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Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a
dialect continuum A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are mutually intelligible, but the differences accumulate over distance so that widely separated varie ...
of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the
Hmong people The Hmong people ( RPA: ''Hmoob'', Nyiakeng Puachue: , Pahawh Hmong: , ) are a sub-ethnic group of the Miao people who originated from Central China. The modern Hmongs presently reside mainly in Southwest China (Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Chon ...
of
Sichuan Sichuan (; zh, c=, labels=no, ; zh, p=Sìchuān; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan; formerly also referred to as "West China" or "Western China" by Protestant missions) is a province in Southwest China occupying most of t ...
,
Yunnan Yunnan , () is a landlocked province in the southwest of the People's Republic of China. The province spans approximately and has a population of 48.3 million (as of 2018). The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders the ...
,
Guizhou Guizhou (; formerly Kweichow) is a landlocked province in the southwest region of the People's Republic of China. Its capital and largest city is Guiyang, in the center of the province. Guizhou borders the autonomous region of Guangxi to th ...
,
Guangxi Guangxi (; ; alternately romanized as Kwanghsi; ; za, Gvangjsih, italics=yes), officially the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR), is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in South China and bordering Vietnam ...
,
Hainan Hainan (, ; ) is the smallest and southernmost province of the People's Republic of China (PRC), consisting of various islands in the South China Sea. , the largest and most populous island in China,The island of Taiwan, which is slightly ...
, northern
Vietnam Vietnam or Viet Nam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,., group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia, at the eastern edge of mainland Southeast Asia, with an area of and population of 96 million, making it ...
,
Thailand Thailand ( ), historically known as Siam () and officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia, located at the centre of the Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , with a population of almost 70 million. The country is b ...
, and
Laos Laos (, ''Lāo'' )), officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic ( Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ, French: République démocratique populaire lao), is a socialist ...
. There are some 2.7 million speakers of varieties that are largely mutually intelligible, including over 280,000 Hmong Americans as of 2013. Over half of all Hmong speakers speak the various dialects in China, where the Dananshan (大南山) dialect forms the basis of the standard language. However, Hmong Daw and Mong Leng are widely known only in Laos and the United States; Dananshan is more widely known in the native region of Hmong.


Varieties

Mong Leng Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hainan, northern Vietnam, Thai ...
(Moob Leeg) and
Hmong Daw Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hainan, northern Vietnam, Thai ...
(Hmoob Dawb) are part of a dialect cluster known in China as ''Chuanqiandian Miao'', that is, "Sichuan–Guizhou–Yunnan Miao", called the "Chuanqiandian cluster" in English (or "Miao cluster" in other languages) as West Hmongic is also called ''Chuanqiandian'', while the variety spoken from Sichuan in China to Thailand and Laos is referred to as the "First Local Variety" () of the cluster. Mong Leng and Hmong Daw are just those varieties of the cluster that migrated to Laos; the Western names, ''Mong Leng'', ''Hmong Dleu/Der'', and ''Hmong Daw'' are also used in China for various dialects of the Chuanqiandian Miao cluster. Ethnologue once distinguished only the Laotian varieties (
Hmong Daw Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hainan, northern Vietnam, Thai ...
,
Mong Leng Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hainan, northern Vietnam, Thai ...
), Sinicized Miao (
Hmong Shua Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hainan, northern Vietnam, Thai ...
), and the Vietnamese varieties (
Hmong Dô Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hainan, northern Vietnam, Thai ...
,
Hmong Don Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hainan, northern Vietnam, Thai ...
). The Vietnamese varieties are very poorly known; population estimates are not even available. In 2007, Horned Miao,
Small Flowery Miao Small Flowery Miao () is a Miao language of China spoken by the Gha-Mu people. It is closely related to the Hmong dialects of China and Laos. Hmong and Small Flowery Miao are listed as the first and second local dialects of the ''Chuanqiandian ...
, and the Chuanqiandian cluster of China were split off from Mong Leng lu These varieties are as follows, along with some alternative names ('Ch.' = Chinese name, 'auto.' = autonym elf name: * Hmong/Mong/
Chuanqiandian Miao Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hainan, northern Vietnam, Thail ...
(China, Laos) macrolanguage (also spoken by minorities in Thailand and the United States) including: **
Hmong Daw Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hainan, northern Vietnam, Thai ...
(White Miao, Ch. ''Bai Miao'', auto. ''Hmoob Dawb''; Forest Miao, ''Hmong Rongd''; ''Hmong Dleu / Hmongb Dleub''; in the US, “White Hmong”, frequently just “Hmong”, auto. ''Hmong Der''); **
Mong Leng Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hainan, northern Vietnam, Thai ...
(Blue Miao, Green Miao, Ch. ''Qing Miao''; ''Moob Ntsuab / Mong Nzhuab''; in the US, also “Blue/Green Hmong”, ''Mong Leng'' / ''Len'', auto. ''Moob Leeg''; ''Mongb Shib'') **
Hmong Shua Hmong / Mong (; RPA: ''Hmoob,'' ; Nyiakeng Puachue: ; Pahawh: , ) is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hainan, northern Vietnam, Thai ...
(Sinicized Miao, auto. ''Hmongb Shuat''); ** Horned Miao (Ch. ''Jiao Miao'', auto. ''Hmo'' or ''A-Hmo''); **
Small Flowery Miao Small Flowery Miao () is a Miao language of China spoken by the Gha-Mu people. It is closely related to the Hmong dialects of China and Laos. Hmong and Small Flowery Miao are listed as the first and second local dialects of the ''Chuanqiandian ...
; ** the part of the Chuanqiandian Miao cluster located in China. * Individual Hmong languages of Vietnam, not considered part of the China/Laos macrolanguage, and possibly forming their own distinct macrolanguage; they are still not very well classified even if they are described by Ethnologue as having a vigorous use (in Vietnam) but without population estimates; they have most probably been influenced by Vietnamese, as well as French (in the former
Indochina Mainland Southeast Asia, also known as the Indochinese Peninsula or Indochina, is the continental portion of Southeast Asia. It lies east of the Indian subcontinent and south of Mainland China and is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the west an ...
colonies) and later by
American English American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the most widely spoken language in the United States and in most circumstances ...
, and they may be confused with varieties spoken by minorities living today in the United States, Europe or elsewhere in Asia (where their varieties may have been assimilated locally, but separately in each area, with other Hmong varieties imported from Laos and China) : ** Hmong Dô (Vietnam); ** Hmong Don (Vietnam, assumed). The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the national public health agency of the United States. It is a United States federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services, and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georg ...
(CDC) stated that the White and Leng dialects "are said to be mutually intelligible to a well-trained ear, with pronunciation and vocabulary differences analogous to the differences between
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...
and
American English American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the most widely spoken language in the United States and in most circumstances ...
."Chapter 2. Overview of Lao Hmong Culture
"
Archive
''Promoting Cultural Sensitivity: Hmong Guide''.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the national public health agency of the United States. It is a United States federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services, and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georg ...
. p. 14. Retrieved on May 5, 2013.
Many of the above names used outside (White Miao, Blue/Green Miao, Flowery Miao, Mong Leng, etc.) are also used in China. Several Chinese varieties may be more distinct than the varieties listed above: * Dananshan Miao (Hmong Dou, auto. ''Hmong Drout Raol, Hmong Hout Lab''), the basis of the Chinese standard of the Chuanqiandian cluster * Black Miao (Ch. ''Hei Miao'', auto. of subgroups: ''Hmong Dlob, Hmong Buak / Hmoob Puas'') * Southern Hmong (auto. of subgroups: ''Hmongb Shib, Mong Leng, Hmongb Lens, Hmongb Dlex Nchab, Hmongb Sad''; includes some of Mong Leng above) * Northern Hmong (auto. of subgroups: ''Hmongb Soud, Hmong Be / Hmongb Bes, Hmongb Ndrous'') * Western Sichuan Miao (Ch. ''Chuan Miao'') In the 2007 request to establish an ISO code for the Chuanqiandian cluster, corresponding to the "first local dialect" () of the Chuanqiandian cluster in Chinese, the proposer made the following statement on mutual intelligibility:


Varieties in Laos

According to the CDC, "although there is no official preference for one dialect over the other, White Hmong seems to be favored in many ways": the
Romanized Popular Alphabet The Romanized Popular Alphabet (RPA) or Hmong RPA (also Roman Popular Alphabet), is a system of romanization for the various dialects of the Hmong language. Created in Laos between 1951 and 1953 by a group of missionaries and Hmong advisers, it has ...
(RPA) most closely reflects that of White Hmong (''Hmong Daw''); most educated Hmong speak White Hmong because White Hmong people lack the ability to understand Mong Leng; and most Hmong dictionaries only include the White Hmong dialect. Moreover, younger generations of Hmong are more likely to speak White Hmong, and speakers of Mong Leng are more likely have the ability to understand White Hmong than speakers of White Hmong are to understand Mong Leng.


Varieties in the United States

Most Hmong in the United States speak the White Hmong (''Hmong Daw'') and Mong Leeg (''Moob Leeg'') dialects, with about sixty percent speaking White Hmong and about forty percent Mong Leeg. The CDC states that "though some Hmong report difficulty understanding speakers of a dialect not their own, for the most part, Mong Leng seem to do better when understanding both dialects.".


Phonology

The three dialects described here are known as Hmong Daw (also called White Miao or ''Hmong Der''), Mong Leeg (also called Leng Miao or ''Mong Leng''), and Dananshan (Standard Chinese Miao). Hmong Daw and Mong Leeg are the two major dialects spoken by Hmong Americans. Although mutually intelligible, the dialects differ in both lexicon and certain aspects of phonology. For instance, Mong Leeg lacks the voiceless/aspirated of Hmong Daw (as exemplified by their names) and has a third nasalized vowel, ; Dananshan has a couple of extra diphthongs in native words, numerous Chinese loans, and an eighth tone.


Vowels

The
vowel A vowel is a syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of speech sounds, the other being the consonant. Vowels vary in quality, in loudness and also in quantity (l ...
systems of Hmong Daw and Mong Leeg are as shown in the following charts. Phonemes particular to Hmong Daw and Mong Leeg are color-coded and indicated by a dagger or double dagger respectively.) # 1st Row: IPA, Hmong RPA # 2nd Row: Nyiakeng Puachue # 3rd Row: Pahawh The Dananshan standard of China is similar. Phonemic differences from Hmong Daw and Mong Leeg are color-coded and marked as absent or added. Dananshan occurs only after non-palatal affricates, and is written , much like Mandarin Chinese. is pronounced after palatal consonants. There is also a triphthong , as well as other i- and u-initial sequences in Chinese borrowings, such as .


Consonants

Hmong makes a number of
phonemic In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme () is a unit of sound that can distinguish one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlands and the north-w ...
contrasts unfamiliar to English speakers. All non-glottal stops and affricates distinguish aspirated and unaspirated forms, most also
prenasalization Prenasalized consonants are phonetic sequences of a nasal and an obstruent (or occasionally a non-nasal sonorant such as ) that behave phonologically like single consonants. The primary reason for considering them to be single consonants, rathe ...
independently of this. The
consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are and pronounced with the lips; and pronounced with the front of the tongue; and pronounced wi ...
inventory of Hmong is shown in the chart below. (Consonants particular to Hmong Daw and Mong Leeg are color-coded and indicated by a dagger or double dagger respectively.) #1st Row: IPA, Hmong RPA #2nd Row: Nyiakeng Puachue #3rd Row: Pahawh The Dananshan standard of China is similar. (Phonemic differences from Hmong Daw and Mong Leeg are color-coded and marked as absent or added. Minor differences, such as the voicing of prenasalized stops, or whether is an affricate or is velar, may be a matter of transcription.) Aspirates, voiceless fricatives, voiceless nasals, and glottal stop only occur with ''yin'' tones (1, 3, 5, 7). Standard orthography is added in angled brackets. Glottal stop is not written; it is not distinct from a zero initial. There is also a , which occurs only in foreign words. The status of the consonants described here as single phonemes with lateral release is controversial. A number of scholars instead analyze them as biphonemic clusters with as the second element. The difference in analysis (e.g. between and ) is not based on any disagreement in the sound or pronunciation of the consonants in question, but on differing theoretical grounds. Those in favor of a unit-phoneme analysis generally argue for this based on distributional evidence (i.e. if clusters, these would be the only clusters in the language, although see below) and dialect evidence (the laterally released dentals in Mong Leeg, e.g. , correspond to the voiced dentals of White Hmong), whereas those in favor of a cluster analysis tend to argue on the basis of general phonetic principles (other examples of labial phonemes with lateral release appear extremely rare or nonexistent). Some linguists prefer to analyze the prenasalized consonants as clusters whose first element is . However, this cluster analysis is not as common as the above one involving . Only used in
Hmong RPA The Romanized Popular Alphabet (RPA) or Hmong RPA (also Roman Popular Alphabet), is a system of romanization for the various dialects of the Hmong language. Created in Laos between 1951 and 1953 by a group of missionaries and Hmong advisers, it has ...
and not in Pahawh Hmong, since Hmong RPA uses
Latin script The Latin script, also known as Roman script, is an alphabetic writing system based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet, derived from a form of the Greek alphabet which was in use in the ancient Greek city of Cumae, in southern ...
and Pahawh Hmong does not. For example, in Hmong RPA, to write , the order Consonant + Vowel + Tone (CVT) must be followed, so it is ''k'' + ''ee'' + ''b'' = , but in Pahawh Hmong, it is just "" (2nd-Stage Version).


Syllable structure

Hmong
syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel) with optional initial and final margins (typically, consonants). Syllables are often considered the phonological ...
s have simple structure: all syllables have an
onset Onset may refer to: * Onset (audio), the beginning of a musical note or sound *Onset, Massachusetts, village in the United States ** Onset Island (Massachusetts), a small island located at the western end of the Cape Cod Canal *Interonset interval ...
consonant (except in a few particles), nuclei may consist of a monophthong or diphthong, and the only coda consonants that occur are nasals. In Hmong Daw and Mong Leeg, nasal codas have become nasalized vowels, though they may be accompanied by weakly articulated . Similarly, a short may accompany the low-falling creaky tone. Dananshan has a syllabic (written ) in Chinese loans, such as ''lf'' 'two' and ''lx'' 'child'.


Tones

Hmong is a
tonal language Tone is the use of pitch in language to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning – that is, to distinguish or to inflect words. All verbal languages use pitch to express emotional and other paralinguistic information and to convey emp ...
and makes use of seven (Hmong Daw and Mong Leeg) or eight (Dananshan) distinct tones. The Dananshan tones are transcribed as pure tone. However, given how similar several of them are, it is likely that there are also phonational differences as in Hmong Daw and Mong Leeg. Tones 4 and 6, for example, are said to make tenuis plosives breathy voiced (浊送气), suggesting they may be breathy/murmured like the Hmong ''g''-tone. Tones 7 and 8 are used in early Chinese loans with
entering tone A checked tone, commonly known by the Chinese calque entering tone, is one of the four syllable types in the phonology of Middle Chinese. Although usually translated as "tone", a checked tone is not a tone in the phonetic sense but rather a syl ...
, suggesting they may once have marked checked syllables. Because voiceless consonants apart from tenuis plosives are restricted to appearing before certain tones (1, 3, 5, 7), those are placed first in the table: So much information is conveyed by the tones that it is possible to speak intelligibly using musical tunes only; there is a tradition of young lovers communicating covertly this way by playing on a jew's harp (though this method may only convey vowel sounds).


Orthography

Robert Cooper, an anthropologist, collected a Hmong folktale saying that the Hmong used to have a written language, and important information was written down in a treasured book. The folktale explains that cows and rats ate the book, so, in the words of Anne Fadiman, author of '' The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down'', "no text was equal to the task of representing a culture as rich as that of the Hmong." Therefore, the folktale states that the Hmong language was exclusively oral from that point onwards. Fadiman, Anne. "Note on Hmong Orthography, Pronunciation, and Quotations." ''The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down''. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1997
291
Natalie Jill Smith, author of "Ethnicity, Reciprocity, Reputation and Punishment: An Ethnoexperimental Study of Cooperation among the Chaldeans and Hmong of Detroit (Michigan)", wrote that the
Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty ( ), officially the Great Qing,, was a Manchu-led imperial dynasty of China and the last orthodox dynasty in Chinese history. It emerged from the Later Jin dynasty founded by the Jianzhou Jurchens, a Tungusic-speak ...
had caused a previous Hmong writing system to die out when it stated that the death penalty would be imposed on those who wrote it down.Smith, Natalie Jill. "Ethnicity, Reciprocity, Reputation and Punishment: An Ethnoexperimental Study of Cooperation among the Chaldeans and Hmong of Detroit (Michigan)" (PhD dissertation).
University of California, Los Angeles The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public land-grant research university in Los Angeles, California. UCLA's academic roots were established in 1881 as a teachers college then known as the southern branch of the California S ...
, 2001. p. 225. UMI Number: 3024065. Cites: Hamilton-Merritt, 1993 and Faderman, 1998
Since the end of the 19th century, linguists created over two dozen Hmong writing systems, including systems using
Chinese characters Chinese characters () are logograms developed for the Written Chinese, writing of Chinese. In addition, they have been adapted to write other East Asian languages, and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system where they are ...
, the Lao alphabet, the
Russian alphabet The Russian alphabet (russian: ру́сский алфави́т, russkiy alfavit, , label=none, or russian: ру́сская а́збука, russkaya azbuka, label=none, more traditionally) is the script used to write the Russian language. I ...
, the
Thai alphabet The Thai script ( th, อักษรไทย, ) is the abugida used to write Thai, Southern Thai and many other languages spoken in Thailand. The Thai alphabet itself (as used to write Thai) has 44 consonant symbols ( th, พยัญชน ...
, and the
Vietnamese alphabet The Vietnamese alphabet ( vi, chữ Quốc ngữ, lit=script of the National language) is the modern Latin writing script or writing system for Vietnamese. It uses the Latin script based on Romance languages originally developed by Portuguese ...
. In addition, in 1959 Shong Lue Yang, a Hmong spiritual leader from Laos, created an 81 symbol writing system called Pahawh. Yang was not previously literate in any language. Chao Fa, an anti-Laotian government Hmong group, uses this writing system. In the 1980s, Nyiakeng Puachue Hmong script was created by a Hmong Minister, Reverend Chervang Kong Vang, to be able to capture Hmong vocabulary clearly and also to remedy redundancies in the language as well as address semantic confusions that was lacking in other scripts. Nyiakeng Puachue Hmong script was mainly used by
United Christians Liberty Evangelical United may refer to: Places * United, Pennsylvania, an unincorporated community * United, West Virginia, an unincorporated community Arts and entertainment Films * ''United'' (2003 film), a Norwegian film * ''United'' (2011 film), a BBC Two f ...
Church, a church also founded by Vang, although the script have been found to be in use in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, France, and Australia. The script bears strong resemblance to the Lao alphabet in structure and form and characters inspired from the Hebrew alphabets, although the characters themselves are different. Other experiments by Hmong and non-Hmong orthographers have been undertaken using invented letters. The
Romanized Popular Alphabet The Romanized Popular Alphabet (RPA) or Hmong RPA (also Roman Popular Alphabet), is a system of romanization for the various dialects of the Hmong language. Created in Laos between 1951 and 1953 by a group of missionaries and Hmong advisers, it has ...
(RPA), the most widely used script for Hmong Daw and Mong Leeg, was developed in Laos between 1951 and 1953 by three Western missionaries. In the United States Hmong do not use RPA for spelling of proper nouns, because they want their names to be easily pronounced by people unfamiliar with RPA. For instance Hmong in the U.S. spell ''Hmoob'' as "Hmong," and ''Liab Lis'' is spelled as Lia Lee. The Dananshan standard in China is written in a pinyin-based alphabet, with tone letters similar to those used in RPA.


Correspondence between orthographies

The following is a list of pairs of RPA and Dananshan segments having the same sound (or very similar sounds). Note however that RPA and the standard in China not only differ in orthographic rules, but are also used to write different languages. The list is ordered alphabetically by the RPA, apart from prenasalized stops and voiceless sonorants, which come after their oral and voiced homologues. There are three overriding patterns to the correspondences: RPA doubles a vowel for nasalization, whereas pinyin uses ; RPA uses for aspiration, whereas pinyin uses the voicing distinction of the Latin script; pinyin uses (and ) to derive the retroflex and uvular series from the dental and velar, whereas RPA uses sequences based on vs. for the same.


Vowels


Consonants

There is no simple correspondence between the tone letters. The historical connection between the tones is as follows. The Chinese names reflect the tones given to early Chinese loan words with those tones in Chinese. Tones 4 and 7 merged in Hmoob Dawb, whereas tones 4 and 6 merged in Mong Leeg. Example: ''lus Hmoob'' /̤ lṳ˧˩ m̥̥õ˦ / / (White Hmong) / ''lug Moob'' / / (Mong Leng) / ''lol Hmongb'' (Dananshan) / ''lus Hmôngz'' (Vietnamese) "Hmong language".


Grammar

Hmong is an analytic SVO language in which
adjectives In linguistics, an adjective ( abbreviated ) is a word that generally modifies a noun or noun phrase or describes its referent. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun. Traditionally, adjectives were considered one of the ma ...
and
demonstrative Demonstratives (abbreviated ) are words, such as ''this'' and ''that'', used to indicate which entities are being referred to and to distinguish those entities from others. They are typically deictic; their meaning depending on a particular fram ...
s follow the
noun A noun () is a word that generally functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Example nouns for: * Living creatures (including people, alive, ...
. Noun phrases can contain the following elements (parentheses indicate optional elements): (possessive) + (quantifier) + (classifier) + noun + (adjective) + (demonstrative) The Hmong pronominal system distinguishes between three
grammatical person In linguistics, grammatical person is the grammatical distinction between deictic references to participant(s) in an event; typically the distinction is between the speaker ( first person), the addressee ( second person), and others ( third pe ...
s and three numbers – singular, dual, and plural. They are not marked for case, that is, the same word is used to translate both "I" and "me", "she" and "her", and so forth. These are the personal pronouns of Hmong Daw and Mong Leeg: #1st Row: IPA, Hmong RPA #2nd Row: Vietnamese Hmong #3rd Row: Pahawh Hmong #4th Row: Nyiakeng Puachue


Verbs

Hmong is an
isolating language An isolating language is a type of language with a morpheme per word ratio close to one, and with no inflectional morphology whatsoever. In the extreme case, each word contains a single morpheme. Examples of widely spoken isolating language ...
in which most morphemes are monosyllables. As a result, verbs are not overtly inflected. Tense, aspect, mood,
person A person ( : people) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established form of social relations such as kinship, ownership of pro ...
,
number A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with number words. More universally, individual numbers c ...
,
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to femininity and masculinity and differentiating between them. Depending on the context, this may include sex-based social structures (i.e. gender roles) and gender identity. Most cultures ...
, and case are indicated lexically.


Serial verb construction

Hmong verbs can be serialized, with two or more verbs combined in one clause. It is common for as many as five verbs to be strung together, sharing the same subject. Here is an example from White Hmong:


Tense

Because the verb form in Hmong does not change to indicate tense, the simplest way to indicate the time of an event is to use temporal adverb phrases like "last year," "today," or "next week." Here is an example from White Hmong:


Aspect

Aspectual differences are indicated by a number of verbal modifiers. Here are the most common ones: Progressive: (Mong Leeg) ''taab tom'' + verb, (White Hmong) ''tab tom'' + verb = situation in progress ''Taab/tab tom'' + verb can also be used to indicate a situation that is about to start. That is clearest when ''taab/tab'' tom occurs in conjunction with the irrealis marker ''yuav''. Note that the ''taab tom'' construction is not used if it is clear from the context that a situation is ongoing or about to begin. Perfective: sentence/clause + ''lawm'' = completed situation ''Lawm'' at the end of a sentence can also indicate that an action is underway: Another common way to indicate the accomplishment of an action or attainment is by using ''tau'', which, as a main verb, means 'to get/obtain.' It takes on different connotations when it is combined with other verbs. When it occurs before the main verb (i.e. ''tau'' + verb), it conveys the attainment or fulfillment of a situation. Whether the situation took place in the past, the present, or the future is indicated at the discourse level rather than the sentence level. If the event took place in the past, ''tau'' + verb translates to the past tense in English. ''Tau'' is optional if an explicit past time marker is present (e.g. ''nag hmo'', last night). ''Tau'' can also mark the fulfillment of a situation in the future: When ''tau'' follows the main verb (i.e. verb + ''tau''), it indicates the accomplishment of the purpose of an action. ''Tau'' is also common in serial verb constructions that are made up of a verb, followed by an accomplishment: (White Hmong) ''nrhiav tau'', to look for; ''caum tau'', to chase; ''yug tau'', to give birth.


Mood

Future: yuav + verb: ''Yuav'' + verb may also be seen as indicative of the
irrealis mood In linguistics, irrealis moods (abbreviated ) are the main set of grammatical moods that indicate that a certain situation or action is not known to have happened at the moment the speaker is talking. This contrasts with the realis moods. Every ...
, for situations that are unfulfilled or unrealized. That includes hypothetical or non-occurring situations with past, present, or future time references:


Phrases


Colors

Many Hmong, and non-Hmong people who are learning the Hmong language, tends to used the word "''Xim''" (Thai/Lao word) to indicate a specific color. While the true Hmong word for color is "''Kob''". For example, "''Kuv nyiam kob ntsuab'';" meaning "''I like the color green / I'' ''like the green color''"''.'' List of colors:


Numbers

The number 1975 would be written as .


Days of the Week

A sentence like, "''Today is Monday''" would be translated as "''Hnub no yog zwj hli''", and not "''Hnub no yog hnub ib/Monday''" in Hmong.


Months of the Year


Worldwide usage

In 2012
McDonald's McDonald's Corporation is an American multinational fast food chain, founded in 1940 as a restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald, in San Bernardino, California, United States. They rechristened their business as a hamburg ...
introduced its first Hmong language advertising in the United States on a commercial billboard in
Saint Paul, Minnesota Saint Paul (abbreviated St. Paul) is the capital of the U.S. state of Minnesota and the county seat of Ramsey County. Situated on high bluffs overlooking a bend in the Mississippi River, Saint Paul is a regional business hub and the center ...
. However it was unintelligible to Hmong speakers due to an incorrect translation. Google Translate introduced support for Hmong Daw (referred to only as ''Hmong'') in May 2013.


Samples

From the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings. Drafted by a UN committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, ...
Article 1: Sample text in both Hmong RPA and Pahawh Hmong:


In popular culture

The 2008 film
Gran Torino ''Gran Torino'' is a 2008 American drama film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Christopher Carley, Bee Vang, and Ahney Her. This was Eastwood's first starring role since 2004's ''Millio ...
by
Clint Eastwood Clinton Eastwood Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is an American actor and film director. After achieving success in the Western TV series '' Rawhide'', he rose to international fame with his role as the " Man with No Name" in Sergio Leone's "'' Do ...
features a large American Hmong speaking cast. The screenplay was written in English and the actors improvised the Hmong parts of the script. The decision to cast Hmong actors received a positive reception in Hmong communities.O'Brien, Kathleen.
Rutgers scholar sheds light on 'Gran Torino' ethnic stars
." ''
The Star-Ledger ''The Star-Ledger'' is the largest circulated newspaper in the U.S. state of New Jersey and is based in Newark. It is a sister paper to '' The Jersey Journal'' of Jersey City, ''The Times'' of Trenton and the '' Staten Island Advance'', all of ...
''. Thursday January 15, 2009. Retrieved on March 16, 2012.
The film also gained recognition and collected awards such as the Ten Best Films of 2008 from the
American Film Institute The American Film Institute (AFI) is an American nonprofit film organization that educates filmmakers and honors the heritage of the motion picture arts in the United States. AFI is supported by private funding and public membership fees. Lead ...
and a César Award in France for Best Foreign Film.


See also

*
Hmong people The Hmong people ( RPA: ''Hmoob'', Nyiakeng Puachue: , Pahawh Hmong: , ) are a sub-ethnic group of the Miao people who originated from Central China. The modern Hmongs presently reside mainly in Southwest China (Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Chon ...
* Nyiakeng Puachue Hmong * Pahawh Hmong *
Romanized Popular Alphabet The Romanized Popular Alphabet (RPA) or Hmong RPA (also Roman Popular Alphabet), is a system of romanization for the various dialects of the Hmong language. Created in Laos between 1951 and 1953 by a group of missionaries and Hmong advisers, it has ...
*
Ban Phou Pheung Noi Ban Phou Pheung Noi (Lao: ບ້ານພູເຟືອງນ້ອຍ) is a Laotian village located at the peak of Phou Pheung mountain in the Xieng Khouang province of Laos. Phou Pheung mountain is approximately . During the Vietnam War, c ...


References


Bibliography

* Cooper, Robert, Editor. ''The Hmong: A Guide to Traditional Lifestyles''. Singapore: Times Editions. 1998. pp. 35–41. * Finck, John. "Clan Leadership in the Hmong Community of Providence, Rhode Island." In ''The Hmong in the West'', Editors, Bruce T. Downing and Douglas P. Olney. Minneapolis, MN: Southeast Asian Refugee Studies Project, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs,
University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota, formally the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, (UMN Twin Cities, the U of M, or Minnesota) is a public land-grant research university in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States. ...
, 1982, pp. 22–25. * Thao, Paoze, ''Mong Education at the Crossroads'', New York: University Press of America, 1999, pp. 12–13. * Xiong Yuyou, Diana Cohen (2005). ''Student's Practical Miao–Chinese–English Handbook / Npout Ndeud Xof Geuf Lol Hmongb Lol Shuad Lol Yenb''. Yunnan Nationalities Publishing House, 539 pp. .


Further reading

* Enwall, Joakim. ''Hmong Writing Systems in Vietnam: A Case Study of Vietnam's Minority Language Policy''. Stockholm, Sweden: Center for Pacific Asian Studies, 1995. * Lyman, Thomas Amis (
Chulalongkorn University Chulalongkorn University (CU, th, จุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย, ), nicknamed Chula ( th, จุฬาฯ), is a public and autonomous research university in Bangkok, Thailand. The university was originally fo ...
).
The Mong (Leeg Miao) and their Language: A Brief Compendium

Archive
. p. 63–66. * Miyake, Marc. 2011
Unicode 6.1: the Old Miao script
* Miyake, Marc. 2012
Anglo-Hmong tonology


External links


White Hmong Vocabulary List
(from the World Loanword Database)
White Hmong Swadesh List on Wiktionary
(''see
Swadesh list The Swadesh list ("Swadesh" is pronounced ) is a classic compilation of tentatively universal concepts for the purposes of lexicostatistics. Translations of the Swadesh list into a set of languages allow researchers to quantify the interrelatednes ...
'')
Lomation's Hmong Text Reader
– free online program that can read Hmong words/text.
Online Hmong dictionary
(including audio clips)
Mong Literacy
consonants, vowels, tones of Mong Njua and Hmong Daw


Hmong basic lexicon at the Global Lexicostatistical Database

Hmong text reader
*https://rpa.oneoffcoder.com/cvt.html Romanized Popular Alphabet
English-Hmong Phrasebook with Useful Wordlist (for Hmong Speakers)
Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC. {{DEFAULTSORT:Hmong Language West Hmongic languages Languages of China Languages of Thailand Languages of Laos Languages of Vietnam
Language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means by which humans communicate, and may be conveyed through a variety of ...