50+ Easy Loan Words In Lao For You!

loan words in Lao

Have you come across certain words in a particular language that make you do a double take because you have heard them in a totally different language? Ever wondered how languages evolve and incorporate words from other cultures? In our fascinating article – Loan Words in Lao – we’ll take you on a delightful journey through the intriguing world of language borrowing.

The Lao language, spoken by millions in Laos and surrounding regions, has a rich history of interaction with neighboring cultures and international influences. We’ll explore how loan words from languages like Thai, Sanskrit, Pali, and French have seamlessly integrated into Lao over time, adding unique flavors and expressions to the already vibrant linguistic tapestry. So, whether you’re a language enthusiast, a traveler, or simply curious about the diverse nature of languages, this article is sure to pique your interest and leave you with a deeper appreciation for the beauty of linguistic diversity. Let’s dive in!

What Are Loan Words?

Loan words, also known as borrowed words, are terms adopted from one language into another, enriching the receiving language’s vocabulary with foreign influences. When cultures interact through trade, colonization, or other means, words from one language often find their way into another. But before we talk about that, let’s get acquainted with the Lao language.

The Lao Language

Lao, predominantly spoken in Laos and parts of neighboring countries, is a member of the Tai-Kadai language family. Thai, Shan, and Zuang are some other examples of the Tai-Kadai languages. It is a tonal language with six tones and shares a lot of similarities with Thai, especially with Lao consonants and vowels.

Laotians speak a number of Lao dialects. However, the standard Lao, or Vientiane Lao, is considered the official language of Laos. Lao Kao is another name for this language. Further, the Lao script, derived from ancient Khmer, is written from left to right and displays a beautiful calligraphic style.

loan words in Lao

The History Of Foreign Influences: Loan Words In Lao

The history of the Lao language is a fascinating tale of cultural exchange and foreign influences that have shaped its evolution over the centuries. Situated in Southeast Asia, Laos has been at the crossroads of various civilizations and trade routes, leading to a rich blend of linguistic interactions.

Loan Words From Pali & Sanskrit

One of the earliest influences on the Lao language came from the ancient Indian civilization, particularly through the spread of Buddhism. Sanskrit introduced a plethora of religious and philosophical terms to the Lao lexicon. Many Sanskrit loanwords are still used in Lao today, especially in religious contexts.

In the 14th century, the Lao kingdom of Lan Xang (the Land of a Million Elephants) emerged, which further facilitated interactions with neighboring cultures. The Lao royalty and elite adopted Pali, another Indian language used for Buddhist scriptures, and this influence further enriched the Lao vocabulary.

EnglishLaoRoman TranscriptionBorrowed FromRoman Transcription
Agreement/ PactກະຕິກາKa ti kāPaliKatikā
StoryກະຖາKa thāPaliKathā
AgricultureກະສິກຳKa si kamPali/ SanskritKasikamma/ Kṛṣikarman
Sports/ PlayກິລາKi lāPaliKīḷā
MomentຂະນະKha naPali/ SanskritKhaṇa/ Kṣaṇa
Group of peopleຄະນະGa naPali/ SanskritGaṇa
TeacherຄູKhūPali/ SanskritGuru
Frangipani flowerຈຳປາCham pāPali/ SanskritCampaka
TongueຊິວຫາSiu hāPaliJivhā
loan words in Lao

French Loan Words In Lao

During the 19th and 20th centuries, Laos became a French protectorate, bringing about a significant French influence. French introduced a new wave of loanwords, particularly in administrative, educational, and culinary domains.

EnglishLaoRoman TranscriptionFrench
Coffeeກາ​ເຟKa feCafé
ChocolateໂຊໂກລາSō kō lāChocolat
Ice CreamກະແລັມKa læmCrème
CassetteກາແຊັດKa saedCassette
CementຊີມັງSī mangCiment
Petanque (lawn bowling)ເປຕອງPē tǭngPétanque
NecktieກາລະວັດKā la watCravate
KilometersກິໂລແມັດKi lō mætKilomètres
ConsulກົງສຸນKong sunConsul
Box/ ChestແກັດKætCaisse
Croissantຄົວຊ່ອງKhūa sǭngCroissant
Mouse (computer)ຊູລີSū līSouris
WhaleບາແລນBā lǣnBaleine
BilliardsບີຢາBī yāBillard
Buffetບຸບເຟ່Bup fēBuffet
BelgiumແບນຊິກBǣn sikBelgique
Programໂປຣກຣາມ Pō kāmProgramme
PostmanຟັກເຕີFak tœ̄Facteur
Money orderມັງດາMang dāMandat
RadarລາດາLā dāRadar
LithuaniaລີຕົວນີLī tūa nīLituanie
LuxembourgລຸກຊຳບົວLuk sam būaLuxembourg
SoftwareໂລຊີຊີແອນLō sī sī ʼǣnLogiciel
CarriageວາກົງWā kongWagon

Loan Words From Thai

Due to geographical proximity and cultural ties, Thai has heavily influenced the Lao language. Many Lao words related to food, clothing, and everyday life have been borrowed from Thai.

EnglishLaoRoman TranscriptionThaiRoman Transcription
Breakfastເຂົ້າເຊົ້າKhao saoข้าวเช้าKâao-cháao

Wrap Up

In recent times, the global dominance of English has also left its mark on Lao. English loanwords have entered the language in fields like business, technology, and entertainment.

The history of foreign influences on the Lao language stands as a testament to the nation’s cultural openness and adaptability, reflecting the rich tapestry of Laos’ linguistic heritage. However, despite these foreign influences, the Lao language has retained its unique identity.

loan words in Lao

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