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This study launches a phonological analysis of the Yáo’ān Central Yi language as spoken by the Yi people who live in and around the area of Mayou 马游村 west of the city of Yáo’ān 姚安市 , in the Chuxiong Autonomous Prefecture 楚雄彝族自治州 , of Yunnan 云南省 , China 中国 . The speakers of the language refer to their speech as Loxrlavu (lo̱ʔ²¹la³³vʊ³³) or Loxrlovu (lo̱ʔ²¹lo³³vʊ³³). Yáo’ān Central Yi is a member of the Sino-Tibetan language family, placed under the Tibeto-Burman group and further classified under the Loloish Branch.
The purpose of the study is to identify the phones of the language and break them down into phonemes for the purpose of transcribing the language using Roman letters, which is generally referred to as a “pinyin”（拼音）of the language. The transcription is based, as closely as possible, on the Chinese language “pinyin” as well as on how a number of prominent Chinese linguists have described other minority languages of China.