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Meuma

Audio recordings: Andrew Hsiu. (2017). Meuma audio word list. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1123239

On April 29, 2013, I visited Xinzhai 新寨, Mada 马达, Daping Township 大坪镇, Malipo County, Yunnan, China. The Yi people there call themselves "Meuma" [mɯ55 mɑ33], but are referred to as "Mengwu 孟武" in the Malipo County Gazetteer. There were only semi-speakers, with no fluent speakers left. Meuma is also spoken in Dadipo 大地坡 of the same administrative village (Mada Village).

My informants were an elderly woman about 70-80 years old and a man about 50 years old. The elderly woman's pronunciation is likely more reliable, as the other man claimed to speak less Meuma than the elderly woman. Only about 60 words were elicited since my informants had forgotten many lexical items. Overall, the data was problematic, with some words not matching with what would have been expected for a typical Loloish language. Additional "Mengwu 孟武" people have been reported in neighboring Xichou and Maguan counties, but it is not known whether they speak (or continue to speak) Meuma or not.

Judging from lexical evidence, Meuma appears to be closely related to Kazhuo, Samu, Sadu, and Sanie. However, additional vocabulary will be needed to further clarify the genetic position of Meuma.
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Andrew Hsiu,
Dec 23, 2017, 11:45 AM
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