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Lahu

A language of China

ISO 639-3: lhu

Population 411,476 in China (1990 census). 360,000 are monolingual. Population includes 240,000 Na, probably including Kutsung and Laopang. Population total all countries: 577,178. Ethnic population: 417,000.
Region Lancang Lahu Autonomous County, Gengma, and Menglian counties, southwestern Yunnan. Also spoken in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam.
Alternate names   Lohei, Lahuna, Laku, Kaixien, Namen, Mussuh, Muhso, Musso, Mussar, Moso
Dialects Na (Black Lahu, Musser Dam, Northern Lahu, Loheirn), Nyi (Red Lahu, Southern Lahu, Musseh Daeng, Luhishi, Luhushi), Shehleh. Na is the standard dialect. Black Lahu and Lahu Shi (Yellow Lahu, Kutsung) have difficult intelligibility. (See separate entry for Lahu Shi.) Mossu is in Laos. Lahu Shi (Yellow Lahu, Kutsung) is distinct.
Classification Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Lolo-Burmese, Loloish, Southern, Akha, Lahu
Language use Vigorous. Some speakers of other languages use Lahu as second language for commerce. Taught at Kunming Institute. All domains. All ages. Positive language attitude. 20% to 30% also use Chinese fluently, 50% to 60% use simple Chinese, 10% can understand but not speak it. 1,000 also use Lü, Hani, Blang, Va, or Yi as second languages.
Language development Literacy rate in first language: 62.5%. Taught in primary schools. Roman script. Newspapers. Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1989.
Comments Part of the Lahu nationality. SOV; Lü and Hani loanwords. Mountain slope, riverine. Subtropical forest. Low altitude. Agriculturalists: rice, maize; hunters. Traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian.

Also spoken in:

Laos

Language name   Lahu
Population 8,702 in Laos (1995 census).
Region Bokeo Province, Peung, Tonpheung, Houayxay districts.
Alternate names   Museu, Mussuh, Muhso, Musso
Dialects Na (Black Lahu, Musser Dam, Northern Lahu, Loheirn), Nyi (Red Lahu, Southern Lahu, Musseh Daeng, Luhishi, Luhushi), Shehleh.
Comments 1,400 meters. Traditional religion, Christian.
   

Myanmar

Language name   Lahu
Population 125,000 in Myanmar (1993 Johnstone).
Region Shan State, Kentung area.
Alternate names   Lohei, Lahuna, Launa, Museu, Mussuh, Muhso, Musso
Dialects Na (Black Lahu, Musser Dam, Northern Lahu, Loheirn), Nyi (Red Lahu, Southern Lahu, Musseh Daeng, Luhishi, Luhushi), Shehleh.
Comments Mountain slope. Tropical forest, scrub forest. Swidden agriculturalists. Christian.
   

Thailand

Language name   Lahu
Population 32,000 in Thailand (2001 Johnstone and Mandryk).
Region Chiangmai, Chiangrai, Maehongson, Lampang, Tak provinces, 119 known villages. There has been some migration from Myanmar and Laos.
Alternate names   Lohei, Muhsur, Mussuh, Muhso, Musso, Musser
Dialects Na (Black Lahu, Musser Dam, Northern Lahu, Loheirn), Nyi (Red Lahu, Southern Lahu, Musseh Daeng, Luhishi, Luhushi), Shehleh.
Language development Literacy rate in first language: 30% to 60%. Literacy rate in second language: 5% to 15%.
Comments Traditional religion, Christian.
   

Viet Nam

Language name   Lahu
Population 6,874 All Lahu (Yellow, Black, White) in Viet Nam (1999 census).
Region Northwestern border of Viet Nam with Laos. Black Lahu are north of Muong Te City near the China border, at Ban Kiem Tra, Phu Nam Ma, Phu Nam Cau, Phu Nam Ha. White Lahu are in one village just to the east of Nha Ca in Muong Te.
Alternate names   Lohei, Lahuna, Launa, Laku, Kaixien, Namen, Mussuh, Muhso, Musso, Mussar, Mooso
Dialects Na (Black Lahu, Khucong, Musser Dam), Nyi (Red Lahu, Musseh Daeng), Shehleh, Lahu Phung (White Lahu).
Comments An official ethnic community in Viet Nam. Distinct from Lahu Shi (Yellow Lahu). One source called them White Lahu. It is not clear if these are the same as Red Lahu, Black Lahu, or different. Traditional religion.