You need to know the Colors in Lao if you're going to m1ake progress with the language. Let's start with the most basic, the three primary colors, which are 1. Red (siaedng) ສີແດງ 2. Yellows (si heoung) ສີເຫຼືອງ 3. Blue (sifa) ສີຟ້າ
|Dark Green||sikhiav khem||ສີຂຽວເຂັ້ມ|
|Dark Blue||si fa aek||ສີຟ້າແກ່|
|Light Green||sikhiav n||ສີຂຽວອ່ອນ|
|Light Blue||sifa n||ສີຟ້າອ່ອນ|
The designs of most flags are often as complicated as the history of the country itself. For example, the original Lao flag depicts the French national colors(tri-color) along with an elephant that represents its nickname: the land of a million elephants.
When the French were removed from power in 1975 and the Pathet Lao took over, they changed the official flag.
Designed by Maha Sila Viravong (A Lao nationalist), the white central disk represents unity. It is also thought the white disk represents the full moon as seen over the Mekong River.
As you might have guessed, the red stripe symbolizes blood, and the blue symbolizes the Mekong river. It is not surprising that such precedence is placed on the Mekong River, considering how important historically it has been for the economy of Laos. (The blue band is sandwiched in the middle of the red bands because the freedom fighters straddled both sides of the river).
Sidenote: The Mekong River is also vital to China, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. In the works currently are projects as wide-ranging as hydropower stations, gigantic fisheries, and large-scale industrial expansion, all using the river's power. There is great fear from the likes of the WWF that the river will be exploited, leaving poor people out of pocket.
Northern Laos, in particular, is famous for its red soil. It is very noticeable on the mountain roads between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. The buses and lorries fly over the dirt tracks and kick up a cloud of red dust that coats everything in its path, people and buildings included.
The soil is red because of its high iron content and is a nightmare to get out of your clothes when it rains, almost having the same consistency as the paste used to make an Indian bindi.
The good thing about red soil(acrisol) is that it is perfect for growing rice crops. However, because of its slow drainage capacity, it becomes swampy: hence why there are so many mosquitos in Laos.
Fun Language Fact: The word mal-aria is Italian for 'bad air.' Early explorers of Laos and the rest of South-East Asia thought the disease was caused by the humid air that cloaked the jungle. It wasn't until the late part of the 19th century that British and French doctors linked mosquitos and the parasites the mosquitos carried.
70% of Lao's landmass consists of red soil, which is a crazy number when you consider acrisol makes up just 8% of the world's surface.
The second most obvious thing that strikes you about the color palette of Lao is the verdure vegetation- a miasma of greens that take your breath away. In research carried out in 2011, it was estimated that 40% of Laos was forested.
However, it would be very surprised if the number is still so high because of the amount of illegal logging that has gone on in the country over the last ten years.
A report released in 2015 showed that illegal exports to neighboring countries were 1.4 million cubic meters(the official harvest is 140,000 cubic meters). Most of this illegal wood is going to China, and China is also responsible for the new roads, dams, and mines that are seeing virgin forests being cut down. For more information have a look at this report from the EIA.
Let's start with Simply Learn- a free Lao language phrasebook. Phrases are presented to you in phonetic as well as Lao script. (Don't worry, it is a native Lao person speaking). This is ideal for anyone traveling in Laos and needs an emergency guide, whether in a bar, the back of a taxi, checking in at a hotel, or going to look for the giant national flag in Vientiane.
Of course, our crowning jewel is the Ling language app. We've painstakingly put together an entire course to take you from Lao zero to Lao hero.
This is the closest thing you will find to a magic bullet for language learning. It should be the cornerstone of your efforts(particularly a language with a non-Latin script). We have Lao script practice on our app- something that gets you well on the way to learning the alphabet and then reading in your target language.
For me, the Ling app keeps me accountable. In the past, I would buy a textbook the size of an old-fashioned dictionary, and it would end up being only good for a doorstop. There is something invaluable about having an app on your phone that sends you a daily reminder to put those minutes in!
Not only this but being a member of a language learning community also keeps you coming back for more(there is a Ling community forum edit where you can post any general questions or questions related to your language). Not forgetting our weekly blog that talks all things Lao, including the last 2 weeks posts: Cheers in Lao and Introduce yourself in Lao
Keep up the good work, language learners.
Until the next time