Tày language

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Native toVietnam
Native speakers
1.63 million (2009)[1]
Latin (Vietnamese alphabet)
Chữ nôm
Language codes
ISO 639-3tyz
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Tày or Tho (a name shared with Cuoi and with various Zhuang languages of China) is the major Tai language of Vietnam, in the northeast near the Chinese border.


Tày linguistic varieties include:[3][4]

  • Tày Bảo Lạc is spoken in Bảo Lạc District, western Cao Bang province.
  • Tày Trùng Khánh is spoken in Trùng Khánh District, northeastern Cao Bang province.

The Dai Zhuang varieties should perhaps be considered the same language.



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
plain pal.
Plosive voiceless p t c k
aspirated pʰʲ
voiced b d
implosive ɓ ɓʲ ɗ
Fricative voiceless f s x h
voiced v z ɣ
lateral ɬ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Trill r
Approximant w l j
  • The Cao Bẳng Tay dialect is the only variety to have the sounds /j w r ɣ b d bʲ/.


Front Central Back
High i ɯ u
High-mid e o
Mid ə əː
Low-mid ɛ ɐ ɔ
Low a
Front Back
Close ie ɯə uo
  • There are also three semivowels [u̯ i̯ ɯ̯] that mainly occur in syllable-coda position in combination with other vowel sounds. [u̯ i̯] are typically realized as consonant sounds [w j]. [u̯] follows front vowels /i e ɛ/ and central vowels /ə a ɐ/. [i̯] follows back vowels /u o ɔ/ as well as central vowels /ə a ɐ/. However, [ɯ̯] only follows /ə/.[5]


Six tones are present in Cao Bẳng Tay:

a᷄ ˦˥
á ˦
ā ˧
à ˨
a᷆ ˨˩


  1. ^ Tày at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tay". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Edmondson, Jerold A., Solnit, David B. (eds). 1997. Comparative Kadai: the Tai branch. Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington Publications in Linguistics 124. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington.
  4. ^ http://ling.uta.edu/~jerry/research/map.html
  5. ^ Văn Ma, Hoàng (1997). The sound system of the Tày language of Cao Bắng Province, Vietnam. Jerold A. Edmondson and David B. Solnit (eds.), Comparative Kadai: The Tai branch: Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington. pp. 221–231.

See also[edit]