Hmong, the most widely spoken of the Hmong-Mien languages, is a dialect continuum traditionally spoken across the highlands of Southern China (mainly Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou provinces), Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. There are at least 3.5 million speakers of mutually-intelligible varieties.

Today, there are also approximately 300,000 ethnic Hmong living in diaspora communities across the US, Canada, France (Metropolitan and French Guiana), and Australia. These communities mainly consist of refugees from the Secret War and their families.

The main varieties of Hmong spoken in the diaspora are those common in Laos: White Hmong (RPA: Hmoob Dawb; sometimes ‘Hmong Daw’ or ‘Hmong Der’) and Green Mong (RPA: Moob Leeg; sometimes ‘Mong Leng’). These two varieties are mutually intelligible, with very similar grammars but notable differences in vocabulary and pronunciation.

In the field of linguistics, Hmong is most famous for two features: its complex system of tones and tonal morphology, and its productive use of “serial verb constructions”. My research on Hmong, conducted with the help of Hmong speakers, seeks to understand the properties of these serial verb constructions.

For those interested in studying the Hmong language, I maintain a small list of Hmong linguistics resources.