Cao Miao language

Cao Miao
Native toChina
RegionGuizhou, Hunan, Guangxi
Native speakers
64,000 (2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3cov

Cao Miao (Chinese: 草苗; autonym: mjiu˥ɲaŋ˧[2]) is a variety of Dong (Kam) according to Shi Lin (2012).[3] Dialects include Liushi ("Sixty") Miao 六十苗, Sishi ("Forty") Miao 四十苗, and Ershi ("Twenty") Miao 二十苗 (also known as Flowery Miao 花苗). The Flowery Miao 花苗 do not consider themselves to be Cao Miao 草苗, although their language is similar to Sixty Miao and Forty Miao (Shi 2012).


There are various ethnic subgroups within Cao Miao (Shi 2015:7).

  • Inner Miao 内部苗 (or 内岗苗 / 内堺苗) (kaŋ˦˨ kau˧˩): 2 subgroups
    • Sixty (60) Miao 六十苗 (mjiu˥ ljok˨ɕəp˨[4])
    • Forty (40) Miao 四十苗 (mjiu˥ si˥˧ɕəp˨[4]), also called Diao 刁族 (tjau˩˧)[5]
  • Middle Miao 中部苗 (or 中岗苗 / 中堺苗) (kaŋ˦˨ ta˥˧), also called Twenty (20) Miao 二十苗 (mjiu˥ ȵi˧ɕəp˨[4]) or Flowery Miao 花苗 (mjiu˥ ken˥˧[4]).
  • Outer Miao 外部苗 (or 外岗苗 / 外堺苗) (kaŋ˦˨ pak˧), also called Old Miao 老苗 or Black Miao 黑苗.

Other ethnolinguistic groups living near the Cao Miao include the Han 汉族, Dong 侗族, Yao 瑶族, Suantang 酸汤人, Sanqiao 三撬人,[6] Pinghua speakers, Hakka 客家人, Chuanmin 船民 (a Guibei 桂北 Yue Chinese lect[7]), Naxi 那溪人, Liujia 六甲人,[8] and Liuse 六色人.[9]


There is a total of 58,900 Cao Miao people (Shi 2015:9). The following population statistics are from Shi (2015:9).

By ethnic subgroup:

  • 60 Miao: 49,300 people (in 126 villages[10])
  • 20 Miao (Flowery Miao): 5,930 people
  • 40 Miao (also called Diao 刁族): 3,620 people (in 18 villages of Liping and Tongdao counties[11])

By county:


Below are languages and their respective locations studied by Shi Lin (2012).[3]

  • Liushi (60) Miao 六十苗: Qifan 起凡 (in Liping), Dagaoping 大高坪 (in Tongdao), Gaoyu 高宇 (in Sanjiang)
  • Sishi (40) Miao 四十苗: Tanghua 堂华 (in Tongdao)
  • Ershi (20) Miao 二十苗: Kenxi 肯溪 (in Tongdao)
  • Southern Dong: Longcheng 陇城 (in Tongdao), Chengyang 程阳 (in Sanjiang)
  • Northern Dong: Xiudong 秀洞 (in Jinping), Sanmentang 三门塘 (in Tianzhu)

Ethnic Cao Miao also live in the following townships.[12]

Sishi Miao 四十苗 is spoken in these townships:[3]

The Flowery Miao live in Luoxiang 洛香镇, Congjiang County; Guochong 锅冲乡 and Dagaoping 大高坪, Tongdao County; Deshun 德顺乡, Liping County. In Liping County, they are also known as the "Flowery-Clothed Miao" (花衣苗) (Liping County Almanac 1989:153). According to Shi Lin (2012), Flowery Miao 花苗 (Ershi Miao 二十苗) is spoken in these townships:[3]

Other Cao Miao locations include:[13]

  • Liping County, Guizhou
    • Tangbi Village 塘婢村, Leidong Township 雷洞乡
    • Jiujue Village 九厥村, Hongzhou Township 洪州镇
    • Guigong 归公, Diping Township 地坪乡
    • Guibai 归白, Diping Township 地坪乡
    • Pingsong 平松, Shuikou Township 水口镇
    • Bashan 八善, Shuikou Township 水口镇
    • Gaoze Village 高泽村, Shunhua Township 顺化乡
  • Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, Guangxi
    • Fenshui 汾水, Bajiang Township 八江乡
    • Gaoya 高亚, Dudong Township 独峒乡
  • Rongshui Miao Autonomous County, Guangxi[14]
    • Rongtang Village 荣塘村, Sirong Township 四荣乡


  1. ^ Cao Miao at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Shi (2015:1)
  3. ^ a b c d Shi Lin [石林] (2012). The Cao Miao language of three provinces and its relationship to Dong[permanent dead link] [三省坡草苗的语言及其与侗语的关系]. In Minzu Yuwen [民族语文] 2012, no. 4. Beijing: China Social Sciences Academy [中国社会科学院].
  4. ^ a b c d Shi (2015:42)
  5. ^ Shi (2015:43)
  6. ^ "三锹人与清水江中下游的山地开发——以黔东南锦屏县岑梧村为中心的考察 - 豆丁网". Docin.com (in Chinese). 2012-03-13. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  7. ^ "桂南置家话的归属" (PDF). Cllc.gxnu.edu.cn. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  8. ^ Hou Jingrong [侯井榕] (2009). "Phonological System and Linguistic Typology of Liujia Chinese Dialect in Sanjiang of Guangxi Autonomous Region [广西三江县六甲话的语言特点]" (PDF). Comonca.org. Retrieved 2016-02-11.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "三省坡草苗的语言及其系属调查研究-《贵州民族大学学报(哲学社会科学版)》2013年01期". Cnki.com.cn. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  10. ^ Shi (2015:8)
  11. ^ Shi (2015:44)
  12. ^ "草苗/草苗之窗/草苗论坛". Caomiao.net. Archived from the original on 2013-08-25. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2015-09-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2017-11-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)


  • Shi Lin [石林]. 2015. Three language varieties of the Hunan-Guizhou-Guangxi border region [湘黔桂边区的三个族群方言岛]. Beijing: China Social Sciences Academy Press [中国社会科学出版社]. ISBN 9787516164945

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