|Native to||Burma, China, Thailand|
|(ca. 560,000 cited 1982–??)|
|Burmese, Tai Le|
Palaung (Burmese: ပလောင်ဘာသာ), also known as De'ang (Chinese: 德昂語; Burmese: တအောင်းဘာသာ), is a Austroasiatic dialect cluster spoken by over half a million people in Burma (Shan State) and neighboring countries. The Palaung people are divided into Palé, Rumai, and Shwe, and each of whom have their own language. The Riang languages are reported to be unintelligible or only understood with great difficulty by native speakers of the other Palaung languages.
A total number of speakers is uncertain; there were 150,000 Shwe speakers in 1982, 272,000 Ruching (Palé) speakers in 2000, and 139,000 Rumai speakers at an unrecorded date. Palaung was classified as a "severely endangered" language in UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.
Chinese linguists classify "De'ang 德昂" varieties (spoken mostly in Santaishan Ethnic De'ang Township 三台山德昂族乡, Mangshi and Junnong Township 军弄乡, Zhenkang County) as follows (De'angyu Jianzhi). Names in IPA are from Yan & Zhou (2012:154–155)
The De'ang 德昂 variously refer themselves as naʔaŋ, daʔaŋ, toʔaŋ, and laʔaŋ, depending on the dialect (Yan & Zhou 2012:154–155). Another De'ang autonym is ho (rau) khaoʔ, where rau means 'village'. The local Dai people refer to the De'ang as po˧loŋ˧.
Liu (2006) documents three Palaungic lects, namely:
Weera Ostapirat (2009:74) classifies the Palaung languages as follows. Defining sound changes are given in parentheses.
Shintani (2008) recognizes two dialects of Palaung, namely Southern Palaung and Northern Palaung. Southern Palaung unvoiced stops correspond to Northern Palaung voiced stops, the latter which Shintani (2008) believes to be retentions from Proto-Palaungic. Southern Palaung dialects studied by Shintani (2008) are those of:
Deepadung et al. (2015) classify the Palaung dialects as follows.
Chen, et al. (1986) lists the following consonants for Palaung:
A final /r/ can be heard as a voiceless sound [ɹ̥], and following a /u/ it is heard as [ɫ̥].
/ɤ/ can be heard in rapid speech as a central vowel [ə], and is heard as [ɤ] elsewhere. /a/ can be heard as fronted [æ] before /k, ŋ/, and [ɛ] before /n, t/.
According to Shorto (1960), /ɤ/ does not occur alone in primary stressed syllable, but only in an unstressed syllable or as the second member of a diphthong. There are also a large number of diphthongs, including /eo/, /eɤ/, /aɤ/, /ɔɤ/, /oɤ/, /uɤ/, and /iɤ/.
Although Milne (1921) includes the vowels /ü, ö, ɪ/ in her transcriptions, Shorto (1960) did not find these as vowel phonemes in his work.
(Note that the words cited below in the Syntax section come from Milne (1921), so their phonetic representations may need revision.)
The examples below are form Milne (1921).
The order of elements in the noun phrase is N – (possessor) – (demonstrative).
Consider the following examples:
|this child of ours|
Shwe Palaung has prepositions, as in the following example.
|to the great king|
Shwe Palaung clauses generally have subject–verb–object (SVO) word order.
|He will buy a house.|
The following part of a story in Shwe Palaung is from Milne (1921:146–147).
|The queen awoke and said to the king|
|'Oh, I never dreamed (like this) before, oh Ruler, (since) we two came to this place to fast|
|seven days ago, I dreamed that the great spirit came down|
|and gave me long mangoes of gold to eat. They were very sweet.'|