Enfield, N. J. (2002). How to define 'Lao', 'Thai', and 'Isan' language? A view from linguistic science. Tai Culture,7(1), 62-67.
This article argues that it is not possible to establish distinctions between 'Lao', 'Thai', and 'Isan' as seperate languages or dialects by appealing to objective criteria. 'Lao', 'Thai', and 'Isan' are conceived linguistics varieties, and the ground-level reality reveals a great deal of variation, much of it not coinciding with the geographical boundaries of the 'Laos', 'Isan', and 'non-Isan Thailand' areas. Those who promote 'Lao', 'Thai', and/or 'Isan' as distinct linguistic varieties have subjective (e.g. political and/or sentimental) reasons for doing so. Objective linguistic criteria are not sufficient