The Vietic languages are a branch of the Austroasiatic language family. The branch was once referred to by the terms Việt–Mường, Annamese–Muong, and Vietnamuong; the term Vietic was proposed by Hayes (1992), who proposed to redefine Việt–Mường as referring to a sub-branch of Vietic containing only Vietnamese and Mường.
Many of the Vietic languages have tonal or phonational systems intermediate between that of Viet–Muong and other branches of Austroasiatic that have not had significant Chinese or Tai influence.
Vietnamese, today, has had significant Chinese influence especially in vocabulary and tonal system. Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary accounts for about 30–60% of Vietnamese vocabulary, not including calques from China.
Based on linguistic diversity, the most probable homeland of the Vietic languages appears to have been located in modern-day Bolikhamsai Province and Khammouane Province in Laos as well as parts of Nghệ An Province and Quảng Bình Province in Vietnam. The time depth of the Vietic branch dates back at least 2,000 years.
The ancestor of the Vietic language is traditionally assumed to have been based around the Red River area and in what is now Northern Central Vietnam. However, origins of the Vietic languages remains a controversial topic among linguists.
The Vietnamese language was identified as Austroasiatic in the mid-nineteenth century, and there is now strong evidence for this classification. Modern Vietnamese is a monosyllabic tonal language like Cantonese and has lost many Proto-Austroasiatic phonological and morphological features. Vietnamese also has large stocks of borrowed Chinese and Tai vocabulary. However, there continues to be resistance to the idea that Vietnamese could be more closely related to Khmer than to Chinese or Tai languages. The vast majority of scholars attribute these typological similarities to language contact rather than to common inheritance.
Chamberlain (1998) argues that the Red River Delta region was originally Tai-speaking and became Vietnamese-speaking only between the seventh and ninth centuries AD as a result of emigration from the south, i.e., modern Central Vietnam, where the highly distinctive and conservative North-Central Vietnamese dialects are spoken today. Therefore, the region of origin of Vietnamese (and the earlier Viet–Muong) was well south of the Red River. Like the ethnonym Lao, the name Yue/Việt originally referred to Tai–Kadai-speaking groups. In northern Vietnam, these later adopted Viet–Muong and further north Chinese, where the designation Yue Chinese preserves the ethnonym. (Both in Vietnam and southern China, however, many Tai–Kadai languages remain in use.)
Furthermore, John Phan (2013, 2016) argues that “Annamese Middle Chinese,” was spoken in the Red River Valley and was then later absorbed into the Vietnamese language. Annamese Middle Chinese was part of a Middle Chinese dialect continuum in southwestern China that included Waxiang Chinese, the Jiudu patois 九都土話 of Hezhou, Southern Pinghua, and various Xiang Chinese dialects (e.g., Xiangxiang 湘鄉, Luxi 瀘溪, Qidong 祁東, and Quanzhou 全州).. Phan (2013) considers there to be three major types of Sino-Vietnamese borrowings, which were borrowed during different eras.
On the other hand, Ferlus (2009) showed that the inventions of pestle, oar and a pan to cook sticky rice, which is the main characteristic of the Đông Sơn culture, correspond to the creation of new lexicons for these inventions in Northern Vietic (Việt–Mường) and Central Vietic (Cuoi-Toum). The new vocabularies of these inventions were proven to be derivatives from original verbs rather than borrowed lexical items. The current distribution of Northern Vietic also correspond to the area of Dong Son culture. Thus, Ferlus conclude that the Northern Vietic (Viet-Muong) is the direct heirs of the Dongsonian, who have resided in Southern part of Red river delta and North Central Vietnam since the 1st millennium BC 
Vietic speakers reside in and around the Nakai–Nam Theun Conservation Area of Laos and north-central Vietnam (Chamberlain 1998). Many of these speakers are referred to as Mường, Nhà Làng, and Nguồn. Chamberlain (1998) lists current locations in Laos for the following Vietic peoples. An overview based on first-hand fieldwork has been proposed by Michel Ferlus.
In Vietnam, some Vietic hill-tribe peoples, including the Arem, Rục, Maliêng, and Mày (Cươi), were resettled at Cu Nhái (located either in western Quảng Bình Province or in the southwest of Hương Khê District in Hà Tĩnh Province). The Sách are also found in Vietnam.
The following table lists the lifestyles of various Vietic-speaking ethnic groups. Unlike the neighboring Tai ethnic groups, many Vietic groups are not paddy agriculturalists.
|Small-group foraging nomads||Atel, Thémarou, Mlengbrou, (Cheut?)|
|Originally collectors and traders who have become emergent swidden sedentists||Arao, Maleng, Malang, Makang, Tơe, Ahoe, Phóng|
|Swidden cultivators who move every 2–3 years among pre-existing village sites||Kri|
|Combined swidden and paddy sedentists||Ahao, Ahlao, Liha, Phong (Cham), Toum|
The discovery that Vietnamese was a Mon–Khmer language, and that its tones were a regular reflection of non-tonal features in the rest of the family, is considered a milestone in the development of historical linguistics. Vietic languages show a typological range from a Chinese or Tai typology to a typical Mon-Khmer Austroasiatic typology, including (a) complex tonal systems, complex phonation systems or blends; (b) C(glide)VC or CCVC syllable templates; monosyllabic or polysyllabic and isolating or agglutinative typology.
The following classification of the Vietic languages is from Chamberlain (2003:422), as quoted in Sidwell (2009:145). Unlike past classifications, there is a sixth "South" branch that includes Kri, a newly described language.
Based on comparative studies of Ferlus (1982, 1992, 1997, 2001) and new studies in Muong languages of Phan (2012), Sidwell (2014 ) pointed out that Muong is a paraphyletic taxon and form a subgroup with Vietnamese. The subgroup Viet-Muong coordinates alongside several Vietic groups. Thus, He proposed a new internal classification for Vietic 
Michel Ferlus (1990, 2013) notes that the 12-year animal cycle (zodiac) names in the Khmer, Thai, and Lao calendars were borrowed from a phonologically conservative form of Viet-Muong. The animal cycle names were adapted from the Chinese calendar into Old Vietnamese, and were then borrowed by the Khmer during the pre-Angkorian period (Ferlus 2013:9-10). The following table of 12-year animal cycle names is from Ferlus (2013:7), with reconstructed names in the Vietic donor language from Ferlus (1990). Thai names, which have been borrowed from Khmer, have also been provided in the table below.
|Animal||Donor language||Modern Khmer||Khmer transliteration||Old Khmer||Proto-Viet-Muong||Muong||Pong||Kari||Thai name|
|鼠 Rat||*ɟuot||cuːt||jūt||*ɟuot||*ɟuot||cuot⁸||-||-||Chuat (ชวด)|
|牛 Ox||*caluu||cʰlou||chlūv||*c.luː||*c.luː||kluː¹||kluː¹||săluː²||Chalu (ฉลู)|
|虎 Tiger||*kʰaal||kʰaːl||khāl||*kʰaːl||*k.haːlˀ||kʰaːl³||kʰaːl³||-||Khan (ขาล)|
|兔 Rabbit||*tʰɔh||tʰɑh||thoḥ||*tʰɔh||*tʰɔh||tʰɔː⁵||tʰɔː³||-||Thɔ (เถาะ)|
|龍 Dragon||*marooŋ||roːŋ||roṅ||*m.roːŋ||*m.roːŋ||roːŋ²||-||roːŋ¹||Marong (มะโรง)|
|蛇 Snake||*masaɲ||mə̆saɲ||msāñ'||*m.saɲ||*m.səɲˀ||saɲ³||siŋ³||-||Maseng (มะเส็ง)|
|馬 Horse||*mamia||mə̆miː||mamī||*m.ŋɨa||*m.ŋǝːˀ||ŋɨa⁴||-||măŋəː⁴||Mamia (มะเมีย)|
|羊 Goat||*mamɛɛ||mə̆mɛː||mamæ||*m.ɓɛː||*m.ɓɛːˀ||-||ɓɛː³||-||Mamɛɛ (มะแม)|
|猴 Monkey||*vɔɔk||vɔːk||vak||*vɔːk||*vɔːk||vɔːk⁸||vɔːk⁸||-||Wɔɔk (วอก)|
|雞 Rooster||*rakaa||rə̆kaː||rakā||*r.kaː||*r.kaː||kaː¹||kaː¹||kaː¹||Rakaa (ระกา)|
|狗 Dog||*cɔɔ||cɑː||ca||*cɔː||*ʔ.cɔːˀ||cɔː³||cɔː³||cɔː³||Jɔɔ (จอ)|
|豬 Pig||*kur||kao/kol||kur||*kur||*kuːrˀ||kuːj³||kuːl⁴||kuːl⁴||Kun (กุน)|
Ferlus (2013) notes that the animal cycle names were borrowed from a Viet-Muong (Northern Vietic) language rather than from a Southern Vietic language, since the vowel in thʈe Old Khmer name for 'snake' *m.saɲ corresponds to Viet-Muong rather than to Southern Vietic.