Kayah, Eastern


A language of Myanmar

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

8,000 in Myanmar (2007). Total users in all countries: 26,000.


Kayah state: Shadaw township east of Thanlwin river; Shan state: Langkho district.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Upper Eastern Kayah, Lower 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. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Most also use S’gaw Karen [ksw]. Also use Shan [shn]. Also use Burmese [mya], specifically among Buddhists and Roman Catholics. Also use Thai [tha], in education of Kayah in permanent villages. Also use Western Kayah [kyu], in education in refugee camps.

Language Development

Dictionary. Grammar. Texts.


Kayah Li script [Kali].

Other Comments

Buddhist, Christian, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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