Tai Yo
The word "Tai Yo" written in the Lai Tay script
RegionIsan, Mekong floodplain, Vietnam
Native speakers
(60,000 cited 1990 – 1995 census)[1]
Vietnamese alphabet
Thai script
Lai Tay script
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
tyj – Tai Yo
nyw – Tai Nyaw

Tai Yo (Thai: ไทญ้อ), also known as Tai Mène and Nyaw (Thai: ไตเมือง), is a Tai language of Southeast Asia. It is closely related to Tai Pao of Vietnam, where it may have originated. It was once written in a unique script, the Tai Yo script, but that is no longer in use.[1] The language is known regionally in Laos and Thailand as Tai Mène and Tai Nyaw and, in Vietnam as Tai Do (old-fashioned English transcription) and Tai Quy Chau.[4] Superficially, Tai Yo appears to be a Southwestern Tai language but this is only because of centuries of language contact and it is properly classified with the Northern Tai languages.[2] The Nyaw/Nyo spoken in central Thailand and western Cambodia is not the same as Tai Yo.[5]

Tai Mène (Tai Maen)

The Mène people of Laos claim to be from Xieng Mène (also Xieng My) in Vietnam. These two names correspond to the following two towns in Nghệ An Province, Vietnam, located near Quỳ Châu (Chamberlain 1998).

Tai Mène appears to be related to Tai Pao (paaw 4 < *baaw A),[6] whose speakers claim to have originated from Tương Dương District, Nghệ An province, Vietnam (Chamberlain 1991). Tai Mène or related languages may have also been spoken in Thường Xuân District, Thanh Hóa, Vietnam by the Yo (Do) people (Robequain 1929).


Tai Mène is spoken in Borikhamxay Province, in many villages of Khamkeut District and several villages in Vieng Thong District (Chamberlain 1998). The Vietic languages Liha, Phong, Toum, Ayoy, Maleng, and Thaveung are spoken nearby.


  1. ^ a b Tai Yo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Tai Nyaw at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Chamberlain (1991), p. 119
  3. ^ Pittayawat Pittayaporn (2009). The Phonology of Proto-Tai. PhD dissertation, Department of Linguistics, Cornell University. p. 318.
  4. ^ ISO 639-3 Registration Authority (2015). Request for Change to ISO 639-3 Language Code (PDF). Request number 2015-019.((citation)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Thananan (2014)
  6. ^ See Proto-Tai language#Tones for an explanation of the tone codes.

Further reading