Mon-Khmer languages


Mon-Khmer languages
Family of about 130 Austroasiatic languages, spoken by more than 80 million people in South and Southeast Asia.

Vietnamese has far more speakers than all other Austroasiatic languages combined. Other languages with many speakers are Muong, with about a million speakers in northern Vietnam; Khmer; Kuay (Kuy), with perhaps 800,000 speakers; and Mon, spoken by more than 800,000 people in southern Myanmar and parts of Thailand. Of all the Mon-Khmer languages, only Mon, Khmer, and Vietnamese have written traditions dating earlier than the 19th century. Old Mon, which is attested from the 7th century, was written in a script of South Asian origin that was later adapted by the Burmese (see Mon kingdom; Indic writing systems). Typical phonetic features of Mon-Khmer languages are a large vowel inventory and lack of tone distinctions.

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      language family included in the Austroasiatic stock. Mon-Khmer languages constitute the indigenous language family of mainland Southeast Asia. They range north to southern China, south to Malaysia, west to Assam state in India, and east to Vietnam. The most important Mon-Khmer languages, having populations greater than 100,000, are Vietnamese (Vietnamese language), Khmer (Khmer language), Muong, Mon (Mon language), Khāsi (Khāsi language), Khmu, and Wa.

      The family consists of some 130 languages, most of which are not, or very rarely, written. Several languages are spoken by only a few hundred speakers and are in imminent danger of extinction; these include Phalok, Iduh, Thai Then, Mlabri, Aheu, Arem, Chung (Sa-och), Song of Trat, Samrai, Nyah Heuny, Che' Wong, and Shompe. The family is subclassified into 12 branches: Khasian, Palaungic, Khmuic, Pakanic, Vietic, Katuic, Bahnaric, Khmeric, Pearic, Monic, Aslian, and Nicobarese. There has been reluctance in the past in accepting Vietic, which includes Vietnamese, as a branch of Mon-Khmer, but recent studies make this quite certain. Nicobarese was also thought to form a separate family in the Austroasiatic stock, but recent data from this poorly known branch confirm its inclusion in Mon-Khmer. The Chamic languages of Vietnam and Cambodia, which were included by some scholars in the Mon-Khmer family, have now been reclassified as Austronesian.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mon–Khmer languages — Mon–Khmer Nuclear Mon–Khmer Geographic distribution: Indochina Linguistic classification: Austro Asiatic Mon–Khmer Proto language …   Wikipedia

  • Mon-Khmer languages — Infobox Language family name=Mon Khmer region=Indochina familycolor=Austro Asiatic child1=Eastern child2=Northern child3=Southern child4=unclassified iso2=mkhThe Mon Khmer languages are the autochthonous language family of Southeast Asia.… …   Wikipedia

  • Mon-Khmer — [mōn′kə mer′] adj. designating or of a branch of the Austro Asiatic family of languages, spoken mainly in Indochina and including Mon and Khmer …   English World dictionary

  • Mon-Khmer — Verbreitung der austroasiatischen Sprachen Die austroasiatischen Sprachen sind eine bedeutende Sprachfamilie in Südostasien und Nordostindien. Der Name ist ein Kunstwort aus dem lateinischen australis (=Süden) und bedeutet südasiatisch .… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mon-Khmer — /mohn kmair , keuh mair /, n. 1. a group of Austroasiatic languages that includes Mon, of Burma, and Khmer, the language of Cambodia. adj. 2. of or pertaining to the Mon Khmer. * * * …   Universalium

  • Mon-Khmer — noun a branch of the Austro Asiatic languages (Freq. 2) • Hypernyms: ↑Austro Asiatic, ↑Austro Asiatic language, ↑Munda Mon Khmer • Hyponyms: ↑Vietnamese, ↑Annamese, ↑Annamite, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Mon-Khmer — /moʊn ˈkmɛə/ (say mohn kmair) adjective 1. of or relating to a group of related languages of South East Asia, including Mon, Khmer and Vietnamese. –noun 2. these languages collectively …   Australian English dictionary

  • Mon-Khmer — noun Date: 1887 a language family containing Mon, Khmer, and a number of other languages of southeast Asia …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Mon-Khmer — [[t]ˈmoʊnˈkmɛər, kəˈmɛər[/t]] n. peo a language family of Southeast Asia, a branch of the Austroasiatic family, that includes Mon, Khmer, and many other languages of southeast Asia …   From formal English to slang

  • Mon-Khmer — [ mɔ:nˌkmɛ:] noun a family of Austro Asiatic languages of SE Asia, of which the most important are Mon and Khmer …   English new terms dictionary


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