Kayah, Western


A language of Myanmar

Alternate Names
Karenni, Karennyi, Karieng Daeng, Kayah Li, Red Karen, Yang Daeng

150,000 (2007). Very few monolinguals. 2,000 refugees in Thailand.


Kayah and Kayin states, east of Thanlwin river; south Shan State, Pekon township. Northern dialect: Shan State, north of Loikaw; Southern dialect: Hpruso and Dimawso townships, south of Loikaw.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).


Chi Kwe, Dawnnyjekhu, Dawtama, Northern dialect of Western Kayah, Sounglog, Southern dialect of Western Kayah, Wan Cheh. Part of a dialect continuum of Central Karen varieties stretching from Thailand (Eastern Kayah [eky]) to western Kayah State.

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Sgaw Karen [ksw] and Burmese [mya] among Baptists; others also use Burmese.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 10%. Literacy classes in some communities. Dictionary. NT: 2010.
Kayah Li script. Latin script, preferred by Catholics. Myanmar (Burmese) script.
Other Comments

Buddhist, traditional religion, Christian.