World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Muong language

Article Id: WHEBN0003353736
Reproduction Date:

Title: Muong language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Vietnamese language, Nguồn language, Austroasiatic languages, Vietic languages, Minriq language
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Muong language

Thiểng Mường
Native to Vietnam
Region west of Hanoi
Native speakers
1.1 million  (1999 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mtq
Glottolog muon1246[2]

Muong (thiểng Mường[3]) is a group of dialects spoken by the Mường people of Vietnam. They are in the Austroasiatic languages family and closely related to Vietnamese. According to Phan (2012), the Mường dialects are not a single language, or even most closely related to each other, but rather are an ethnically defined and paraphyletic taxon.[4]

Mường dialects are primarily spoken in mountainous regions of the northern Vietnamese provinces of Hòa Bình, Thanh Hóa, Vĩnh Phúc, Yên Bái, Sơn La, and Ninh Bình.

Mường has all six tones of Vietnamese; however, the nặng (heavy) tone is only present in Phú Thọ and Thanh Hóa provinces, while in Hòa Bình Province it is merged with the sắc (sharp) tone.[5]

Mường is written in a modified Vietnamese alphabet that includes additional consonants like w and allows different consonant pairs and final consonants than Vietnamese.[3]


Consonant inventory

The following table details the consonants of those dialects that show a full voiced-voiceless distinction in the stops (being Mường Bi, Mường Thành, Mường Động, and Ba Trại).[6]

  Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/ /n/ /ɲ/ /ŋ/  
Stop voiceless /p/ /t/ /c/ /k/  
aspirated /pʰ/ /tʰ/   /kʰ/  
voiced /b/ /d/   /ɡ ~ ɣ/  
Fricative voiceless   /s/     /h/
voiced /β/ /z ~ j/      
Lateral   /l, tl ~ kl/      

The Mường Vang dialect completely lacks the distinction between the voiced and unvoiced stop pairs /p b/, /t d/, /k ɡ/, having only the voiceless one of each pair. The Mường Khói and Mường Ống dialects have the full voiceless series, but lack /ɡ/ among the voiced stops. The Thạch Sơn dialect on the other hand lacks /p/.

Furthermore, the Mường Khói dialect lacks the aspirated alveolar /tʰ/, but has a /hr/ instead. This dialect is also described as having the labio-velars /kʷ/ and /kʷʰ/.

All of these consonants can appear syllable-initially. At the end of syllables only the nasals /m n ɲ ŋ/, the voiceless stops /p t c k/, the lateral /l/, and the glides /j w/ are allowed.[7] Of these phonemes, the palatals /c ɲ/ have been analysed as glide + velar /ʲk ʲŋ/.[8] Furthermore the distribution of syllable-final /c ɲ l/ seems to be more restricted than the distribution of the other final consonants.[9]

Vowel inventory

The vowel inventory is given in the following table. It appears to be quite uniform among the different dialects.[6] Two of the vowels (/ɤ/ and /a/) can be long or short.

  Front Back
unrounded rounded
High /i/ /ɯ/ /u/
Higher mid /e/ /ɤ, ɤ̆/ /o/
Lower Mid /ɛ/ /ɔ/
Low /a, ă/

Apart from these monophthongs, there are also three diphthongs /iə, ɯə, uə/.



  1. ^ Thiểng Mường at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Muong". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ a b Hà Quang Phùng 2012, p. 1.
  4. ^ Phan, John D. 2012. "Mường is not a subgroup: Phonological evidence for a paraphyletic taxon in the Viet-Muong sub-family." Mon-Khmer Studies 40:1-18.
  5. ^ Hà Quang Phùng 2012, p. 2.
  6. ^ a b Nguyễn Văn Tài 1982, I.2
  7. ^ Nguyễn Văn Tài 1982, II.3.3.2
  8. ^ Nguyễn Văn Tài 1982, II.3.3.1
  9. ^ Nguyễn Văn Tài 1982, II.3.3.3

Further reading

  • Hà Quang Phùng (2012-09-06). "Tìm hiểu về ngữ pháp tiếng Mường (Thim hiếu wuê ngử pháp thiểng Mường)" [Understanding Muong grammar] (FlashPaper) (in Vietnamese, Muong). Thanh Sơn–Phú Thọ Province Continuing Education Center.  (More)
  • Nguyễn Văn Tài (1982). Ngữ âm tiếng Mường qua các phương ngôn [Phonetics of the Mường language through its dialects] (Ph.D.) (in Vietnamese). 

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.