The Bahnar language is a Central Bahnaric language. It has nine vowel qualities and phonemic vowel length.
Đào (1998) lists the following subgroups of Bahnar and their respective locations.
Bùi (2011:5-6) lists the following subgroups of Bahnar and their respective locations.
- Tơ Lô: in Sơ Ró, Đắc Song, Chơ Loong, Yang Nam, and Đắc Tơ communes, which are in Kông Chro District and part of An Khê District (Gia Lai Province)
- Krem: in Vĩnh Thạnh District, as well as some in An Lão District, Hoài Ân District, and Tây Sơn District in Bình Định Province; some in Sơn Lang Commune, K'Bang District, Gia Lai Province
- Vân Canh: mostly in Canh Liên, Canh Thuận, and Canh Hòa communes of Vân Canh District, Bình Định Province
- Thồ Lồ: mostly in the upper part of Đồng Xuân District, Phú Yên Province. Scattered in 9 communes throughout Đồng Xuân District, Sơn Hòa District, and Sông Hinh District. Descended from Tơ Lô people who were Tây Sơn soldiers fleeing from the Nguyễn dynasty 200 years ago. They fled southeast to Thồ Lồ, Phú Yên Province. The
- Gơ Lar: mostly in Mang Yang District, Đắk Đoa District, and Chư Sê District of Gia Lai Province, and some living around Kon Tum town. There is also a subgroup called Bahnar Châng H'drung who live at the foot of Hàm Rồng Mountain.
- Kon Tum: in 4 precincts and 9 communes of Kon Tum town
- Jơ Lơng: in Kon Tum town, and Đắc Tơ Re, Đắc Ruồng, and Đắc Pne communes of Kon Rẫy District, Kon Tum Province
- Rơ Ngao (Rengao): in 29 villages. They live with the Kon Tum people in 5 communes of Kon Tum; with the Bahnar and Sedang peoples in 2 communes of Đắk Hà District; and with the Sedang people in Pô Cô Commune, Đắk Tô District, Kon Tum Province
Also used in Vietnam
Other minor groups include the Kon Kđe, Bơ Nơm, and A Roh subgroups in Kông Chro District and K'Bang District of Gia Lai Province (Bùi 2011:6).
Ethnologue lists the following dialects of Bahnar.
- Alakong (A-La Cong)
- Jolong (Gio-Lang, Y-Lang)
- Bahnar Bonom (Bomam)