Lisu people

The Lisu (Chinese傈 僳 族, Pinyin Lìsùzú ) are one of the 55 officially recognized minorities of the People's Republic of China. According to the last census in 2010, they include 702 839 people in China. They live mainly in Yunnan and Sichuan in southwest China. Lisu live in Myanmar, Thailand and the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Language and writing

The Lisu language belongs to lolo- Burmese branch of Tibeto - Burmese language group of the Sino - Tibetan languages ​​and is spoken by 580,000 people.

The British missionary James O. Fraser created together with the Karen Missionary Ba Thaw of Burma and initially with the American Baptist missionary JG Geis 1914 Lisu script, which in its final form in 1918 has been modified several times and was known as Fraser alphabet. It consists of Latin characters, but some are rotated by 180 degrees - 31 for Silbenanlaute and 10 for Silbenauslaute - and seven diacritics to mark nasal vowels and tones. In China, the Fraser alphabet is also called " Old Lisu script ". The first printing in the Fraser alphabet were the book Markus (Shanghai 1921) and a textbook (Yangon 1922).

1923 designed the Lisu priest Wa Renbo a syllabary for the Lisu, but hardly found -proliferation and is largely forgotten.

1957 new Lisu written language was created based on the Latin alphabet with a few additional letters that appear to be partially borrowed from Cyrillic; it is called " New Lisu script ". Additional letters were later replaced by Latin letters.

Since 1978, books are printed in the Fraser font again in China and since 1983 it has undergone a revival since the Lisu local governments decided in Nujiang and the circle Weixi, again officially the Fraser alphabet instead of introducing the new font. However, the nationalities of Yunnan University, Kunming taught as before, only the new font and it also continues to be printed before books in the New Scriptures.

There are some attempts to reform the Fraser alphabet, ie to replace the rotated characters by combinations of letters normal roman letters in order to facilitate data processing. The Fraser - script was added to Unicode 5.2.

In China, and even more in Thailand, where Christianity and the Scriptures were circulated among the Lisu until the 1970s, the Fraser - writing the reputation of adheres to Christian missionaries, making it difficult to spread among non-Christian Lisu.


Among the Lisu of animism is the most widespread. There are also Buddhists and Christians.