Laotian

Where is The Laotian Language Spoken and Who Speaks It?

Lao or Laotian is an official language in the country of Laos and is spoken by about 15 million people in Laos and Thailand. It is a Tai-Kadai language that belongs to the Kradai, or the Daic language family. This language has many dialects, however, they are all very similar between themselves and understood without any issues.

The Laotian language is closely related to Thai and speakers of Lao are able to understand spoken Thai without too many difficulties. In fact, the differences between the languages are mostly due to politics rather than real linguistic differences. Thai speakers, on the other hand, find it more difficult to understand Lao due to lack of exposure to the language.

The Relation to Other Languages

All Tai languages, including the Lao, are monosyllabic in word form and uses tones to distinguish between words that are otherwise pronounced alike. There are some polysyllabic Lao words borrowed from Pāli (the language of the Buddhist scriptures, related to Sanskrit) and from Cambodian. Another language that has a major influence over Laotian is the Standard Thai.

The Written Language

The Laotian language uses a script of Indic origin that is similar to the script of Thai for its writing. In the past, in the 14th century to be precise, after the unification of the Lao principalities the Laotian scholars created a new script to write the Lao language. The scholars probably modeled the alphabet on the Old Khmer script, which was itself based on Mon scripts. The alphabet is written left to right in horizontal lines.

Just like the most of the Asian languages, the Laotian language is tonal with 6 tones in total. Also, for some consonants, there are multiple letters. Originally they represented separate sounds, but over the years the distinction between those sounds was lost and the letters were used instead to indicate tones. When writing, there is no spacing between the words and instead, spaces in a Lao text indicate the end of a clause or sentence.

United Language Services brings you the best in professional language translation and interpretation of the Laotian language. From meetings to doctor’s appointments, depositions to court dates, web applications to legal documentation, whatever you need help with, we are here for you.

Where is The Laotian Language Spoken and Who Speaks It?

Lao or Laotian is an official language in the country of Laos and is spoken by about 15 million people in Laos and Thailand. It is a Tai-Kadai language that belongs to the Kradai, or the Daic language family. This language has many dialects, however, they are all very similar between themselves and understood without any issues.

The Laotian language is closely related to Thai and speakers of Lao are able to understand spoken Thai without too many difficulties. In fact, the differences between the languages are mostly due to politics rather than real linguistic differences. Thai speakers, on the other hand, find it more difficult to understand Lao due to lack of exposure to the language.

The Relation to Other Languages

All Tai languages, including the Lao, are monosyllabic in word form and uses tones to distinguish between words that are otherwise pronounced alike. There are some polysyllabic Lao words borrowed from Pāli (the language of the Buddhist scriptures, related to Sanskrit) and from Cambodian. Another language that has a major influence over Laotian is the Standard Thai.

The Written Language

The Laotian language uses a script of Indic origin that is similar to the script of Thai for its writing. In the past, in the 14th century to be precise, after the unification of the Lao principalities the Laotian scholars created a new script to write the Lao language. The scholars probably modeled the alphabet on the Old Khmer script, which was itself based on Mon scripts. The alphabet is written left to right in horizontal lines.

Just like the most of the Asian languages, the Laotian language is tonal with 6 tones in total. Also, for some consonants, there are multiple letters. Originally they represented separate sounds, but over the years the distinction between those sounds was lost and the letters were used instead to indicate tones. When writing, there is no spacing between the words and instead, spaces in a Lao text indicate the end of a clause or sentence.

United Language Services brings you the best in professional language translation and interpretation of the Laotian language. From meetings to doctor’s appointments, depositions to court dates, web applications to legal documentation, whatever you need help with, we are here for you.