Achang - Orientation

Identification. With a population of only 27,708 (1990 census), the Achang are a small ethnic group. They reside mainly in a multinational region of western Yunnan Province in China; a few live in the region's frontier with northeast Myanmar (Burma). Since the area contains other ethnic groups, primarily the neighboring Dai, Han (Chinese), and Jingpo, many aspects of their culture, such as language, dress, architecture, and religion, among others, are to a large extent not distinct.

Location. About 90 percent of Achang are concentrated in three communes (now townships) in Yunnan in the counties of Longchuan, Lianghe, and Luxi. The other 10 percent are spread across neighboring counties. The region is affected by the monsoon from the Indian Ocean. The subtropical areas where the Achang live are warm, rainy, and humid.

Linguistic Affiliation. The language of the Achang is a branch of Tibeto-Burman in the Sino-Tibetan Family. The Achang language has two dialects: Fusa, which is influenced by Dai, Burmese, and Jingpo; and Lianghe, which mixes Chinese, Jingpo, and Lisu. Many Achang also speak the languages of the neighboring peoples (e.g., Dai, Chinese, Jingpo, and Burmese).

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