Hmong language

Hmong (RPA: Hmoob) or Mong (RPA: Moob), known as First Vernacular Chuanqiandian Miao in China (Chinese: 川黔滇苗语第一土语; pinyin: Chuānqiándiān miáo yǔ dì yī tǔyǔ), is a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmongic languages spoken by the Hmong of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, northern Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos.[3] There are some 2.7 million speakers of varieties that are largely mutually intelligible, including over 280,000 Hmong Americans as of 2013.[4] 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.[5] However, Hmong Daw (White) and Mong Njua (Green) are widely known only in Laos and the United States; Dananshan is more widely known in the native region of Hmong.

Hmong, in the narrow sense, is sometimes known ambiguously as the Chuanqiandian Cluster. That term is also used for Chuanqiandian Miao as a whole, or it may be restricted to the varieties of Hmong spoken in China.

lus Hmoob / lug Moob / lol Hmongb
Native toChina, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.
EthnicityHmong people
Native speakers
3.7 million (1995–2009)[1]
not counting Vietnam
Hmong writing: inc. Pahawh Hmong, Nyiakeng Puachue Hmong, multiple Latin standards
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
hmv – Hmong Do (Vietnam)
mww – Hmong Daw (Laos, China)
hnj – Mong Njua/Mong Leng (Laos, China)
hmz – Hmong Shua (Sinicized)
cqd – Chuanqiandian-cluster Miao (cover term for Hmong in China)
hrm – Horned Miao (A-Hmo, China)
hmf – Hmong Don (Vietnam)


Mong Njua (Hmoob Ntsuab) and Hmong Daw (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, as West Hmongic is also called Chuanqiandian. Mong Njua and Hmong Daw are just those varieties of the cluster that migrated to Laos; the Western names Mong Njua, Mong Leng, Hmong Dleu/Der, and Hmong Daw are also used in China for various dialects of the Chuanqiandian cluster.

Ethnologue once distinguished only the Laotian varieties (Hmong Daw, Mong Njua), Sinicized Miao (Hmong Shua), and the Vietnamese varieties (Hmong Do, Hmong Don). The Vietnamese varieties are very poorly known; population estimates are not even available. In 2007, Horned Miao, Small Flowery Miao, and the Chuanqiandian cluster of China were split off from Mong Njua [blu].[6] These varieties are as follows, along with some alternative names ('Ch.' = Chinese name, 'auto.' = autonym [self name]):

  • Hmong Daw (White Miao, Ch. Bai Miao, auto. Hmoob Dawb; Forest Miao, Hmong Rongd; Hmong Dleu / Hmongb Dleub ;White Hmong)
  • Mong Njua (Blue Miao, Green Miao, Ch. Qing Miao; Hmoob Ntsuab / Hmongb Nzhuab; in the US, also Mong Leng / Len, auto. Moob Leeg; Hmongb Shib)
  • Hmong Shua (Sinicized Miao, auto. Hmongb Shuat)
  • Horned Miao (Ch. Jiao Miao, auto. Hmo or A-Hmo)
  • Hmong Do
  • Hmong Don (assumed)
  • the part of the Chuanqiandian cluster located in China.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that the White and Green dialects "are said to be mutually intelligible to a well-trained ear, with pronunciation and vocabulary differences analogous to the differences between British and American English."[7]

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)[8]
  • Southern Hmong (auto. of subgroups: Hmongb Shib, Hmongb Nzhuab, Hmongb Lens, Hmongb Dlex Nchab, Hmongb Sad; includes some of Mong Njua 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" (第一土語) of the Chuanqiandian cluster in Chinese, the proposer made the following statement on mutual intelligibility:

A colleague has talked with speakers of a number of these closely-related lects in the US, in Thailand and in China, and has had many discussions with Chinese linguists and foreign researchers or community development workers who have had extensive contact with speakers of these lects. As a result of these conversations this colleague believes that many of these lects are likely to have high inherent mutual intelligibility within the cluster. Culturally, while each sub-group prides itself on its own distinctives, they also recognize that other sub-groups within this category are culturally similar to themselves and accept the others as members of the same general ethnic group. However, this category of lects is internally varied and geographically scattered and mixed over a broad land area, and comprehensive intelligibility testing would be required to confirm reports of mutual intelligibility throughout the cluster.[9]

Varieties in Laos

The CDC stated "although there is no official preference for one dialect over the other, White Hmong seems to be favored in many ways."[7] The agency stated that the Romanized Popular Alphabet (RPA) is closest to that of White Hmong, most educated Hmong speak White Hmong, and that most Hmong dictionaries only include the White Hmong dialect. Younger generations of Hmong are more likely to speak White Hmong. Speakers of Green Hmong are more likely to learn White Hmong than speakers of White Hmong learning Green Hmong.[7]

Varieties in the United States

Most Hmong in the United States speak the dialects White Hmong and Green Hmong with about 60% speaking White Hmong and about 40% speaking Green Hmong. The CDC stated that "though some Hmong report difficulty understanding speakers of a dialect not their own, for the most part, White and Green Hmong speakers seem to understand one another".[7]


The three dialects described here are known as Hmong Daw (also called White Miao or Hmong Der),[10] Mong Njua (also called Blue or Green Miao or Mong Leng),[11] and Dananshan (Standard Chinese Miao).[12] Hmong Daw and Mong Njua 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 Njua lacks the voiceless/aspirated /m̥/ of Hmong Daw (as exemplified by their names) and has a third nasalized vowel, /ã/; Dananshan has a couple of extra diphthongs in native words, numerous Chinese loans, and an eighth tone.


The vowel systems of Hmong Daw and Mong Njua are as shown in the following charts. Phonemes particular to each dialect are color-coded respectively:

Hmong Daw and Mong Njua vowels
Front Central Back
oral nasal oral nasal oral nasal
Close i ɨ u
Mid e ẽ~eŋ
Open a ã~aŋ ɒ ɒ̃~ɒŋ
Closing Centering
Close component is front ai
Close component is central  
Close component is back au

The Dananshan standard of China is similar. Phonemic differences from Hmong Daw and Mong Njua are color-coded.

Dananshan Miao vowels
Front Central Back
oral nasal oral nasal oral nasal
Close i (ɨ) u
Mid e en o
Open a
Closing Centering
Close component is front aj ⟨ai⟩
Close component is back aw ⟨au⟩ ⟨ua⟩
əw ⟨ou⟩

Dananshan [ɨ] occurs only after non-palatal affricates, and is written ⟨i⟩, much like Mandarin Chinese. /u/ is pronounced [y] after palatal consonants. There is also a triphthong /jeβ/ ⟨ieu⟩, as well as other i- and u-initial sequences in Chinese borrowings, such as /je, waj, jaw, wen, waŋ/.


Hmong makes a number of phonemic contrasts unfamiliar to English speakers. All non-glottal stops and affricates distinguish aspirated and unaspirated forms, most also prenasalization independently of this. The consonant inventory of Hmong is shown in the chart below. (Consonants particular to Hmong Daw and Mong Njua are color-coded respectively.)

Hmong Daw and Mong Njua consonants
Bilabial Labio-
Dental Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
plain lateral* plain lateral*
Nasal voiceless (m̥ˡ) ɲ̥
voiced m () n ɲ
Plosive tenuis p () t () ʈ c k q ʔ
aspirated (pˡʰ) (tˡʰ) ʈʰ
voiced d
prenasalized** ᵐb (ᵐbˡ) ⁿd (ⁿdˡ) ᶯɖ ᶮɟ ᵑɡ ᶰɢ
ᵐpʰ (ᵐpˡʰ) ⁿtʰ (ⁿtˡʰ) ᶯʈʰ ᶮcʰ ᵑkʰ ᶰqʰ
Affricate tenuis ts
aspirated tsʰ tʂʰ
prenasalized** ⁿdz ᶯdʐ
ⁿtsʰ ᶯtʂʰ
Continuant voiceless f s ɬ ʂ ç h
voiced v l ʐ ʝ

The Dananshan standard of China is similar. (Phonemic differences from Hmong Daw and Mong Njua are color-coded. Minor differences, such as the voicing of prenasalized stops, or whether /c/ is an affricate or /h/ 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 /w/, which occurs only in foreign words.

Dananshan Miao consonants
Bilabial Labio-
Dental Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
plain lateral* plain lateral*
Nasal voiceless ⟨hm⟩ ⟨hn⟩ ɲ̥ ⟨hni⟩
voiced m ⟨m⟩ n ⟨n⟩ ɲ ⟨ni⟩ ŋ ⟨ngg⟩
Plosive tenuis p ⟨b⟩ () ⟨bl⟩ t ⟨d⟩ () ⟨dl⟩ ʈ ⟨dr⟩ k ⟨g⟩ q ⟨gh⟩ (ʔ)
aspirated ⟨p⟩ (pˡʰ) ⟨pl⟩ ⟨t⟩ (tˡʰ) ⟨tl⟩ ʈʰ ⟨tr⟩ ⟨k⟩ ⟨kh⟩
prenasalized** ᵐp ⟨nb⟩ (ᵐpˡ) ⟨nbl⟩ ⁿt ⟨nd⟩ ᶯʈ ⟨ndr⟩ ᵑk ⟨ng⟩ ᶰq ⟨ngh⟩
ᵐpʰ ⟨np⟩ (ᵐpˡʰ) ⟨npl⟩ ⁿtʰ ⟨nt⟩ ᶯʈʰ ⟨ntr⟩ ᵑkʰ ⟨nk⟩ ᶰqʰ ⟨nkh⟩
Affricate tenuis ts ⟨z⟩ ⟨zh⟩ ⟨j⟩
aspirated tsʰ ⟨c⟩ tʂʰ ⟨ch⟩ tɕʰ ⟨q⟩
prenasalized** ⁿts ⟨nz⟩ ᶯtʂ ⟨nzh⟩ ⁿtɕ ⟨nj⟩
ⁿtsʰ ⟨nc⟩ ᶯtʂʰ ⟨nch⟩ ⁿtɕʰ ⟨nq⟩
Continuant voiceless f ⟨f⟩ s ⟨s⟩ ɬ ⟨hl⟩ ʂ ⟨sh⟩ ɕ ⟨x⟩ x ⟨h⟩
voiced v ⟨v⟩ l ⟨l⟩ ʐ ⟨r⟩ ʑ ⟨y⟩ (w)

^* 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 /l/ as the second element. The difference in analysis (e.g. between /pˡ/ and /pl/) 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 Green Mong, e.g. /tl/, 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[13]).

^** Some linguists prefer to analyze the prenasalized consonants as clusters whose first element is /n/. However, this cluster analysis is not as common as the above one involving /l/.

Syllable structure

Hmong syllables have a very simple structure: onsets are obligatory (except in a few particles), nuclei may consist of a monophthong or diphthong, and coda consonants apart from nasals are prohibited. In Hmong Daw and Mong Njua, nasal codas have become nasal vowels, though they may be accompanied by a weak coda [ŋ]. Similarly, a weak coda [ʔ] may accompany the low-falling creaky tone.

Dananshan has a syllabic /l̩/ (written ⟨l⟩) in Chinese loans, such as lf 'two' and lx 'child'.


Hmong is a tone language and makes use of seven (Hmong Daw and Mong Njua) or eight (Dananshan) distinct tones.

Tone Hmong Daw example[14] Hmong/Mong spelling
High ˥ /pɔ́/ 'ball' pob
Mid ˧ /pɔ/ 'spleen' po
Low ˩ /pɔ̀/ 'thorn' pos
High-falling ˥˧ /pɔ̂/ 'female' poj
Mid-rising ˧˦ /pɔ̌/ 'to throw' pov
Low checked (creaky) tone ˩
(phrase final: long low rising ˨˩˧)
/pɔ̰̀/ 'to see' pom
Mid-falling breathy tone ˧˩ /pɔ̤̂/ 'grandmother' pog

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 Njua. 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, 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:

Dananshan Miao tone
Tone IPA Orthography
1 high falling ˦˧ 43 b
3 top ˥ 5 d
5 high ˦ 4 t
7 mid ˧ 3 k
2 mid falling ˧˩ 31 x
4 low falling (breathy) ˨˩̤ 21 l
6 low rising (breathy) ˩˧̤ 13 s
8 mid rising ˨˦ 24 f

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 also convey vowel sounds).


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.[15]

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 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.[16]

Since the end of the 19th century, linguists created over two dozen Hmong writing systems, including systems using Chinese characters, the Lao alphabet, the Russian alphabet, the Thai alphabet, and the Vietnamese alphabet. 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 Fang, an anti-Laotian government Hmong group, uses this writing system.[15]

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 Church, a church also founded by Vang, although the script have been found to be in use in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, France, and Australia.[17] 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.[18]

Other experiments by Hmong and non-Hmong orthographers have been undertaken using invented letters.[19]

The Romanized Popular Alphabet (RPA), the most widely used script for Hmong Daw and Mong Njua, was developed in Laos between 1951 and 1953 by three Western missionaries.[15] 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.[20]

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 ⟨ng⟩; RPA uses ⟨h⟩ for aspiration, whereas pinyin uses the voicing distinction of the Latin script; pinyin uses ⟨h⟩ (and ⟨r⟩) to derive the retroflex and uvular series from the dental and velar, whereas RPA uses sequences based on ⟨t, x, k⟩ vs. ⟨r, s, q⟩ for the same.

RPA Pinyin
aa ang
ee eng
oo ong
w i
RPA Dananshan
c j
ch q
nc nj
nch nq
dlh tl
k g
kh k
nk ng
nkh nk
Consonants (cont.)
RPA Dananshan
ny ni
hny hni
p b
ph p
np nb
nph np
Consonants (cont.)
RPA Dananshan
pl bl
plh pl
npl nbl
 nplh  npl
q gh
qh kh
nq ngh
nqh nkh
r dr
rh tr
nr ndr
nrh ntr
s sh
t d
th t
nt nd
nth nt
Consonants (cont.)
RPA Dananshan
ts zh
tsh ch
nts nzh
ntsh nch
tx z
txh c
ntx nz
ntxh nc
x s
xy x
z r

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.

Hmoob Mong
平 or A 1 b ˦˧ b ˥
2 x ˧˩ j ˥˧
上 or B 3 d ˥ v ˧˦
4 l ˨˩̤ s g
去 or C 5 t ˦ (unmarked) ˧
6 s ˩˧̤ g ˧˩̤
入 or D 7 k ˧ s ˩
8 f ˨˦ m ˩̰ ~ d ˨˩˧

Tones 4 and 7 merged in Hmoob Dawb, whereas tones 4 and 6 merged in Mong Njua.[21]

Example: lus Hmoob (White Hmong) / lug Moob (Green Hmong) / lol Hmongb (Dananshan) "Hmong language".


Hmong is an analytic SVO language in which adjectives and demonstratives follow the noun. Noun phrases can contain the following elements (parentheses indicate optional elements):[22]

(possessive) + (quantifier) + (classifier) + noun + (adjective) + (demonstrative)

The Hmong pronominal system distinguishes between three grammatical persons 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 Njua:

White Hmong Pronouns
Number: Singular Dual Plural
First kuv wb peb
Second koj neb nej
Third nws nkawd lawv
Green Hmong Pronouns
Number: Singular Dual Plural
First kuv ib peb
Second koj meb mej
Third nwg ob tug puab


Hmong is an isolating language in which most morphemes are monosyllables. As a result, verbs are not overtly inflected. Tense, aspect, mood, person, number, gender, and case are indicated lexically.[23]

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:
Yam zoo tshaj plaws, nej yuav tsum mus nrhiav nug xyuas saib luag muaj kev pab hom dab tsi nyob ncig ib cheeb tsam ntawm nej.
Thing best, you (plural) must go seek, ask, examine, look others have services variations what on tour the area at you (plural)
'The best thing you can do is to explore your neighborhood and find out what services are available.'


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:

Nag hmo










{Nag hmo} kuv mus tom khw.

yesterday I go LOC market

'I went to the market yesterday.'


Aspectual differences are indicated by a number of verbal modifiers. Here are the most common ones:

Progressive: (Mong Njua) taab tom + verb, (White Hmong) tab tom + verb = situation in progress



taab tom






(Mong Njua)

Puab {taab tom} haus dlej.

they PROG drink water

'They are drinking water.'

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









(Green and White Hmong)

Kuv noj mov lawm.

I eat rice PERF

'I am finished/I am done eating rice.' / 'I have already eaten "rice".'

Lawm at the end of a sentence can also indicate that an action is underway:

















ua si




(White Hmong)

Tus tub tau rab hneev, nws thiaj mus {ua si} lawm.

CLF boy get CLF crossbow he then go play PFV

'The boy got the crossbow and went off to play.' /

'The boy went off to play because he got the bow.'

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.











White Hmong)

Lawv tau noj nqaij nyug.

they attain eat meat beef

'They ate beef.'

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:











sawv daws








khaub ncaws




(White Hmong)

Thaum txog peb caug lawm {sawv daws} thiaj tau hnav {khaub ncaws} tshiab.

when arrive New Year PFV everybody then attain wear clothes new

'So when the New Year arrives, everybody gets to wear new clothes.'

When tau follows the main verb (i.e. verb + tau), it indicates the accomplishment of the purpose of an action.







ib plag,








tswv yim.


(Mong Njua)

Kuv xaav xaav {ib plag}, kuv xaav tau {tswv yim}.

I think think awhile, I think get idea

'I thought it over and got an idea.'

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.


Future: yuav + verb:




(Mong Njua)

Kuv yuav moog.

I will be going.'

Yuav + verb may also be seen as indicative of the irrealis mood, for situations that are unfulfilled or unrealized. That includes hypothetical or non-occurring situations with past, present, or future time references:





hais tias,




















(from a White Hmong folk tale)

Tus Tsov {hais tias}, "Kuv tshaib tshaib plab li kuv yuav noj koj".

CLF Tiger say, I hungry hungry stomach INT I IRR eat you

'The Tiger said, "I'm very hungry and I'm going to eat you.'


















Tus Qav tsis paub yuav ua li cas li.

CLF Frog NEG know IRR do {} what INT

'The frog didn't know what to do.'

Worldwide usage

In 2012 McDonald's introduced its first Hmong language advertising in the United States on a commercial billboard in Saint Paul, Minnesota. However it was unintelligible to Hmong speakers due to an incorrect translation.[24] Google Translate introduced support for Hmong Daw (referred to only as Hmong) in May 2013.[25]

See also


  1. ^ Hmong Do (Vietnam) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Hmong Daw (Laos, China) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Mong Njua/Mong Leng (Laos, China) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Hmong Shua (Sinicized) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Chuanqiandian-cluster Miao (cover term for Hmong in China) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Horned Miao (A-Hmo, China) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    (Additional references under 'Language codes' in the information box)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "First Vernacular Hmong". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Ratliff, Martha (1992). Meaningful Tone: A Study of Tonal Morphology in Compounds, Form Classes, and Expressive Phrases in White Hmong. Dekalb, Illinois: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University.
  4. ^ Elizabeth M. Hoeffel; Sonya Rastogi; Myoung Ouk Kim; Hasan Shahid (March 2012). "The Asian Population: 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census Briefs. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  5. ^ Not of Chinese Miao as a whole for which the standard language is based on Hmu
  6. ^ "2007-188 - ISO 639-3".
  7. ^ a b c d "Chapter 2. Overview of Lao Hmong Culture." (Archive) Promoting Cultural Sensitivity: Hmong Guide. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. p. 14. Retrieved on May 5, 2013.
  8. ^ Note however that "Black Miao" is more commonly used for Hmu.
  9. ^ "ISO 639-3 New Code Request" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  10. ^ Golston, Chris; Phong Yang (2001). "Hmong loanword phonology". In C. Féry; A. D. Green; R. van de Vijver (eds.). Proceedings of HILP 5 (Linguistics in Potsdam 12 ed.). Potsdam: University of Potsdam. pp. 40–57. ISBN 3-935024-27-4. [1]
  11. ^ Smalley, William et al. Mother of Writing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. p. 48-51. See also: Mortensen, David. “Preliminaries to Mong Leng (Mong Njua) Phonology” Unpublished, UC Berkeley. 2004. Archived 29 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ 王辅世主编,《苗语简志》,民族出版社,1985年。
  13. ^ Even the landmark book The Sounds of the World's Languages specifically describes lateral release as involving a homorganic consonant.
  14. ^ Examples taken from: Heimbach, Ernest H. White Hmong–English Dictionary [White Meo-English Dictionary]. 2003 ed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publications, 1969. Note that many of these words have multiple meanings.
  15. ^ a b c Fadiman, Anne. "Note on Hmong Orthography, Pronunciation, and Quotations." The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1997. 291.
  16. ^ 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, 2001. p. 225. UMI Number: 3024065. Cites: Hamilton-Merritt, 1993 and Faderman [sic], 1998
  17. ^ Ian James & Mattias Persson. "New Hmong Script". Retrieved April 7, 2018. This excellent script has been used by members of the United Christians Liberty Evangelical church in America for more than 25 years, in printed material and videos.
  18. ^ Everson, Michael (2017-02-15). "L2/17-002R3: Proposal to encode the Nyiakeng Puachue Hmong script in the UCS" (PDF).
  19. ^ Hmong Language online encyclopedia.
  20. ^ Fadiman, Anne. "Note on Hmong Orthography, Pronunciation, and Quotations." The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1997. 292.
  21. ^ Mortensen (2004)
  22. ^ Ratliff, Martha (1997). "Hmong–Mien demonstratives and pattern persistence" (PDF). Mon–Khmer Studies Journal. 27: 317–328. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-23. Retrieved 2007-06-06. ()
  23. ^ Strecker, David and Lopao Vang. White Hmong Grammar. 1986.
  24. ^ Melo, Frederick. "St. Paul: McDonald's Hmong pitch mangles language." Twin Cities Pioneer Press. September 2, 2012. Updated on September 3, 2012. Retrieved on May 10, 2013.
  25. ^ Donald Melanson (8 May 2013). "Google Translate adds five more languages to its repertoire". Engadget. Retrieved 22 February 2018.


  • 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, 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. ISBN 7-5367-3287-2.

Further reading

External links

A-Hmao language

The A-Hmao language, also known as Large Flowery Miao (Chinese: 大花苗) or Northeast Yunnan Miao (Diandongbei, Chinese: 苗语滇东北方言), is a Hmongic language spoken in China. It is the language the Pollard script was designed for, and displays extensive tone sandhi. There is a high degree of literacy in Pollard among the older generation.

The standard written language, both in Pollard and in Latin script, is that of Shíménkǎn (石门坎) village in Weining County.


Chiyou (蚩尤) was a tribal leader of the Nine Li tribe (九黎) in ancient China. He is best known as a king who lost against the future Yellow Emperor during the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors era in Chinese mythology. For the Hmong people, Chiyou was a sagacious mythical king. He has a particularly complex and controversial ancestry, as he may fall under Dongyi Miao or even Man, depending on the source and view. Today, Chiyou is honored and worshipped as the God of War and one of the three legendary founding fathers of China.

Gejia language

The Ge or Gejia language (Chinese: 家语), also known as Chong'anjiang Miao 重安江苗语, is a Miao language of Huangping County, Guizhou, China. The endonym is spelled Mhong, though it shares this with Huishui Miao; it is pronounced [m̥ōŋ], as in the Hmong language. When speaking Chinese, they call themselves Gédōu.

Gejia is spoken in eastern Guizhou, in speech islands within the area of the Hmu language, which includes the standard dialect.

Guiyang Miao language

Guiyang Miao, also known as Guiyang Hmong, is a Miao language of China. It is named after Guiyang County, Guizhou, though not all varieties are spoken there. The endonym is Hmong, a name it shares with the Hmong language.


Hmong may refer to:

Hmong people, an ethnic group of people who live in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand

Hmong cuisine

Hmong customs and culture

Hmong music

Hmong textile art

Hmong language, a continuum of closely related tongues/dialects

Hmong–Mien languages

Pahawh Hmong, an indigenous semi-syllabic script

Nyiakeng Puachue Hmong, a modern alphabetic script

Hmong Americans, Americans of Hmong descent

Hmong textile art

Hmong textile art (RPA:Paj ntau or Paj ntaub, or "flower cloth" in the Hmong language; sometimes transliterated as pa ntau) consists of textile arts traditionally practiced by Hmong people. Closely related to practices of other ethnic minorities in China, the embroidery consists of bold geometric designs often realized in bright, contrasting colors. Different patterns and techniques of production are associated with geographical regions and cultural subdivisions within the global Hmong community. For example, White Hmong are typically associated with reverse appliqué while Green Mong are more associated with batik. Since the mass exodus of Hmong refugees from Laos following the end of the Secret War, major stylistic changes occurred, strongly influenced by the tastes of the Western marketplace. Changes included colors that are more subdued and the invention of a new form of paj ndau often referred to as "story cloths." Because Hmong language did not become alphabetized until 1950, many Hmong refugees did not record their histories in writing. These “story cloths” became a recording and expression of both individual and collective experiences including trauma and loss across generations.These cloths, ranging in size up to several square feet, use figures to represent stories from Hmong history and folklore in a narrative form. Today, the practice of embroidery continues to be passed down through generations of Hmong people and paj ndau remain important markers of Hmong ethnicity. While traditional designs are not an alphabet in any strict linguistic definition, the patterns were a shared visual language or alternative text that fellow Hmong understood and that were important in the ritual functions of paj ndaub.Traditionally, paj ndau were applied to skirts worn for courtship during New Year festivals, as well as baby-carriers, and men's collars. The core visual elements of "layered bands of

appliqué, triangles, squares tilted and superimposed on contrasting, squares, lines and dots, spirals, and crosses." The use of border patterns may show the influence of Chinese embroidery techniques.

Hmu language

The Hmu language (hveb Hmub), also known as Qiandong Miao (黔东 Eastern Guizhou Miao), Central Miao, East Hmongic, or (somewhat ambiguously) Black Miao, is a dialect cluster of Hmongic languages of China. The best studied dialect is that of Yǎnghāo (养蒿) village, Taijiang County, Guizhou Province, China.

Qanu 咯努, a Hmu variety, had 11,450 speakers as of 2000, and is spoken just south of Kaili City, Guizhou. The Qanu are ethnoculturally distinct from the other Hmu.

Huishui Miao language

Huishui Miao, a.k.a. Huishui Hmong, is a Miao language of China. It is named after Huishui County, Guizhou, though not all varieties are spoken there. The endonym is Mhong, though it shares this with Gejia and it is simply a variant spelling of Hmong. Raojia is closely related.

Huishui was given as a subgroup of Western Hmongic in Strecker (1987). Matisoff (2001) split it into four separate languages, and, conservatively, did not retain it as a group.


KJAY (1430 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in Sacramento, California. The station is owned by KJAY, LLC, with its transmitter located off South River Road in Sacramento. KJAY airs a World Ethnic radio format consisting of mostly Hmong language programs with some Russian language shows and religious programming on Sundays. (The Hmong are an ethnic group originally from parts of Laos, China, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand.)

Lateral release (phonetics)

In phonetics, a lateral release is the release of a plosive consonant into a lateral consonant. Such sounds are transcribed in the IPA with a superscript ⟨l⟩, for example as [tˡ] in English spotless [ˈspɒtˡlɨs]. In English words such as middle in which, historically, the tongue made separate contacts with the alveolar ridge for the /d/ and /l/, [ˈmɪdəl], many speakers today make only one tongue contact. That is, the /d/ is laterally released directly into the /l/: [ˈmɪdˡl̩]. While this is a minor phonetic detail in English (in fact, it is commonly transcribed as having no audible release: [ˈspɒt̚lɨs], [ˈmɪd̚l̩]), it may be more important in other languages.

In most languages (as in English), laterally-released plosives are straightforwardly analyzed as biphonemic clusters whose second element is /l/. In the Hmong language, however, it is sometimes claimed that laterally-released consonants are unitary phonemes. According to Peter Ladefoged and Ian Maddieson, the choice between one or another analysis is purely based on phonological convenience—there is no actual acoustic or articulatory difference between one language's "laterally-released plosive" and another language's biphonemic cluster.

Luobohe Miao language

Luobohe Miao (罗泊河 Luóbóhé Miao, Luobo River Miao, Luopohe Hmong; Xijia Miao 西家苗), a.k.a. Hmjo or A-Hmyo, is a Miao language of China.

Mashan Miao language

Mang, or Mashan Miao also known as Mashan Hmong (麻山 máshān), is a Miao language of China. The endonym is Mang, similar to other West Hmongic languages such as Mong.

Miao people

The Miao is an ethnic group belonging to South China, and is recognized by the government of China as one of the 55 official minority groups. Miao is a Chinese term and does not reflect the self-designations of the component groups of people, which include (with some variant spellings) Hmong, Hmub, Xong (Qo-Xiong), and A-Hmao.

The Chinese government has grouped these people and other non-Miao peoples together as one group, whose members may not necessarily be either linguistically or culturally related, though the majority are members of Miao-Yao language family, which includes the Hmong, Hmub, Xong and A-Hmao and the majority do share cultural similarities. Because of the previously given reasons, many Miao peoples cannot communicate with each other in their native tongues and have different histories and cultures. A few groups designated as Miao by the PRC do not even agree that they belong to the ethnic group, though most Miao groups, such as the Hmong and Hmub, do agree with the collective grouping as a single ethnic group – Miao.

The Miao live primarily in southern China's mountains, in the provinces of Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Guangxi, Guangdong and Hainan. Some sub-groups of the Miao, most notably the Hmong people, have migrated out of China into Southeast Asia (Burma (Myanmar), northern Vietnam, Laos and Thailand). Following the communist takeover of Laos in 1975, a large group of Hmong refugees resettled in several Western nations, mainly in the United States, France, and Australia.

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 gone on to become the most widespread system for writing the Hmong language in the West. It is also used in Southeast Asia and China alongside other writing systems, most notably Nyiakeng Puachue Hmong and Pahawh Hmong.

Voiceless glottal fricative

The voiceless glottal fricative, sometimes called voiceless glottal transition, and sometimes called the aspirate, is a type of sound used in some spoken languages that patterns like a fricative or approximant consonant phonologically, but often lacks the usual phonetic characteristics of a consonant. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨h⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is h, although [h] has been described as a voiceless vowel because in many languages, it lacks the place and manner of articulation of a prototypical consonant as well as the height and backness of a prototypical vowel:

[h and ɦ] have been described as voiceless or breathy voiced counterparts of the vowels that follow them [but] the shape of the vocal tract […] is often simply that of the surrounding sounds. […] Accordingly, in such cases it is more appropriate to regard h and ɦ as segments that have only a laryngeal specification, and are unmarked for all other features. There are other languages [such as Hebrew and Arabic] which show a more definite displacement of the formant frequencies for h, suggesting it has a [glottal] constriction associated with its production.

Lamé contrasts voiceless and voiced glottal fricatives.

Voiceless palatal fricative

The voiceless palatal fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ç⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is C. It is the non-sibilant equivalent of the voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative.

The symbol ç is the letter c with a cedilla, as used to spell French and Portuguese words such as façade and ação. However, the sound represented by the letter ç in French and Portuguese orthography is not a voiceless palatal fricative but /s/, the voiceless alveolar fricative.

Palatal fricatives are relatively rare phonemes, and only 5% of the world's languages have /ç/ as a phoneme. The sound occurs, however, as an allophone of /x/ in German, or, in other languages, of /h/ in the vicinity of front vowels.

There is also the voiceless post-palatal fricative in some languages, which is articulated slightly more back compared with the place of articulation of the prototypical voiceless palatal fricative, though not as back as the prototypical voiceless velar fricative. The International Phonetic Alphabet does not have a separate symbol for that sound, though it can be transcribed as ⟨ç̠⟩, ⟨ç˗⟩ (both symbols denote a retracted ⟨ç⟩) or ⟨x̟⟩ (advanced ⟨x⟩). The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are C_- and x_+, respectively.

Especially in broad transcription, the voiceless post-palatal fricative may be transcribed as a palatalized voiceless velar fricative (⟨xʲ⟩ in the IPA, x' or x_j in X-SAMPA).


WHID (88.1 FM) is a radio station licensed to Green Bay. The station is part of Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR), and airs WPR's "Ideas Network", consisting of news and talk programming. WHID also broadcasts local news and programming from studios in the Instructional Services building at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, along with sister News & Classical Network station WPNE (89.3). WSHS (91.7) retransmits the WHID signal during non-school hours in the Sheboygan area.

WHID originates Hmong language programming on Saturday evenings from their Green Bay studios for the Hmong American community in northeast Wisconsin.

See also Wisconsin Public Radio

West Hmongic

The West Hmongic languages, also known as Chuanqiandian Miao (川黔滇方言: Sichuan–Guizhou–Yunnan Miao) and Western Miao, is the major branch of the Hmongic languages of China and Southeast Asia.

The name Chuanqiandian is used both for West Hmongic as a whole, as for one of its branches, the Chuanqiandian cluster AKA Hmong.

Xong language

The Xong language (Dut Xonb [tu˥˧ɕõ˧˥]), is the northern-most Hmongic language, spoken in south-central China by ca 0.9 million people. It's called Xiangxi Miaoyu (湘西苗语), Western Hunan Miao, in Chinese. In Western sources, it's been called Eastern Miao, Meo, Red Miao and North Hmongic. The official alphabet was adopted in 1956.

Mixed languages

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.