The writing system used for the different dialects of Hmong is based on the Latin alphabet and only dates back to the 1950s.
HMONG is spoken by close to 3,7 million people spread over various provinces in China (Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi), northern Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. Approximately 260,000 Hmong live in the United States.
The Hmong (or Miao) in China speak a dialect that is virtually unintelligible to speakers of the White Hmong and Green Hmong dialects used in Laos and the United States.
Legend of the Hmong written language
The writing system used for the different dialects of Hmong is based on the Latin alphabet and only dates back to the 1950s. Tradition has it that the Hmong used to have a written language that was written down in a treasured book and eaten by cows and rats. After that “no text was equal to the task of representing a culture as rich as that of the Hmong,” so the Hmong language was exclusively oral from that point onward. (See the wonderful The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman.)
Hmong in the United States do not use the standardized Latin alphabet for spelling proper nouns because they want their names to be easily pronounced. For example, Hmong is spelled “Hmoob” in the standardized spelling.
How 1-StopAsia works?
1-StopAsia’s native Hmong translators know what spelling and what language variant to use and will help you to avoid problems like this McDonald’s gaffe in St. Paul. Our rigorous quality assurance procedure ensures that your translation is translated and reviewed by a native Hmong translator with a specific subject-matter specialty before it is proofread by a second translator. This guarantees that every detail of the document is checked, double-checked, and quality ensured.
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