Maonan Language

       (See A Grammar of Maonan)  The language is referred to as Vanan by its speakers (va 'speech, language').
        The term Nan can refer to the language, as in gjang nan 'to speak (the) Nan (language)' (gjang 'speak'). As for the language spoken by another Maonan group in Guizhou province, i.e. Yanghuang, it is related to, but is sufficiently distinct from, Maonan. Both are members of the Kam-Sui group.
       Maonan does not have a writing system except some religious scriptures written in mysterious characters only intelligible to the shamans, which has now been included in a annotated translation program by Dr Tianqiao Lu (aka. Mike). The Maonan orthography was established in 2010  based on the 26 Latin alphabets to facilitate common keyboard input. The writing system is being used among limited number of Maonan intellectuals.
       Language of instruction in primary school and middle school is Chinese. Maonan is the language used after class, i.e., in the corridors, on the playgrounds, etc:
       There are very few researchers studying the Maonan language and culture. Dr Tianqiao Lu is one of them. He stayed in the Maonan area for neay a year and has recorded great amount of sound data, including 50 stories. A monograph A Grammar of Maonan was written based on these materials. Prof. LIANG Min and Prof. Zhang Junru from the China Academy of Social Sciences, Prof. ZHENG Guoqiao from the Central University of Nationalities, Mr TAN Yuanyang, a Maonan linguist in Huanjiang County, were the important researchers for the preliminary study of the Maonan language. Prof. ZHANG Jingni (Dr) has published a monograph on Maonan verbs "Study of Maonan Verbs" (2006. Publishing House of Central University of Nationalities) which is one of the important works within this field in the past years. A few articles on Maonan measure words, classifiers, synonyms, etc, have been published in the past 20 years. Generally speaking, there is a wide gap in the study of the Maonan language.

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