Author(s): Mark Alves Source: Journal of Vietnamese Studies,
Vol. 1, No. 1-2 (February/August 2006),
pp. 104- 130 Published by: University of California Press Stable

As can be seen by a glance through popular encyclopedias,1 the linguistics community places the Vietnamese language in the Mon-Khmer sub-branch of the Austroasiatic language family, thereby linking Vietnamese in its origins with over 160 languages spoken throughout mainland South[1]east Asia.2 However, there have been opponents of this position, opponents who have proposed different affiliations and who group Vietnamese vari[1]ously with the Austronesian, Tai-Kadai,3 or Chinese4 language groups. What has made the affiliation of Vietnamese with Mon-Khmer difficult to prove with absolute certainty is the rich lexical array of Vietnamese vocabulary that has roots in Austroasiatic, Chinese, Tai-Kadai, and, to a lesser extent, Austronesian.

Furthermore, the linguistic typology of Vietnamese, a mono[1]syllabic and tonal language, makes its Austroasiatic origins even less obvious, as Mon-Khmer languages tend to be bisyllabic and nontonal. Only through application of historical linguistic reconstructive tools can the Mon-Khmer origins of Vietnamese be more clearly demonstrated

Link: Linguistic Research on the Origins of the Vietnamese Language: An Overview