The internet is riddled with generalized profiles of the Dong people, but DongTeam's "People Profile" is one of the few to review the profile periodically in order to attempt to maintain the best, concise profile we can on topics both cultural and spiritual. The research materials listed below, however, offer more in-depth study.
D. Norman Geary, along with a well-rounded writing team, have published a comprehensive look at the Dong culture: The Kam People of China: Turning Nineteen? This is definitely the most informative book on Dong people available in the English language. We also highly recommend that book's sequel, Dr. Geary's translation of Ou ChaoQuan's account of life growing up in a Dong village.
As for research into the Dong religion, DongTeam was put in touch with a researcher who had written on the traditional religious practices of the Dong people and their uniquely-Dong worship of the Sa goddess. This is a fascinating read, a way to delve into the faith, practice, and worldview of the Dong people. Noah Krieg shared his paper, "Sa Worship among the Dong--the 'Jie Sa' Sacrifice Ceremony," for reading here.
heard about a research paper digging into the Dong worship of the Sa or Sa-sui goddess, and has gained permission to share an excellent paper on the topic.
The Dong People of China: A Hidden Civilization is a much lighter publication, written by Gail Rossi. It is more of an introduction to the Dong people accompanied with a wealth of excellent photographs. It is sadly very difficult to find these days, but a wonderful look and read, if you can find one.
The Dong people are widely known for their distinctive architecture. If you want to learn more about the wind and rain bridges and drum towers of the Dong, Chinese publications abound, but English publications are scarce. The Kam People of China, noted above for its insight into Dong culture, also contains information on Dong architecture.
Another, lower-level research project, with interesting conclusions about Dong architecture, is "Contemporary Views of Dong Architectural Meaning", provided here with the author's consent.
Also of interest is the "Kaneshige Paper", which was written in non-native English, but none the less, contains a wealth of information pertaining to the spiritual connection between Dong and their architecture. It is written by a Japanese man who has married a Dong wife, and lived for an extended time in her village in Sanjiang County, Guangxi. It cannot be broadly applied to Dong people, but sheds light on the spiritual connection to architecture some Dong people hold.
For accurate and updated information on thousands of the world's languages, look to the trusted SIL International publication: Ethnologue. For specific Ethnologue information on the Dong language, the ethnologue lists both the southern Dong and the northern Dong.
The area of Dong linguistics has been quite extensively researched in Chinese and English. If you are looking for information of the level of intelligibility between different Dong dialects, the best place to start is the Dong Linguistic Survey.
The above mentioned D. Norman Geary has also translated a book originally written in Chinese. The Dong Language in Guizhou Province, China is a look at the background and phonological analysis of the Dong language by authors Long Yaohong and Zheng Guoqiao.
A linguistic researcher, Matthias Gerner, has written several papers in the field of Dong linguistics (and other Chinese minority languages). Here is a list of links to some of Mr. Gerner's abstracts, most of which have purchase options if the full text is desired:
- Passive of Affect in Kam (Dong) and other Kadai Languages: The Missing Link from Synchrony
- Expressives in Kam (Dong): A study in sign typology (Part I)
- Expressives in Kam (Dong): A study in sign typology (Part II)
- The zoom-on-possessee construction in Kam (Dong): the anatomy of a new construction type (Cambridge Journals)
- The zoom-on-possessee construction in Kam (Dong): the anatomy of a new construction type (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
- Noun classifiers in Kam and Chinese Kam-Tai languages: their morphosyntax, semantics and history
These research materials are intended to aid the serious researcher and hobby reader alike. It is a collection of resources, some dense research references and others light glimpses into the lives of the Dong people. If you are interested in learning more about the Dong, but do not know where to start, feel free to post questions below and we could answer you and others who may have the same questions.