Southeast Asia is a magnificent part of the world. It consists of many beautiful landscapes, delicious cuisine, and enriched cultures that have given birth to many languages. To get across the different parts of Southeast Asia, you must know which languages people of this region speak. For example, if you are visiting Tamal Nadu in  India, then you must know the Tamil language. If you are unaware of this language, don’t worry, you can take the assistance of Tamil translation services.

    The Geographical Scope of Southeast Asian Languages

    Apart from Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia, the Southeast region also includes areas like Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, East Timor, Thailand, and the Philippines. Moreover, the Nicobar Islands and Indian Andaman are also part of it. To your surprise, these nations are divided between Maritime Southeast Asia and Mainland Southeast Asia. Around 8.5% of the Earth’s population and 10.5% of the Asian population reside there, thus having a population of 655 million people. These people speak approximately 1200 languages. 

    Group of Southeast Asia Languages

    Approximately all Southeast Asian languages can fit into these groups, except few expectations. For instance, the Kenaboli language is not derived from any group of families and it is the isolated language used in Malaysia. Other languages that are isolated in Southeast Asia are Umiray, Dumagat, Manide, and Enggano.

     Let’s check which Southeast Asian languages fit into these 5 linguistic groups.


    People living in Mainland Southeast Asia speak the Kra-Dai languages. You can also find some speakers in North East India and Southern China. The languages that resonate with this language group are Thai and Lao.


    People living in Mainland Southeast Asia speak several Austroasiatic languages. The most important Austroasiatic languages that they speak are Khmer in Cambodia and Vietnamese in Vietnam.


    If you want to travel around mainland Southeast Asia or Maritime Southeast Asia, you will get a chance to listen to Austronesian languages. Do you know that most of the Austronesian languages spoken in Southeast Asia are Tetum, Indonesia, Malay, and Tagalog?


    People living in Southeast Asia and even in southern China speak Hmong-Mien languages. Whereas people living in Thailand speak Western Hmong, and people living in Laos and Vietnam speak Lu Mien. 


    People living in Southeast Asia speak Burmese in Myanmar. Moreover, inhabitants of the Myanmar-Thailand border speak tonal Karenic languages.

    Number of Languages Spoken in Southeast Asia

    Due to its rich culture, Southeast Asia is a land of multiple beautiful languages. It is home to over 1,000 native languages. You will be surprised to know that out of 1000 languages, the people of Indonesia speak  800 languages alone. Mostly, people of Southeast Asia are bilingual. It is a common practice to use one language at home and another for education and job purposes. Some rare languages are spoken by a small number of people, for instance, Sinhala is the second official language of Sri Lanka which does not lie in Southeast Asia but people living in Thailand also speak this language. Due to its rareness, people in Southeast Asia are unaware of this language. If you require Sinhala communication, and you are unaware of this language, you should take assistance from a Sinhala language translator to mitigate the communication barrier. They can provide you with seamless Sinhala translation services according to your requirements. 

    Most Spoken Languages of Southeast Asia

    The number of Southeast Asian speakers is increasing with time. The widely spoken language in the region is Malay with around 290 million speakers. Other most spoken languages in Southeast Asia are Vietnamese, Basha Indonesia, Thai, Sundanese, Tagalog, Lao, Cebuano, and Javanese. Languages in this region are becoming endangered and some are dying. For instance, the Isarog Agta language had only five speakers in the Philippines while Alabat Island Agta had only 30 speakers. 

    Why it is Important to Study Southeast Asian Languages

    Some nations in the world are identified by their language. Therefore, if you want to study the culture of any region on a broader scale, then you must know which languages they speak. Moreover, understanding the language will not only give you insight into the culture, but you can also expand your business. 

    English is a lingua franca. Therefore, many people are proficient in the English language. If English-speaking people want to study the rich heritage of a rich province of India, Tamal Nadu is famous for festivals, art, and temples. Here English to Tamil translation services are of great help. 

    Wrapping Up

    If you want to explore the beautiful region of SouthEast Asia and want to expand business in that region then you must know which languages they speak. Understanding languages will help you in understanding consumer behavior doubts, it is tough to learn multiple languages. You don’t need to worry about this because many translation companies are working around the globe to assist you. 


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