Creating the Yi: History, Society, and Languages

  • Lubei Zhang
  • Linda Tsung
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 31)


Yi minzu is the sixth largest minority group in China. Speaking a variant of dialects and existing in a hierarchal Black (masters) and White (subjects) community structure, the anthropological origins of the Yi is still not completely known. Scholars at home and abroad hold different views towards their ancestry. This chapter reviews the studies regarding the history of the Yi from different perspectives and discusses its subgroups and social hierarchy. Language planning and policy for the Yi in modern China is a focus of discussion in this chapter. It recognizes that while the corpus planning of the Yi script seems to be successful, the outlook for status and acquisition planning of the Yi language is not that optimistic. Yi-Han bilingual education is faced with challenges.


Yi minzu Anthropological origin History Subgroups Hierarchal society Language planning 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lubei Zhang
    • 1
  • Linda Tsung
    • 2
  1. 1.Southwest Jiaotong UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.The University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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