Language is a medium of communications. A nation’s language is the unique identity of its people and culture. Since the Communist takeover of Laos thirty-one years ago, the Lao language has undergone many changes. New words and phrases have been coined and used, causing anxiety among overseas Laotians who worry that their old language will eventually disappear.
Mr. Manivong Phiakeo of San Diego, California, is one of these overseas Laotians, who has taken a step to preserve the Lao language in the form he has known and spoken all his life. He recently published a Lao Dictionary called “Vatcjananoukom Lao.” He had previously published many Lao literatures including:
“Sang sinxay,” and “Mongkhoun Sivith.” “The goal of compiling and publishing a Lao dictionary is to preserve and maintain the Lao language for a newer Laotian generation to follow and use as a guideline. I didn’t write this dictionary. I didn’t create. All I did was to expand and improve the existing dictionary which was created by the Lao Literature Council of the former Royal Kingdom of Laos.”
Mr. Manivong Phiakeo told VOA in a recent interview, adding “I am afraid that many of the younger Laotian generation will be able to speak Lao at all, since they are born and raised in a new land. Therefore, I highly recommend that parents do not speak English to their children, because they will be speaking more English than Lao and pretty soon they will forget the Lao language if parents don’t keep speaking and practicing it with them.”
For an additional informations, please contact Mr. Phiakeo:
5966 Fennell Ave.
San Diego, CA 92114
Tel: Res. (619) 527-0450
Cell. (619) 770-7404
Listen to an audio file for more details.