Native toVietnam
Native speakers
200,000 (2019 census)[1]
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
kpm – Kơho
cma – Maa

Koho or K'Ho is a South Bahnaric language spoken by the Koho people and Mạ people, mainly in the Lâm Đồng Province of Vietnam. It is very close to the Mnong language.

The autonym of the Kơho people is kon cau (IPA [kɔn.caw]) while Koho (IPA [kəˈhɔ]) is a Cham exonym.[2]

Subgroups and dialects

There are at least twelve Kơho dialect groups for the area: Chil (Cil, Til); Kalop (Tulop); Kơyon (Kodu, Co-Don); Làc (Làt, Lach); Mà (Mạ, Maa); Nồp (Nop, Xre Nop, Noup); Pru; Ryông Tô (Riồng, Rion); Sop, Sre (Chau Sơre, Xrê); Talà (To La); and Tring (Trinh). Although Mạ/Maa is a Koho dialect group, the Mạ people identify as a separate ethnic group.[3][2]


Data below are from Olsen (2015).[2]


Initial consonants

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop Voiceless p t c k ʔ
Voiced b d ɟ g
Implosive ɓ ɗ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Fricative s h
Rhotic r
Approximant w l j

Final consonants

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop p t c k ʔ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Fricative s h
Rhotic r
Approximant w l j


  Front Central Back
High /i/ /ɨ~ɯ/ /u/
Close-mid /e/ /ǝ/ /o/
Open-mid /ɛ/ /ɔ/
Low /a/ /ɑ/



Compounding is a common way of coining new words in Koho. Some examples:


One of the more productive prefixes in Sre is the causative tơn- [tən-], converts intransitive verbs to causative verbs. If the prefixed verbs have a nasal initial, then the nasal cluster avoidance rule applied.

Word Meaning Prefixed form Meaning
duh [duh] to be hot tơnduh [tənduh] to make hot
chơt [cʰət] to die tơnchơt [təncʰət] to kill
ring [riŋ] to be flat, level, equal tơnring [tənriŋ] to equalize, make right
mut [mut] to enter tơmut [təmut] to make enter
muu [muː] to descend, go down tơmuu [təmuː] to make descend, to lower

Cultural References


  1. ^ Kơho at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Maa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c Olsen, Neil H. (2015). "Kơho-Sre". In Jenny, Mathias; Sidwell, Paul (eds.). The Handbook of Austroasiatic Languages. Leiden: Brill.
  3. ^ Le, Tan Duong (2003). A phonological comparison of Maa and Koho varieties (Master’s thesis). Payap University.