Language Contact : Thai and Lao Languages of Laos

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Rattana Chanthao


The phenomenon of language contact is occurring around the world in the era of globalization. This article proposes that changes in the contact of the Lao people with the Thai language in three periods are related to the changes in Lao society. In the first period, there was not much language contact since Laos was closed from the outside during the country’s reconstruction. In the next period, it mostly appears in word level or code-mixing. In the last period, there is an increase in language contact at the code-switching level as a result of the open-door policy and free trade, both of which bring many Thais to Laos as tourists and business people. The key factors of language contact are the important role of the Thai mass media in Lao society, communication between people of the two countries, and the growth of the economic system as well as tourism. This phenomenon occurs in both Lao PDR and Thailand, particularly in border areas.


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How to Cite
Chanthao, R. (2013). Language Contact : Thai and Lao Languages of Laos. Journal of Mekong Societies, 7(3), 121–134. Retrieved from