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What is an isolating language?



An isolating language is a language in which almost every word consists of a single morpheme.

Also known as:

Analytic language


Isolating languages are especially common in Southeast Asia.

Example (Vietnamese)

khi tôi dên nhà ban tôi, chúng tôi bát dâu làm bài.

when I come house friend I Plural I begin do lesson

When I came to my friend's house, we began to do lessons.


Comrie 1989 43


The opposite of a highly isolating language is a highly polysynthetic language.

Context for this page:

Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 5 January 2004

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