Native toThailand
RegionPursat Province, Chantaburi
Ethnicity2,000 Chong (2007)[1]
Native speakers
500 (2007)[1]
Thai, Khmer,
Chong (invented in 2010)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3cog
Glottologchon1284  Western
cent2314  Central

Chong (Thai: ภาษาชอง, also spelled Chawng, Shong, Xong) is an endangered language spoken in eastern Thailand and formerly in Cambodia by the Chong. It is a Western Pearic language in the Mon–Khmer language family.[3] Chong is currently the focus of a language revitalization project in Thailand.[4]

The Chong language is marked by its unusual four-way contrast in register. Its grammar has not been extensively studied, but it is unrelated to the Thai language which is in the Tai–Kadai language family. Chong had no written form until 2000, when researchers at Mahidol University used a simplified version of standard Thai characters to create a Chong writing system, after which the first teaching materials in the language appeared.[5] Chong is currently considered to be at stage 7 in Joshua Fishman's Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (GIDS), where stage 8 is the closest to extinction.[4]

Chong is actually two languages, Western Chong, and Central Chong or Samre. The Western Chong community in Thailand is primarily located in and around Chanthaburi.[5]

Central Chong includes the Kasong dialect of Trat. (See that article for details.)

While the language spoken in Thailand has been studied recently, the Chong language in Cambodia has not been investigated yet. David Bradley (2007) reports no remaining speakers.[1]


Main article: Pearic languages

A number of Pearic languages are called "Chong", and they all do not constitute a single language. Chong proper consists of the majority of varieties which Sidwell (2009) labeled "Western Chong". This includes the main dialect around Chanthaburi Province (mostly in southern Khao Khitchakut District and western Pong Nam Ron District[6]). on the Thai–Cambodian border. These should not be confused with the variety called "Chong" in Trat Province of western Thailand, nor with "Kasong" Chong, both of which were classified as "Central Chong" along with Samre, and so should perhaps be considered dialects of Samre rather than of Chong. Similarly, the languages called "Chung" in Kanchanaburi Province and in Cambodia are dialects of Sa'och, and were classified as "Southern Chong" along with Suoi.

Isara Choosri (2002) lists the following dialects of Chong spoken in Chanthaburi Province.[6]

The Central Chong dialects are,



Consonant phonemes of Chong[8]
  Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop p  pʰ  b t  tʰ  d c  cʰ k  kʰ ʔ
Fricative (f) s h
Trill r
Lateral l
Approximant w j


Vowel phonemes of Chong[8]
Front Central Back
Close i, ɨ, ɨː u,
Close-Mid e, ə, əː o,
Open-mid ɛ, ɛː ɔ, ɔː
Open a,


  1. ^ a b c Chong at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018) Closed access icon
  2. ^ แบบเรียนภาษาชอง = Chong language
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forke, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2020). "Chong of Chanthaburi". Glottolog 4.3.
  4. ^ a b Premsrirat, Suwilai. "Chong Language Revitalization Project" (PDF). Mekong Watch. Mahidol University. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b Lim Li Min (October 23, 2006). "Saving Thailand's Other Languages". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2006-10-24.
  6. ^ a b Choosri, Isara. 2002. Mapping dialects of Chong in Chanthaburi province, Thailand: an application of Geographical Information System (GIS). M.A. dissertation, Mahidol University.
  7. ^ Sidwell, Paul (2009). Classifying the Austroasiatic languages: history and state of the art. LINCOM studies in Asian linguistics, 76. Munich: Lincom Europa.
  8. ^ a b Premsrirat, Suwilai; Rojanakul, Nattamon (2015). Chong. Paul Sidwell and Mathias Jenny (eds.), The Handbook of Austroasiatic Languages: Leiden: Brill. pp. 603–642.

Further reading