So … I wasn’t into Lao at all. It didn’t take me very long for me to come to this conclusion, so I won’t take very long in explaining why it didn’t work out.
SUMMARY: Lao is a tonal language in the Kradai family, spoken by over 15 million in Laos, Thailand and other parts of the world. Lao script first appeared in 14th century, which is based off the Khmer writing system. Lao culture is painted with accents of Buddhism, which had a considerable influence on the language’s vocabulary.
FINAL IMPRESSIONS: Not very favorable, unfortunately. As I mentioned before, I was turned off by the orthography entirely. As it is rather complicated, Lao words are not spaced apart in normal writing, which is challenging if you are not familiar with the vocabulary. There’s also no standard for writing Lao in Roman form.
Like Thai, however, the language’s grammar seems to be easy simple when it’s compared to English’s. It’s a Subject-Verb-Obect language, even though the subject can often be omitted. There are no definite or indefinite articles and Lao uses special words to show tense for verbs and to show negation.
For example, the particle ບໍ່ is added before verbs to make them negative. So ບ + ຢາກ (want) = ບຢາກ (do not/does not want). Seems easy, right? Nouns and pronouns don’t decline either, so the verb stays the same. One thing to note is that special classifiers are used with nouns when referring to the amount of things.
Lao is big on honorific grammar, or altering sentences to make them more polite. Markers like ແດ່ (de) can be used at the end of sentences to make them more respectful.
In terms of listening to Lao, it sounded very monosyllabic. Even though it sounds extremely similar to Thai, I prefer the latter, maybe because it sounds less … strained? I’m not sure how to describe it. But I wasn’t into Thai that much either, so I care even less for Lao.
Ouch! I hope that wasn’t too harsh. But don’t worry, maybe things will turn around — the last language in the blog, Catalan, is up next! We’re SO close!
SOURCES USED IN THIS POST:
Wikipedia – Lao grammar
COMING UP: Catalan