Kri language

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Krìì, meengq Kri
Native to Laos or Vietnam
Native speakers
250 (2009)[1]
  • Kri
  • Phóng
  • Mlengbrou
Language codes
ISO 639-3 aem
pkt-kha [2]
Glottolog khap1242[3]

Kri (Krìì) is a recently described Vietic language. Kri speakers live in the Upper Ñrong (Nam Noy) valley of Khammouane Province, Laos, as well as other locations within the Nakai-Nam Theun Biodiversity Conservation Area. It is mutually intelligible with Pròòngq, which is spoken in several villages downstream from the Kri (Enfield & Diffloth 2009).

The Kri call themselves mleeng Kri, and their language meengq Kri. They are swidden cultivators who move every 2–3 years among pre-existing village sites (Chamberlain 1998).[4] Houses are torn down after the death of a household member, and the housing materials are then used to construct a new house in a different location. Other than the Kri language, many adults, especially men, are also fluent in Vietnamese, Saek, Bru, and Lao.



The consonants in Kri are:

Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop implosive ɓ ɗ ʄ
tenuis p t ʈʂ c k ʔ
aspirated ʈʂʰ
Fricative s h
Approximant w l r~ʐ j~ʝ ɣ



These are the consonants that may come at the end of a syllable in Kri:

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar
Checked [pˀ] [tˀ] [kˀ]
Nasal [m] [n] [ɲ] [ŋ]
Oral [w] [l] , [r] [j] Vowel

Do note that they are all contrastive, and that vowels, nasal consonants, and oral consonants may have checked endings. The Oral endings also may become voiceless.


Kri has a few morphological features, less than Khmu but more than Vietnamese.

Causative Infix[edit]

The -a- infix may be inserted into words with two initial consonants, between them. This infix turns intransitive verb into a transitive verb, adding an agent. It can also turn a noun into a verb. Here are some examples:

praang - to cross over
paraang - to take someone across.

slôôj- to be washed away by running water
salôôj- to discard into flowing water, to let something be washed away.

kleeh- to fall off
kaleeh- to pick off

blang- of the eyes, to become open (like a young dog's)
balang- to open one's eyes

ckaang- a hand span
cakaang- to measure something by hand spans

Nominalising Infix[edit]

The -rn- infix is placed after a single initial consonant. This infix makes a noun from a verb:

sat- to get one's foot stuck
srnat- a foothold

koq- to live
krnoq- a house

This shortens to -r- when between consonants:

kadôôlq- to rest the head on something
krdôôlq- a pillow


  1. ^ The Kri language
  2. ^ Names/varieties are listed as Kha Phong, Maleng Kari, Maleng Bro, Kha Nam Om, Phong, Phòòngq
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kha Phong". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Chamberlain, J.R. 1998, "The origin of Sek: implications for Tai and Vietnamese history", in The International Conference on Tai Studies, ed. S. Burusphat, Bangkok, Thailand, pp. 97-128. Institute of Language and Culture for Rural Development, Mahidol University.
  5. ^

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]