Ugong language

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Region Western Thailand
Ethnicity 500 (2000?)[1]
Native speakers
80 (2000, David Bradley)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ugo
Glottolog ugon1239[3]

The Ugong language (also 'Ugong, Gong, Lawa, or Ugawng) is an endangered language of Western Thailand, spoken in isolated pockets in Uthai Thani and Suphanburi provinces.


The ethnic group was first known to Westerners in the 1920s, when the language was already considered in severe decline. In the 1970s, a linguist began working on the language in the several areas where it was still used, by which time it was already extinct in two of the locations given by the surveyor 50 years earlier. The people were then forced from two of these villages when the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand built dams over the Kwae Yai and Khwae Noi River. Because of the displacement of the people of an already declining language, the language is considered especially vulnerable to extinction. The last children speakers were in the 1970s, and the children now speak Thai as their first language.

It is not clear if it is a Loloish language or the most divergent of the related Burmish languages.


The Ugong language consists of two dialects (Ethnologue).

Ugong was once also spoken in western Kanchanaburi Province, but is now extinct in that province (Ethnologue).


  1. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., and Barbara F. Grimes, ed. (2005). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (15th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. 
  2. ^ Ugong at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Ugong". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 


  • Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine. Vanishing Voices: The Extinction of the World's Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Page 10.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bradley, David. 1993. Body Parts Questionnaire (Ugong). (unpublished ms. contributed to STEDT).
  • Bradley, David. "The Disappearance of the Ugong in Thailand", in Investigating Obsolescence: Studies in Language Contraction and Death, Nancy C. Dorian, ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. pp 33–40
  • Thawornpat, Mayuree. "Gong phonological characteristics", in Mon-Khmer studies: a journal of Southeast Asian languages and cultures, Thailand: Mon-Khmer Studies, 2007.