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Sedang language

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Title: Sedang language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Nguồn language, Austroasiatic languages, Jru' language, Hmong language, Tai Loi language
Collection: Bahnaric Languages, Kon Tum Province, Languages of Laos, Languages of Vietnam
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Sedang language

Native to Vietnam and Laos
Region Kon Tum, Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi (Vietnam)
Ethnicity Sedang people
Native speakers
98,000  (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 sed
Glottolog seda1262[2]

Sedang is an Austro-Asiatic language spoken in eastern Laos and Kon Tum Province in south central Vietnam. The Sedang language is the most populous of the North Bahnaric language group, which are known for their range of vowel phonations.


  • Phonology 1
    • Consonants 1.1
    • Vowels 1.2
  • References 2
  • External links 3



  Bilabial Labio-
Alveolar Alveolo-
Velar Glottal
Stop unaspirated p   t k ʔ
aspirated   tɕʰ  
prenasalized mb   nd ndʑ ŋɡ  
Fricative voiceless   f s   x h
voiced   v z   ɣ  
Nasal m   n ɲ ŋ  
Approximant central w     j    
lateral     l      


  Front Central Back
High i   u
Upper Mid e   o
Lower Mid ɛ   ɔ
Low   a  

Sedang itself has 24 pure vowels: 7 vowel qualities, all of which may be plain (ex. [a]), nasalized ([ã]), and creaky ([a̰]), and three of which -- /i a o/ -- may be both nasal and creaky ([ã̰]). While it does not have the length distinctions of other North Bahnaric languages, it does have more diphthongs, for somewhere between 33 and 55 vowel sounds altogether. Because of this Sedang is sometimes claimed to have the largest vowel inventory in the world. However, other Bahnaric languages have larger numbers of vowel qualities (Bahnar, for example, has 9) in addition to phonemic vowel length, so the record holder depends closely on how the languages are described and distinct vowels are defined.


  1. ^ Sedang at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Sedang". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  • Smith, Kenneth D. 1967. "Sedang dialects." Bulletin de la Société des Etudes Indochinoises 42: 195-255.
  • Smith, Kenneth D. 1968. "Laryngealization and de-laryngealization in Sedang phonemics." Linguistics 38: 52-69.
  • Smith, Kenneth D. 1969. Sedang ethnodialects. Anthropological Linguistics 11(5): 143-47.
  • Smith, Kenneth D. 1973. More on Sedang ethnodialects. Mon–Khmer Studies 4: 43-51.

External links

  • Paul Sidwell's Mon–Khmer language information at the Australian National University.
  • Sound sample showing the distinction between clear and creaky vowels, from the link above.
  • Smith's dissertation
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