Kam (lix Gaeml)

Kam is a Tai-Kadai language spoken by about 1.5 million people in Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi provinces of China. It is a member of the Kam-Sui branch of the Tai-Kadai language family, and is also known as Gam, or 侗语 (dòngyǔ) in Chinese.

There are two mutually unintelligible dialects of Kam which are classified as separate languages by some linguists. The northern dialect includes more loanwords from Chinese and many speakers are bilingual in Kam and Chinese. The southern dialect has more speakers and more of them are monolingual.

The Kam spelling system was devised by Chinese government researchers in 1958. It is used mainly by those researchers and by a few hundred Kam speakers.

Kam alphabet and pronunciation

Kam alphabet and pronunciation

Tones

Kam has nine tones: open syllables (those ending in a vowel) can have nine different tones, and closed syllables (those ending in a consonant) can have six different tones. Tones are indicated by final consonants, for example bal (fish) and bedl (duck) have a high tone, while bas (aunt) and bads (can) have a dipping tone.

Kam tone indication

The last three tones are only used with open syllables.

Tower of Babel in Kam

Links

Information about the Kam language and people
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kam_language
http://www.dongteam.org/info.html
http://www.omf.org/omf/us/peoples_and_places/people_groups/dong_of_china

Tai-Kaidai languages

Ahom, Bouyei, Dehong Dai, Kam, Lanna, Lao, Lue, Shan, Tai Dam, Thai, Zhuang




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