Dong, Northern

A language of China

ISO 639-3: doc

Population 463,000 in China (2003).
Region Area where southeastern Guizhou (Yuping Autonomous County), western Hunan, and northern Guangxi provinces meet, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, 20 contiguous counties. Also spoken in Viet Nam.
Alternate names   Kam, Gam, Tong, Tung, Tung-Chia
Dialects Zhanglu speech in Rongjiang County, Guizhou Province is the standard variety. Reported to be close to Mulam. Lexical similarity 80% within Northern Dong, 71% between Northern Dong and Southern Dong. Lexical similarity 49% with Northern Zhuang, 46% with Laka, 29% with Laqua, 28% with Buyang, 26% with Hlai, 24% with Gelo, 22% with Lati, 6% with Hmong, 4% with Mien.
Classification Tai-Kadai, Kam-Tai, Kam-Sui
Language use Vigorous. All domains. All ages. Speakers of Northern Dong are more bilingual than are those in Southern Dong. Speakers use Mandarin for literature.
Language development Literacy rate in second language: 55%. Dictionary. Grammar.


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Part of the Dong nationality. 'Kam' is their own name, 'Dong' is the Chinese name. Traditional way of life is relatively undisturbed. Tonal, 9 tones. Mountain slope. 500 to 1,000 meters. Agriculturalists: rice, tung oil, tea oil; forestry. Polytheist.