A language of China

ISO 639-3: mlm

Population 50,000 to 60,000 (2000 Liang Min). 10,000 monolinguals (including women and preschool children). Ethnic population: 159,328 (1990 census).
Region Luocheng Mulam Autonomous County (90% in Dongmen and Siba communes), and adjacent counties in north central Guizhou Province; and in Majiang and Kaili City in Guizhou Province.
Alternate names   Mulao, Molao, Mulou, Muliao, Mulao Miao, Abo, Ayo
Dialects Close to Dong. Lexical similarity 65% with Dong (probably Southern Dong), 53% with Zhuang (probably Northern Zhuang).
Classification Tai-Kadai, Kam-Tai, Kam-Sui
Language use Vigorous. Many Han Chinese and Zhuang also speak Mulam. All domains. Used mainly among older adults, and less among young people and children. Positive language attitude. Chinese is used as second language. Written Chinese in common use. Bilinguals use various Chinese varieties or Zhuang as second language. Many also use Northern Zhuang and some use Maonan. Chinese is used in secondary schools, in Daoist and Buddhist services.
Language development Literacy rate in second language: 65%. Radio programs. Grammar.




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An official nationality. They live close to the Han, Zhuang, Dong, Hmong, and Mien. They call themselves 'Mulam'. Some around Luocheng call themselves 'Kyam'. SVO; reduplication; aspirated, palatalized, labialized, voiceless nasal, lateral onsets; nasal and stop finals; many Chinese loans; tonal, 6 tone categories in unchecked syllables, 2 in checked (split into 4 according to vowel length). Plains, mountain slope. Agriculturalists: wet rice, maize; miners. Polytheist, Daoist, Buddhist.