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Lao is the official language of Laos and is also spoken in north east Thailand. The language is so closely related to Thai that speakers of these languages can understand each other to a high degree. This is partly because Lao has borrowed lots of words from Thai. It also borrows from Sanskrit and Pali. Lao is a tonal language: the six tones help differentiate meaning in a largely monosyllabic vocabulary. The Vientiane dialect is generally considered the standard dialect, although this is not officially the case.
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