Talk:Tai–Kadai languages

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In an edit to the article, bearing the edit-comment

M 11:51, 2002 Feb 25 . . Conversion script (Automated conversion)

a Wikipedian said(re Tai languages) "At least, I think they should be kept separate until something more definite appears. " --Jerzy 08:10, 2003 Oct 16 (UTC)

I've conflated the more concrete bits of the previous two versions. Markalexander100 09:06, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

name change[edit]

Originally, the Kadai languages were the "Thai-related" languages of China, such as Kam-Sui. It was later realized that SE Asian Tai was a subset of Kadai, since it's closely related to Kam-Sui. There are two solutions to this: narrow the definition of Kadai until it excludes Kam-Sui and Tai, which was the option chosen for the Ethnologue classification used in this article, or rename the whole family to Kadai. The later option is chosen by several linguists who work in SE Asia. The article should reflect the dual use of the name Kadai. kwami 09:43, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I think 4 years is long enough to wait! Moved from tautological Tai-Kadai ("Tai–Kra–Tai") to simply Kradai. kwami (talk) 10:08, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I think it is not evidenced that such a name is widely accepted. Look at the titles of the both comprehensive volumes recently published by Curzon Press and Routledge. They are both named "Tai-Kadai languages". --Koryakov Yuri (talk) 13:33, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually, most of the sources I've seen say that Tai-Kadai is not widely accepted either, and that the most widespread term is Daic. kwami (talk) 20:21, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's really so. Below. for instance, the quotation from George van Driem "Languages of the Himalayas":
Benedict renamed the Daic family 'Kadai'. although the older term Daic is still widely used, and Weera Ostapirat has recently proposed changing Kadai to 'Kra-Dai' (2000). The Daic family is sometimes also called 'Tai-Kadai', e.g. Matisoff (1991), Thurgood (1994), whereby the term 'Kadai' is restricted to the lesser known languages spoken by small groups on Hainan Island and neighbouring parts of southern China and northern Vietnam. The late Paul Benedict, who coined the term, came to prefer the succinct name 'Kadai' for the language family as a whole and felt that the lesser known languages ought best to be called simply by their proper names. There is uncertainly in the use of the neologism 'Kadai'. e.g. Edmondson and Solnit (1988). and main aulhorities have stuck with the conventional term 'Daic'. e.g. Ferlus (1996), Blench (1999a). The more established term 'Daic' is used here because of the discrepancy in usage between the two meanings of 'Kadai' and because the neologisms 'Kadai'. 'Tai-Kadai' and 'Kra-Dai are otherwise completely synonymous with the older term "Daic'.
--Koryakov Yuri (talk) 09:33, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Why is the title of this page 'Kradai' (which I've never seen in an academic publication) as opposed to 'Kra-Dai' (the name suggested and advocated by Ostapirat)? Chevil (talk) 06:12, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

I move for the page name to be changed back to Kra-Dai. I've added a discussion summarizing the issues, and corrected the Ostapirat and Norquest references that seemed to indicate the use of Tai-Kadai, which they do not. Psejenks (talk) 22:55, 13 September 2015 (UTC) I think that Kadai and Daic are decent names for the family, but Kra-Dai is the best: Kra is a valid subgroup, as is Dai/Tai, and the others have a unclear relationship with these two groups. Tai-Kadai is a terrible name that should be relegated to the dustbin of history. The only argument for using it is that people know what it means, but that can change, and changing the name of this page would be a major step in that direction. See our article and Ostapirat 2000 for discussion to this effect. I have changed the name to Kra-Dai and added a brief discussion to the page. Additionally, many major language families have the basic naming format of using two well-established subgroups: Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo (neither actually a valid subgroup group, however), Sino-Tibetan, Mon-Khmer, Hmong-Mien, etc. Psejenks (talk) 21:57, 13 September 2015 (UTC).


Since when has this family of languages been re-classified as separate from Sino-Tibetan? (talk) 03:38, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Since about 1940. kwami (talk) 15:22, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

I think this should actually be opened for discussion and research. Western scholars do not consider the Tai-Kadai language family part of Sino-Tibetan, however Chinese scholars do,as well as some Thai scholars. It seems to me that it's extremely arrogant of Western academics to assume they understand language relatedness better than people who are native speakers of at least one of the groups. Just considering Thai and Chinese for example, both monosyllabic, tonal languages that originate in similar parts of the world, some of the grammar is similar and so on.-- (talk) 04:58, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Western scholars uniformly reject genetic relatedness between Sino-Tibetan and Tai-Kadai. The similarities are accounted for by borrowing and areal features. There are much more compelling correspondences between Tai-Kadai and Austronesian and Western scholars tend to lean in that direction for a genetic link rather than to Sino-Tibetan. Arrogant? No, just good historical linguistics and not being carried away by surface similarities. (Taivo (talk) 05:40, 27 January 2010 (UTC))

I was just wondering how can a language borrow tones from Sino-Tibetan. A tonal language means the same word with different tones will have completely different meanings, and I think this feature is unique and cannot be borrowed. The Austroasiatic language is not tonal, then how can a group of Austro language became tonal under the "influence" by other language? this means substitute for a huge amount of vocabulary and grammar. think of Japanese as an example, the Jap language contains considerable amount of Chinese loan words however it is not tonal! this is same as Korean language. I think tones is the core of Sino-Tibetan, in Sino-Tibetan languages tones are combined with monosyllabic features, no other language in the world share this feature. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:16, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

It is the ST languages which in general are not tonal. The tonal families are TK and Miao-Yao. Various languages in ST and AA have independently become tonal. (Vietnamese, for example.) Tone is easy to acquire: see tonogenesis. — kwami (talk) 03:00, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Tone is often an areal feature. A strong example of this would be the Tsat language (also called Hainan Cham or Utsat). Once a non-tonal language like nearly all of its Malayo-Polynesian relatives, Hainan Cham has become tonal and monosyllabic just like its neighbors, which are the Hlai language, Chinese language, and Kim Mun. Hope this helps. — Stevey7788 (talk) 00:13, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

I feel that the External Relationships section should give at least a little more emphasis to the Austronesian relationship. You really can't tell from the article that while the exact position of TK is debated, the evidence for a genetic relationship is pretty mainstream now. When I read this Wikipedia article before reading Sagart, Ostpirat, et al's papers, I came away with the impression that it was still a fringe, macro, Altaic, everything-is-related-to-everything theory, but the evidence is specific, heavy in basic vocab and light in cultural vocab, and especially with the Buyang data, impossible to dismiss as chance resemblance. (talk) 05:09, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

We really need 2ary-source evaluation of the claims, not just the claims themselves, however well argued we believe them to be. — kwami (talk) 07:04, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 14:47, 9 November 2007 (UTC)


I messed up the move request. I was trying to type Tai-Kadai languages and accidentally hit the return key after typing the hyphen. This page should not be "Kradai" by the injunctions of WP:NCON which indicate that the most common English name is always to be preferred. "Kradai" is a neologism used by only one young linguist and has not been widely adopted. The recent volume published by Routledge is "Tai-Kadai". Ethnologue uses "Tai-Kadai". Edmondson and Solnit use "Kadai", not "Kradai". The only real options are "Daic" (old), "Tai-Kadai" (popular), and "Kadai" (ambiguous between the family as a whole and the non-Tai subgroup). "Kradai" is not commonly used at the present time. (Taivo (talk) 08:31, 9 January 2010 (UTC))

Other sources that use "Tai-Kadai": Cliff Goddard (2005) The Languages of East and Southeast Asia (Oxford); Atlas of the World's Languages, and International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. All the the first dozen or so Google hits on "Kradai languages" are either Wikipedia or mirrors of Wikipedia. There just isn't an apparent consensus on the use of "Kradai" at this time. We've got to stick with common English usage here. If you want to go through a formal request for move, though, kwami, then we can see what the community thinks. But they typically side with the most common English usage in these things. (Taivo (talk) 08:50, 9 January 2010 (UTC))
It would help if someone could fix my botched attempt at moving the page to a better location ("Tai-Kadai languages"), though. Thanks in advance. (Taivo (talk) 08:53, 9 January 2010 (UTC))
Isn't "Tai-Kadai" a bit redundant, since "Kadai" means "K(r)a" + "Tai"? How common is it compared to "Kadai"? kwami (talk) 12:25, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Without an exact count, it seems far more common. 1) It's (Tai-Kadai) used by the most common encyclopedic works--International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Ethnologue, Atlas fo the World's Languages, Routledge's new survey of the family (The Tai-Kadai Languages); 2) It's used by the most recent regional introductory survey--Goddard's The Languages of East and Southeast Asia (2005, Oxford). "Kadai", "Kam-Tai", and "Daic" are far less common and "Kradai/Kra-Dai" is virtually unknown in the most commonly used sources. It doesn't matter whether a term is "redundant" or not, all that matters is that "Tai-Kadai" is the most common term for the group in English because that's the term that people are going to search for. I don't have a vested interest in whether or not this page is at "Tai-Kadai" (my first choice) or "Daic" or "Kadai" (my last choice), but "Kradai/Kra-Dai" is really not appropriate because of its rarity and lack of wide acceptance at this time. (Taivo (talk) 15:12, 9 January 2010 (UTC))
Did some Google Books searches [I added one—Kwami]
Of course there are lots of duplicates here, but it seriously points out that "Kradai" is really unacceptable as a title for this article. The others are virtually tied in popularity in this search. I think that "Kadai" is ambiguous and that's why I'm not in favor of using it. "Daic" seems old and "Tai-Kadai" seems more contemporary (but those are impressions, not hard facts). (Taivo (talk) 16:06, 9 January 2010 (UTC))
Okay, I agree that per CN we probably shouldn't go w the current title. However, I favor what happens to be the one with the greatest return, Kadai; to me, calling a branch "Kadai" and the whole famile "Tai-Kadai" would be like calling II "Indoeuropean" and IE "Euro-Indoeuropean". There are hundreds of ambiguous language and even language family names, so we could simply state that we're using "Ka-dai" for the Ka/Kra + Tai/Dai language family. kwami (talk) 21:59, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
The only reason I prefer "Tai-Kadai" is because then we have the family split (traditionally) into Tai and Kadai without ambiguity. It's also the name used in a wide selection of reference sources (another consideration of WP:NCON). But if you really want to use "Kadai" (Edmondson and Solnit use it, for example), then I'm not going to throw a fit about it. (Taivo (talk) 23:45, 9 January 2010 (UTC))
Except there still is ambiguity, because Kadai as a branch of Tai-Kadai is still ambiguous with Kadai as a synonym for Tai-Kadai. (If I remember correctly, that was a reason for moving it to Kradai, which AFAIK actually is unambiguous.)
How about I at least move it to Kadai for now, which at least avoids the name you really object to, but without any claim on my part that this is a final consensus or anything. kwami (talk) 01:59, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Works for me. And since we're not using the older breakdown of Kadai into two parts--Tai and Kadai--then there's no ambiguity it seems. (Taivo (talk) 04:40, 10 January 2010 (UTC))
Err - 'Kradai' has never been a name of this family, 'Kra-Dai' is the name advocated by Ostapirat. 'Kradai' of course would turn up nothing on Google because it's not exactly a real word. Kadai is the name put forward by Paul Benedict for all non-(Kam-)Tai Tai-Kadai languages, so Kadai refers unambiguously to the non-(Kam-)Tai languages. Kadai isn't really a synonym for Tai-Kadai, and isn't a shortening of Kra-Dai..
I suggest we either use 'Kra-Dai' as the name for this article or 'Tai-Kadai', which are both standard names for this language family. 'Daic' is basically an archaism at this point.
BTW, the etymologies of the words are as follows: Kra-Dai is advocated by Weera Ostapirat because the reconstructed word for 'person' in the non Kam-Tai languages (Also not Hlai) is 'Kra' and reflexes of the word 'Dai' are the autonyms for many of the names in the Kam-Tai branch. The Kadai stock was put together and discussed by Benedict and includes Gelao, Lachi and Laqua as well as Hlai - i.e. basically all the languages of the Tai-Kadai/Kra-Dai family which didn't belong to the Kam-Tai/Be-Tai family. There is however evidence that Hlai shouldn't belong with the other Kadai languages genetically. Using the word Tai-Kadai does have (historically associated) implications of two separate branches, Tai and Kadai, where Hlai belongs to Kadai. Using the term 'Kra-Dai' circumvents this probable inaccuracy. Also, Kra-Dai is not just used by Ostapirat - it is also used by scholars working in Chinese, Hmong-Mien and Austro-Asiatic.Chevil (talk) 03:30, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

(outdent) "Kra-Dai" and "Kradai" are virtually unknown in English for this language family. Wikipedia relies on common English usage and the most common usages are "Tai-Kadai", "Kadai", and "Daic" (see the numbers of hits in Google Books above). I agree that "Daic" is archaic and shouldn't be used. I personally prefer "Tai-Kadai" (see above) as it's the most commonly used in reference works. (Taivo (talk) 04:23, 13 January 2010 (UTC))

Fine -- so, why is this page still named Kadai? It's a little confusing to me because I've never seen Kadai refer to the language family as a whole - can somebody maybe point me to a reference which refers to the whole Tai-Kadai family simply as Kadai? I'm with Taivo - Tai-Kadai sounds *much* better to me. EDIT: okay, I looked up Edmonson and Solnit. It seems that the use of Kadai to refer to the family is about as rare as the use of Kra-Dai. Chevil (talk) 21:00, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
It's not "still" at Kadai. It was at Kradai, and I moved it to Kadai per discussion w Taivo. His results suggested this was the most common name (though it would seem not by any statistically significant margin), and it was a name we could both live with. Tai-Kadai sounds much worse to me, because it consists of Tai and Ka+Tai. That's like calling IE "Euro-Indoeuropean".
As for "Kradai" not existing, it does, even if rare: "a major milestone in comparative-historical Tai (now Kradai) linguistics ..." (2001). kwami (talk) 23:39, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
As a reminder, it doesn't matter whether a name is "silly" or "repetitive" or anything else to our ears. All that matters in Wikipedia is that it is the most commonly used name. "Tai-Kadai" is still the name of choice among specialists (the title of the new Routledge volume [The Tai-Kadai Languages], for example, is a very clear and unambiguous vote for "Tai-Kadai" as the name of the family since it's edited by three of the foremost specialists in the field). (Taivo (talk) 00:58, 19 January 2010 (UTC))
Okay. I don't want to get embroiled in an silly argument, but I want to clear up two major points - Kadai is not "Ka+Tai" in the same way as Tai-Kadai is Tai+other languages. Kadai was coined by Benedict, and (as I understand) the 'dai' refers to Hlai which Benedict saw as etymologically related to 'Dai' (Tai, Thai). Also, I'm not sure which source you are quoting, but that is almost certainly a misspelling of "Kra-Dai". This isn't important, however - Taivo is right in that Tai-Kadai is by far the most common name for the group as a whole. In scholarly articles there is alternation between all these names depending on style and the author's personal views, but these are by and large idiosyncratic. In fact, in most if not all of the literature I have read, if the author uses a name other than 'Tai-Kadai' they note that the commonly used name for the language family is in fact Tai-Kadai. However, I'm not sure how to prove to you empirically that the most common usage (by a good margin) is 'Tai-Kadai'. Chevil (talk) 04:37, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Based on this, Kwami, the page should go to "Tai-Kadai languages". Even though the numbers above seem to indicate more "Kadai", that's misleading since "Kadai" for many (probably most) of those references is not to the language family as a whole, but to the Kadai subbranch. The same ambiguity is not true for "Tai-Kadai" which only refers to the family as a whole. The evidence seems pretty clear that "Tai-Kadai" is the preferred term. I can't move it since I'm not an admin, so if you wouldn't mind... (Taivo (talk) 18:50, 23 January 2010 (UTC))

I seriously doubt many of them use Kadai as a branch of Tai-Kadai: If you search for Kadai with no mention of Tai-Kadai,[1] you only drop from 816 hits to 768, still higher than Tai-Kadai at 621. kwami (talk) 10:18, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually many of them do--International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Atlas of the World's Languages, World Atlas of Language Structures, The languages of East and Southeast Asia (Goddard), etc. While the membership of "Kadai" is not necessarily "Tai-Kadai minus Tai", it is still a widely used label for one of the subbranches of Tai-Kadai. There is clear ambiguity. And we both know that Google Book Searches, while instructive, are never the primary piece of evidence. Unless there is a real order of magnitude distinction in the terms (as there is between Kradai and the others), the results really can't be construed as a "majority vote". The recent specialist handbook uses "Tai-Kadai". That should be a pretty strong argument to break the tie. (Taivo (talk) 19:55, 25 January 2010 (UTC))
I'm curious, why do you consistently use "subbranch" for one of the basic branches of the family? Why not just "branch", which is rather ambiguous as to its exact level anyway? kwami (talk) 10:44, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Habit. (Taivo (talk) 13:41, 27 January 2010 (UTC))
Note that now, long after the move has been completed, the term Kradai is still used in numerous articles (outside of titles and quotations), and there is still the article Kradai-speaking peoples. Should the term be replaced in articles (outside of titles and quotations), and should the article about the peoples be moved? Would the replacement be an appropriate task for a bot? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:00, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Probably. --Taivo (talk) 17:00, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I realised that there were only a few occurrences of Kradai and Daic left, so few that I could replace all of those manually. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:34, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Move to Tai-Kadai languages[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Paul_012 (talk) 10:11, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Kadai languagesTai-Kadai languages — Two reasons: 1) "Tai-Kadai" is the most common, current unambiguous name used by specialists in the field, 2) "Kadai" is often used for one subbranch of the family, so its use as a label for the article as a whole is ambiguous. —Taivo (talk) 09:23, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Which branch is that? The one Ethnologue has it for? You just added it as an invalid grouping of non-Tai.
"Tai-Kadai" is misleading as it does not consist of Tai and Kadai. kwami (talk) 10:10, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Doesn't matter whether Kadai "exists" this moment or not. It is commonly found in the literature. The issue here is the name of the article as a whole. The most prominent scholars in the community are using "Tai-Kadai" and that is the most commonly used name for the family. The name of the newest über-work on the family by the most prominent scholars in the field is The Tai-Kadai Languages. That's a pretty major endorsement for that being the name of the family as a whole. And, since there is a fair amount of other, granted older, work that includes "Kadai" as a branch of Tai-Kadai (not just Ethnologue), then there is ambiguity in that being used as the name of the family. It also means that the raw Google Books search (above) is skewed in favor of "Kadai" because it counts both the usage as the name of the family and the usage as the name of the subgroup. It doesn't mean that the Google Books search shows a greater preference for "Kadai" as the name of the family. (We both agree that "Daic" is outdated.) Since the major scholars are using "Tai-Kadai", it doesn't matter whether you think it is "logical" or not. That's the usage. There were three editors involved in the discussion above with two of us preferring the name "Tai-Kadai". But neither of us are admins so we can't move the article. (Taivo (talk) 14:08, 25 January 2010 (UTC))
  • I always worry when I see statements such as "used by specialists in the field" in these move reqs, since it's usually a fairly large and immediate red flag that something deeper is involved, likely some sort of content dispute. Glancing over the article I notice that there's a (poor) reference for the first sentence which makes a loose weasel wordy claim that Ethnologue "and other sources" use th terms that are listed. All I can really do is point to Wikipedia:Verifiability and ask: please source these assertions. Wikipedia is a 'general audience encyclopedia, so please don't assume any knowledge, especially specialist knowledge, on the part of either readers or your fellow editors. More importantly though, to quote from the Verifiability Wikipedia pillar, "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth". We obviously don't want to lie or misrepresent the article subject to our readers, but we simply must reference our statements here. Provide a reasonable reference and I'll gladly support an article rename.
    V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 18:16, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
    Here are some of the sources that use "Tai-Kadai": 1) The most common encyclopedic works--International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Ethnologue, Atlas of the World's Languages, World Atlas of Language Structures; 2) the most recent specialist handbook for the family--Routledge's The Tai-Kadai Languages; 3) The most recent regional introductory survey--Goddard's The Languages of East and Southeast Asia (2005, Oxford). These are all linguistically reliable sources. This really isn't a content dispute, it's simply a naming dispute. Kwami, "Kadai" is still in use as a subbranch of Tai-Kadai in some major sources--Ethnologue, the World Atlas of Language Structures, Atlas of the World's Languages, International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (1st ed, at least), as well as Goddard's The Languages of East and Southeast Asia. Ethnologue does not stand alone in that. (Taivo (talk) 19:48, 25 January 2010 (UTC))
    OK, sounds good. Can you add a couple of references which specify the usage (and possibly even the etymology) of each of the variants in the lead? We can then work from there.
    V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 19:52, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
    Not 100% certain exactly what you're looking for. Do you mean add references for each of the alternate terms used in the lead sentence? That's a good addition for the article, but right now we're just trying to get the name of the article nailed down. (Taivo (talk) 20:04, 25 January 2010 (UTC))
    One actual reference which covers at least some of the name variations would be great, if one exists. One for each individually would be terrific, if that's possible. The more references the better. The reason that I'm pushing this now is that our own personal opinions really shouldn't mean much of anything here. Either one of us could be native speakers, with Doctorates in the language or whatever, or completely ignorant of the language (three guesses which category I happen to fall under on this article, and the first two don't count!) but as editors none of that really makes a difference in the long run. We're all just editors here, ultimately, so the only thing we should be making informed decisions with are the references which are usable in the articles. If you add the refs, and their accessible (feel free to use offline refs, but adding a relevant quote to the ref helps everyone), and noone disputes them, then there's nothing to really have a discussion about aside from the proforma acknowledgment of the state of things.
    V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 20:12, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
    The name variations aren't an issue here--they all exist in the scientific literature and can be found in different sources. What is at issue is choosing between two of the variants for the name of the article--"Tai-Kadai" or simply "Kadai". My argument is that "Tai-Kadai" has the stronger pedigree based on reliable sources stated above. I know of one handbook from the 1990s that uses "Kadai", but one of the editors of that handbook is now an editor for the new handbook--The Tai-Kadai Languages. (Taivo (talk) 20:27, 25 January 2010 (UTC))
    OK, I'm perfectly willing to believe that, it's just... I'm reminded of Ronnie talking about his Soviet buddy Gorby: "Trust, but verify". I'll look it up and verify it myself, but it needs to be in te article itself so that others can verify it as well.
    V = I * R (talk to Ohms law) 21:14, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
The references to the ambiguity were added to the article. The references to "Tai-Kadai" being preferred are above. If you look at the history of this article, it was "Tai-Kadai languages" for years. It was then moved without discussion or consensus to "Kradai languages". After I objected and preferred "Tai-Kadai languages" it was then moved to "Kadai languages". I'm not an admin, so I can't move it back to where it was for years. This request for move is to return to the status quo ante, not to try to impose some new name on the article. If I were an admin, I would have just moved it back to where it is supposed to be, but I'm not so I can't move it. (Taivo (talk) 21:23, 25 January 2010 (UTC))

Analysis of Google Search[edit]

Thought I'd analyze the results of the search for "Kadai" without "Tai-Kadai". I'll start with the top and work my way down the references.

1) Greenberg, Language, culture, and communication: talks about the "Thai and Kadai languages", then later uses the term, "Thai-Kadai". "Thai-Kadai" is the name of the family here and "Kadai" is the name of the non-Thai languages of that family
2) Dalby, Dictionary of Languages: At first mentions the "Kadai languages (including Tai languages)", but then talks about the Tai languages and Kadai languages as separate, but related. For example, he lists Dong as being "the most important language of the Kam-Sui group of Kadai languages. The comparative linguist Fang Kuei Li discovered this language group...and demonstrated its distant relationship to the Tai languages."
3) Pan-Asiatic linguistics: Lists the title of a paper by Jerold Edmondson, "Some Kadai Languages of Northern Guangxi China". It's not possible to tell what is meant by "Kadai" in this title, but in other places in the 90s Edmondson uses "Kadai" for the family as a whole.
4) Moseley, Encyclopedia of the world's endangered languages: "Kadai" is used as a subgroup label under "Tai-Kadai" along with "Kam-Sui" and "Tai". (Even though the search was supposed to exclude volumes that also had "Tai-Kadai", this volume is listed in the search.)
5) Greenberg & Croft, Genetic linguistics: essays on theory and method: This apparently includes a reprint of the essay in 1) above, where "Thai" and "Kadai languages" are listed separately and then combined in a family name of "Thai-Kadai".
6) An article from volume 35 of Language doesn't even include the word "Kadai" in the visible quote, so it's impossible to determine anything.
7) Edmondson & Solnit, Comparative Kadai: linguistic studies beyond Tai: This volume clearly uses "Kadai" for the family.
8) Peiros, Comparative linguistics in Southeast Asia: The visible quotes are so truncated that it's impossible to tell to what extent the author uses "Kadai". The only languages mentioned in the quote are Gelao and Li, which are both always included in the non-Tai languages.
9) Howard & Howard, Textiles of the Daic peoples of Vietnam: This isn't a linguistics text, but in the linguistics comments they mention the Southwestern Tai and Central Tai sub-families in one place and the Bu-Rong sub-family of Kadai languages in another place. It implies "Kadai" as a family name, but it's not certain from the limited quotes.
10) Edmondson & Solnit, Comprative Kadai: the Tai branch: Clearly uses "Kadai" as a family label. This is basically "Volume 2" of 7) above.

Thus in the first ten results for a search of Google Books, only two of these works (7, 10) actually clearly use "Kadai" as the name of the family. The other are either unclear (3, 6, 8, 9) or definitely consider "Kadai" to be in a larger family with "T(h)ai" (1, 2, 4, 5). Add this evidence to the other encyclopedic and handbook sources cited above and you get a very, very clear picture that general and widespread scholarly usage is to call this family "Tai-Kadai" (whether or not you want to label one of the subgroups as "Kadai") and that calling it "Kadai" is only a minority usage. Indeed, Edmondson, who is one of the authors of the only clear uses of "Kadai" above, is a co-editor of the new handbook, The Tai-Kadai Languages, published just last year by Routledge. How much more evidence needs to be gathered? (Taivo (talk) 14:44, 26 January 2010 (UTC))

Statement in The Tai-Kadai Languages[edit]

My university library just got a copy of Routledge's The Tai-Kadai Languages, so I'm the first to get my hands on it. It says nothing about using "Kadai" as the name of the family--it is "Tai-Kadai" throughout. There is a section called "Terminology and Its Interpretative Nuances", but it doesn't discuss the name of the family--only the various names of the subparts of the family. Here's a summary of what it says about the problems with "Kadai" as a term: 1) it means "ladder" in Thai, 2) with a more voiceless medial consonant it means "rabbit" in Thai and Lao. "Kra" is equally problematic since it means a species of sea turtle in Thai. The author then asks "would Tai-Kadai need to become Tai-Kra...?" The only mention in the entire volume of using "Kadai" as a name for the entire family is this sentence: "Kadai in a new sense may be restricted to languages of the Gelao-Laha group (i.e. Kra or Geyang); an opposite possibility is to use it to denote the entire (Tai-Kadai) grouping." That's not exactly a ringing endorsement. All the authors (including Edmondson, whose 1990s handbook used "Kadai") use "Tai-Kadai" consistently as the name of the family. Indeed, Edmondson's chapter, "Kra or Kadai languages" makes clear what the usage of "Kadai" tends to be in specialist circles. Wikipedia's naming policies are not based on speculation or minority usage--they are based on common English usage based on reliable sources. (Taivo (talk) 16:04, 26 January 2010 (UTC))

What was the "old" sense of Kadai then? Non-Tai?
It would seem then that the name Tai-Kadai is assuming an obsolete bifurcation into Tai + Kadai.
kwami (talk) 18:36, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the older sense was "non-Tai" and yes, the name "Tai-Kadai" still maintains that bifurcation. But it's not too different than "Indo-European", which preserves a very archaic bifurcation into "Indian world" and "European world". Sort of leaves out Iranian, Armenian, Anatolian, etc. Thanks for moving this. (Taivo (talk) 18:46, 26 January 2010 (UTC))
Uh oh. Just noticed that the Talk page didn't get moved with the article. (Taivo (talk) 18:47, 26 January 2010 (UTC))
I don't know why that happens sometimes. Seems to be a glitch, as far as I can tell. kwami (talk) 10:40, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Tai-Kadai diversity in Hainan[edit]

This is a little hard to believe. Is there any reference to this?--Tricia Takanawa (talk) 20:46, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes, check Ethnologue. I've also added Guizhou, since you'll find Kra, Kam-Sui, and Tai languages all in that province. — Stevey7788 (talk) 05:14, 28 October 2010 (UTC)


I've added two more trees, one from Edmondson & Solnit, and the other one from Chamberlain. The original one was evidently from Ostapirat. — Stevey7788 (talk) 05:11, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

See also[edit]

A See also section does not require proven relationship between the two, merely relevance and anticipation of reader interest. It is not part of the article content, and adding it to that section in no way suggests that the two groups have been proven to be linguistically related.

A section of this article already discusses the possible common origins of the Tai-Kadai and Austronesian language families, it is expected that the reader would be interested in seeing other links to associated articles. In fact, the controversial aspect of the specifics of the relationship between the two is reason enough to link the reader to the articles. The Austro-Tai Hypothesis goes beyond mere linguistics, it is part of the debate on the different models of human migration in Eastern and Southeastern Asia. And the two groups are frequently discussed together in this context. Try googling them.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 23:07, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Never mind, I see we actually have an article on the Tai peoples, with Austronesians already linked there and discussed in the migration context. I've linked Tai peoples in the Austronesian peoples' See also section instead.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 23:12, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

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