A Grammar of the Kazo Language in Yunnan, China


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Kazo is a seriously endangered minority language spoken in a single village in Yunnan, China. The speakers descend from the Mongol troops who conquered the region under Kublai Khan in 1253. Kazo evolved in contact with other groups such as the Bai, Yi, and Han. Today, it is classified as variant of Yi (Tibeto-Burman), although the two are mutually unintelligible. Speakers are under increasing pressure to speak Mandarin in order to pursue an education or find work outside the village, making documentation of Kazo urgent. The grammar, lexicon, and texts presented in the dissertation provide a permanent record of the language, which is valuable for scholars as well as the Kazo people. They also lay the groundwork for future research into language change, language contact, and linguistic typology.