Laha language

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Ethnicity8,200 Laha (2009 census)[1]
Native speakers
5,700 (1999 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3lha

Laha (Chinese: 拉哈, Vietnamese: La Ha) is a Kra language spoken by approximately 1,400 people out of a total population of 5,686 Laha. It is spoken in Lào Cai and Sơn La provinces, Vietnam. Laha dialects had been documented in 1986 by Russian linguists and in 1996 by American linguist Jerold A. Edmondson. Many Laha can also converse in the Khmu language, and Laha-speaking areas also have significant Black Thai (Tai Dam), Kháng, Ksongmul (Ksingmul, Xinh-mun), and Hmong populations.

Ostapirat (2000) considers the Laha dialects to form a subgroup of their own (Southern Kra) within the Kra branch.[3]

Geographic distribution[edit]

Gregerson & Edmondson (1997) and Wardlaw (2000) report the following locations of two Laha dialects, namely the Wet Laha and Dry Laha dialects.

Wet Laha (Laha Ung, la˧ha˨˩ ʔuŋ˧˩) of Lào Cai and Lai Châu

  • Tà Mít Commune, Tân Uyên, Lai Châu, Vietnam (just north of the Black River) — known as the "Wet Laha". Edmondson's informant is from Bản Muot Village, Tà Mít Commune (Edmondson & Gregerson 1997). There are 8 Laha villages numbering no more than 1,000 people in Than Uyên District, Lai Châu, Vietnam.
  • Pha Mu Commune, Than Uyên and Nặm Cần Commune, Tân Uyên, Lai Châu

Dry Laha (Laha Phlao) of Sơn La — around the Sông Đà and Nậm Mu Rivers

  • Noong Lay and Nặm Ét Communes, Thuận Châu, Sơn La, Vietnam (just south of the Black River; in Bản Muot, etc.) — known as the "Dry Laha"
  • Chiền Xòm, Liềp Tè, Noong Giông, and Nặm Ét in Sơn La
  • Nặm Giôn, Chiền Xàng, Chiền Dong, Pi Toong, and Mường Bú of Mường La District, Sơn La Province. Laha of Nà Tạy, Pi Toong commune is documented in Hsiu (2017).[4]
  • Thuận Châu, Mường La, Quỳnh Nhai districts of Sơn La Province
  • Bản Bung and Phù Yên near Sơn La Province on the north bank of the Black River

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Laha at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Laha (Viet Nam)". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Ostapirat, Weera (2000). "Proto-Kra". Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area 23 (1): 1-251
  4. ^ Hsiu, Andrew. 2017. Laha (Na Tay) audio word list. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.1123351 (word list)
  • Benedict, Paul K. 1992. "Laha Reexamined." In Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, 15, no. 2: 207-218.
  • Diller, Anthony, Jerold A. Edmondson, and Yongxian Luo ed. The Tai–Kadai Languages. Routledge Language Family Series. Psychology Press, 2008.
  • Gregerson, Kenneth and Jerold A. Edmondson. 1997. "Outlying Kam-Tai: Notes On Ta Mit Laha." In the Mon-Khmer Studies Journal, 27: 257-269.
  • Ostapira, Weera. 1995. "Notes on Laha final -l". In Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 173–181.
  • Wardlaw, Terrance Randall. A phonological comparison between two varieties of Laha: Syllable constituents and tone in Ta Mit and Noong Lay Laha. M.A. Thesis, The University of Texas at Arlington, 2000.

External links[edit]