Rade (Rhade; Rade: klei Êđê; Vienamese: tiếng Ê-đê or tiếng Ê Đê), is a Malayo-Polynesian language of southern Vietnam. There may be some speakers in Cambodia. It is a member of the Chamic branch of Malayo-Sumbawan languages, and is closely related to the Cham language of central Vietnam.[4]


Đoàn Văn Phúc (1998:24)[5] lists 9 dialects of Ede. They are spoken mostly in Đắk Lắk Province in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam.

Bih, which has about 1,000 speakers, may be a separate language.[6] Tam Nguyen (2015) reported that there are only 10 speakers of Bih out of an ethnic population of about 400 people.[7]

A patrilineal Ede subgroup known as the Hmok or Hmok Pai is found in the Buôn Ma Thuột area (Phạm 2005:212).[8]


Đoàn Văn Phúc (1998:23)[5] provides the following classification for the Ede dialects. Đoàn (1998) also provides a 1,000-word vocabulary list for all of the 9 Ede dialects.

  • Area 1
    • Area 1.1: Krung, Kpă, Adham
    • Area 1.2: Drao. Êpan, Ktul
    • Blô (mixture of areas 1.1 and 1.2, as well as Mdhur)
  • Area 2
    • Mdhur
    • Bih

Đoàn Văn Phúc (1998:23)[5] assigns the following cognacy percentages for comparisons between Ede Kpă and the other 8 dialects of Ede, with Bih as the most divergent Ede dialect.

  • Kpă - Krung: 85.5%
  • Kpă - Adham: 82%
  • Kpă - Ktul: 82%
  • Kpă - Mdhur: 80%
  • Kpă - Blô: 82%
  • Kpă - Êpan: 85%
  • Kpă - Drao: 81%
  • Kpă - Bih: 73%


People in Rade are called E-de. There are many E-de who live in poverty in Vietnam; however, the E-de are the most economically prosperous among the Vietnam minorities. During the French colonial period it was common for wealthy E-de to acquire human slaves. They are also the biggest ethic group in Vietnam (aside from the Vietnamese who live in the United States).

E-de played a big role in the American war in Vietnam. The E-de were part of the "montagnard" from the Central Highlands area of the former South Vietnam. In combat they were the highest in quantity in terms of the co-combatants. Today around two hundred thousand live in the Central Highlands, mainly in the province of Dac Lac. Many E-de are "Dega", another word would be Protestant of Christian, they use a single word to identify themselves.

E-de are adapting to the 21st-century lifestyles; however, they still keep their traditions and cultural practices. An E-de traditional house would be a long house built from wood. E-de have many ceremonies such as the "Genie of the Waters," "Sould of the Rice" and "God of the Earth". In a long house in Dac Lac inhabits an elderly woman, considered the Khoa sang (the most senior in age and authority). She is highly respected among the matrilineal E-de. She is the witness from the life of her ancestors are the introduction of electricity and a writing system for her language.

Like many other ethic minorities in Vietnam, E-de use their houses not only as shelters but churches as well. This is because the E-de, like all ethnolinguistic minorities, are constricted by the Vietnamese government in constructing any building whose sole purpose that deals with religious worship, Christian or any other religion. Indeed, there have been many documented accounts by human rights organizations of the authorities destroying buildings in villages that the Vietnamese government claimed were built for religious ceremonies.[9] In Dac Lac children have a "Sunday best" when they are at the worship on Sunday.

Today there are many E-de that live outside Vietnam. Many are first-generation American E-de. A large amount of them livs in the state of North Carolina. Barely any of them speak E-de but they are natively fluent in American English. They are influenced greatly by the mainstream American culture just like the other minor ethnicities that live in the area. However, the same could not be said about their parents. The vast majority of these first-generation American E-de are the children of the first two waves of emigration to the US by political asylum seekers.

In 1986 around 200 E-de and other indigenous peoples of Vietnam came from refugee camps established on the Thai-Cambodian border. In 1992, many E-de and others were discovered hiding deep in the Cambodian jungle. They had fled there many years earlier to avoid the persecution wrought by Hanoi following the 1975 re-unification of Vietnam. Using their jungle survival skills they existed in isolation from outside contact for many years. Around 400 were settled in the US soon after the discovery of their plight. The third wave of E-de emigration to the US took place in 2002.[9] The parents of the first generation are survivors of the harsh extreme harsh condition. Overall their English levels are limited to the basic, causing them to not be able to communicate with their children who do not speak the same language.

The E-de in the United States are a tight-knit community. There are many organizations within the areas in which the E-de have settled — both missionary and secular — with active programs aimed to help their resettlement.[9] One of the most active groups is called "Save the Montagnard People", which has annual reunion parties in North Carolina. In these events they celebrate their traditional dances and songs, and the events also gather many American Vietnam veterans.

The most recent reports emerging from Vietnam point to another round of suppression by the authorities against the E-de and other indigenous groups in the Central Highlands area. Since the end of 2002, many have sought refuge and asylum in neighboring Cambodia. That country today has stiffer policies against those seeking asylum than it did when the "third wave" emigrants began taking shelter there in the Spring of 2001. There may soon be a fourth wave of American E-de settlers.[9]


  • Khoa sang - the most senior in age and authority
  • Dega - Protestant of Christian (single word identity of E-de)


The spelling is shown in italics.


Front Central Back
short long short long short long
High ĭ /i/ i /iː/ ư̆ /ɨ/ ư /ɨː/ ŭ /u/ u /uː/
Mid ê̆ /e/ ê /eː/ ơ̆ /ə/ ơ /əː/ ô̆ /o/ ô /oː/
Low ĕ /ɛ/ e /ɛː/ ă /a/ a /aː/ ŏ /ɔ/ o /ɔː/


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m /m/ n /n/ ñ /ɲ/ ng /ŋ/
Stop voiceless p /p/ t /t/ č /c/ k /k/ /ʔ/
aspirated ph // th // čh // kh //
voiced b /b/ d /d/ j /ɟ/ g /ɡ/
implosive ƀ /ɓ/ đ /ɗ/ dj /ʄ/
Fricative s /s/ h /h/
Approximant w /w/ l /l/ y /j/
Rhotic r /r/


  1. ^ Rade at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Bih at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Rade". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bih". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ "Rade (klei Êđê)". Omniglot. 
  5. ^ a b c Đoàn Văn Phúc. 1998. Từ vựng các phương ngữ Êđê / Lexique des dialectes Êđê. Hanoi: Đại học quốc gia Hà Nội.; École française d'Extrême-Orient.
  6. ^ http://www.hrelp.org/grants/projects/index.php?projid=146
  7. ^ Tam Nguyen. 2015. Language endangerment factors: A case study with Bih. Paper presented at SoLE-4, Payap University.
  8. ^ Phâm Côn Sơn. 2005. Non nước Việt Nam: sắc nét trung bộ. Hanoi: Phương Đông Publishers.
  9. ^ a b c d Waddington, Ray. "Indigenous Peoples of the World — The Ede". www.peoplesoftheworld.org. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  • Sở giáo dục và đào tạo tỉnh Đắk Lắk - Viện ngôn ngữ học Việt Nam. 2012. Ngữ pháp tiếng Êđê. Hanoi: Nhà xuất bản giáo dục Việt Nam.
  • Ủy ban nhân dân tỉnh Đăk Lăk - Sở giáo dục - Đào tạo - Viện ngôn ngữ học Việt Nam. 1993. Từ điển Việt - Êđê. Đăk Lăk: Nhà xuất bản giáo dục.
  • Linh Nga Niê Kdam. 2013. Nghệ thuật diễn xướng dân gian Ê Đê, Bih ở Dăk Lăk. Hanoi: Nhà xuất bản Thời Đại. ISBN 978-604-930-599-3

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