Linguistic classificationAustroasiatic
  • Khmuic

The Khmuic languages /kəˈmɪk/ are a branch of the Austroasiatic languages spoken mostly in northern Laos, as well as in neighboring northern Vietnam and southern Yunnan, China. Khmu is the only widely spoken language in the group.


Paul Sidwell (2015)[1] suggests that the Khmuic Urheimat (homeland) was in what is now Oudomxay Province, northern Laos.


The Khmuic languages are:

There is some disagreement over whether Bit is Khmuic or Palaungic; Svantesson believes it is most likely Palaungic,[2] and it is sometimes placed in Mangic, but most classifications here take them as Khmuic. Similarly, Phuoc (Xinh Mul) and Kháng are also sometimes classified as Mangic, and Kháng is classified as Palaungic by Diffloth.

The recently discovered Bumang language is also likely a Khmuic or Palaungic language. Jerold A. Edmondson considers it to be most closely related to Khang. Also, Quang Lam is a poorly attested language in Vietnam that may be closely related to Kháng or Bit.


The interrelationships of these languages are uncertain. Ethnologue 19 classifies them as follows:

A provisional classification at SEALang[3] keeps Mal–Phrai, but connects Khao with Khang instead of with Bit, treats Khuen as a dialect of Khmu':

Diffloth & Proschan (1989)

Chazée (1999), citing Diffloth & Proschan (1989), has the following:

However, Gérard Diffloth now considers Pramic (i.e., all Khmuic languages except for Khmu) to be a separate Austroasiatic branch that has come under heavy influence from Khmu.[4]

Peiros (2004)

Ilia Peiros (Peiros 2004:39) gives the following classification:

Sidwell (2014)

Based on developments of Proto-Khmuic *aː₁, Paul Sidwell (2014) classifies the Khmuic languages as follows.

The developments of Proto-Khmuic *aː₁ according to Sidwell (2014) are:

See also


  1. ^ Sidwell, Paul. 2015. The Palaungic Languages: Classification, Reconstruction and Comparative Lexicon Archived 2019-10-23 at the Wayback Machine. München: Lincom Europa.
  2. ^ Ethnologue Report for Bit
  3. ^ SEALang SALA: Southeast Asian Linguistics Archives
  4. ^ Sidwell, Paul. 2018. Austroasiatic Studies: state of the art in 2018 Archived 2019-05-03 at the Wayback Machine. Presentation at the Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, May 22, 2018.

Further reading