A language of Viet Nam

Alternate Names
Ngan, Phen, T’o, Tai Tho, Thu Lao, “Thô” (pej.)

1,630,000 (2009 census). Based on ethnicity.


Northeast of Ha Noi city, near China border, widespread, possibly in Laos; Bac Giang, Bac Kan, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Hai Duong, Lai Chau, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Quang Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang, and Yen Bai provinces.

Language Status

6b* (Threatened). Language of recognized ethnic group: Tay.


Central Tày, Eastern Tày, Southern Tày, Northern Tày, Tày Trung Khanh, Thu Lao, Tày Bao Lac. Reportedly similar to Nung [nut].

Language Use

Also use Vietnamese [vie]. Used as L2 by Green Gelao [giq].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 50%–75%. Radio. Dictionary. Bible portions: 1938–1979.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Traditional religion.

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