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Va

Audio recordings (Northern Va): Andrew Hsiu. (2017). Va (Northern) audio word list. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1122622
Audio recordings (Southern Va): Andrew Hsiu. (2017). Va (Southern) audio word list. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1123287
Conference presentations: Hsiu, Andrew. 2015. The Angkuic languages: a preliminary survey.
Papers: Hsiu, Andrew. 2015. A preliminary phonological sketch of Va, an Angkuic language. m.s.
Transcribed word lists: Hsiu, Andrew. 2017. Angkuic lexical database. m.s.

On April 10-11, 2014, I collected about 270 words from Northern Va and about 100 words from Southern Va. Both are spoken in several scattered villages in Jingxing Township 景星乡, Mojiang County, Yunnan, China. Southern Va is spoken only by middle-age and elderly people, but not by children. It is more conservative and retains many sesquisyllabic prefixes, particularly /s-/, which are not retained in Northern Va. Northern Va, which is also vigorously spoken by children, may have about 2,000 speakers, and for Southern Va, perhaps just under 1,000. The Va of Mojiang County are geographically isolated from other Austroasiatic-speaking groups, as no other Austroasiatic languages are spoken within perhaps a 100-km radius.

My Northern Va informant, surnamed Li 李, is a 27-year-old male shopkeeper who is fluent in Putonghua (standard Mandarin), Southwestern Mandarin, and Va. He has worked in Kunming for a few years before. According to Li, the ancestors of the Va were also called “Mang 莽” in the past, and had migrated from the Dali area, which is located much further to the northwest. My Southern Va informant is 42-year-old Wang Lijuan 王丽娟. Data collection on Southern Va was performed under time constraints, since it was done during a bus break by the side of a road while I was on my way to the Mojiang county seat.

My Northern Va informant claimed that Southern Va is very difficult for him to understand, but my Southern Va informant reported that she understands Northern Va perfectly well. Also, speakers are aware that Va numerals (except 1-3) are from Tai. However, most of their neighbors are Kaduo (kha31 tu31) speakers, a Southern Loloish group; the Tai are a minority in the region.

Northern Va is spoken in about 8 villages in Taihe Administrative Village 太和村, Jingxing Township 景星乡, Mojiang County, Yunnan, China by about 600 ethnic Bulang households or just over 2,000 families. All generations, including children, speak the language fluently.
•    Wamo 挖墨
•    Xinzhai 新寨 (Upper 上 and Lower 下 hamlets)
•    Jiuzhai 旧寨
•    Dazhai 大寨 (Upper 上 and Lower 下 hamlets)
•    Xiaozhai 小寨 (Upper 上 and Lower 下 hamlets)

Southern Va is spoken in the following villages of Zhenglong Administrative Village 正龙村, Jingxing Township 景星乡, Mojiang County, Yunnan, China. The children do not speak Va.
•    Pingtian 平田
•    Banglao 蚌老 (culture and language best preserved)
•    Miena 乜那
•    Binggu 丙故
•    Yin’gou 阴沟
•    Yakou 丫口 (culture and language least preserved)

Even though their autonym is “Va,” their language is fully Angkuic, and does not have any Waic influence or substrate.

References
Hsiu, Andrew. 2015. The Angkuic languages: a preliminary survey. Presented ICAAL 6 (6th International Conference on Austroasiatic Linguistics), Siem Reap, Cambodia.
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