Hmong Varieties

The standard dialect of Hmong is Western Hmong, a group of dialects spoken in southwestern China, Northern Vietnam, Northern Thailand, and Laos. The dialects that comprise this group are White Hmong (Hmong Daw) and Green/Blue Hmong (Hmong Njua). Of the two, White Hmong is perhaps the more dominant dialect. This is reflected in the fact that the Hmong orthography most closely reflects the pronunciation of the White Hmong dialect. In addition, the number of published White Hmong dictionaries considerably surpasses that of the Green/Blue Hmong dialect. Nonetheless, both White and Green/Blue Hmong dialects are mutually intelligible, the predominant differences between the two being in the pronunciation/phonology and lexicon (i.e. whether the bulk of the dialects loans come from Tai or Chinese). Although White and Green/Blue Hmong are mutually intelligible, there is a fair amount of variation between these and other dialects of Western Hmong and the over twenty other dialects of the language. In these cases, the variation observed is limited not just to the phonology, but to aspects of the syntax and morphology as well. As such, the degree of intelligibility across these dialects is considerably lower.

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