Greater Bai languages

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Greater Bai
Guizhou, China
Linguistic classificationSino-Tibetan

The Greater Bai or simply Bai languages (Chinese: 白语支) are a group of Sino-Tibetan languages proposed by Zhengzhang (2010), who argues that Bai and Caijia are sister languages.[2] In contrast, Sagart (2011) argues that Caijia and the Waxiang language of northwestern Hunan constitute an early branching from Old Chinese.[3] Additionally, Longjia and Luren are two extinct languages of western Guizhou closely related to Caijia (Guizhou 1984).[4][5][6][7]


The languages are:

Bai has over a million speakers, but Longjia and Luren may both be extinct, while Caijia is highly endangered with approximately 1,000 speakers. The Qixingmin people of Weining County, Guizhou may have also spoken a Greater Bai language, but currently speak Luoji.

Similarities among Old Chinese, Waxiang, Caijia, and Bai have been pointed out by Wu & Shen (2010).[8] Gong Xun (2015)[9] has suggested that Bai may be an outlier Sinitic language with a Qiangic substratum, noting that Bai has both a Sino-Bai vocabulary layer and a pre-Bai vocabulary layer. Gong (2015) also notes that the Old Chinese layer in Bai is more similar to early 3rd-century central varieties of Old Chinese in Ji (冀), Yan (兗), Si (司), and Yu (豫) that display the phonological innovation from Old Chinese *l̥ˤ- > *xˤ-, than to the eastern Old Chinese varieties (Qingzhou 青州 in modern-day Shandong; and Xuzhou 徐州 in modern-day Jiangsu) that later became ancestral to Middle Chinese, which show OC *l̥ˤ- > *tʰˤ- > MC th-. This east-west dialectal division in Old Chinese has also been noted by Baxter & Sagart (2014:113-114).[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Macro-Bai". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ a b Zhèngzhāng Shàngfāng [郑张尚芳]. 2010. Càijiāhuà Báiyǔ guānxì jí cígēn bǐjiào [蔡家话白语关系及词根比较]. In Pān Wǔyún and Shěn Zhōngwěi [潘悟云、沈钟伟] (eds.). Yánjūzhī Lè, The Joy of Research [研究之乐-庆祝王士元先生七十五寿辰学术论文集], II, 389–400. Shanghai: Shanghai Educational Publishing House.
  3. ^ Sagart, Laurent. 2011. Classifying Chinese dialects/Sinitic languages on shared innovations. Talk given at Centre de recherches linguistiques sur l’Asie orientale, Norgent sur Marne.
  4. ^ Guizhou provincial ethnic classification commission, linguistic division [贵州省民族识别工作队语言组]. 1982. The language of the Caijia [Caijia de yuyan 蔡家的语言]. m.s.
  5. ^ a b Guizhou provincial ethnic classification commission [贵州省民族识别工作队]. 1984. Report on ethnic classification issues of the Nanlong people (Nanjing-Longjia) [南龙人(南京-龙家)族别问题调查报告]. m.s.
  6. ^ Guizhou Province Gazetteer: Ethnic Gazetteer [贵州省志. 民族志] (2002). Guiyang: Guizhou Ethnic Publishing House [貴州民族出版社].
  7. ^ "白族家园-讲义寨". 2011-01-28. Archived from the original on 2014-10-17. Retrieved 2013-11-27. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ Wu Yunji, Shen Ruiqing [伍云姬、沈瑞清]. 2010. An Investigative Report of Waxianghua of Guzhang County, Xiangxi Prefecture [湘西古丈瓦乡话调查报告]. Shanghai Educational Press [上海教育出版社].
  9. ^ Gong Xun (2015). How Old is the Chinese in Bái? Reexamining Sino-Bái under the Baxter-Sagart reconstruction. Paper presented at the Recent Advances in Old Chinese Historical Phonology workshop, SOAS, London.
  10. ^ Baxter, William H.; Sagart, Laurent (2014), Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-994537-5.