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Languages in Sapa

Sapa is the most interesting place in Northwest of Vietnam where people can speak up to 2 or 3 languages. With the old generation, they normally use one common language to communicate through Viet – Kinh language. On the contrary, the younger generation – they are able to communicate through Kinh language or English besides their own beautiful language.

 1.The Tay

History: The Tay are the earliest known minority in Vietnam, who are thought to have arrived from inland South East Asia about 500 BC. They settled in valleys in the northwest part of Sapa.

Language: The language is commonly used which is the Tay – Thai language group. Their alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet devised in 1960, similar to the Viet alphabet.


2. The H’Mong

History: The Black H’mong immigrated from China approximately 300 years ago.

Language: The spoken language belongs to the H’mong – Dao language family. Their writing was used in 1961 but is not widely used today.


3. The Daos

History: The origin of the Red Dao is uncertain. It has been surmised that they arrived not long before the H’mong during the 18th Century.

Language: The Red Dao spoken language belongs to the H’mong – Dao language family. Their writing is based on Chinese characters which adjusted to accommodate their own spelling.


4. The Dzay

History: The Dzay immigrated from China 200 years ago. They are strongly influenced by Chinese culture.

Language: The Dzay people speak a language of Tay – Thai group. They don’t have their own writing.


5. The Xa Pho

History: The Xa Pho came to Vietnam about 200 – 300 years ago. People believe that their clothes indicate they immigrated from the southern islands of Asia, such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

Language: Their language belongs to Tibeto – Burmese language group. Other minorities say that Xa Pho people can speak most of the other languages in the area, but it is “hard to hear their language as its sounds like birds singing”.

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