Native toVietnam
Native speakers
600 (2013)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Mày is a Vietic language spoken by the May people of Minh Hóa district, Quảng Bình province, Central Vietnam. It is a member of the Cheut language cluster, which belongs to the Vietic branch of the Austroasiatic family. With only several hundred speakers, May is a critically endangered language,[2] with only about half of the estimated ethnic population of 1,228 people able to speak the language.[3]


May is spoken in the villages of Ca Oóc, Bai Dinh, and Cha Lo.[4] The villages are located in Minh Hóa district, Quang Binh province (in the communities or of Dân Hóa (formerly Trung Hóa), Thượng Hóa, Hóa Tiến, and Hóa Thanh). Dân Hóa is the only monolingual May village, while the others are mixed with various other ethnic groups.


May phonology preserves many archaic features. Syllable structure is sesquisyllabic. Unique phonological characteristics in May include the coda , derived from proto-Vietic *-s, which stands behind a consonant nucleus, in contrast to final -l/-h/-i̯ found in most other Vietic languages.[5]


The basic word order of May is SVO. A grammar of May was published by Kirill Babaev and Irina Samarina in their 2018 Russian monograph, based on materials collected from the 2013 Russian–Vietnamese Linguistic Expedition, assisted by Dr. Ta Van Thong and Dr. Le Van Truong.[6] The expedition team also produced corpus databases developed by Alexander Yefimov and Paul Sidwell.


  1. ^ Babaev & Samarina (2021:15)
  2. ^ Babaev & Samarina (2021:19)
  3. ^ Babaev & Samarina (2021:15)
  4. ^ Babaev, Kirill Vladimirovich [Бабаев, Кирилл Владимирович]; Samarina, Irina Vladimirovna [Самарина, Ирина Владимировна]. 2019. Язык май. Материалы Российско-вьетнамской лингвистической экспедиции / Jazyk maj. Materialy Rossijsko-vetnamskoj lingvisticheskoj ekspeditsii. Moscow: Издательский Дом ЯСК. ISBN 978-5-907117-34-1. (in Russian). p.16.
  5. ^ Babaev & Samarina (2021:18-19)
  6. ^ Babaev & Samarina (2021:20)