Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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Tai Dam [blt] is a Southwestern Tai (< Kra-Dai) language spoken in Vietnam, Laos, China, and Thailand with approximately 750,000 speakers (Simons & Fennig 2017). The Tai Viet script has been used for centuries to write Tai Dam and other Tai languages. Because the Tai Viet script is not taught in schools, however, some Tai Dam readers prefer to use adaptations of the Vietnamese and Lao orthographies for writing Tai Dam. This paper describes Tai Dam orthographies in the Tai Viet, Lao, and Roman scripts. Particular focus is given to the way writers have faced the challenge of tonal mismatch between Tai Dam and Vietnamese or Lao by borrowing tone marking devices from one script to another, and to the sociolinguistic implications of these tone marking systems.


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