ycc_swe wrote:What are the etymological origins of
You do know that these languages have a host of homophones, not to mention several competing romanisation systems? Without examples I can't be certain what words you have in mind.
The first words is probably เมือง/ເມືອງ mư̄ang
. It simply means "town" or "city" and, by extension, "country". As far as I know, it goes back to Proto-Tai, but a lot of terms relating to civilisation and politics in Thai were borrowed from Mon, Khmer, or Pali.
Here you can find links to the various Chinese characters romanised as "meng": https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/meng#Mandarin
. If you can find the one you have in mind, then you can look up the etymology here: http://www.chineseetymology.org/CharacterEtymology.aspx
The usual meaning of แม่/ແມ່ mǣ
in Thai and Lao is "mother". As a prefix, it often has the meaning "chief", e.g. แม่น้ำโขง/ແມ່ນ້ຳຂອງ mǣnamkhong
"mother water river", the Thai/Lao name for the Mekong River. But, as most of the towns whose names begin with แม่ are near the border with Burma, I might investigate a Burmese etymology if I were you.
The primitive meaning of หลวง/ຫຼວງ lūang
is "great" (e.g. Lao ທາງຫຼວງ thānglūang
"highway" [lit. "great road"]). From that it became extended to mean "royal" or "pertaining to the state", as in the name of the Lao capital, Luang Prabang or the provincial capital Luang Namtha.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons