600 Phrases in the Liangshan Yi Dialect

Lesson 5 : A Conversation


New Vocabulary

  1. ꌧꈿ syp mgep : to talk, chat
  2. ꀀ it : to live (somewhere)
  3. ꑝꅇ xit ddop : Xide 喜德 [a town north of Xichang]
  4. ꆈꌠ nuo su : the Yi or Nuosu nationality
  5. ꉌꈲ hxie mgat : the Han nationality
  6. ꃅꄷ mu ddix : district, hometown
  7. ꐥꅍꐥꀋꇲ jjo ddu jjo ap gut : quiet and peaceful
  8. ꎿꈎ shur kut : this year
  9. ꋚꁧ zza bbo : crops
  10. ꂄꈓ nbop kur : bumper harvest
  11. ꀊꅰꃅꀋ a hnat mu ap : not too ...
  12. mge : buckwheat
  13. ꀦꇴ box gu : maize
  14. he : good
  15. che : rice (the plant)
  16. ꒉꄸ yy ddi : reason
  17. ꂷꉐ ma hxa : rain
  18. jjip : to fall (of rain or snow)
  19. guo : too
  20. da : because
  21. ꂿꃋ mo my : sky, weather
  22. mgo : cold
  23. jju : oats
  24. qip : to sow, plant
  25. sha : wheat
  26. ssup : barley
  27. ꀉꑌꃅ ax nyi mu : quite a few
  28. dax : quite, comparatively
  29. ꈿꐔ mgep qy : sweet buckwheat (?)
  30. ꈵꆈ mgap nuo : bitter buckwheat (?)
  31. zza : cooked rice, a meal
  32. zze : to eat
  33. lut : enough
























Muxhlie : Comrade, where do you come from ?

Muxrryr : I am originally from Xide.

Muxhlie : Are you Yi or Han nationality ?

Muxrryr : I am Yi.

Muxhlie : Your hometown is a peaceful place I suppose.

Muxrryr : Quiet and peaceful.

Muxhlie : Have you had a good harvest there this year ?

Muxrryr : We had a bumper harvest.

Muxrryr : We didn't have a very good harvest. We had a good crop of buckwheat and maize, but we did not have a very good crop of rice and potatoes.

Muxhlie : Why was that ?

Muxrryr : It was because there was too much rain, and the weather was too cold.

Muxhlie : Do you grow oats there ?

Muxrryr : We grow both oats and wheat.

Muxhlie : Do you grow barley ?

Muxrryr : We don't grow much barley, but grow quite a lot of buckwheat.

Muxhlie : Sweet buckwheat or bitter buckwheat ?

Muxrryr : We grow both sweet buckwheat and bitter buckwheat.

Muxhlie : What was the harvest of these crops like ?

Muxrryr : It was a good harvest.

Muxhlie : Have you enough grain to eat ?

Muxrryr : Plenty, plenty.


1. ꆏꇿꀀꌠꉬ (ne kat it su nge) : Literally "You are a where dweller ?" (i.e. Where do you live ?"), but actually an expression used to ascertain someone's place of birth or native town, not their current residence. The particle (su) turns ꇿꀀ (kat it) "where live" into a noun phrase – "a where dweller". Likewise the reply ꉢꑝꅇꀀꌠꉬ (nga xit ddop it su nge) translates literally as "I am a Xide dweller" (i.e. "I am a native of Xide").

2. ꃅꄷ (mu ddix) : This word normally means "district", but when used after (nop) "you (plural)" it takes the specific meaning of the place where you come from (i.e. your hometown or native county).

3. ꈻꇨꀕ (mgo guo w) : When (guo) "too" is reduplicated, it intensifies the meaning of the word it modifies. So ꈻꇨ (mgo guo) "too cold", but ꈻꇨꀕ (mgo guo w) "really too cold". In this sentence the word (mgo) should be read in the Secondary High tone, that is as (mgox).

4. ꐩꑌꏿ, ꎭꑌꏿ (jju nyi qip , sha nyi qip) : When (nyi) is used in tandem, if the preceding syllable is in the Mid Level tone, then it is normally read in the Secondary High tone. Thus, in this sentence, (jju) and (sha) should be read as (jjux) and (shax). Likewise, in the sentence ꆏꑌꁧ, ꋌꑌꁧ (ne nyi bbo, cy nyi bbo) "You are going, and he is also going", the words (ne) and (cy) should be read as (nex) and (cyx).

5. ꋚꁧꋋꈨ (zza bbo cyx gge) : Demonstrative pronouns such as ꋋꈨ (cyx gge) "these" follow their noun in Yi.

6. ꋠꇎꐯꋠꇎ (zze lut jjy zze lut) : As well as intensifying adjectives (see Lesson 4 Note 1), the particle (jjy) can intensify adverbal constructs, such as in this case, where ꋠꇎ (zze lut) "to eat enough" is reduplicated with (jjy) in the middle to give the meaning "plenty to eat". Likewise ꀀꌒ (it sa) "to sleep well" can be intensified to ꀀꌒꐯꀀꌒ (it sa jjy it sa) "to have a good night's sleep".

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