Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
According to the 1981 Language Atlas of the Pacific Area, the Hung language is spoken by 500 people living along the Vietnam border in Khamkeut District of Borikhamxai Province, Laos.
The name Pong is the self-name of this group, but they are not the same group or language as the 21,000-strong Pong of Xiangkhoang, so we have used their alternate name Hung to avoid confusion. The Hung language may be the same as, or a closely related dialect to the Tum language in Laos. It is possible the Hung were officially counted as part of the Tum ethnic group (2,510 people) in the 1995 census.
Both Hung and Tum are part of the Viet-Muong branch of Mon-Khmer. The Mon-Khmer language family is a broad classification of languages that range from China to the Nicobar Islands and India. Great numbers of Mon-Khmer speakers are found in China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, with some in Malaysia.
In Laos, more than half of the ethnic groups in the nation speak Mon-Khmer languages. In the southern arm of the country communication between the various Mon-Khmer speaking tribes is possible, but in the north mutually intelligibility appears more difficult.
Teeth-breaking was practiced by many of the tribes in southern Laos until recently. A missionary reported, "When the children have their second teeth at the age of twelve or fourteen, they put the child down on the ground. Four people hold the child there forcefully. They place stones behind the front teeth, top and bottom, take the hatchet and hack out his teeth to the gums! The child screams with the awful pain; the blood flows and the mouth swells up.... When the barbarous deed is finished, the trembling child rushes off into the forest like a little wounded animal.... From then on the child has little black stumps for front teeth...."
The area of Laos inhabited by the Hung is remote and unevangelized. There are no Christians among this small group, who are animists. They also worship their ancestors on several special occasions throughout the year.
* The whole region inhabited by the Hung is Christ-less. Pray for the Gospel to spread to this part of Laos.
* Pray for more information to become available about the Hung people.
* There will be Hung people around the throne of God in heaven. Pray they would soon be reached.