Southeast Asian Linguistics Research Unit

History and Prehistory of Kra-Dai languages

The Kra-Dai language family (also known as Tai-Kadai) consists of over 90 languages. They are spoken natively by approximately 81.67 million people who occupy a vast geographical area stretching from China’s Hunan Province in the north to Malaysia in the south, and from Hainan Island in the east to the Indian state of Assam to the west. With emphasis on Thai and other members of its Tai branch, we study the following aspects of the history and prehistory of Kra-Dai languages.
• Phonological history of Thai
• Prehistorical spread of the Tai languages into Southeast Asia
• Subgrouping of Tai languagess
• Historical and prehistorical contact between Kra-Dai and other language families
In addition to analyzing a wide range of comparative and philological data through the lens of historical linguistics and language contact, we also work in collaboration with archeologists and geneticists to arrive at a more concrete and nuanced picture of the history and prehistory of this fascinating language family.

Collaborators: Wibhu Kutanun

Selected Publications