Miao people losing their language: report

From Xinhua:

The language spoken by the Chinese Miao ethnic group in southwest China’s Guizhou Province is in danger of disappearing, a local political advisor has warned.

“Native people in Miao villages communicate in their own language less and less,” said Han Kan, vice chairman of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the Guizhou Provincial People’s Political Consultative Conference, citing a report made by his organization.

In the Tianzhu County of the Qiandongnan Autonomous Prefecture of Miao and Dong Nationalities where Miao people live in a compact community, only 32 out of 112 Miao language-speaking villages use their own language, according to the report.

In Qiandongnan’s Taijiang County, where the Miao population accounts for 97 percent of the total, 40 out of 180 Miao villages no longer use the Miao language.

In Danzhai County, also in Qiandongnan, only 60 percent of the people — mostly over 50 years old — speak their own language. In 1999, the figure was 85 percent.

I hate writing a post about a non-Sinitic language of China without S. Robert Ramsey’s invaluable The Languages of China at hand. But I won’t be able to get to my copy of this for several more days and I’ve been putting off finishing far too many posts as it is.

source: Language of China’s Miao ethnic group may disappear, Xinhua, July 27, 2006

12 thoughts on “Miao people losing their language: report

  1. I AM A (HMONG) MIAO DECENT FROM CHINA ALTHOUGH I WAS BORN IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.I ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW THE HISTORY OF OUR (HMONG)MIAO PEOPLE WHO HAS COME FRM CHINA TO SOUTHEAST ASIA-LAOS….NOW THAT I HAVE COME HERE AND READ THIS ..I FEEL SADDEN BY THIS THAT THE MIAO CHINESE PEOPLE ARE AT THE VERGE OF LOSING THEIR LANGUAGE.I JUST CAN BELIEVE THAT IT SEEM THAT THE MIAO–ORGIN (hmong)THAT THEY ARE NOT TRYING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT..

  2. I to am sadden by the living conditions that the miao in China has to endure. Their lot in life can definitely be allevieted somewhat if the Chinese Government cared for the poor as they preach. Why should the rich care about the poor in China? I don’t why the Chinese Communist athiest should care. Can someone help me with this?

    The hmong in the US is loosing our language, as well. I don’t know as what rate but the younger folks are speaking less and less of their native tongue. The sad part is that many don’t even have a decent command of the English language. As a community we can do something…definitely each family can make a change within their family. My church community really helps with keeping the Hmong language because we sing and read (Bible) in Hmong.

    God bless

  3. I see that the Hmong in the United States is losing their language like the Chinese Hmong. It’s ok because Han Chinese are the majority, we have to change into Han Chinese way of life.

  4. looks like the more you live up north into china the more differnt the language that you speak …thats the way humans have always have been, for thousands of years.. there are so many language that are extinct in the world, but don’t let it be yours…. learn the primary language mandarin, but always never forget your own teach your children,do not for get where you come from or who you are the ones that can make a big difference in the future is your children…your children the most important thing for your future just like when you made a difference with your parents…the han chines has succeded in the esimilation of the miao hmong in china so they can not regroup or rebel agains the hans no more… which will never happen, this is the plan that was intend for the miao future for 1,000 years.. if they can wait 100 years for hong kong they can wait more than 1,ooo years for anyone…the san miao empire was distroy, the miao was genicide for elimination..leaders, scholars, alphebits, history,distroyed only leaveing the kids, poor,eliterate, esimilation into 5 groups which exist now with several differnt dialics..that somtimes one can not undersatand the other…the hmong american has been seperated from miao hmong china for more the 4,6 generation…. this is why we migrated to laos, thialand,vietnam…but now we are here in america in 50 more years we also will speak another dialic no doubt about it..don’t let happen agian we don’t see the future if we don’t try..most hmong american don’t even know what miao hmong look like untill their was internet “lol” they had chase there history into the wind evrytime they hear somtething they went to see if its real but now its real we are you and you are use dont’t for get who you are where you come from learn your language……..

  5. Wow, after reading this, I feel really upset. I am Hmong. It’s really sad how we don’t know really of where we originated from. Not only that, but many of us are losing our language. It saddens me to think about what will become of us in the next couple of years. I love learning other languages, but at the same time I also want to keep mine. I wish we can do something to help us youngsters.

  6. No this cant be happening. whyyyyy????? In America its arready happening, these days not many hmoob (miao) teens know the words. i think they should open up more Hmoob (miao) schools in china and i think the elders need to spend more time with the new generation. I cant belived this is happening.

  7. Hello, I am also miao(hmong). I feel very upset and sad when I heard about this. It seems that the miao people in china don’t care much about this matter. Since Qiandongnan is a Miao autonomous prefecture, so I think the Miao language should be used officially in that prefecture. Once in my life, I’d love to see our Hmong(miao) language being used officially. Because we don’t have our own country, thats why we are facing this problem. However, it is fortunate that we have autonomous areas in China which will be a good opportunity for us to develop our culture and language.

  8. Here are some solution:

    1. Having our own united official writing system (Characters). Well this is the most difficult part because we now have a lot of different writing systems, each dialect has their own writing. I think we must choose only one writing system to be the official writing for all the hmong dialects. Cuz we want to unite our Miao.

    2. Encourage the use of our language wherever our people live especially in the regional autonomy of hmong. In China, our hmong(miao) language must be used as the official language in Wenshan (Paj tawg lag) because Wenshan is a hmong autonomous prefecture. And else where like in Qiangdongnan, Xiangxi, Qiannan.

    3. Having TV channel, TV program, Game Show, Talk Show, TV Drama, Movies Series, Broadcast in Hmong(miao) language. This will be a good idea because entertainment can help to attrack people to use our language.

    4. The hmong(miao) must use hmong language in the official work places like companies, factories…

    5. The hmong government in hmong autonomous areas must use our hmong(miao) language in the educational system.
    Educate our people in our own language.

    These are only 5 things that we need to do right now in order to keep our language alive. Not only keeping our language but also to develop our language and make it to the international.

    Do you guys agree with my idea? Anybody has any better idea? any Suggestions are welcomed.

  9. Yes, I agree with you Mr.Lee Kong Meng! You have such a good idea to develop our hmong(miao) language.

    I think we should follow your suggestion Mr.Lee kong meng

  10. I am a Moob Leeg(MONG-MIAO) living in the United States of America. As a Mong educator, I feel that we have to start teaching Mong to the Hmong and Mong in the world (where ever you may be living now)either in our homes,church,community Centers,and at all school levels in order to keep our language for the long run.

    I was so sadden that the MIAO(MONG)in China are losing their native languages. But, I still have hope if all Hmong/Mong/Miao leaders start to aware of the significant of the issue and begin to put this issue in their agenda.

    I still have hope.

    Tub Moob

  11. No!!! I want to learn all the different miao languages…..Please practice and speak your own languages while learning manderin as well. I’m Hmong and this is really upsetting me….

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