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Lahu

A language of China

ISO 639-3lhu

Population  280,000 in China (Bradley 2007). Population total all countries: 445,700.
Region  Southwest Yunnan Province, Simao Prefecture, Lancang Lahu, Menglian Dai, Lahu & Va autonomous counties; Lincang Prefecture, Gengma Dai, Va autonomous counties. Also in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam.
Language map  Southwestern China
Alternate names   Kaixien, Kucong, Kutsong, Lahuna, Laku, Lohei, Moso, Muhso, Mussar, Musso, Mussuh, Namen
Dialects  Na (Black Lahu, Musser Dam, Northern Lahu, Lohei), Nyi (Red Lahu, Southern Lahu, Musse Daeng), Shehleh. Na considered standard dialect. Black Lahu and Lahu Shi (Yellow Lahu) have difficult intelligibility. (See separate entry for Lahu Shi.) Mossu is in Laos. Lahu Shi (Yellow Lahu) and Kucong Lahupu (White Lahu, e.g. in Zhenyuan County) are distinct.
Classification  Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Burmic, Ngwi, Central
Language use  Vigorous. Some speakers of other languages use Lahu as L2 for commerce. All domains. All ages. Positive attitude. 20%–30% also use Chinese fluently, 50%–60% use simple Chinese, 10% can understand but not speak it. 1,000 also use Lü [khb], Hani [hni], Blang [bir], or Wa [wbm].
Language development  Literacy rate in L1: 63%. Taught in primary schools. Newspapers. Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1989.
Writing system  Latin script.
Comments  Classified as Lahu nationality. SOV; Lü [khb] and Hani [hni] loanwords. Agriculturalists: rice, maize; hunters. Traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian.

Also spoken in:

Laos

Language name   Lahu
Population  8,700 in Laos (1995 census).
Region  Bokeo Province, Peung, Tonpheung, Houayxay districts.
Language map  Laos, reference number 29
Alternate names  Muhso, Museu, Musso, Mussuh
Dialects  Na (Black Lahu, Musser Dam, Northern Lahu, Loheirn), Nyi (Red Lahu, Southern Lahu, Musseh Daeng, Luhishi, Luhushi), Shehleh.
Comments  Traditional religion, Christian.
 

Myanmar

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

Thailand

Language name   Lahu
Population  32,000 in Thailand (Johnstone and Mandryk 2001).
Region  Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Maehongson, Lampang, Tak provinces. 119 known villages.
Language map  Northern Thailand, reference number 16
Alternate names  Lohei, Muhso, Muhsur, Musser, Musso, Mussuh
Dialects  Na (Black Lahu, Musser Dam, Northern Lahu, Loheirn), Nyi (Red Lahu, Southern Lahu, Musseh Daeng, Luhishi, Luhushi), Shehleh.
Language development  Literacy rate in L1: 30%–60%. Literacy rate in L2: 5%–15%.
Comments  Traditional religion, Christian.
 

Viet Nam

Language name   Lahu
Population  6,874 all Lahu (Yellow, Black, White) in Viet Nam (1999 census).
Region  Northwest border with Laos. Black Lahu north of Muong Te City near the China border, at Ban Kiem Tra, Phu Nam Ma, Phu Nam Cau, Phu Nam Ha; White Lahu in Muong Te, east of Nha Ca, 1 village.
Language map  Northwestern Viet Nam, reference number 51
Alternate names  Kaixien, Lahuna, Laku, Launa, Lohei, Mooso, Muhso, Mussar, Musso, Mussuh, Namen
Dialects  Na (Black Lahu, Khucong, Musser Dam), Nyi (Red Lahu, Musseh Daeng), Shehleh, Lahu Phung (White Lahu).
Comments  An official ethnic community. Distinct from Lahu Shi (Yellow Lahu [mra]). One source called them White Lahu. It is not clear if these are the same as Red Lahu, Black Lahu, or different. Traditional religion.