Lao character notes

Updated Wed 15 Oct 2014 • tags lao, scriptnotes

This page lists characters in the following Unicode block and provides information about them.

This is not authoritative, peer-reviewed information – these are just notes I have gathered and copied from various places.

For a summary of the script and its use in writing systems, see the page Lao script summary. For similar information related to other scripts, see this list.

We have usage data for the following language that uses the Lao script: Lao.

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Information about languages that use these characters is taken from the list maintained for the Character Use app. The list is not exhaustive.

References are indicated by superscript characters. Wherever possible, those contain direct links to the source material. When such a pointer is alongside an arrow → it means that it's worth following the link for the additional information it provides. Digits refer to the main sources, which are listed at the bottom of a set of notes.

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Consonants

U+0E81 LAO LETTER KO

Mid class consonant

Lao ກ ໄກ່ kɔː kāi k

Same sound as initial and final, eg. ໄກ່ aʲk̯¹ kāi chicken.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p52, Wikipedia

U+0E82 LAO LETTER KHO SUNG

High class consonant

Lao ຂ ໄຂ່ kʰɔ̌ː kʰāi kʰ, x

Syllable-initial only, eg. ໄຂ່ aʲkʰ¹ kʰāi egg

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p100, Wikipedia

U+0E84 LAO LETTER KHO TAM

Low class consonant ḵʰ

Lao ຄ ຄວາຢ kʰɔ́ː kʷʰáːj kʰ, x

Syllable-initial only, eg. ຄວາຢ ḵʰw̱āy̯ kʷʰáːj water buffalo.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0E87 LAO LETTER NGO

Low class consonant ŋ̱

Lao ງ ງົວ ŋɔ́ː ŋúə ŋ

Same sound as both initial and final, eg. ງົວ ŋ̱ow̱ ŋúə snake.

A preceding silent h ຫງ changes the default tone to high.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p52, Wikipedia

U+0E88 LAO LETTER CO

Mid class consonant c

Lao ຈ ຈອກ ɔ̀ː tɕɔ̏ːk

Syllable-initial only, eg. ຈອກ cʔk̯ tɕɔ̏ːk glass.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p29, Wikipedia

U+0E8D LAO LETTER NYO

Low class consonant ɲ̱

Lao ຍ ຍຸງ ɲɔ́ː ɲúŋ ɲ, -j

ɲ initially; j finally, eg. ຍຸງ ɲ̱uŋ̱ ɲúŋ mosquito.

A preceding silent h ຫຍ changes the default tone to high.

Used as a component in the following vowels:

ia ເ-ັຍະ and ເ-ັຍ

iːa ເ-ຍ and ເ-ັຍ

Used at the end of the following vowel sounds ending with j:

aːj -າຍ

əːj ເ-ີຍ

oːj ໂ-ຍ

ɔːj -ອຍ

uj -ຸຍ

uaj -ວຍ

ɯaj ເ-ືອຍ

 

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0E95 LAO LETTER TO

Mid class consonant

Lao ຕ ຕາ tɔ̀ː tàː t

Syllable-initial only, eg. ຕາ t̯ā tàː eye.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p29, Wikipedia

U+0E96 LAO LETTER THO SUNG

High class consonant

Lao ຖ ຖົງ tʰɔ̌ː tʰǒŋ

Syllable-initial only, eg. ຖົງ tʰoŋ̱ tʰǒŋ stocking.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p100, Wikipedia

U+0E97 LAO LETTER THO TAM

Low class consonant ṯʰ

Lao ທ ທຸງ tʰɔ́ː tʰúŋ

Syllable-initial only, eg. ທຸງ ṯʰuŋ̱ tʰúŋ flag.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0E94 LAO LETTER DO

Mid class consonant

Lao ດ ເດັກ dɔ̀ː dék d, -t

d initially; t finally, eg. ເດັກ ēd̯äk̯ dék child.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p29, Wikipedia

U+0E99 LAO LETTER NO

Low class consonant

Lao ນ ນົກ nɔ́ː nōk n

Same sound as initial and final, eg. ນົກ ṉok̯ nōk bird.

A preceding silent h ຫນ changes the default tone to high.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0E9B LAO LETTER PO

Mid class consonant

Lao ປ ປາ pɔ̀ː paː p

Syllable-initial only, eg. ປາ p̯ā paː fish.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p29, Wikipedia

U+0E9C LAO LETTER PHO SUNG

High class consonant

Lao ຜ ເຜິ້ງ pʰɔ̌ː pʰɤ̏ŋ

Syllable-initial only, eg. ເຜິ້ງ ēpʰi²ŋ̱ pʰɤ̏ŋ bee.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p100, Wikipedia

U+0E9E LAO LETTER PHO TAM

Low class consonant p̱ʰ

Lao ພ ພູ pʰɔ́ː pʰúː

Syllable-initial only, eg. ພູ p̱ʰū pʰúː mountain.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0E9A LAO LETTER BO

Mid class consonant

Lao ບ ແບ້ bɔ̀ː bɛ̑ː b, -p

b initially; p finally, eg. ແບ້ ɛ̄b̯² bɛ̑ː goat.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p29, Wikipedia

U+0EA1 LAO LETTER MO

Low class consonant

Lao ມ ແມວ mɔ́ː mɛ́ːw m

Same sound as initial and final, eg. ແມວ ɛ̄m̱w̱ mɛ́ːw cat.

A preceding silent h ຫມ changes the default tone to high.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0EA5 LAO LETTER LO LOOT

Low class consonant

Lao ລ ລີງ lɔ́ː líːŋ l

l initially; n finally, eg. ລີງ ḻīŋ̱ líːŋ monkey.

A preceding silent h ຫລ changes the default tone to high.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0EA2 LAO LETTER YO

Mid class consonant

Lao ຢ ຢາ jɔ̀ː jaː j

Same sound as initial and final, eg. ຢາ y̯ā jaː medecine.

A conjunct form related etymologically to the Thai อย.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p29, 176, Wikipedia

U+0EA3 LAO LETTER LO LING

% LAO LETTER RO
= ro rot
• name is a mistake, lo ling is the mnemonic for 0EA5

Obsolete low class consonant

Lao ຣະຄັງ rākʰáŋ r, l, -n

r, l as initial, -n as final, eg. ຣະຄັງ ṟaḵʰäŋ̱ rākʰáŋ bell.

Officially removed from the alphabet by the Ministry of Education, it is still used occasionally to transliterate Indic or other foreign words into Lao, eg. ຝຣັ່ງ [flaŋ] foreigner. It is generally used to represent the letter 'r': the sound [r] no longer exists in Lao.

General sources: Daniels p461-2, Simmala p248, Wikipedia

U+0EA7 LAO LETTER WO

Low class consonant

Lao ວ ວີ vɔ́ː víː ʋ, w, -w

eg. ວີ w̱ī víː fan.

A preceding silent h ຫວ changes the default tone to high.

Used as a component in the following vowels:

ua -ົວະ or -ົວ

ua -ັວ- or -ວ-

uaj -ວຍ

Used at the end of the following vowel sounds ending with w:

aːw -າວ

eːw ເ-ວ

ɛːw ແ-ວ

iw -ິວ

iaw -ຽວ

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0EAB LAO LETTER HO SUNG

High class consonant h

Lao ຫ ຫ່ານ hɔ̌ː hāːn h

Syllable-initial only, eg. ຫ່ານ h¹āṉ hāːn goose.

This is used (silently) before the following initial consonants to change their default tone value: ລມນງຍວ.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p100, Wikipedia

U+0EAE LAO LETTER HO TAM

Low class consonant

Lao ຮ ເຮືອນ hɔ́ː hɯ́ːən h

Syllable-initial only, eg. ເຮືອນ ēẖɯ̄ʔṉ hɯ́ːən house.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0EAA LAO LETTER SO SUNG

High class consonant s

Lao ສ ເສືອ sɔ̌ː sɯ̌ːə s

Syllable-initial only, eg. ເສືອ ēsɯ̄ʔ sɯ̌ːə tiger.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p100, Wikipedia

U+0E8A LAO LETTER SO TAM

Low class consonant

Lao ຊ ຊ້າງ sɔ́ː sâːŋ s

Syllable-initial only, eg. ຊ້າງ s̱²āŋ̱ sâːŋ elephant.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0E9D LAO LETTER FO TAM

% LAO LETTER FO FON
= fo fa
• name is a mistake for fo sung

High class consonant f

Lao ຝ ຝົນ fɔ̌ː fǒn f

Syllable-initial only, eg. ຝົນ foṉ fǒn rain.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p100, Wikipedia

U+0E9F LAO LETTER FO SUNG

% LAO LETTER FO FAY
• name is a mistake for fo tam

Low class consonant

Lao ຟ ໄຟ fɔ́ː fáj f

Syllable-initial only, eg. ໄຟ aʲf̱ fáj fire.

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0EAD LAO LETTER O

Mid class consonant ʔ

Lao ອ ໂອ ɔ̀ː ʔòː ʔ

Used to support vowels when there is no syllable initial consonant, eg. ໂອ ōʔ ʔòː bowl.

Used as a vowel after a base consonant, eg. ຈອກ cʔk̯ tɕɔ̏ːk glass.

Also used as part of the following vowels:

oːj -ັອ-

ɔːj -ອຍ

ɯa ເ-ຶອ

ɯaj ເ-ືອຍ

ɯːa ເ-ືອ

General sources: Daniels p461-2, Simmala p29, Wikipedia

Consonants for Khmu

U+0EDE LAO LETTER KHMU GO

U+0EDF LAO LETTER KHMU NYO

Vowels

Prescript vowels

U+0EC0 LAO VOWEL SIGN E

Prescript long vowel ē

Lao

Also used in the following vowels:

aw ເ-ົາ

aːw ເ-ົາ

e ເ-ະ or ເ-ັ- (short)

eːw ເ-ວ

ə ເ-ຶ (short)

əː ເ-ີ (long)

əːj ເ-ີຍ

ia ເ-ັຍ or ເ-ັຍະ (short)

iːa ເ-ຍ or ເ-ັຍ or ເ-ຽ (long)

ɔ ເ-າະ (short)

ɯa ເ-ຶອ (short)

ɯa ເ-ືອຍ (short)

ɯːa ເ-ືອ (long)

General sources: Danielsp462-464, Simmalap52, 73-74, Wikipedia

U+0EC1 LAO VOWEL SIGN EI

Prescript long vowel ɛ̄

Lao ɛː

Also used in the following vowels:

ɛːw ແ-ວ eg. ແລ້ວ lɛ̀ːw (to finish).

ɛw ແ-ວ eg. ແຂ້ວ kʰɛ̀w (tooth).

ɛ ແ-ະ or ແ-ັ- (short)

General sources: Danielsp462-464, Simmala p52, Wikipedia

U+0EC2 LAO VOWEL SIGN O

Prescript long vowel ō

Lao

Also used in the following vowels:

oːj ໂ-ຍ

o ໂ-ະ (short)

General sources: Danielsp462-464, Simmala p52, Wikipedia

U+0EC3 LAO VOWEL SIGN AY

Prescript long vowel äʲ

Lao ໄມ້ມ້ວນ mâj muân aj

General sources: Danielsp462-464, Simmala p73, Wikipedia

U+0EC4 LAO VOWEL SIGN AI

Prescript long vowel

Lao ໄມ້ມາຽ mâj máːj aj

General sources: Danielsp462-464, Simmala p73, Wikipedia

Other vowels

U+0EB0 LAO VOWEL SIGN A

Short vowel a

Lao aʔ, a

Also used as an indication of shortness in the following syllable-final short vowels:

e ເ-ະ

ɛ ແ-ະ

ia ເ-ັຍະ

o ໂ-ະ

ɔ ເ-າະ

ua -ົວະ

General sources: Daniels p461, Simmala p123, Wikipedia

U+0EB1 LAO VOWEL SIGN MAI KAN

Short vowel ä

Lao ໄມ້ກັນ mâj kàn aʔ, a

a, used when the syllable has a final consonant.

Also used to produce the following vowels:

e ເ-ັ- (short)

ɛ ແ-ັ- (short)

ia ເ-ັຍ (short)

ia ເ-ັຍະ (short)

ia -ັຽ-

ɔ -ັອ-

ua -ັວ-

General sources: Daniels p462-464, Simmala p195, Wikipedia

U+0EB2 LAO VOWEL SIGN AA

Long vowel ā

Lao

eg. ສາມ sām̱ sam three.

Also used in the following vowels:

aw ເ-ົາ

aːj -າຍ

aːw ເ-ົາ or -າວ

ɔ ເ-າະ (short)

General sources: Daniels p462-464, Simmala p52, 73-74, Wikipedia

U+0EB3 LAO VOWEL SIGN AM

Long vowel aᵐ

Lao am

General sources: Daniels p462-464, Simmala p73, Wikipedia

U+0EB4 LAO VOWEL SIGN I

Short vowel i

Lao i

Also used in the following vowels:

iw -ິວ

General sources: Daniels p462-464, Simmala p52, 74, Wikipedia

U+0EB5 LAO VOWEL SIGN II

Long vowel ī

Lao

Also used in the following vowels:

əː ເ-ີ (long)

əːj ເ-ີຍ

General sources: Daniels p462-464, Simmala p52, 73-74, Wikipedia

U+0EB6 LAO VOWEL SIGN Y

Short vowel ɯ

Lao ɯ

Also used in the following vowels:

ə ເ-ຶ (short)

ɯa ເ-ຶອ (short)

General sources: Daniels p462-464, Simmala p52, 73-74, Wikipedia

U+0EB7 LAO VOWEL SIGN YY

Long vowel ɯ̄

Lao ɯː

Also used in the following vowels:

ɯːa ເ-ືອ (short)

ɯaj ເ-ືອຍ

General sources: Daniels p462-464, Simmala p52, 73-74, Wikipedia

U+0EB8 LAO VOWEL SIGN U

Short vowel u

Lao u

Also used in the following vowel:

ui -ຸຍ

General sources: Daniels p462-464, Simmala p52, 73-74, Wikipedia

U+0EB9 LAO VOWEL SIGN UU

Long vowel ū

Lao

General sources: Daniels p462-464, Simmala p52, Wikipedia

U+0EBB LAO VOWEL SIGN MAI KON

Short vowel o

Lao ໄມ້ກົງ mâj kòŋ oʔ, o

o, used when the syllable has a final consonant.

Also used to produce the following vowels:

aw ເ-ົາ

aːw ເ-ົາ

ua -ົວະ (short)

ua -ົວ (long)

General sources: Daniels p462-464, Simmala p195, Wikipedia

U+0ECD LAO NIGGAHITA

Long vowel ɔ̄

Lao ນິກຄະຫິດ nīk kʰā hǐt ɔː

General sources: Daniels p462-464, Simmala p52, Wikipedia

U+0EBD LAO SEMIVOWEL SIGN NYO

Description in the Unicode standard:

= nyo fyang

Vowel iᵊ

Lao ວິຣາມ vī ráːm iːə

Originally an alternate form of non-initial ɲɔ́ː ɲúŋ , this character is now used for diphthongs.

It appears in the following vowels:

ia -ັຽ-

ia ເ-ຽ

ia -ຽ-

iaw -ຽວ

General sources: Daniels p462, Simmala p73-74, Wikipedia

Various signs

U+0EAF LAO ELLIPSIS

Lao symbol

Used to indicate ellipsis or abbreviation.

U+0EBC LAO SEMIVOWEL SIGN LO

High class subjoined consonant

Lao l

Represents the consonant [U+0EA5 LAO LETTER LO LOOT] when following a silent h (ie. ຫຼ). This sequence changes the consonant class of lɔ́ː líŋ to high.

The sequence can also be written ຫລ.

General sources: Daniels p462, Simmala p176, Wikipedia

U+0ECC LAO CANCELLATION MARK

Repetition mark

U+0EC6 LAO KO LA

Repetition mark @

Lao ເຄ່ຶອງໝາຍຊ້ຳ kʰɯaŋ-mǎːj-sâm̀

Indicates repetition of preceding sound.

Also used in ໆລໆ kʰɯaŋ-mǎːj-lɛ-ɯːn-ɯːn (ເຄຶ່ອງໝາຍ ແລະອຶ່ນໆ), with a meaning similar to etc.

Tone marks

U+0EC8 LAO TONE MAI EK

Tone mark ¹

Lao ໄນ້ເອກ mâj eːk̀

Used with any consonant class. Produces a mid tone.

General sources: Daniels p464-465, Simmala p13,28, 35, 36, 121, 161, Wikipedia

U+0EC9 LAO TONE MAI THO

Tone mark ²

Lao ໄນ້ໂທ mâj toː ̂

Used with any consonant class. Produces a high falling tone with class 1 and 3 consonants, but low falling with class 2.

General sources: Daniels p464-465, Simmala p13,28, 35, 36, 121, 161, Wikipedia

U+0ECA LAO TONE MAI TI

Tone mark ³

Lao ໄນ້ຕີ mâj tiː ́

Used with any class 1 consonants. Produces a high falling tone.

General sources: Daniels p464-465, Simmala p13,28, 35, 36, 121, 161, Wikipedia

U+0ECB LAO TONE MAI CATAWA

Tone mark

Lao ໄນ້ຈັດຕະວາ mâj cat-ta-waː ̌

Used with any class 1 consonants. Produces a low rising tone.

General sources: Daniels p464-465, Simmala p13,28, 35, 36, 121, 161, Wikipedia

Digraphs

U+0EDC LAO HO NO

Digraph consonant n

Lao n

eg. ໜຶ່ງ nɯ¹ŋ̱ nueng one.

A ligature representing + [U+0EAB LAO LETTER HO SUNG + U+0E99 LAO LETTER NO]. This sequence changes the consonant class of the latter to high. The sequence can also be written ຫນ.

General sources: Daniels p462, Simmala p176, Wikipedia

U+0EDD LAO HO MO

Digraph consonant m

Lao m

A ligature representing + [U+0EAB LAO LETTER HO SUNG + U+0EA1 LAO LETTER MO]. This sequence changes the consonant class of the latter to high. The sequence can also be written ຫມ.

General sources: Daniels p462, Simmala p176, Wikipedia

Digits

U+0ED0 LAO DIGIT ZERO

Digit 0

Lao ສູນ sǔːn

General sources: Wikipedia

U+0ED1 LAO DIGIT ONE

Digit 1

Lao ໜຶ່ງ nɯŋ

General sources: Wikipedia

U+0ED2 LAO DIGIT TWO

Digit 2

Lao ສອງ sɔ̌ːŋ

General sources: Wikipedia

U+0ED3 LAO DIGIT THREE

Digit 3

Lao ສາມ sǎːm

General sources: Wikipedia

U+0ED4 LAO DIGIT FOUR

Digit 4

Lao ສີ siː

General sources: Wikipedia

U+0ED5 LAO DIGIT FIVE

Digit 5

Lao ຫ້າ hàː

General sources: Wikipedia

U+0ED6 LAO DIGIT SIX

Digit 6

Lao ຫົກ hǒk

General sources: Wikipedia

U+0ED7 LAO DIGIT SEVEN

Digit 7

Lao ເຈັດ cět

General sources: Wikipedia

U+0ED8 LAO DIGIT EIGHT

Digit 8

Lao ແປດ pɛ̀ːt

General sources: Wikipedia

U+0ED9 LAO DIGIT NINE

Digit 9

Lao ເກົ້າ kâw

General sources: Wikipedia

Expanded references

  1. [Daniels] Peter T. Daniels and William Bright, The World's Writing Systems, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-507993-0
  2. [Simmala] Buasawan Simmala, Benjawan Poomsan Becker, Lao for Beginners, Paiboon Publishing, ISBN 1-887521-28-34
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