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Lao is the national language of Laos. It is spoken by about 4 million people there, or 80 percent of the population. Lao is closely related to Thai, spoken in neighboring Thailand, the two belonging to the Tai family of languages. There are actually far more speakers of Lao in Thailand than in Laos: about 15 million. In Thailand it is sometimes referred to as Northeastern Thai.
The Lao script is believed to have been adapted from that of the Mons, the people who ruled Burma for many centuries. Its ultimate source was the Brahmi script of ancient India.
Authorized from the original edition of The Languages of the World 3rd edition by Keneth Katzner published by Routledge, a member of the Taylor & Francis Group.
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