Dong, Southern

A language of China

ISO 639-3: kmc

Population 1,000,000. 68% of the 1,463,000 Dong speakers speak Southern Dong.
Region Area where southeastern Guizhou (Yuping Autonomous County), western Hunan, and northern Guangxi provinces meet, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, 20 contiguous counties.
Alternate names   Kam, Gam, Tong, Tung, Tung-Chia
Dialects Close to Mulam. Lexical similarity 93% within Southern 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 view it as superior to Hmong, but inferior to Chinese. Speakers of Northern Dong are more bilingual than those of Southern Dong. Speakers use Mandarin for literature.
Language development Magazines. Dictionary.


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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. Agriculturalists: wet rice, rape, wheat, maize, tung oil, tea oil; forestry. Polytheist.