SE Asian Languages

Languages in Southeast Asia

Here the word “Linguistics” spelled out in the major scripts of Southeast Asia: Khmer, Thai, Lao, Burmese, Lanna, Vietnamese, and finally in English.

Four large language families are represented in Southeast Asia.

The Kadai (Kam-Tai) family includes scores of languages from southern China and the Red River Valley in Vietnam through Laos and Myanmar (Burma), into the southern peninsula of Thailand. It includes the national languages of Laos and Thailand.

The Austroasiatic family, including the large Mon-Khmer family, encompasses hundreds of languages from Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. The national languages of Vietnam and Cambodia belong to this group.

Languages from the Sino-Tibetan family stretch even further. Speakers from these languages live in lands from Pakistan, Nepal and Tibet across India and Myanmar and into Thailand, Laos and China. Chinese, Tibetan and Burmese are Sino-Tibetan languages.

While most Austronesian languages are spoken in insular Southeast Asia, they are also strongly represented in Malaysia and have smaller populations in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Bahasa Malaysia, the national language of Malaysia, is an Austronesian language.

Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter