Ong Be language

Ong Be
Native to People's Republic of China
Region Hainan
Native speakers
600,000 (2000)[1]
  • Southern

    • Be–Tai
      • Ong Be
Language codes
ISO 639-3 onb
Glottolog ling1262[2]

Ong Be (native pronunciation: [ʔɑŋ˧ɓe˧]), also known as , or Vo Limgao (臨高, Lingao) in Chinese, is a language spoken by 600,000 people, 100,000 of them monolingual, on the north-central coast of Hainan Island, including the suburbs of the provincial capital Haikou. The language is taught in primary schools and broadcast on the radio. Ong Be is a Tai–Kadai language, but it has no close relatives and its relationship within that family has not been determined.[3]


Ong Be consists of the Lincheng 临城 (Western) and Qiongshan 琼山 (Eastern) dialects (Lingaoyu Yanjiu).


  1. Ong Be at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Lingao". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Ethnologue classifies Ong Be with the Tai and Kam–Sui languages based on shared vocabulary. However, this is negative evidence, perhaps due to lexical replacement in other branches of the family, and morphological evidence suggests that the Tai and Kam–Sui languages are closer to the Hlai and Kra languages, respectively. The place of Ong Be in this scheme is unknown.

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