Dong, Northern


A language of China

Alternate Names
Gam, Kam, Tong, Tung, Tung-Chia

463,000 in China (2003). Ethnic population: 2,880,000 (2010 census). Includes Southern Dong [kmc].


Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region: 20 contiguous counties; Guizhou province: Yuping autonomous county; conjunction of west Hunan province and north Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened). Language of recognized nationality: Dong.


None known. Zhanglu speech in Rongjiang County, Guizhou Province is standard variety. Reportedly similar to Mulam [mlm]. Lexical similarity: 80% with Northern Dong varieties, 71% with Southern Dong [kmc], 46% with Lakkia [lbc], 29% with Qabiao [laq], 26% with Hlai [lic], 24% with Gelao, 22% with Lachi [lbt], 6% with Hmong Njua [hnj], 4% with Iu Mien [ium].


Tonal, 9 tones.

Language Use

All domains. Some young people, all adults. Also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn]. Used as L2 by Pa-Hng [pha], Southern Dong [kmc].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: 55%. Grammar.


Latin script [Latn], pinyin-based, used since 1981, experimental, small-scale use in education and literature.

Other Comments

Traditional way of life relatively undisturbed. Traditional religion.

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