There are many languages similar to Hmong that share common roots and characteristics. Some of these languages include Thai, Lao, and Burmese.
If you’re interested in learning a language like Hmong, then one of these options may be the perfect fit for you!
Languages Similar To Hmong – 10 Foremost languages!
Many are out there if you’re looking for languages similar to Hmong! The most closely related languages to Hmong are Iu Mien and White Hmong.
These languages are spoken in the same region as Hmong, so they have a lot of cultural similarities too.
Other languages that share some similarities with Hmong include Chinese languages. They include Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean, Lao, and Thai.
These aren’t as closely related as Iu Mien or White Hmong. However, they still share some elements of grammar and vocabulary.
Learning one can also help you understand others better. Also, knowing these languages can help you understand Hmong culture even more!
Learning them all would be quite a challenge. But if you start with the ones most closely related, you’ll have an easier time picking up the others along the way.
Now we will compare how the Hmong share common features with these options. So, let’s start exploring languages similar to Hmong!
1. Lu Mien Use Tone System Like Hmong:
Hmong and Lu Mien are two of the most similar languages spoken in Southeast Asia. This is because they share a common root language and originated in southern China.
Hmong and Lu Mien belong to the Hmong-Mien language family. This means that they share many linguistic features, such as tonality.
Tonal language means the same word has different meanings depending on the context.
For example, in Hmong and Lu Mien, the word for ‘water’ can have four different tones. Further, each of these has a slightly different meaning.
In addition, due to their long history, they share many cultural similarities. Like both have a lot of common cognates.
A good example of this is the word for ‘thank you“, which is koj in Hmong and kawj in Lu Mien. Thus, if you are fluent in one language, it will be easier to understand the other.
2. White Hmong Share Sounds With Hmong:
The Hmong and White Hmong languages are part of the Miao-Yao language phylum. They share a common ancestor language, which started 5,000 years ago.
For starters, Hmong relates to White Hmong languages in terms of phonetics. This means that they have similar speaker languages and tones.
Both languages have evolved in similar ways over time. For example, they both have lost the ability to produce certain sounds, such as the “ng” sound in English.
However, they have also acquired new sounds. For example, the “ts” sound exists in White Hmong, like a word like “tsiaj” (to eat).
Another similarity between the languages is that they share similar grammatical structures. For example, subject-verb-object is the same in both languages, so, sentence order is similar.
As a result of these experiences, Hmong and White Hmong are close to each other than other languages.
3. Cantonese Also Use Particles:
Hmong and Cantonese share some commonalities in the use of particles. Particles are small words that give additional meaning to a sentence.
These two languages use a lot of particles in speech. For example, the particle 吗 (ma) in Cantonese and the particle 没有 (movno) in Hmong are both used to ask questions.
Some other articles describe the relationship between two objects or people.
For instance, words such as 對 (DUI) mean “towards” in Cantonese, and 想 (xang) has the same meaning in Hmong.
Further, these two languages use characters instead of alphabets. For water, the Cantonese character is 水 (sɔy); in Hmong, it is 雨 (xwm).
In addition, both languages have a rich tradition of oral storytelling. When children grow up, their elders tell stories of people and mythical creatures. It plays an important role in teaching them life lessons.
For instance, the Maa-Xuyi epic in Hmong is similar to Homer’s Odyssey. In the same way, the Cantonese version of the Chinese classic “The Water Margin” works.
4. Mandarin And Hmong Have Common Word Order:
Hmong is a language spoken by the Hmong people, who are originally from China. The Hmong language is close to Mandarin in terms of sentence rules.
For example, both languages use subject-verb-object word order.
An example would be “Wo xihuan qiutian” (I love autumn). Here, “wo” means I, “xihuan” means love, and “qiutian” means autumn.
As you see, subject-verb-object order is the same in this sentence. The same goes for both languages.
Also, both have a rich vocabulary for family members and other kinship relations.
For example, the terms “grandfather” and “uncle” differ in Hmong. In the same way, Mandarin has two different ways of addressing one’s father, which rely on the context.
This shows both are very specific languages when expressing family relationships.
5. Vietnamese Share Similar Vocabulary:
Hmong and Vietnamese are two different languages. However, they share a surprising amount of similarity in terms of vocabulary.
Both languages share many words for food and other edible items, as well as numbers and colors. This is likely because both languages have roots in Chinese.
As a result, many of the Hmong and Vietnamese words are very similar. For example, the word “team” means “father” in both languages.
Similarly, there are some common words in both languages. Like, “ba” means “to want” and “bac” means “uncle” in both languages.
Learning and understanding languages become easy when vocabulary is common between languages.
The fact that Hmong is similar to Vietnamese makes it easy for speakers to communicate.
6. Korean And Hmong Values Honorifics:
Although Hmong is not a Korean language, it is similar to Korean in honorifics.
Both have different levels of respect determined by age, social status, and relationships. In Hmong, there are four levels of respect: sappa, yeej, nyob, and paul.
Sappa is for elders and those in authority, while yeej is for adults and peers. In the same way, Nyob is for children and animals, while npauj is for inanimate objects.
Similarly, Korean has six levels of respect. For example, jaemin (재민), seonbi (선비), barame (바라미), someone (어머니), abeonim (아버님), and halmeoni (할머니).
Jaemin is for peers, while seonbi is for adults. Further, Barame refers to children, and someone is for mothers. Similarly, harmony represents grandparents.
As you can see, there is a clear similarity between the two systems of honorifics. They value respect for elders, peers, and children alike.
7. Lao Emphasis On Terms Of Kinship Like Hmong:
Hmong and Lao share many similarities in their terms of kinship. In both cultures, there is a great emphasis on family relationships.
Kinship terms in Lao use the same three levels of respect as Hmong: nyob, yeej and npauj.
Nyob is the most intimate and addresses family members and close friends. On the other hand, Yeej is more formal and addresses older people and those of higher social status.
Similarly, Npauj is the most formal and respectful term of address. It works for strangers or those who have achieved a higher social standing.
Moreover, the single word in both languages refers to brothers and sisters. Further, cousins are distinguished by whether they are on the mother’s or father’s side.
Also, children revere their elders, and parents sacrifice their children’s welfare. All these rules are the same in both languages. Thus, we can say Lao is similar to Hmong.
8. Thai Has Similar Tenses As Hmong:
Tenses help identify the period in which the action or event occurred. Hmong is quite close to Thai terms of tenses.
Thai and Hmong have past, present, and future tenses for verbs to indicate time. In particular, both languages have similar ways of expressing the future tense.
For example, the future tense in Hmong becomes by adding the prefix “nyob” to the verb. While in Thai, you add the suffix “ja” for the same purpose.
Additionally, both languages use compound tenses, which are formed by combining two verbs. For example, Hmong has a compound past tense that need a combination of the verbs “cuaj” and “tsais”.
At the same time, in Thai, the compound past tense needs the verbs “sawd” and “dohn”.
As these examples illustrate, there are many similarities between both in tenses.
9. Zhuang and Hmong Share Similarities In Syntax:
Hmong and Zhuang are two distinct languages but share commonalities in syntax. For example, both languages use topic-comment word order.
This means that the topic of a sentence comes before the comment or clause. It provides additional information about the topic. This is in contrast to languages like English.
Additionally, both Hmong and Zhuang mark reduplication formally. This indicates that certain words need repetition to indicate plurality or intensity.
For instance, the word for ‘book’ in Hmong is ntawv, but if you wanted to say ‘books’, you would say ntawv ntawv.
Therefore, you can learn the basics of the Hmong even if you are familiar with languages like Zhuang or Lao.
10. Mon-Khmer Has Complex Tone System As Hmong:
The Hmong language is part of the Mon-Khmer family of languages, including Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Lao.
Linguists have found many similarities between the languages in this family.
For example, all Mon-Khmer has complex tone systems in which the pitch of a word can change its meaning.
For example, in Hmong, the word for “water” is nyiaj, but if you say it with a high tone, its meaning changes to “village”.
Similarly, in Mon-Khmer word for “rice” is srai, but if you say it with a low tone, its meaning changes to “fish”.
This is similar to how stresses and intonation affect the meaning of words in English.
Besides, Mon-Khmer tends to have small vowel inventories and uses consonant clusters extensively. These features are also found in Hmong.
If you’re interested in learning languages similar to Hmong, This is for you. You can consider Lu Mien, White Hmong, Cantonese, Mandarin, etc.
Some other languages, such as Thai, Lao, Vietnamese and Korean, are also close to it.
They have many similarities in grammar and vocabulary with Hmong. If you already know Hmong, you may find it easier to pick up these languages.
Also, knowing these languages can help provide a deeper understanding of Hmong culture.
Thus, if you start by learning the dialects most closely related to Hmong, it will be easier to learn the others later.
Why not try learning a new language? It could be the best decision you ever make!
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