|Region||west of Hanoi|
|1.1 million (1999 census)|
Muong (thiểng Mường) is a group of dialects spoken by the Mường people of Vietnam. They are in the Austroasiatic language family and closely related to Vietnamese. According to Phan (2012), the Mường dialects are not a single language, or even most closely related to each other, but rather are an ethnically defined and paraphyletic taxon.
Mường had no written form until Western academics in the 20th century developed a provisional alphabet based on a modified Vietnamese alphabet, including additional consonants like w and allowing different consonant pairs and final consonants than Vietnamese.
In September 2016, the People's Committee of Hòa Bình Province adopted resolution 2295/QĐ-UBND, specifying a new Mường alphabet by Prof. Bùi Hiền to be used in instruction within the province. The alphabet consists of 28 letters and four tone marks. The provincial Communist Party mouthpiece, Hòa Bình điện tử (Muong: Wa̒ Bi̒nh diê̠n tứ) began publishing its electronic edition in Mường in addition to Vietnamese and English, surprising some readers with the unusual orthography.
The following table details the consonants of those dialects that show a full voiced-voiceless distinction in the stops (being Mường Bi, Mường Thành, Mường Động, and Ba Trại). The spelling is given in italics.
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal Nasal m /m/ n /n/ nh /ɲ/ ng /ŋ/ Stop voiceless p /p/ t /t/ ch /c/ c /k/ aspirated ph /pʰ/ th /tʰ/ kh /kʰ/ voiced b /b/ đ /d/ g /ɡ ~ ɣ/ Fricative voiceless x /s/ h /h/ voiced v/w/o/u /β/ d/gi/i/y /z ~ j/ Lateral l, tl /l, tl ~ kl/
The Mường Vang dialect completely lacks the distinction between the voiced and unvoiced stop pairs /p b/, /t d/, /k ɡ/, having only the voiceless one of each pair. The Mường Khói and Mường Ống dialects have the full voiceless series, but lack /ɡ/ among the voiced stops. The Thạch Sơn dialect on the other hand lacks /p/.
Furthermore, the Mường Khói dialect lacks the aspirated alveolar /tʰ/, but has a /hr/ instead. This dialect is also described as having the labio-velars /kʷ/ and /kʷʰ/.
All of these consonants can appear syllable-initially. At the end of syllables only the nasals /m n ɲ ŋ/, the voiceless stops /p t c k/, the lateral /l/, and the glides /j w/ are allowed. Of these phonemes, the palatals /c ɲ/ have been analysed as glide + velar /ʲk ʲŋ/. Furthermore, the distribution of syllable-final /c ɲ l/ seems to be more restricted than the distribution of the other final consonants.
The vowel inventory is given in the following table. It appears to be quite uniform among the different dialects. Two of the vowels (/ɤ/ and /a/) can be long or short.
Front Back unrounded rounded Close i /i/ ư /ɯ/ u /u/ Mid ê /e/ ơ, â /ɤː, ɤ/ ô /o/ Open e /ɛ/ a, ă /aː, a/ o /ɔ/
Apart from these monophthongs, there are also three diphthongs /iə, ɯə, uə/.
- Thiểng Mường at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hà Quang Phùng 2012, p. 1.
- Phan, John D. (2012). "Mường is not a subgroup: Phonological evidence for a paraphyletic taxon in the Viet-Muong sub-family" (PDF). Mon-Khmer Studies. 40: 1–18.
- Hà Quang Phùng 2012, p. 2.
- "Quyết định về việc phê chuẩn bộ chữ dân tộc Mường tỉnh Hòa Bình" [Resolution adopting an alphabet for the Mường people of Hòa Bình Province (2295/QĐ-UBND)] (in Vietnamese). Hòa Bình: People's Committee of Hòa Bình Province. 8 September 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2019 – via Thư viện Pháp luật.
- Tử Hưng (17 February 2018). "Sự thật về 'bảng chữ cái' mới trên báo điện tử Hòa Bình" [Facts about the Hòa Bình online newspaper's new 'alphabet']. Công Luận (in Vietnamese). Viet Nam Journalists Association. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- Nguyễn Văn Tài 1982, I.2
- Nguyễn Văn Tài 1982, II.3.3.2
- Nguyễn Văn Tài 1982, II.3.3.1
- Nguyễn Văn Tài 1982, II.3.3.3
- Hà Quang Phùng (2012-09-06). "Tìm hiểu về ngữ pháp tiếng Mường (Thim hiếu wuê ngử pháp thiểng Mường)" [Understanding Muong grammar]. (in Vietnamese and Muong). Thanh Sơn–Phú Thọ Province Continuing Education Center. Archived from the original (FlashPaper) on September 19, 2016. (More)
- Nguyễn, Văn Khang, Bùi Chi, and Hoàng Văn Hành. (2002). Từ điển Mường-Việt (A Mường-Vietnamese dictionary). Hà Nội: Nhà Xuất Bản Văn Hoá Dân Tộc.
- Nguyễn Văn Tài (1982). Ngữ âm tiếng Mường qua các phương ngôn [Phonetics of the Mường language through its dialects] (Ph.D.) (in Vietnamese).
- Nguyễn, Minh-Châu. 2016. The tone system of Kim Thượng Mường: an experimental study of fundamental frequency, duration, and phonation types. M.A. dissertation. Hanoi: Department of Linguistics, University of Social Sciences and Humanities.
- Wa̒ Bi̒nh diê̠n tứ – online newspaper in Mường (in Muong)