600 Phrases in the Liangshan Yi Dialect

Lesson 1 : An Encounter on the Road


New Vocabulary

  1. cyp : one
  2. ꐮꋒ jjyx zzi : to meet someone by chance
  3. ꐋꀨ qop bop : comrade
  4. ne : you (sing.)
  5. kat : where ?
  6. da : from
  7. la : to come
  8. nga : I, me
  9. ꏪꐦ juo jjop : Zhaojue 昭觉 [a town east of Xichang in southern Sichuan]
  10. ꇓꈓ lur kur : city, town
  11. nop : you (pl.)
  12. jiet : family
  13. ꋬꂻ zzyr muo : well, in good health
  14. ꋬꂻꈨꅪ zzyr muo gge hni : happy and healthy
  15. bbo : to go
  16. mix : [interrogative particle]
  17. ꀒꎂ op rro : Xichang 西昌 [a town in southern Sichuan, the capital of the Liangshan Yi Nationality Autonomous Prefecture]
  18. nyi : also
  19. bat : [vocative particle]
  20. ꐥꅍꀋꐥ jjo ddu ap jjo : everything's fine, there's nothing the matter
  21. yy : to go in a downwards direction
  22. yie : to walk (in company)
  23. ꉣꑊ ngap nyit : we two, us two
  24. ꐮꐊ jjyx qo : together
  25. mo : [subjunctive particle]
  26. miep : in front
  27. qo : to follow
  28. wax : behind












ꃅꇫ:! ꉣꑊꐮꐊꁧ

ꃅꇢ:ꑷ! ꆏꂴꐊ,ꉢꊁ


Mugat : Comrade, where have you come from ?

Mugox : I've come from Zhaojue.

Mugat : How is your family keeping ?

Mugox : They're very well.

Mugat : Where are you going ?

Mugox : I'm going to Xichang.

Mugox : Your family is also well I suppose.

Mugat : Very well, no problems.

Mugox : Where are you going ?

Mugat : I am also going to Xichang.

Mugox : Let's go ! We'll walk together.

Mugat : Let's go ! You go in front, I'll follow behind.


1. ꇓꈓ (lur kur) : This word originally referred to a walled town, but in modern usage can be used for any town or city. For example, ꀙꏢꇓꈓ (bip ji lur kur) "Beijing city".

2. (w) : This is the Syllable Iteration Symbol (represented by "w" in the Yi phonetic alphabet), and is used to indicate that the preceding syllable is repeated. Thus in this sentence ꋬꂺꀕ (zzyr muox w) stands for ꋬꂺꂻ (zzyr muox muo). The iteration symbol is often found after adjectives or verbs, where reduplication of the final syllable indicates the interrogative :

Notice that if the syllable to be repeated is in the Mid Level tone (no final "p", "t" or "x"), then this syllable is mutated to the Secondary High tone (final "x"), whereas the repeated syllable remains unmutated.

3. (mix) : This is an interrogative particle that is used for rhetorical or emphatic purposes. Thus in the previous sentence, ꆏꇿꁧꂯ? (ne kat bbo mix) "Where are you going ?", the final (mix) is optional, and could be omitted (cf. ꆏꇿꄉꇁ? (ne kat da la) "Where have you come from ?"), but here it is used to emphatically contrast this question with the matching question that the speaker had just been asked. In the reply, ꉢꀒꎂꁧꂯ (nga op rro bbo mix) "I'm going to Xichang", the final (mix) acts as a rhetorical particle, giving the sentence a meaning something like to "I'm going to Xichang, aren't I".

4. ꐥꅍꀋꐥ (jjo ddu ap jjo) : Literally "there is not something that is anything" ( (jjo) "there is", (ddu) "a thing, something", (ap) "[negative particle]"). This expression is more emphatic than the ordinary ꌤꀋꐥ (syt ap jjo) "it's nothing", "no problem".

5. (yy) : There are three words for the verb "to go", the usage of which largely depends upon the terrain over which the going is to take place :

6. (nga) : Here pronounced ngax (see Lesson 2 Note 4 for an explanation).

7. (yie) : This word has the meaning of "to walk", but is only used when the subject of the verb is in the plural. That is to say, it can be used for two more people, but not for a solitary person.

8. (mo) : This particle indicates that the associated action is something that the speaker wants to happen in the future. For example, ꉢꑍꇬꌕꇬꉉꂿ (nga nyip go suo go hxip mo) "Let me say a few words" [literally "two or three sentences"].

9. (qo) : This word means "to follow", in the context of two people walking together along a narrow mountain path that is not wide enough for two to walk abreast. Thus ꆏꂴꐊ (ne miep qo) "You walk in front of me" and ꉢꊁꐊ (nga wax qo) "I'll follow directly behind you". The speaker is being polite in offering to follow behind. Note that in this example, substituting (bbo) "to go" for (qo) would give a totally different meaning : ꆏꂴꁧ,ꉢꊁꁧ (ne miep bbo, nga wax bbo) "You go on ahead, and I'll follow later".

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