A language of Myanmar

Alternate Names
Aphu, Chingp’o, Chingpaw, Jinghpaw, Jingphaw, Kachin, Phu

900,000 in Myanmar (Johnstone and Mandryk 2001). Total users in all countries: 940,000.


Kachin state: large area except north and southwest; Shan state: Lashio and Muse districts; Sagaing region: western border strip.

Language Status

3 (Wider communication). Lingua franca for Zaiwa [atb], Lashi [lsi], and Lhao Vo [mhx].


Hkaku (Hka-Hku, Hkahku), Kauri (Gauri, Guari, Hkauri), Dzili (Jili), Dulong (Dalaung, Duleng). Dzili is likely a separate language that is most likely extinct. Hkaku and Kauri are only slightly different. Lexical similarity: 50% with Singhpo [sgp] of India.


SOV; adjectives and numbers follow nouns; singular, dual, plural pronouns; tense-lax vowel distinction; 4 tones.

Language Use

Most domains. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use Burmese [mya]. Used as L2 by Khamti [kht], Lacid [lsi], Lhao Vo [mhx], Lisu [lis], Rawang [raw], Rumai Palaung [rbb], Zaiwa [atb].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 60%–100%. Literacy rate in L2: 50%–75%. Some community literacy classes. Newspapers. Radio. Videos. Dictionary. Bible: 1927–2016.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Kachin refers to a cultural, not linguistic, group. Christian.

Also spoken in:

Expand All
Collapse All
Page Views Left: