˧ ˨ ˨˩ ˧˥ ]: that is, /5 4 3 2 1 35/, or (on /a/), /a̋ á ā à ȁ ǎ/

[ ˥˧ ˦˨ ˧ ˨ ˧˩ ˧˥ ]: that is, /53 42 3 2 31 35/


Old Chinese loanwords

As with the Southern Chinese languages, She has various loanwords from Old Chinese.[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b She at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ a b "She". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-02-10.
  3. ^ a b Mao, Zongwu 毛宗武 (1986). Shē yǔ jiǎnzhì 畲语简志 (in Chinese). Beijing: Minzu chubanshe.
  4. ^ Mao, Zongwu 毛宗武; Li, Yunbing 李云兵 (2002). Jiǒngnài yǔ yán jiū 炯奈语硏究 [A Study of Jiongnai] (in Chinese). Beijing: Zhongyang minzu daxue chubanshe.
  5. ^ Ratliff, Martha (2010). Hmong-Mien Language History. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. hdl:1885/146760. ISBN 978-0-85883-615-0.