Native toLaos
RegionPhongsaly province
Native speakers
3,200 (2023)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

Khir (Lao: ເຄີ /kʰɯ/, Kheu; autonym: ka55 ɯ21 or la21 ja21) is a Loloish language of northern Laos. It is closely related to Cosao.[2]

Khir is spoken in Nyot U District, Phongsaly Province, including in Kang village.[3]


The autonym is ka55 ɯ21. A less commonly used autonym, la21 ja21, is an autonym elicited in Khir Tai language.[1]

The exonym is pronounced khɯ but is officially spelled Khir (Lao: ເຄີ).[1]


As of 2023, the ethnic Khir population is 3,200.[1]


There are 6 dialects of Khir, all of which are mutually intelligible with each other. Each dialcet has 300 to 800 speakers.[1]

Below is a comparison of lexical differences among each of the six Khir dialects.[1]

Gloss Kang Somheuang Khir Hin Ka Paek
eye mla33sɯ21 mja33sɯ21 mɛ33sɯ21 ma33nɯ̰33 mɛ33hɯ21 mɛ33nɯ̰33
chicken a33 ha33 ha33ɕḭ33 a21ɕḭ33 ja33ʨḭ33 ja33ʨḭ33
language sɯ21to21 mi33 ne21bu21 to21ma33 tɔ21 tɔ21
bee blə21 pja21 pɛ21ɔ21 i21ɕi55 pja21 pja21
face mla33phlo21 mja33phlo21 ma33phɔ21 ma33phɔ21 mɛ33phɔ21 mɛ33phɔ21
full (not empty) a21blɯ33 a21blɯ33 bɯ33 pɯ33 pɯ33 pɯ33
sweat tsha55qhi21 ʨhɛ55khli21 sɛ55khi21 sɛ55khi21 khɛ21su21 khi21ʨha55


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kato, Takashi (2023). Linguistic varieties of Khir in Laos. 56th International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, 10-12 October 2023. Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok.
  2. ^ Hsiu, Andrew. 2016. The classification of Cosao: a Lolo-Burmese language of China and Laos. Presented at the 22nd Himalayan Languages Symposium, Guwahati, India.
  3. ^ Kato, Takashi. 2008. Linguistic Survey of Tibeto-Burman languages in Lao P.D.R. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).