Lawa, Western


A language of Thailand

Alternate Names
Lava, Lavüa, “Lua” (pej.), Luwa, L’wa, Mae Hong Son Lawa, Mountain Lawa, Omphai Lawa

8,000 (Nahhas 2007). Ethnic population: 8,500. L2 users: Some who marry into the community learn to speak it.


Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son provinces.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).


La-up, Northern Western Lawa, Omphai. Each village has a distinct accent. Ban Kok Luang, a village of the Northern group, has the most distinct dialect.

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains except government and education, which are in Thai [tha]. All ages. Some older adults also use Sgaw Karen [ksw]. Also use Northern Thai [nod], Thai [tha].

Language Development
Literacy in Mae Hong Son Lawa more common among Christians. Literacy in Central Thai has become more common as education becomes more available. Poetry. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 2001.

Thai script [Thai].

Other Comments

Orthography and literature based on Ban La-up dialect. Traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian.