Universal Declaration of Human Rights

PDF version for the language Yi
PDF Version


Source: United Nations Development Programme, China


Native Name

Total Speakers
1,600,000 (1991)

Usage By Country
Officially Recognized Language: China

Yi (also Moso, Lolo, Noso, etc.) is a family of closely related tonal Tibeto-Burman languages spoken by the Yi people. Although linguists still use the term Lolo or Loloish, the Yi people themselves regard it as pejorative. In fact, people supposedly belonging to the Yi nationality speak six different languages, all part of the Tibeto-Burman linguistic family, but which hold only 25 to 50 percent of words in common. One of these languages has been chosen as the standard "Yi" language and, as such, is the only one taught in school, both in its oral and written form.

Received 8/3/1999
Posted 1/11/2000