LINGUIST List 12.2327

Thu Sep 20 2001

Books: Grammars

Editor for this issue: Richard John Harvey <>

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  1. 890003149593, Grammars: The Bisu Language

Message 1: Grammars: The Bisu Language

Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 00:48:22 +0200
From: 890003149593 <>
Subject: Grammars: The Bisu Language

The Bisu Language


A transnational language, Bisu is spoken in the border areas of China,
Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. It was first described in Thailand in the
1960s, and is an important member of the Bisoid branch of the
Burmese-Yipho group within the Tibeto-Burman language family. Other
members of this branch include Phunoi, Sangkong, Mpi, and Pyen. This
is an English translation of a linguistic description of the Bisu
spoken in Yunnan Province in southwestern China. The original Chinese
text was written by Xu Shixuan of the Institute of Nationality Studies
of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as part of the series
Newly-Discovered Languages in China. The volume analyses and
describes Bisu in terms of its structure, its relationship to other
languages in the same family, and its socio-cultural background,
presenting a comprehensive and systematic overview of the language.
There are extensive discussions of the origins and forms of loan words
in Bisu, a detailed description of its dialects, as well as numerous
charts of Burmese-Yipho cognates. The two appendices include a lexicon
of over 2,000 words and three Bisu odes. This thorough description of
one of the lesser-known minority languages of China provides an
excellent record of a language whose speaker numbers are declining. In
addition, the distinctive features of Bisu and the effects of contact
with other languages such as Thai and Dai can offer new perspectives
in the investigation of Tibeto-Burman languages.

ISBN 3 89586 346 7. 
Languages of the World/Materials 411. 
280pp. USD 66 / EUR 68 / � 40. 

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Monday, July 23, 2001