|Region||Longlin County, Guangxi|
The Bolyu language (autonym: pɔ˧lju˩˧; Chinese: 巴琉语, 布流语; also known as Paliu, Palyu, or Lai 俫语, 徕语) is an Austroasiatic language of the Pakanic branch (Sidwell 1995). The Bolyu are among the unrecognized ethnic groups of China. In 1984, Bolyu was first studied by Liang Min of the Nationalities Research Institute in Beijing. Liang was the first to suggest the Mon–Khmer affiliation of Bolyu, which was later confirmed by Western linguists such as Paul K. Benedict, Paul Sidwell, and Jerold A. Edmondson.
Bolyu is related to the Bugan language, forming the Pakanic branch along with it. However, the place of the Pakanic branch within the Mon–Khmer family is uncertain. Sidwell (1995) suggests that the Pakanic branch may be an Eastern Mon–Khmer branch, thus making it most closely related to the Vietic branch. However, Gérard Diffloth classifies Pakanic as Northern Mon–Khmer, making it most closely related to the Palaungic branch.
In the following villages, only elderly speakers of Bolyu remain.
1,400 Bolyu reside in Guangxi, and over 1,000 in Yunnan.
|palatalized||[ᵐbʲ] [pʲ] [pʰʲ]||[tʲ] [tʰʲ]||[kʲ]|
Bolyu has a total of six tones (Edmondson 1995).
|Tone number||Tone contour|
There are 7 vowels in Bolyu (Edmondson 1995): /a, e, ə, i, o, ɔ, u/.
Bolyu allows for a large variety of consonant clusters, and has 8 possible consonantal finals (Sidwell 1995): -p, -t, -k, -m, -n, -ŋ, -w, -j.