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Note on Transcription Lao words are transcribed here in keeping with the method used by Kerr (1972) with the following modifications: I have omitted diacritics. This was a difficult decision, and in some earlier versions of this text I did follow Kerr’s use of diacritics, but in this final version for publication I have decided to omit them because for the majority of readers they are distracting and not informative. For the small number of readers who are Lao speakers, the context is usually such that they can deduce the tone on their own. For reasons of typesetting with the press, I have represented certain vowels according to the Royal Thai General System of Transcription where the required International Phonetic Alphabet figure was not available. So ngén appears as ngoen. Where Kerr uses as “v” as an end consonant, I substitute as “w”, so that the word for “already” will appear as laew rather than lὲεv as the sound an English-speaker would pronounce reading “v” does not exist in Lao. Where Kerr indicates a long vowel with a colon, I double the vowel immediately preceding Kerr’s colon. So, the word for “village” will appear as baan rather than bà:n. For words used in Lao that have a common transcription in English, I have followed this more common transcription. So, the word for the Lao currency appears as kip and the Thai currency as baht, rather than kiip and baat. I have also followed common spellings for place names where they exist, including the word don rather than dccn for “island” in the title of the fieldsite “Don Khiaw”. All transcriptions, but not personal or place names, are written in italics. For reasons of confidentiality, the name of the fieldsite where I conducted fieldwork has been changed and the exact location obscured. The term “Don Khiaw” is a pseudonym used throughout the book to refer to the island and village where fieldwork was conducted. Pseudonyms are also used for nearby villages. More commonly known place names (such as the names of towns or xiii FM-Fields of Desire 13 2/20/14 3:17:12 PM provinces) follow common usage. When referring to towns or districts which carry the prefix “Muang”, I have used this more common spelling of the term, rather than the conventions outlined above. All personal names have been changed in order to protect confidentiality. The spelling of personal Lao names follows the conventions outlined above. The exception is the personal names of notable persons, such as Kaysone Phomvihane, in which cases the real name and the spelling that has become conventional for their name has been used. Some personal names are preceded by the title of “mother”, “aunt” or “father” following popular usage for the address of some older persons or persons with a particularly close relationship with the speaker. xiv Note on Transcription FM-Fields of Desire 14 2/20/14 3:17:12 PM ...


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