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Pahawh Hmong alphabet Pahawh Hmong

The Pahawh Hmong alphabet was invented in 1959 by Shong Lue Yang (Shong Lue Yang's name in the Pahawh Hmong alphabet), an illiterate Hmong farmer living in northern Laos close to the border with Vietnam. Shong Lue Yang believed that the alphabet was revealed to him by God, a belief shared by many among the Hmong.

Shong Lue Yang and his followers worked uncessingly to improve and disseminate his alphabet, and to bring about a revival of Hmong culture. In 1971 he was assassinated by government troops who were worried about his increasing influence.

Shong Lue Yang also created an alphabet for the Khmu language (a member of the Mon-Khmer family), but it never caught on and soon disappeared.

Notable features

Used to write

Hmong, a Hmong-Mien language spoken by about 2.6 million people in China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, USA, and French Guiana. There are two major varieties of Hmong: White Hmong (Hmoob Dawb) and Green/Blue Hmong (Moob Leeg/Hmoob Ntsuab), which are named after the traditional colours worn by women of the different groups.

Pahawh Hmong alphabet

Each syllable is written with three symbols: a rime, a tone marker and an onset. When reading, the onset comes first. The tone markers appear above the onsets. If there is no tone marker, the syllable has a middle tone. If there is no onset marker, the syllble begins with k. A null-onset marker is used to indicate syllables without an onset.

Here are some examples of how the syllables of the name of this script, Pahawh Hmong or Phajhauj Hmoob, are structured:

Example of how the syllables of Pahawh Hmong are structered

RPA = Romanized Popular Alphabet - see the Hmong language page for details.

Rimes

Hmong rimes

Onsets and tone markers

Hmong onsets and tone markers

Numerals

Hmong vowels

Hear these numbers:

Download script charts for Pahawh Hmong (Excel)

Sample text in the Pahawh Hmong alphabet

Hmong sample text

Sample video in Hmong

This is an introduction to the Pahawh Hmong alphabet in Hmong

Information about Hmong | Phrases | Tower of Babel in Blue Hmong, White Hmong and Iu Mien | Hmong books

Links

Information about the Hmong language and people
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hmong_language
http://www.lmp.ucla.edu/Profile.aspx?LangID=195&menu=004
http://www.hmongnet.org
http://www.sytra.cn/hmong-translation-services.html
http://www.evertype.com/standards/iso10646/pdf/hmong.pdf

Online Hmong dictionary
http://www.HmongDictionary.com

Pahawh Hmong fonts
http://www.reocities.com/jglavy/hmong.html

Hmong Language Institute of Minnesotta
http://www.pahauhhmong.org

Hmong Nationality Archives
http://www.hmongarchives.org

Center for Hmong Studies, Concordia University, Saint Paul
http://www.csp.edu/hmongcenter/

Hmong-Mien languages

A-Hmao, Dananshan Miao, Hmong, Hmong Dau, Hmong Njau, Hmu, Iu Mien, Luobohe Miao, Mashan Miao, Qo Xiong

Syllabic alphabets / abugidas


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