Want To Learn Lao?
Laos, a country with a long history tied together with that of it neighbors, is seen by many to be ‘off the beaten track’. The country has a real charm that simply cannot be found anywhere else. So what is it that makes this country tick? One interesting aspect is the language, Lao. What is like to learn Lao and is it worth learning?
The Lao language shares very close ties with Thai, sharing a large amount of grammar and vocabulary. In particular, the Isaan dialect of Thai is mostly identical. However, it does make use of its own script, the Lao script, which differs from that in Thailand. All in all, there are about 30 million speakers of Lao, including those in neighboring Thailand and Cambodia.
As a tonal language, there are six different tones used in Lao. There is no grammatical gender or declension, so concepts like tense are revealed through the use of time referencing words. Classifiers are used extensively as a way to show plurality, like in the Thai language. In terms of word order, Lao follows the SVO structure.
Many people will see the similarities between Thai and Lao, and ultimately opt to learn Thai due to its wider use. This is unfortunate, as the Lao language is unique and rich in culture. In addition, learning Lao will aid you in Thailand if you plan to explore the Northeastern Isaan region. It is definitely worthwhile to learn Lao, and locals will be very happy to hear you at least give it a try.