Lāi Loux, 2003 edition

We have accumulated a variety of files related to the new bilingual Chinese-Wa language text Lāi Loux, for use in primary education in the Wa-speaking areas of Yunnan. This text is the standard national elementary Chinese text, with Wa parallel text. It contains some of the same stories which appeared first in the 1980s Wa language text of the same name. But it also contains stories with very modern, science-oriented or science fiction themes. Want to know how to say "mag-lev train" in Wa? (ho qe mīex hriam lai oi yod). (Volume 2 of the earlier series, Lāi Loux, Pug Ra, issued in 1985, was recently added to our corpus. Upon a quick analysis, the texts of the stories which they have in common appear to be similar, but not identical. The 1980s texts had fewer typos. They also had few Chinese parallel texts.)

This text is very valuable, both for harvesting vocabulary and as a learning aid for non-Wa speakers, but also very frustrating to use -- first, because it has a shocking number of typographical errors, despite having listed in the front a prestigious list of examiners and editors (审定人员); and second, because the Wa translation stays so close to the original Chinese (word order, heavy use of reduplication typical of Chinese children's literature) that it is often rather strange-looking, even to a non-native speaker.

A couple of further observations:

(a) there seems to be a welcome trend toward using native (or at least non-Chinese) Wa morphemes for neologisms over Chinese loans, and pre-existing Wa words over Sino-Wa words (e.g., 'la li' for 'car');

(b) for some Chinese loans, Lāi Loux, like the Xuesheng Wa-Han Cidian before it, favors MSC (Modern Standard Chinese) pronunciation over Yunnan dialect pronunciation, although it is inconsistent (the Wa-Han jianming cidian used Yunnan dialect both as the preferred source of Wa loan words and in its Chinese definitions);

(c) there is an odd innovative usage of the spelling 'yōx' instead of 'yāox' in those cases where it is used as the second verb in series in the construction 'do something and see' (see examples in the text document linked to below);

(d) there is a confusing apparent differentiation of the use of the nominaliser 'ba' into cases spelled 'ba' and cases spelled 'bah' -- there are too many of these to be accidental, but I can't perceive what the intent is (again, see some examples in the text document linked to below); also, this variation already appeared in the 1980s Lāi Loux texts.

(e) from the quantity of typos (or variant candidates) involving voiced/unvoiced initial consonants (e.g., 'po/npo', 'koig/nkoig', 'proi/nbrōuih' [?]), I would say that either the authors and editors weren't hearing or tolerated a difference, or after 20 years (they were publishing in this orthography already in the 1980's) they still hadn't mastered the distinction made in the orthography (or they just didn't care);

(f) the text always writes lēui (5 cases) in "yūh gah mox maix/gix lēui..." 'why don't you/they...?", whereas WHJMCD writes this as "leui".