Tai Daeng
Red Tai
Tay lɛɛŋ
"Tai Daeng" written in Tai Viet script
RegionNorthwestern Vietnam
Northeastern Laos
EthnicityTai Daeng
Native speakers
(105,000 cited 1999–2007)[1]
Tai Viet
Language codes
ISO 639-3tyr
ELPTai Daeng
Distribution of the Southwestern Tai languages.

Tai Daeng, Táy-Môc-Châu or Red Tai is the language of the Tai Daeng people of northwestern Vietnam and across the border into northeastern Laos. It belongs to the Tai language family, being closely connected with Black Tai and White Tai, as well as being more distantly related to the language spoken in modern Thailand.

The language is classified as part of the Thái official ethnic community in Vietnam and of the Phu Tai composite group in Laos.[2] However, speakers in Vietnam tend to identify with Black Tai, or Tai Dam, thus denying that they are Red Tai.


Tai Daeng is classified as belonging to the Tai-Kadai language group, located in the Tai languages and Southwestern Tai languages subgroups. Tai Meuay is closely related to Tai Daeng.[3]

Geographic distribution

The number of Tai Daeng speakers is generally estimated at 80,000 native speakers, with an ethnic population of roughly 100,000 located mostly in Vietnam.

In China, Tai Daeng (Chinese: 傣亮) people are located in the following townships of Yunnan province, with about 2,000 people (Gao 1999).[4] They are referred to by the neighboring Han Chinese, Miao, and Yao peoples as Dry Tai (Gan Dai 旱傣).


All syllables in Tai Daeng have an initial consonant or consonant cluster, followed by a vowel or a diphthong, and optionally end in a final consonant. Each syllable also carries a tone. Like many related languages, Tae Daeng has different possibilities for the realization of tone on different types of syllables, depending on the presence, absence, and type of final consonant.

Free syllables are those which end in a vowel, a nasal or a semivowel while checked syllables are those having a final p, t, k or a glottal stop. Tae Daeng has five tones on free syllables:[9]

The first tone can employ glottalization, but is not mandatory. Tae Daeng has two tones on checked syllables:



Tae Deang frequently employs serial verb construction in which two or more verbs are strung together in one clause.[10][11]


Tae Daeng employs a Subject-Verb-Object word order and because of the lack of inflections upon verbs, syntactical functions are largely derived from word order and prepositions. Particles are highly adaptive and can usually be found at the end of a sentence in order to emphasize, question, command or indicate a level of familiarity or respect.[citation needed]

Writing system

Tai Daeng differs from its close relations White Tai and Black Tai in that, while it doesn't feature a writing system of its own, speakers make occasional usage of the Tai Viet script.[9]


  1. ^ Tai Daeng at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ "Did you know Tai Daeng is threatened?".
  3. ^ Pacquement, Jean. 2021. The Tai Meuay of Bolikhamxay Province (Laos) and their language. SEALS 2021. (slides)
  4. ^ Gao Lishi 高立士. 1999. 傣族支系探微. 中南民族学院学报 (哲学社会科学版). 1999 年第1 期 (总第96 期).
  5. ^ "河口瑶族自治县桥头苗族壮族乡老汪山村委会石崖脚村". Archived from the original on 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  6. ^ "河口瑶族自治县桥头苗族壮族乡老汪山村委会白泥寨村". Archived from the original on 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  7. ^ "马关县古林箐乡攀枝花攀枝花村". Archived from the original on 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  8. ^ "马关县古林箐乡攀枝花懂棕林村". Archived from the original on 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  9. ^ a b Gedney, W.J. (1989). "A comparative sketch of White, Black, and Red Tai" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-10-16. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Diller, Anthony V. N. , Jerold A. Edmondson and Yongxian Luo , "The Tai-Kadai Languages" . (Abingdon: Routledge, 11 Jun 2008 ), accessed 28 Apr 2016, Routledge Handbooks Online.
  11. ^ 'Tai Languages'. D. Strecker. In The World's Major Languages, 653-659. B. Comrie (ed). Routledge (2009)