Proto-Hmong-Mien language
The Proto-Hmong–Mien language is the reconstructed ancestor
A proto-language in the tree model of historical linguistics is the common ancestor of the languages that form a language family. Occasionally, the German term Ursprache is used instead.Often the proto-language is not known directly...

 of the Hmong–Mien languages. Lower-level reconstructions include Proto-Hmongic and Proto-Mienic.


Martha Ratliff
Martha Ratliff
Martha Ratliff is a leading specialist in Hmong–Mien languages and professor at Wayne State University. She is also well known for her recent reconstruction of the Proto-Hmong–Mien language.-External links:*...

's 2010 reconstruction contains the following phonemic inventory.
  • 51-54 consonants (including pre-glottalized and pre-nasalized consonants)
  • 9 vowels
  • 7 diphthongs
  • 11 nasal rimes

Medial consonants are *-j-, *-l-, and *-r-.

Proto-Hmong–Mien had the following syllable structure (Ratliff 2010:10):


Below are some reconstructed words roughly belonging to the semantic domains of agriculture and subsistence (Ratliff 2004; Greenhill et. al. 2008; Starling 1998). Terms for domesticated animals and non-rice crops are usually shared with Chinese, while vocabulary relating hunting, rice crops, and local plants and animals are usually not shared with Chinese.
Proto-Hmongic Old Chinese
Old Chinese
The earliest known written records of the Chinese language were found at a site near modern Anyang identified as Yin, the last capital of the Shang dynasty, and date from about 1200 BC....

*ntshu C1 lhaŋʔ (象) elephant
*ʔlen A1 w(h)an (猿) monkey
*ŋgeu B2 krun (麇) river deer
*tʂo B1 hlāʔ (虎) tiger
*Glɐn B2 shōŋ (蔥) Chinese onion
*Nqa:n A1 mrū (茅) cogon grass
*n̥Ak B1 nhāʔ (弩) crossbow
*pwɒn B1 ~
m-lak-s (射) to shoot
*ɳõ C2 łhuk (逐) to track, follow
*qəi A1 kē (雞) chicken
*m-nɔk ttiwʔ (鳥) bird
*qlAu B1 ~
*hmaŋ C kkhwirʔ (犬) dog
*ʔa:p B1 ʔrāp (鴨) duck
*mpɒ C1 prā (豝) pig
*ʑwɒə:ŋ A2 g(h)ʷān (羊) sheep/goat
*ŋɔ:ŋ A2 lhijʔ (兕) water buffalo
*dəp D2 d(h)ōs (豆) bean
*peu B1 snikʷ (菽) soybean
*vəu C2 was (芋) taro
*mblau A2 lhūʔ (稻) rice plant;
growing/unhusked rice
*ntsə:i C1 mhījʔ (米) husked rice
*ȵa:ŋ C1 mhījʔ (米) cooked rice
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.