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The Tai languages
Tai languages
are:   Northern Tai / Northern Zhuang   Central Tai / Southern Zhuang    Southwestern Tai
Southwestern Tai
/ Thai

The Tai or Zhuang–Tai[2] languages (Thai: ภาษาไท or ภาษาไต, transliteration: p̣hās̛̄āthay or p̣hās̛̄ātay) are a branch of the Tai–Kadai language family. The Tai languages
Tai languages
include the most widely spoken of the Tai–Kadai languages, including standard Thai or Siamese, the national language of Thailand; Lao or Laotian, the national language of Laos; Myanmar's Shan language; and Zhuang, a major language in the southern Chinese province of Guangxi.

Contents

1 Name 2 History 3 Internal classification

3.1 Haudricourt (1956) 3.2 Li (1977) 3.3 Gedney (1989) 3.4 Luo (1997) 3.5 Pittayaporn (2009)

3.5.1 Overview 3.5.2 Sound changes

3.6 Edmondson (2013)

4 Reconstruction 5 Comparison 6 Writing systems 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

Name[edit] Cognates with the name Tai (Thai, Dai, etc.) are used by speakers of many Tai languages. The term Tai is now well-established as the generic name in English. In his book The Tai-Kadai Languages Anthony Diller claims that Lao scholars he has met are not pleased with Lao being regarded as a Tai language.[3] For some, Thai should instead be considered a member of the Lao language
Lao language
family.[3] One or more Ancient Chinese characters
Chinese characters
for ‘Lao’ may be cited in support of this alternative appellation.[3] Some scholars including Benedict (1975), have used Thai to refer to a wider (Tai) grouping and one sees designations like proto-Thai and Austro-Thai in earlier works.[3] In the institutional context in Thailand, and occasionally elsewhere, sometimes Tai (and its corresponding Thai-script spelling, without a final -y symbol) is used to indicate varieties in the language family not spoken in Thailand
Thailand
or spoken there only as the result of recent immigration.[3] In this usage Thai would not then be considered a Tai language.[3] On the other hand, Gedney, Li and others have preferred to call the standard language of Thailand
Thailand
Siamese rather than Thai, perhaps to reduce potential Thai/Tai confusion, especially among English speakers not comfortable with making a non-English initial unaspirated voiceless initial sound for Tai, which in any event might sound artificial or arcane to outsiders. According to Michel Ferlus, the ethnonyms Tai/Thai (or Tay/Thay) would have evolved from the etymon *k(ə)ri: 'human being' through the following chain: kəri: > kəli: > kədi:/kədaj (-l- > -d- shift in tense sesquisyllables and probable diphthongization of -i: > -aj).[4][5] This in turn changed to di:/daj (presyllabic truncation and probable diphthongization -i: > -aj). And then to *dajA (Proto-Southwestern Tai) > tʰajA2 (in Siamese and Lao) or > tajA2 (in the other Southwestern and Central Tai languages by Li Fangkuei). Michel Ferlus' work is based on some simple rules of phonetic change observable in the Sinosphere and studied for the most part by William H. Baxter (1992).[5] Many of the languages are called Zhuang in China
China
and Nung in Vietnam. History[edit]

Kra-Dai (Tai-Kadai) migration route according to James R. Chamberlain (2016).[6]

Map showing linguistic family tree overlaid on a geographic distribution map of Tai-Kadai family. This map only shows general pattern of the migration of Tai-speaking tribes, not specific routes, which would have snaked along the rivers and over the lower passes.

Tai alphabets. The phrase is kind elephant rider.

Citing the fact that both the Zhuang and Thai peoples have the same exonym for the Vietnamese, kɛɛuA1,[7] Jerold A. Edmondson of the University of Texas at Arlington
University of Texas at Arlington
posited that the split between Zhuang (a Central Tai language) and the Southwestern Tai languages
Southwestern Tai languages
happened no earlier than the founding of Jiaozhi
Jiaozhi
in Vietnam in 112 BCE but no later than the 5th-6th century AD.[8] However, based on layers of Chinese loanwords in Proto- Southwestern Tai
Southwestern Tai
and other historical evidence, Pittayawat Pittayaporn (2014) suggests that the dispersal of Southwestern Tai
Southwestern Tai
must have begun sometime between the 8th and 10th centuries AD.[9] Internal classification[edit] Haudricourt (1956)[edit] Haudricourt[10] emphasizes the specificity of Dioi (Zhuang) and proposes to make a two-way distinction between the following two sets. The language names used in Haudricourt's (1956) original are provided first, followed by currently more widespread ethnonyms in brackets.

Tai  

Tai proper: Ahom, Shan, Siamese, Lao, White Tai, Black Tai, Southern Zhuang, Tho/Tày, Nung

Dioi group: Yei Zhuang, Yongbei Zhuang, Bouyei/Buyi

Characteristics of the Dioi group pointed out by Haudricourt are (i) a correspondence between r- in Dioi and the lateral l- in the other Tai languages, (ii) divergent characteristics of the vowel systems of the Dioi group: e.g. 'tail' has a /a/ vowel in Tai proper, as against /ə̄/ in Bo-ai, /iə/ in Tianzhou, and /ɯə/ in Tianzhou and Wuming, and (iii) the lack, in the Dioi group, of aspirated stops and affricates, which are found everywhere in Tai proper. As compared with Li Fang-kuei's classification, Haudricourt's classification amounts to consider Li's Southern Tai and Central Tai as forming a subgroup, of which Southwestern Tai
Southwestern Tai
is a sister: the three last languages in Haudricourt's list of 'Tai proper' languages are Tho (Tày), Longzhou, and Nung, which Li classifies as 'Central Tai'.

Tai 

Northern Tai

Central Tai

Southwestern Tai

Li (1977)[edit] Li Fang-Kuei
Li Fang-Kuei
divided Tai into Northern, Central, and Southwestern (Thai) branches. However, Central Tai does not appear to be a valid group. Li (1977) proposes a tripartite division of Tai into three sister branches. This classification scheme has long been accepted as the standard one in the field of comparative Tai linguistics.

Tai 

Northern Tai

Central Tai

Southwestern Tai

Gedney (1989)[edit] Gedney (1989) considers Central and Southwestern Tai
Southwestern Tai
to form a subgroup, of which Northern Tai is a sister. This classification is in agreement with Haudricourt (1956).

Tai 

Northern Tai

Central Tai

Southwestern Tai

Luo (1997)[edit] Luo Yongxian (1997:232)[11] classifies the Tai languages
Tai languages
as follows, and proposes a fourth branch called Northwestern Tai that includes Ahom, Shan, Dehong Dai, and Khamti. All branches are considered to be coordinate to each other.

Tai 

Northern Tai

Central Tai

Southwestern Tai

Northwestern Tai

Pittayaporn (2009)[edit] Overview[edit] See also: Zhuang languages
Zhuang languages
§ Varieties Pittayawat Pittayaporn (2009) classifies the Tai languages
Tai languages
based on clusters of shared innovations (which, individually, may be associated with more than one branch) (Pittayaporn 2009:298). In Pittayaporn's preliminary classification system of the Tai languages, Central Tai is considered to be paraphyletic and is split up into multiple branches, with the Zhuang varieties of Chongzuo
Chongzuo
in southwestern Guangxi
Guangxi
having the most internal diversity. The Southwestern Tai
Southwestern Tai
and Northern Tai branches remain intact as in Li Fang-Kuei's 1977 classification system, and several of the Southern Zhuang languages
Zhuang languages
allocated ISO codes are considered to be paraphyletic. The classification is as follows.[12]

Tai

A (Central Tai, Southwestern Tai)

E

G

K

O

Q

Southwestern Tai
Southwestern Tai
(Laos, Thailand, Burma)

R

Sapa (Vietnam)

P

Tay: Tày of Bảo Yên, Tày of Cao Bằng, Dai Zhuang of Wenma (文马)

L

Nung: Yang Zhuang of Debao (德保), Yang Zhuang of Jingxi (靖西), (Western) Nung of Mường Khương District, Nong Zhuang of Wenshan City (文山), Nong Zhuang of Yanshan (砚山)

H

Lungming Zhuang, Daxin Zhuang

F

Lungchow Zhuang, Leiping Zhuang

B

Ningming Zhuang (Zuojiang Zhuang of Ningming 宁明)

C

Chongzuo
Chongzuo
Zhuang (Yongnan Zhuang of Chongzuo
Chongzuo
崇左), Shangsi Zhuang (Yongnan Zhuang of Shangsi 上思), Caolan (Vietnam)

D (Northern Tai)

I

Qinzhou Zhuang
Qinzhou Zhuang
(Yongnan Zhuang of Qinzhou
Qinzhou
钦州)

J

M

Wuming Zhuang, Yongnan Zhuang, Long'an Zhuang, Fusui Zhuang

N

Core Northern Tai: Saek, Bouyei, Yay and others

Standard Zhuang
Standard Zhuang
is based on the dialect of Shuangqiao (双桥), Wuming District.

Sites surveyed in Zhang (1999), subgrouped according to Pittayaporn (2009):    N,    M,    I,    C,    B,    F,    H,    L,    P

Sound changes[edit] See also: Proto-Tai language The following phonological shifts occurred in the Q (Southwestern), N (Northern), B (Ningming), and C (Chongzuo) subgroups (Pittayaporn 2009:300–301).

Proto-Tai reflexes

Proto-Tai Subgroup Q[13] Subgroup N[14] Subgroup B Subgroup C

*ɤj, *ɤw, *ɤɰ *aj, *aw, *aɰ *i:, *u:, *ɯ: *i:, *u:, *ɯ: –

*ɯj, *ɯw *i:, *u:[15] *aj, *aw[16] *i:, *u: –

*we, *wo *e:, *o: *i:, *u: *e:, *o:[17] *e:, *o:[18]

*ɟm̩.r- *br- *ɟr- – *ɟr-

*k.t- – *tr- – *tr-

*ɤn, *ɤt, *ɤc – *an, *at, *ac[19] – –

Furthermore, the following shifts occurred at various nodes leading up to node Q.

E: *p.t- > *p.r-; *ɯm > *ɤm G: *k.r- > *qr- K: *e:, *o: > *ɛ:, *ɔ: O: *ɤn > *on Q: *kr- > *ʰr-

Edmondson (2013)[edit] Jerold A. Edmondson's (2013)[20] computational phylogenetic analysis of the Tai languages
Tai languages
is shown below. Tay and Nung are both shown to be coherent branches under Central Tai. Northern Tai and Southwestern Tai are shown to be coherent branches.

Tai 

Northern Tai: Buyi, Yay, Po-Ai, Wuming Zhuang, Mashan Zhuang

Southwestern Tai: Ahom, Shan, Dehong, Tai Theeng (Nghe An), Black Tai, White Tai, Padi, Lao, Thai

Central Tai

Core Central Tai: Nung Chau, Pingxiang
Pingxiang
Zhuang, Leiping Zhuang, Ningming Zhuang

Tay: Tay Bao Lac, Tay Khanh Trung, Cao Lan

Nung: Western Nung, Nung Yang, Nung An, Thu Lao

Reconstruction[edit] Main article: Proto-Tai language Proto-Tai has been reconstructed in 1977 by Li Fang-Kuei
Li Fang-Kuei
and by Pittayawat Pittayaporn in 2009.[21] Proto- Southwestern Tai
Southwestern Tai
has also been reconstructed in 1977 by Li Fang-Kuei and by Nanna L. Jonsson in 1991.[22]

Proto-Tai Pronouns[citation needed]

Proto-Tai Thai alphabet

1st singular *ku กู

dual (exclusive) *pʰɯa เผือ

plural (exclusive) *tu ตู

Incl. dual (inclusive) *ra รา

plural (inclusive) *rau เรา

2nd singular *mɯŋ มึง

dual *kʰɯa เขือ

plural *su สู

3rd singular *man มัน

dual *kʰa ขา

plural *kʰau เขา

Comparison[edit] Below is comparative table of Tai languages.

English Proto-Southwestern Tai[23] Thai Lao Northern Thai Shan Tai Lü Standard Zhuang

wind *lom /lōm/ /lóm/ /lōm/ /lóm/ /lôm/ /ɣum˧˩/

town *mɯaŋ /mɯ̄aŋ/ /mɯ́aŋ/ /mɯ̄aŋ/ /mɤ́ŋ/ /mɤ̂ŋ/ /mɯŋ˧/

earth *ʔdin /dīn/ /dìn/ /dīn/ /lǐn/ /dín/ /dei˧/

fire *vai/aɯ /fāj/ /fáj/ /fāj/ /pʰáj/ or /fáj/ /fâj/ /fei˧˩/

heart *čai/aɯ /hǔa tɕāj/ /hǔa tɕàj/ /hǔa tɕǎj/ /hǒ tsǎɰ/ /hó tɕáj/ /sim/

love *rak /rák/ /hāk/ /hák/ /hâk/ /hak/ /gyai˧˩/

water *naam /náːm/ /nâm/ /nám/ /nâm/ /nà̄m/ /ɣaem˦˨/

Writing systems[edit]

Graphical summary of the development of Tai scripts from a Shan perspective, as reported in Sai Kam Mong's Shan Script book.

Many Southwestern Tai languages
Southwestern Tai languages
are written using Brahmi-derived alphabets. Zhuang languages
Zhuang languages
are traditionally written with Chinese characters called Sawndip, and now officially written with a romanized alphabet, though the traditional writing system is still in use to this day.

Thai alphabet
Thai alphabet
[1] Lao alphabet
Lao alphabet
[2] Sawndip Shan alphabet [3] Ahom alphabet
Ahom alphabet
[4] Tai Dam alphabet [5] Tai Le alphabet
Tai Le alphabet
[6] New Tai Lue alphabet
New Tai Lue alphabet
[7] Tai Tham alphabet
Tai Tham alphabet
[8]

See also[edit]

Miscellaneous Tai languages Zomia (region)

References[edit]

^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Daic". Glottolog
Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Diller, 2008. The Tai–Kadai Languages. ^ a b c d e f Diller, Anthony; Edmondson, Jerry; Luo, Yongxian (2004). The Tai-Kadai Languages. Routledge (2004), pp. 5-6. ISBN 1135791163. ^ Ferlus, Michel (2009). Formation of Ethnonyms in Southeast Asia. 42nd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, Nov 2009, Chiang Mai, Thailand. 2009, p.3. ^ a b Pain, Frédéric (2008). An Introduction to Thai Ethnonymy: Examples from Shan and Northern Thai. Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol. 128, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 2008), p.646. ^ Chamberlain, James R. (2016). "Kra-Dai and the Proto-History of South China
China
and Vietnam", p. 67. In Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 104, 2016. ^ A1 designates a tone. ^ Edmondson, Jerold A. The power of language over the past: Tai settlement and Tai linguistics in southern China
China
and northern Vietnam. Studies in Southeast Asian languages and linguistics, Jimmy G. Harris, Somsonge Burusphat and James E. Harris, ed. Bangkok, Thailand: Ek Phim Thai Co. Ltd. http://ling.uta.edu/~jerry/pol.pdf (see page 15) ^ Pittayaporn, Pittayawat (2014). Layers of Chinese Loanwords in Proto- Southwestern Tai
Southwestern Tai
as Evidence for the Dating of the Spread of Southwestern Tai. MANUSYA: Journal of Humanities, Special
Special
Issue No 20: 47–64. ^ Haudricourt, André-Georges. 1956. De la restitution des initiales dans les langues monosyllabiques : le problème du thai commun. Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de Paris 52. 307–322. ^ Luo, Yongxian. (1997). The subgroup structure of the Tai Languages: a historical-comparative study. Journal of Chinese Linguistics Monograph Series, (12), I-367. ^ Pittayaporn, Pittayawat. 2009. The Phonology of Proto-Tai. Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Linguistics, Cornell University. ^ Unless indicated otherwise, all phonological shifts occurred at the primary level (node A). ^ Unless indicated otherwise, all phonological shifts occurred at the primary level (node D). ^ Also, the *ɯ:k > *u:k shift occurred at node A. ^ Innovation at node N ^ For node B, the affected Proto-Tai syllable was *we:, *wo:. ^ For node C, the affected Proto-Tai syllable was *we:, *wo:. ^ Innovation at node J ^ Edmondson, Jerold A. 2013. Tai subgrouping using phylogenetic estimation. Presented at the 46th International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics (ICSTLL 46), Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, United States, August 7-10, 2013 (Session: Tai-Kadai Workshop). ^ Jonsson, Nanna L. (1991) Proto Southwestern Tai. Ph.D dissertation, available from UMI and SEAlang.net on http://sealang.net/crcl/proto/ ^ http://language.psy.auckland.ac.nz/austronesian/language.php?id=684 ^ Thai Lexicography Resources

Further reading[edit]

Brown, J. Marvin. From Ancient Thai to Modern Dialects. Bangkok: Social Science Association Press of Thailand, 1965. Chamberlain, James R. A New Look at the Classification of the Tai Languages. [s.l: s.n, 1972. Conference on Tai Phonetics and Phonology, Jimmy G. Harris, and Richard B. Noss. Tai Phonetics and Phonology. [Bangkok: Central Institute of English Language, Office of State Universities, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, 1972. Diffloth, Gérard. An Appraisal of Benedict's Views on Austroasiatic and Austro-Thai Relations. Kyoto: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, 1976. Đoàn, Thiện Thuật. Tay-Nung Language in the North Vietnam. [Tokyo?]: Instttute [sic] for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 1996. Gedney, William J. On the Thai Evidence for Austro-Thai. [S.l: s.n, 1976. Gedney, William J., and Robert J. Bickner. Selected Papers on Comparative Tai Studies. Michigan papers on South and Southeast Asia, no. 29. Ann Arbor, Mich., USA: Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, 1989. ISBN 0-89148-037-4 Gedney, William J., Carol J. Compton, and John F. Hartmann. Papers on Tai Languages, Linguistics, and Literatures: In Honor of William J. Gedney on His 77th Birthday. Monograph series on Southeast Asia. [De Kalb]: Northern Illinois University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, 1992. ISBN 1-877979-16-3 Gedney, William J., and Thomas J. Hudak. (1995). William J. Gedney's central Tai dialects: glossaries, texts, and translations. Michigan papers on South and Southeast Asia, no. 43. Ann Arbor, Mich: Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan ISBN 0-89148-075-7 Gedney, William J., and Thomas J. Hudak. William J. Gedney's the Yay Language: Glossary, Texts, and Translations. Michigan papers on South and Southeast Asia, no. 38. Ann Arbor, Mich: Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, 1991. ISBN 0-89148-066-8 Gedney, William J., and Thomas J. Hudak. William J. Gedney's Southwestern Tai
Southwestern Tai
Dialects: Glossaries, Texts and Translations. Michigan papers on South and Southeast Asia, no. 42. [Ann Arbor, Mich.]: Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, 1994. ISBN 0-89148-074-9 Hudak, Thomas John. William J. Gedney's The Tai Dialect of Lungming: Glossary, Texts, and Translations. Michigan papers on South and Southeast Asia, no. 39. [Ann Arbor]: Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, 1991. ISBN 0-89148-067-6 Li, Fang-kuei. 1977. Handbook of Comparative Tai. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawai’i Press. Li, Fang-kuei. The Tai Dialect of Lungchow; Texts, Translations, and Glossary. Shanghai: Commercial Press, 1940. Østmoe, Arne. A Germanic-Tai Linguistic Puzzle. Sino-Platonic papers, no. 64. Philadelphia, PA, USA: Dept. of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 1995. Sathāban Sūn Phāsā Qangkrit. Bibliography of Tai Language Studies. [Bangkok]: Indigenous Languages of Thailand
Thailand
Research Project, Central Institute of English Language, Office of State Universities, 1977. Shorto, H. L. Bibliographies of Mon–Khmer and Tai Linguistics. London oriental bibliographies, v. 2. London: Oxford University Press, 1963. Tingsabadh, Kalaya and Arthur S. Abramson. Essays in Tai Linguistics. Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University Press, 2001. ISBN 974-347-222-3

External links[edit]

SEAlang Library Comparative Tai–Kadai Swadesh vocabulary lists (from Wiktionary's Swadesh-list appendix) ABVD: Proto-Tai word list ABVD: Proto- Southwestern Tai
Southwestern Tai
word list Kelley, Liam. Tai Words and the Place of the Tai in the Vietnamese Past.

v t e

Tai–Kadai languages

Kra

(Proto-Kra) Laha Gelao Lachi Paha Buyang En Qabiao

Kam–Sui

Mulam Kam (Dong) Cao Miao Naxi Yao Sanqiao Then Maonan Chadong Sui Mak Ai-Cham

Hlai

(Proto-Hlai) Hlai Cun Jiamao

Ong Be

Ong Be

Tai (Zhuang)

(Proto-Tai)

Northern

Standard Zhuang Bouyei Hezhang Buyi Yei Zhuang Longsang Zhuang E Saek Tai Yo (Nyaw) Yoy Tai Pao

Central

Nong Zhuang Dai Zhuang Min Zhuang Yang Zhuang Pyang Zhuang Myang Zhuang Nung Tày Ts'ün-Lao

Southwestern (Thai)

Northwestern

Shan Tai Ya Tai Nüa Tai Long Tai Hongjin Khamti Tai Laing Tai Phake Tai Aiton Khamyang Ahom Turung

Lao–Phutai

Lao Phu Thai Isan Nyaw Lao Nyo Kaloeng

Chiang Saen

Thai (Siamese) Northern Thai Tai Daeng Tai Dón Tai Hang Tong Tai Lü Tai Dam Khun Phuan Thai Song Tày Tac

Southern

Southern Thai

(other)

Sapa Pa Di Tai Muong Vat Tai Thanh Tai Khang Yong Kuan

(mixed)

Caolan

Unclassified

.