Karen, Pwo Eastern


A language of Myanmar

Alternate Names
Moulmein Pwo Karen, Phlong, Phlou, Pho

1,000,000 in Myanmar (1998). Total users in all countries: 1,050,000.


Bago region: Bago and Toungoo townships; Kayin state and Tanintharyi region: large area near Thai border.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Pa’an (Inland Eastern Pwo Karen, Moulmein), Kawkareik (Eastern Border Pwo Karen), Tavoy (Southern Pwo Karen). Not intelligible with Pwo Western Karen [pwo]. Reportedly fairly high comprehension among Eastern Pwo Karen dialects. Lexical similarity: 91%–97% among dialects; 63%–65% with Pwo Western Karen [pwo].



Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use Burmese [mya]. Used as L2 by S’gaw Karen [ksw].

Language Development

Bible: 1926.


Leke (Chicken-Scratch) script [Leke], developed between 1830–1860, used by adherents to the Leke Millenarian sect. Myanmar (Burmese) script [Mymr], primary usage, a variety of orthographies are in use. Thai script [Thai], developed by expatriates around 2000, used by West Central Thailand Pwo Karen community, limited usage.

Other Comments

Buddhist, Christian.

Also spoken in:

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