Nyob zoo!

Welcome to the San Diego Hmong Language Project.

This is a collaborative project of Marc Garellek of the Department of Linguistics of UC San Diego and the Lao-Hmong Family Association of San Diego (LHFASD). The LHFASD is a local non-profit organization, run by Hmong San Diegans, whose mission is to preserve Hmong arts and culture (such as the Hmong New Year) and to promote higher education among Hmong Americans. Please see their website for more information about the local community and their events.

The recordings for this project, which was funded by a 2015-2016 Hellman Fellowship to Prof. Garellek, include personal stories, folk tales, and songs. Our goals are to help document the Hmong language through the stories and songs of the local community in the San Diego area. We also believe that this project will help connect Hmong and non-Hmong Americans to the rich cultural and linguistic heritage of the Hmong people.

Lub kuab lus teev txuj no tau tiav los rau pem txwv sawv cev nrog rau lub koos haum tsev neeg Hmoob Los Tsuas hauv lub zos San Diego (LHFASD) thiab tsim tsa los ntawm Hellman Fellowship tov rau Prof. Marc Garellek cwb 2015 ncav 2016. Peb lub kuab vam yog soos Hmoob kuab txoos lus hais tawm dos xyaws rau pej kum haiv qab vag tsi taug puag ncig nyob rau hauv lub xeev nrog San Diego ib cheeb tsam thiab pab sib txuas Hmoob dua li tsav lwm haiv uas tsis yog Hmoob thaj kws lis cuab haiv neeg Americans tshwm fab rau thwb tim haiv uas vam meej kuab txuj neeg thiab kab kwm daws ntxus nrog rau Hmoob laj tub nkig. Teej txhab txhaws khaws khi zwm teev rau kuab txoos chav teev fam npuas nrog rau xwm txheej kuab lus, paj lus huab ncuas thiab sob lus seev.

About / Teev

The Hmong people and language

The Hmong people are originally from China, but over the years also settled in Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. The Hmong community in the United States was founded in the 1970s with a wave of immigration of refugees (mostly from Laos) following the end of the Vietnam War. San Diego County has approximately 1,682 Hmong residents.

The Hmong language is part of the West Hmongic branch of Hmong-Mien language family spoken across China and Southeast Asia. There are two main dialects of the Hmong language spoken in the United States: White Hmong (Hmong Daw or Hmoob Dawb) and Green/Blue Mong (Mong Njua/Leng or Moob Ntsuab/Leeg). Both of these dialects originate from Hmong communities in Laos.

White Hmong and Green Mong are most often written in the Romanized Popular Alphabet (RPA). Some of the sounds in White Hmong are not found in Green Mong, and some sounds in Green Mong are not found in White Hmong. For example, White Hmong has a sound written as <hm>, which corresponds to <m> in Green Mong. For this reason, the word “Hmong” is also sometimes written as “Mong”, such as when referring to the dialect Green Mong, which has no sound <hm>. Words are largely CV+tone in structure; thus in the RPA orthography, a consonantal letter at the end of a word is a tonal marker.


Hmong folk songs and music

Many of the recordings below include folk songs, which play an integral role in important rites (funerals, courtship, New Year celebration, etc.) of Hmong life. These folk songs are traditionally unscripted, and the ones in this database are all sung from memory. Common folk songs include the kwv txhiaj in White Hmong or lug txaj in Green Mong, which are usually sung during courtship. Other types of songs include funeral chants (txiv xaiv) as well as wedding songs and chants (nkauj tshoob, zaj tshoob).

We are also in the process of recording Hmong musical instruments. One common instrument is the reed instrument called a kheng (qeej). Other instruments include bamboo flutes (lev les, raj nplaim, raj ntsia), mouth harps (ncas), and the Hmong violin (xim xaus). In Hmong music, each note is meant to represent a word's tone. For more information about research on Hmong folk songs and music, see this compilation from the Hmong Studies Journal.

Txhab txhaws ntaub ntawv (Project files)

Below you can find links to audio and transcript files for the recordings. Click on the name of the file (the first column) to listen to the sound files (right-click to save the sound file in WAV format). Each recording has (or will have) a transcription in White Hmong or Green Mong, as well as an English translation. We are working on both close (word-by-word or phrase-by-phrase) translations and broad ones. The ‘Notes’ document provides additional information. We will continue to add recordings and their accompanying text files as they come in, so stay tuned!

All materials are made available to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike- 3.0 Unported License. This license allows any kind of non- commercial re-use (including derivative works), as long as attribution is given and the reproduction or derivative work is under the same license. Any other use requires permission from both the LHFASD and Prof. Garellek.

Attribution under this license may be made as follows: “Materials from the 'San Diego Hmong Language Project' at UC San Diego.”

Hauv qab no koj muaj cuab kav nuam tau suab lus thiab mem kos ntaub ntawv uas tau teev los ntawm lub tuam txhab txhaws. Ib ntxaiv tau ‘kos’ ua phaj lus siv thiab mem dhos zwm kuab dhos txuas ua lus hmoob dawb, hmoob ntsuab, thiab as kiv. Cov ‘kos’ sob phaj teev txog thiab ntsuam nqis rau kuab cag khaws tev tseg.

Txhua yam ua los yuav muaj tawm rau pej kum haiv tau pom raws li kev tsim txuas los tsis muaj fuab phaj dua nqis-sibcev-3.0 tsistxua kev txwv,tus txuj kev txwv no qhib txais txhuam yam uas tsis teev nqis pej fab tuaj siv(nrog rau fab kawm ua), tav twg tseem zwm thiab huam ntxiv raws lid aim ntawv tso cais qub. Txhua yam uas siv tau txais kev koom tes los ntawm ob lub xws lis LHFASD thiab Prof. Garellek.

Huam saw raws li txoj cais ua los no ”txeej teg ua los ntawm 'Hmoob kuab txuj lus hauv San Diego' txhab txhaws ntawm UC San Diego.”

File (click name to listen) Recording type Dialect Transcript in Hmong Close translation in English Broad translation in English Notes
L. Lee Story Folk tale Hmong Daw (White Hmong) Hmoob English
N. Vang Qeej Qeej music Hmong Daw (White Hmong) Hmoob Broad translation of lyrics Sung words to melody (click for sound)
N. Y. Yang Wedding Song Wedding song Mong Leng (Green Mong) Moob Broad translation Notes on Hmong wedding rituals
N. Y. Yang New Year Song New Year song Mong Leng (Green Mong) Moob Broad translation Notes on Hmong New Year song
Vang P1 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P2 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P3 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P4 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P5 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P6 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P7 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P8 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P9 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P10 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P11 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P12 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P13 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Vang P14 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Z. Moua P1 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
Z. Moua P2 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
P. Khang P1 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
P. Khang P2 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
P. Khang P3 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
P. Khang P4 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
P. Khang P5 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)
P. Khang P6 Folk song Mong Leng (Green Mong)

Leej twg nruam txog (Who's involved)

Marc Garellek

Marc Garellek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at UC San Diego. He specializes in phonetics, the scientific study of sounds of the world’s languages. In addition to his research on Hmong, he specializes in the phonetics of laryngeal sounds.

Marc Garellek yog ib tug kws pab kuab txuj siab nyob rau hauv lub tsev txuj UC San Diego fab khaw kab lis kev cais txuj ci dab qhuas. Nws ntsiav txuj yog rau kev tham pem txwv, teev tshawb suab lus ntiaj teb kuab txuj lus sam, dhos ntxiv dua li ntawm nws teg txuj yog kev ntsuam khawb nrhiav mem lo rau Hmoob, nws li peev xwm yog rau ntsiav lus suab nchas.

True Song VanHou

True Song VanHou is an alumnus of UC San Diego. He graduated in 2005 with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. Currently he is a doctoral student in Education and serves as the Education Chair for the Lao Hmong Family Association of San Diego.

Mai Moua

Mai Moua is an alumna of UC San Diego. She graduated in 2014 with a B.A. degree in International Studies and Sociology. For this project, Mai is transcribing the recordings in Hmong and providing English translations for them.


Our speakers

Nyaj Yag Yang

A resident of San Diego for more than 25 years, Mr. Yang is a prominent community member and well revered in Hmong culture and arts.

Contact

We are always looking for more members of San Diego's Hmong community who would like to be recorded. The recording style is largely of your choice; any story is of value. You can also have a conversation with a friend, recite poetry and song, or play the qeej. You can speak in any dialect of Hmong, in English, or in a mix of both Hmong and English. We also hope to record US-born Hmong talking about their experience as first-generation Hmong Americans. The recordings are informal, and your personal information will not be made publicly available without your consent. Please do not hesitate to contact Marc Garellek for more information.