Sedang language

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Native toVietnam and Laos
RegionKon Tum, Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi (Vietnam)
EthnicitySedang people
Native speakers
98,000 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3sed
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Sedang is an Austro-Asiatic language spoken in eastern Laos and Kon Tum Province in south central Vietnam. The Sedang language has the most speakers of any of the languages of the North Bahnaric language group, a group of languages known for their range of vowel phonations.



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive prenasalized mb nd ndʑ ŋɡ  
unaspirated p t k ʔ
aspirated tɕʰ
Fricative voiceless f s x h
voiced v z ɣ
Approximant w l j


  Front Central Back
High i   u
Upper Mid e   o
Lower Mid ɛ   ɔ
Low   a  

Sedang itself has 24 pure vowels: 7 vowel qualities, all of which may be plain ([a]), nasalized ([ã]), and creaky ([a̰]) and three of which /i a o/ may be both nasal and creaky ([ã̰]). While it does not have the length distinctions of other North Bahnaric languages, it has more diphthongs, between 33 and 55 vowel sounds altogether. Sedang is thus sometimes claimed to have the largest vowel inventory in the world. However, other Bahnaric languages have more vowel qualities (Bahnar, for example, has 9) in addition to phonemic vowel length so the language with the record depends closely on how the languages are described and distinct vowels are defined.


  1. ^ Sedang at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sedang". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Further reading[edit]

  • Smith, Kenneth D. 1967. "Sedang dialects." Bulletin de la Société des Etudes Indochinoises 42: 195-255.
  • Smith, Kenneth D. 1968. "Laryngealization and de-laryngealization in Sedang phonemics." Linguistics 38: 52-69.
  • Smith, Kenneth D. 1969. Sedang ethnodialects. Anthropological Linguistics 11(5): 143-47.
  • Smith, Kenneth D. 1973. More on Sedang ethnodialects. Mon–Khmer Studies 4: 43-51.
  • Lê Đông, Tạ Văn Thông. 2008. Từ điển Việt - Xơ Đăng. Hanoi: Nhà xuất bản văn hóa thông tin.

External links[edit]