A dictionary for a special language used only by women of an ethnic group in central China's Hunan Province will be published this year.
It is one of the efforts to save the language, which is believed to be world's only women's language and is at the edge of extinction.
The dictionary, being compiled by the Yuelu Publishing House, will cover the history, pronunciation, meaning and written style of the characters of the language, used among women of the Yao ethnic group in Jiangyong County.
Chinese experts have called for efforts to save the language. As the small number of women who used the language die off, it draws closer to extinction.
Some experts believe that the language may be related to inscriptions on the animal bones and tortoise shells of the Yin Ruins from more than 3,000 years ago, but no conclusions have beenreached on when the language originated.
The Central-South China Institute for Nationalities in Hubei Province began to study the language in 1983. So far, about 2,000 characters have been identified.
Some works of the language have been destroyed because of a lack of protection, said experts.
Yang Huanyi, 93, and He Yanxin, in her 60s, are among the few women who can read and write the language.
Ye Xumin, deputy director of the research center for the women's language of the Central-South China Institute for Nationalities,called for greater efforts to protect and study the language.
Experts are also seeking publication of works in the language and research articles, and for a museum to be built for the language culture. A symposium on the language will also be held.