Southeast Asia
Geographic location: China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar
Number of Languages: 174
Number of Genetic Units: 24
Genetic Index: .138 (moderate high)
Endangerment Index: 3.68
Research Index: to be determined
Threat Level: low
map of SEA

Description:

This Hotspot falls on top of a number of political boundaries, placing a small area inside five different countries. The dominant languages are Cantonese, Vietnamese, Lao, Thai, and Burmese, depending on the country. While the genetic diversity of this area is fairly low, the Southeast Asia Hotspot holds a large number of highly endangered of languages, some of which are still unclassified.

One endangered language in this Hotspot is Arem, a nearly extinct language of Vietnam and Laos. The Arem people were forced to abandon their traditional forest homes around 50 years ago and move to government relocation centers. The most recent estimates place the number of speakers at forty, with a total Arem ethnic population of 600. Indigenous knowledge systems have probably eroded in the fifty years after the Arem were forced to leave their traditional way of life.

Languages and genetic units in this hotspot:

  1. Bahnaric
  2. Hmongic
  3. Jingpho-Konyak-Bodo
  4. Kadai
  5. Kam-Sui
  6. Katuic
  7. Khmeric
  8. Khmuic
  9. Lolo-Burmese
  10. Malayic
  11. Mangic
  12. Mienic
  13. Monic
  14. Palaungic
  15. Palyuic
  16. Pearic
  17. Sinitic
  18. Taic
  19. Viet-Muong
  20. Unclassified Austroasiatic (4: Buxinhua, Kemiehua, Bugan, Kuanhua)
  21. Unclassified (1: Na-Meo)
  1. Aheu
  2. Akha
  3. Alak
  4. Arem
  5. Awu Yi
  6. Axi Yi
  7. Azhe Yi
  8. Bisu
  9. Bit
  10. Biyo
  11. Blang
  12. Bo
  13. Bogan
  14. Bolyu
  15. Brao
  16. Bugan
  17. Buxinua
  18. Buyang
  19. Buyuan Jinuo
  20. Central Khmer
  21. Central Mnong
  22. Chong
  23. Chut
  24. Con
  25. Cng
  26. Cua
  27. E. Lalu Yi
  28. Eastern Bru
  29. Eastern Katu
  30. Eshan-Xinping Yi
  31. Giy
  32. Halang
  33. Halang Doan
  34. Hani
  35. Hmong Daw
  36. Hmong D
  37. Hmong Njua
  38. Honi
  39. Hre
  40. Hu
  41. Hung
  42. Ir
  43. Iu Mien
  44. Jarai
  45. Jeh
  46. Jeng
  47. Kaco'
  48. Kado
  49. Kaduo
  50. Kang
  51. Kasseng
  52. Kataang
  53. Katua
  54. Kayong
  55. Kemiehua
  56. Khng
  57. Khao
  58. Khlor
  59. Khmu
  60. Khua
  61. Kim Mun
  62. Kiorr
  63. Kon Keu
  64. Kraol
  65. Kravet
  66. Kru'ng 2
  67. Kuanhua
  68. Kuy
  69. Laghuu
  70. Laha
  71. Lahu
  72. Lahu Shi
  73. Lamam
  74. Lamet
  75. Lao
  76. Laqua
  77. Lave
  78. Laven
  79. Lower Tao'ih
  80. L
  81. Mal
  82. Maleng
  83. Man Met
  84. Mang
  85. Maru
  86. Mili Yi
  87. Mlabri
  88. Mok
  89. Monom
  90. Mpi
  91. Muong
  92. N-Meo
  93. Ngeq
  94. Ngun
  95. Northeastern Thai
  96. Northern Khmer
  97. Northern Thai
  98. Nung
  99. Nyaheun
  100. Nyahkur
  101. Nyaw
  102. Nyeu
  103. O'du
  104. Ong
  105. Oy
  106. Pa Di
  107. Pacoh
  108. Parauk
  109. Pear
  110. Phai
  111. Phana'
  112. Phu Thai
  113. Phuan
  114. Phula
  115. Phuong
  116. Poluo Yi
  117. Pula Yi
  118. Puoc
  119. Puwa Yi
  120. Pyen
  121. Rade
  122. Rengao
  123. Romam
  124. S. Lolopho Yi
  125. Saek
  126. Salang
  127. Samre
  128. Sani Yi
  129. Sa'och
  130. Sapuan
  131. Sedang
  132. Sila
  133. S
  134. Sok
  135. Somray
  136. Sou
  137. Southern Yi
  138. Suoy
  139. Tai Daeng
  140. Tai Dam
  141. Tai Do
  142. Tai Dn
  143. Tai Hang Tong
  144. Tai Hongjin
  145. Tai Loi
  146. Tai Mne
  147. Tai Na
  148. Tai Pao
  149. Tai Ya
  150. Takua
  151. Talieng
  152. Tampuan
  153. Tareng
  154. Tay Khang
  155. Tay Sa Pa
  156. Tay Tac
  157. Thai
  158. Thu Lao
  159. Todrah
  160. Trieng
  161. Ts'n-Lao
  162. U
  163. Upper Tao'ih
  164. Vietnamese
  165. Western Xiangxi Hmong
  166. Wa
  167. Western Bru
  168. Western Cham
  169. Western Katu
  170. Western Lawa
  171. Yerong
  172. Youle Jinuo
  173. Yoy
  174. Yuangjiang-Mojiang Yi

Click here to download list of languages

Endangered languages include:

  • Arem (< 40 speakers, Viet-Muong, spoken in Vietnam and Laos)
  • Buxinhua (< 200 speakers, Unclassified Austroasiatic, spoken in China)
  • Kemiehua (< 1,000 speakers, Unclassified Austroasiatic, spoken in China)
  • Kuanhua (< 1,000 speakers, Unclassified Austroasiatic, spoken in China)
  • Laghuu (< 300 speakers, Lolo-Burmese, spoken in Vietnam)
  • Mok (< 10 speakers, Palaung-Waic, spoken in Thailand)
  • Man Met (< 900 speakers, Palaungic, spoken in China)
  • Na-Meo (< 1,200 speakers, Unclassified, spoken in Vietnam)
  • O'Du (< 500 speakers, Khmuic, spoken in Vietnam and Laos)
  • Phana' (< 350 speakers, Lolo-Burmese, spoken in Laos)
  • Red Gelao (< 20 speakers, Kadai, spoken in Vietnam)
  • Suoy (< 200 speakers, Pearic, spoken in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos)
  • Tay Khang (< 200 speakers, Taic, spoken in Laos)

Some features of languages include:

  • Elaborate voice quality contrasts in vowels and/or tonal systems
  • verb serialization
  • SVO order
  • classifier systems

Trivia:

  • Plij plawj can mean either 'the sound of pigeons flying' or 'the sound of dry husks falling off bamboo' in Hmong Daw (500,000 speakers, China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam)

  • Rhiv rhuav means 'the sound of people shuffling through dry leaves with force' in Hmong Daw (500,000 speakers, China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam)

Media:

Sources:

Chamberlain, J.R. 2003. Eco-Spatial History: a nomad myth from the Annamites and its relevance for biodiversity conservation. In X. Jianchu and S. Mikesell, eds. Landscapes of Diversity: Proceedings of the III MMSEA Conference, 25-28 August 2002. Lijiand, P. R. China: Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge. Pp. 421-436.

Ratliff, M. 1992. Meaningful Tone: A Study of Tonal Morphology In Compounds, Form Classes, and Expressive Phrases in White Hmong. Dekalb: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University.