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14 Easy Lao Family Vocabulary You Must Learn Now

March 2, 2022

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Thinking about someone's ຄອບຄົວ or family? People in Laos take family very seriously, which is why this list of Lao family vocabulary is so important. The Lao people are very hospitable and if you find yourself visiting the country, expect to be invited over to someone's house where you'll meet everyone from grandma to the youngest child. Here are a few to get you going: Mother (mae) ແມ່ Father (pho) ພໍ່. Ready to learn more? Let's get started!

Lao Family Vocabulary

EnglishLaoLao Script
Mothermaeແມ່
Fatherphoພໍ່
Childdeknonyເດັກນ້ອຍ
Grandmothermaetuແມ່ຕູ້
Grandfatherphotuພໍ່ຕູ້
Sonluksaiລູກຊາຍ
Daughterluksavລູກສາວ
Unclelungລຸງ
Auntypaປ້າ
Niecelansavຫລານສາວ
Nephewlansaiຫລານຊາຍ
Cousinphinongພີ່ນ້ອງ
Husbandphuaຜົວ
Wifemiaເມຍ

Lao Family Vocabulary

East Asia and Southeast Asia generally have much closer family ties than we can conceive of in the West. Put simply; there is no such thing as a residential old people's home in Laos. Even ties with extended family are important.

Some have described the family unit as the key foundation of social life. It is common to see three or even four generations living under the same roof. Of course, this is more common in the countryside than in the cities, where people have adopted much more of a western mindset. Life can be tough, especially for children in the countryside, because as well as going to school, they are also expected to help out at home. 

Laos is a country with a tragic history. It has faced both communism and colonialism. Unfortunately, that means that many families have lost track of their lineage. Often it can only be traced back 50 years or so.

Because families are so close, there is a certain expectation for older children to take care of their parents in old age. This is one of the reasons that historically, parents preferred boys to girls because, in the old system of Laos, boys had more financial opportunities and could thus take care of their parents better. 

There is still a sharp divide in gender roles, particularly in the countryside, where women are expected to take care of the home and men take care of the farm or find another way to earn money. Again, this had changed much since the 1990s, when capitalist reforms were brought into force.

Lao families have a very patriarchal structure. The eldest man is usually the head of the family. There is still a culture that men are superior to women, and particularly in the countryside, there is still the feeling that having boys is preferred to girls. The distribution of power is also skewed in the direction of men, with most politicians and business leaders being men. It is slightly ironic that communism, a political philosophy that has long been accused of reducing freedom, has actively promoted women's liberation. Lao women are a lot freer than women in large parts of the world.

In the past, there was a history of arranged marriage; however, that was nowhere near the same level as it was in the Middle East. Now, the young are basically free to pick their partners. 

Lao family vocabulary

Birth Rate In Lao

As with almost every country in the world with access to modern amenities, Lao women have fewer children, and there is more emphasis on the nuclear family. In 2019 that number was down to 2.63 births per woman. Compared to other countries in the region it is a little higher. Vietnam has 2.05, and Cambodia has 2.48. 2.63 still sounds a little high compared to Western countries, but it is nothing compared to what it was in Lao's history. Contrast 2.63 in 2019 with 4.3 in 2000 and 6.3 in 1987.

Marriage In Laos

It is relatively simple for two Lao nationals to get married; however, it is difficult for a Lao national to marry a foreigner. The communist government put many obstacles in the way. Both the foreigner and the Lao citizen need to provide 12 different documents as well as passport photos. We don't have time to go into it now, but they include things as strange as a Curriculum Vitae, police clearance, and a medical certificate.

Lao family vocabulary

Learn Lao With Ling

Ling is undoubtedly the best app for learning the Lao language- or any of our other 60 languages. Native speakers record our listening practice, so you know you're learning a genuine accent. We also have a speaking practice where you can practice talking with our chatbot. It is an A.I system also recorded by a native speaker with one of the Lao dialects. It isn't as good as hiring a private tutor, but it's the next best thing.

Our SRS system introduces Lao words to you at spaced intervals, so just as it's sliding out of memory, the vocabulary is refreshed and sinks into your long-term memory.

We also have non-intrusive grammar guides. You study Lao at your own pace. Not forgetting our writing function helps you learn the Lao alphabet, which is crucial in improving your reading. Nail down those Lao consonants and vowels.

This blog is updated weekly and is a useful accompaniment to the lesson plan. Every blog matches a lesson, and you can study everything from useful words and phrases in Lao to hobbies in Lao. Come over and speak this tonal language and get so much more out of your next trip.

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