Kayah, Eastern


A language of Myanmar

Alternate Names
Karenni, Karennyi, Kayah Li, Kayay, Red Karen

8,000 in Myanmar (2007). Population total all countries: 26,000.


Kayah State, Shadaw township, east of Thanlwin river; Shan State, Langkho district.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Lower Eastern Kayah, Upper Eastern Kayah. Upper Eastern Kayah and Lower Eastern Kayah are mutually intelligible; Huai Sua Thaw village (Lower Eastern) is prestigious in both dialect groups. Difficulty understanding Western Kayah [kyu].

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Burmese [mya] among Buddhists and Roman Catholics. 5,000 also use S’gaw Karen [ksw]. Also use Central Thai [tha] in education of Kayah in permanent villages. Western Kayah [kyu] used in education in refugee camps. Also use Shan [shn].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Dictionary. Grammar.

Kayah Li script [Kali].

Other Comments

Buddhist, Christian, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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