Comparative Kadai: The Tai Branch defines the linguistic range of an immense, interrelated, and varied area extending from eastern India to southern China and includes the southeast Asian peninsula. This area is comprised of many millions of people with histories, languages, and traditions largely unknown to the Westerner. Powerfully interesting economic, political, and social forces are emerging in the countries of this part of the world. Of particular interest from a linguist’s point of view are the characteristics of this huge area, what research has been completed, and what further work needs to be done.
In the past it has generally been assume that Tai is a part of a grand Sino-Tibetan family, but inevitably questions have arisen: What languages are involved, how diverse are they, and how are the language families interrelated?
Those who wish to study these varied Kadai languages have serious research materials available in Comparative Kadai.
Professor Jerold A. Edmondson has extensive experience as a field linguist in China, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and Viet Nam. He served as Chairman of the Linguistics Department of the University of Texas at Arlington and is a specialist in Southest Asian languages. Dr. David B. Solnit is a specialist in minority languages of East and Southeast Asia.