|An editor has asked for deletion of this article.|
|ພາສາລາວ ([pʰaːsaː laːw])|
|Native to||Laos, Thailand, U.S., France, Canada, China, Australia|
|Native speakers||5,225,552 (2006), roughly 20 million if Isan speakers are included. (date missing)|
|Official language in||Laos|
Lao or Laotian (BGN/PCGN: phasa lao, IPA: pʰaːsaː laːw) is a tonal language of the Tai–Kadai language family. It is the official language of Laos. It is also spoken in the northeast part of Thailand, where it is usually called the Isan language. Being the first language of the Lao people, Lao is also an important second language of ethnic groups in Laos and in Isan. Lao, like all languages in Laos, is written in an abugida script. There are a number of variations but the Vientiane dialect is considered the standard written form of Lao.
History[change | change source]
The Lao language descends from the Tia languages spoken in what is now northern Vietnam and southern China. Mongol invaders and expansion in China pushed the Tia people south towards India. Their language was influenced by other languages in the region like the Mon-Khmer and Austronesian languages. The written form of Lao originally came from the Pali language in India. The script form was brought to the region by Buddhists about two thousand years ago.
Vocabulary[change | change source]
The Lao language consists primarily of native Lao words. Because of Buddhism, however, Pali has contributed numerous terms. Many of these are about religion. Lao has influenced the Khmer and Thai languages and vice versa.
The writing has a larger amount of foreign loanwords, especially Pali and Sanskrit terms. This is very similar to how Latin and Greek have influenced European languages. For politeness, pronouns (and more formal pronouns) are used, plus ending statements with ແດ່ (dè [dɛː]) or ເດີ້ (deu [dɤ̂ː]). Negative statements are made more polite by ending with ດອກ (dok [dɔ̭ːk]). The following are formal register examples.
- ຂອບໃຈຫຼາຍໆເດີ້ (khop chai lai lai deu, [kʰɔ᷆ːp t͡ɕàj lǎːj lǎːj dɤ̂ː]) Thank you very much.
- ຂ້ານ້ອຍເຮັດບໍ່ໄດ້ດອກ (khanoi hét bo dai dok, [kʰa᷆ːnɔ̂ːj hēt bɔ̄ː dâj dɔ᷆ːk]) I cannot.
- ໄຂປະຕູໃຫ້ແດ່ (khai pa too hai dè, [kʰǎj pa.tùː ha᷆j dɛ̄ː ]) Open the door, please.
References[change | change source]
- "Lao Language". Laos-Guide-999.com. http://www.laos-guide-999.com/lao-language.html. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- "Facts about Lao". Thailao.net/. http://www.thailao.net/laofacts.htm. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- E K Brown; Sarah Ogilvie, Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World (Amsterdam, Netherlands; Boston, MA: Elsevier, 2009), p. 639
- "Lao Language". Effective Language Learning. http://www.effectivelanguagelearning.com/language-guide/lao-language. Retrieved 21 April 2016.