The Bai language () is spoken by approximately 1.6 million people in northwest Yunnan Province, China. Of the 25 minority languages spoken in Yunnan, where 33% of the population are ethnic minorities and 67% are Han Chinese, the Bai ethnic minority is second in population only to the Yi (Wiersma 1990, 2003; 2010 census). Bai is classified as a Tibeto-Burman language (Xu & Zhao 1964, 1984), although arguments have been raised as to its possible early Sinitic origins (Starostin 1994, 1995). A summary in French reviews Chinese loanwords, ancient Bai, and comparative Bai dialects (Dell 1981). The historical influence of Chinese on Bai has been significant, but evidence is not compelling that Bai is Sinitic (Norman 2003: 73). There are three major dialects of Bái: Jiànchuān (), Dàlĭ (), and Bìjiāng (). The data in this illustration represent the variety of Jianchuan (jian1239, BCA). The third author (), who was about 60 years old at the time of recording, is a male native of the Jianchuan region, originating from QiÁohǒu, a mountain village some 50 km southwest of Jianchuan city – a remote area known for salt mining and where the language has been less influenced by modern Chinese. These locations are indicated on the map of Yunnan (the southwesternmost province of China in an intensely minority-language-populated area) in Figure 1. The traditional geographical link from Qiaohou is to Jianchuan to the north rather than to Dali to the south, and many of the most distinctive characteristics of Jianchuan Bai described here are not found in Dali Bai.