A language of Laos

Alternate Names
Eastern Thai, Lao Kao, Lao Wiang, Lao-Lum, Lao-Noi, Lao-Tai, Laotian, Laotian Tai, Lum Lao, Phou Lao, Rong Kong, Tai Lao
ພາສາລາວ‎ (Phasa Lao), ລາວ‎ (Lào)

3,870,000 in Laos, all users. L1 users: 3,070,000 (2005 census). L2 users: 800,000. Total users in all countries: 4,053,700 (as L1: 3,253,700; as L2: 800,000).


Luang Prabang province: south to Cambodia border; widespread throughout Mekong river valley. Nakhon Pathom and Nakhonsawan areas (Lao-Khrang dialect).

Language Maps
Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (2003, Constitution, Article 89).


Luang Prabang, Vientiane (Wiang Jan), Savannakhet, Pakse, Lao-Kao, Lao-Khrang. Dialect subgroup with Northeastern Tai [tts] of Thailand.


SVO; 23 consonants, 20 vowels, 3 diphthongs; tonal (6 tones).

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 30%–60%. Literacy rate in L2: 50%–75%. Fully developed. Bible: 1932–2012.

Lao script [Laoo].

Other Comments

The Lao Kao migrated to Thailand and are in Nan, Loei, Saraburi, and elsewhere. Buddhist, Christian, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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