Bouyei is a member of the northern branch of the Tai-Kadai language family. It has about 2.6 million speakers and is spoken mainly in southern Guizhou Province in China. There are also some Bouyei speakers, who are known as Giáy, in northern Vietnam. Bouyei is also known as Buyi, Puyi, 布依语 (bùyī yǔ) in Chinese, and tiếng Bố or tiếng Giáy in Vietnamese. Bouyei has official status in China and Vietnam.
Bouyei used to be written with a script based on Chinese characters similar to the Sawndip script used for Zhuang. In 1956 a way of writing Bouyei using the Latin alphabet was developed, and was based on the Latin alphabet for Zhuang. It was approved by the Chinese government in 1957, but was only used until 1960.
A new Latin-based script for Bouyei was developed in 1981 and experimental use began in 1982. It was officially adopted in 1985 and continues to be used. It is based on the dialect of Wangmo County (望谟县).
Bouyei has eight tones. The letters below are added to the ends on words to indicate the tones. Where there are two letters, the second is used for loanwords.
Download an alphabet chart for Bouyei (Excel)
Information about Bouyei suggested and compiled by Wolfram Siegel
Information about the Bouyei language and people
Basic vocabulary of Bouyei
Ahom, Aiton, Bouyei, Isan, Kam, Khamti, (Tai) Khün, Lao, Lue, Northern Thai (Kam Mueang), Shan, Sui, Tai Dam, Tai Dón, Tai Laing, Tai Nuea, Tai Phake, Tai Ya, Thai, Yang Zhuang, Zhuang
Languages written with the Latin alphabet
Page last modified: 23.04.21
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