Kui, Kuay, Cuoi
กูย, កួយ, ກູຢ
Native toThailand, Laos, Cambodia
Native speakers
ca. 450,000 (2005–2006)[1]
Thai, Khmer, Lao
(depends on countries they live)
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
kdt – Kuy (Kuay)
nyl – Nyeu (Yoe)

Kuy, also known as Kui, Suay or Kuay (Thai: ภาษากูย; Khmer: ភាសាកួយ), is a Katuic language, part of the larger Austroasiatic family spoken by the Kuy people of Southeast Asia.

Kuy is one of the Katuic languages within the Austroasiatic family. It is spoken in Isan, Thailand by about 300,000 people, in Salavan, Savannakhet and Sekong Provinces of Laos by about 64,000; and in Preah Vihear, Stung Treng and Kampong Thom Provinces of northern Cambodia by 15,500 people.


Spelling variants and varieties include the following (Sidwell 2005:11).


Van der haak & Woykos (1987-1988) identified two major Kui varieties in Surin and Sisaket provinces of eastern Thailand, Kuuy and Kuay. Van der haak & Woykos also identified the following divergent Kui varieties in Sisaket Province, Thailand.[2]

Mann & Markowski (2005) reported the following four Kuy dialects spoken in north-central Cambodia.

A variety of Kui/Kuy called Nyeu (ɲə) is spoken in the villages of Ban Phon Kho, Ban Khamin, Ban Nonkat, Ban Phon Palat, and Ban Prasat Nyeu in Sisaket Province, Thailand.[3] The Nyeu of Ban Phon Kho claim that their ancestors had migrated from Muang Khong, Amphoe Rasisalai, Sisaket Province.

In Buriram Province, Kuy is spoken in the 4 districts of Nong Ki, Prakhon Chai, Lam Plai Mat, and Nong Hong (Sa-ing Sangmeen 1992:14).[4] Within Nong Ki District, Kuy villages are located in the southern part of Yoei Prasat (เย้ยปราสาท) Subdistrict and in the western part of Mueang Phai (เมืองไผ่) Subdistrict (Sa-ing Sangmeen 1992:16).


The following is the phonology of the Kui (Surin) language:[5]


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
voiceless p t k ʔ
aspirated tɕʰ
voiced b d
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Fricative f s h
Liquid rhotic r
lateral l
Glide w j


Front Central Back
Close i ɯ ɯː u
Close-mid e ɤ ɤː o
Open-mid ɛ ɛː ʌ ʌː ɔ ɔː
Open a ɑ ɑː

Vowel sounds may also be distinguished using breathy voice:

Breathy vowels
Front Central Back
Close i̤ i̤ː ɯ̤ ɯ̤ː ṳ ṳː
Close-mid e̤ e̤ː ɤ̤ ɤ̤ː o̤ o̤ː
Open-mid ɛ̤ ɛ̤ː ʌ̤ ʌ̤ː ɔ̤ ɔ̤ː
Open a̤ a̤ː ɑ̤ ɑ̤ː


The following list of Kuy village locations in Sisaket Province is from Van der haak & Woykos (1987-1988:129). Asterisks (placed before village names) denote ethnically mixed villages, in which ethnic Kuy reside with ethnic Lao or Khmer.

Kui Nhə

Kui Nthaw/M'ai

All Kui Nthaw/M'ai live in mixed villages.

Kuay Prue Yai

See also


  1. ^ Kuy (Kuay) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Nyeu (Yoe) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Van der haak, F. and Woykos, B. (1987-1988). "Kui dialect survey in Surin and Sisaket", in The Mon-Khmer Studies Journal, vol. 16-17, pp. 109–142. http://sealang.net/sala/archives/pdf8/vanderhaak1987-1988kui.pdf
  3. ^ Taweeporn Suwannaraj. 1980. The phonology of the Nyeu language. MA thesis, Mahidol University.
  4. ^ Sa-ing Sangmeen. 1992. The Kooy language of Tambon Yoeyprasat, Amphoe Nongki, Burirum. M.A. dissertation. Nakhon Pathom: Silpakorn University.
  5. ^ Yantreesingh, Pailin (1980). The phonology of the Kuay language of Suphanburi with comparison to the Kuy language of Surin. Nakhon Pathom: University.