This book is the first in a planned series of monographs that will forma multi-fascicled Handbook of Comparative Bahnaricoffering a reconstruction of the phonology and lexicon of each sub-group of the Bahnaric family (West Bahnaric, Central Bahnaric, North Bahnaric), and a consolidated reconstruction of Proto Bahnaric and discussion of its place within the Mon-Khmer family.
The West Bahnaric sub-branch is the smallest with perhaps 100,000 speakers living in the three southern Lao provinces of Champassak, Attapeu and Sekong and adjacent areas of Cambodia. Historically it has been heavily influenced by Khmer and Katuic languages such as Ta'Oi. These days most speakers are bilingual in Lao, and there is a serious danger that Lao will replace the West Bahnaric languages entirely.
The historical reconstruction offered here includes 1094 sets of lexical comparisons, with reconstructed proto-forms and extensive etymological commentary. Special attention has been given to the effects of language contact and borrowing in the formation of Proto West Bahnaric.