Maybe you have been thinking of learning Lao for some time. And one morning you just woke up saying ”Alright that’s it, I’m learning Lao today.”
You knew you needed a language learning app so you downloaded the popular language app Babbel right away. You logged in, selected your native language as English, and scrolled through the language courses to select Lao. Scrolling, scrolling…But wait, what’s that? There is no Lao on Babbel! So what now?
Don’t freak out yet! We know two language apps that offer a comprehensive Lao course. If you want to learn Lao, you should consider using Simply Learn or Ling! You can find brief reviews on these apps at the end of this blog post.
Let’s get started with a brief introduction to the Lao language.
What Is Lao?
Lao is a tonal language similar to the other Kra-Dai languages such as Chinese and Vietnamese. Thus, Lao is intelligible with the Thai and Isan languages which also belong to the Tai language family.
Since they are closely related languages, they show only minor differences in their scripts. Also, keep in mind that there are six lexical Lao tones and six Lao dialects that are spoken in different regions of the country.
The Lao alphabet was originally adapted from the Khmer script. Akson Lao has a very similar system to the Thai script as they have common roots. However, Lao has fewer characters and it is written in a more curvilinear style than Thai.
The Lao alphabet has 27 consonants, 7 consonantal ligatures, 33 vowels, and 4 tone marks.
Lao is written from left to right. Vowels can be written above, below, in front of, or behind consonants. Spaces for separating words are not used traditionally.
Where Is The Lao Language Spoken?
The Lao language, also known as Laotian, is the official language of Laos which is a country in Southeast Asia. Currently, Lao is spoken by 30 million native speakers around the world of which 7 million make up the Laos population.
Is Lao An Easy Language To Learn?
If your native language is Thai or any other Southeast Asian language, learning Lao wouldn’t be so difficult for you. Since the Lao script is not very unfamiliar to you.
However, it could be more challenging and difficult to learn for English speakers.
Reasons To Learn Lao
- Laos has a rooted and fascinating history thanks to the numerous kingdoms that dominated the country so far. Also, did you know that 50,000 years old fossils were found in Laos? So, if you’re into history and archeology you must visit Laos!
- If you can speak Thai, then learning Lao shouldn’t be difficult for you! Because they are significantly similar to each other.
- Lao people are so easy-going and warm toward other people. We don’t know for sure if it’s because of the major belief of Theravada Buddhism but we know that family and friends come before anything else for Lao people. You can experience it through the Lao culture once you visit Laos. Everyone is really close to each other and they all look like a part of the family.
We just touched upon a few reasons such as ancient history, culture, and people to learn the Lao language but there are so much more than these. Bumping into Lao people who speak English is not so common so we advise you to know at least the basics of the Lao language to have the best Laos adventure.
Why Is There No Lao Course On Babbel?
Popular language learning apps including Babbel don’t offer a Lao course. With not knowing the exact reason, we have a few possible reasons why there is no Lao on Babbel.
Possible Reason #1: The alphabet contains some errors and bugs in Google’s machine learning algorithm. So Babbel wouldn’t risk it to teach a language with incorrect items.
Possible Reason #2: Making online courses about Lao is expensive because there are very limited content creators in Laos that they can reach out to collaborate.
What Language Apps Teach Lao?
Luckily, there are some language apps, such as Ling App and Simply Learn, that put emphasis on Asian languages including Lao. If your goal is to speak Lao fluently you should definitely start by using one of these apps.
Simply Learn is a flashcard app that teaches vocabulary and phrases. It is great for building and enhancing your Lao vocabulary. However, the app doesn’t offer any grammar or skills lessons.
You can use Simply Learn as a supportive resource for another language learning app that has a comprehensive Lao language course. And it is none other than the Ling App!
Ling is a perfect language app to learn Lao from zero. Ling helps you to go all the way from a total beginner to advanced. You can also improve all four language skills which are reading, writing, listening, and speaking. What are the notable features of Ling?
- You can learn the most commonly used words based on your level.
- You can listen to the audio recorded by native Lao speakers.
- You can practice Lao with mini-games and interactive exercises.
- You can get helpful grammar tips.
- You can experience real-life conversations between two native speakers.
- You can practice your Lao speaking with the AI chatbot.
- You can learn from your native language or you can learn an L3 from your L2.
- You can also benefit from Ling’s Lao blog.
- Both desktop and mobile versions are available.
So, what are you waiting for? Start learning Lao now by downloading the Ling App!