Karen, S’gaw


A language of Myanmar

Alternate Names
Burmese Karen, Kanyaw, Kyetho, Paganyaw, Pchcknya, Pwakanyaw, S’gau, S’gaw, S’gaw Kayin, White Karen, Yang Khao

1,280,000 in Myanmar (1983 census). Very few monolinguals. Population total all countries: 1,480,000.


Ayeyarwaddy delta area, Tanintharyi Division, the Pegu range between Irrawaddy and Sittang rivers; Kayin State east hills; Mon State. Delta dialect: Ayeyarwaddy delta area, Yangon, up to Mandalay; scattered in Kachin State, Shan State; Eastern dialect: south Kayin and Mon states, and Mawlamyine; Southern dialect: Tanintharyi Division. Also in Thailand.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Delta dialect of S’gaw Karen, Eastern dialect of S’gaw Karen (Pa’an), Southern dialect of Western Kayah (Dawei). Similar to Paku Karen [jkp].



Language Use

Most communities vigiorous; some shift toward Burmese [mya]. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Burmese [mya].

Language Development
Some literacy classes. Magazines. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1853–1995.
Latin script, no longer in use. Myanmar (Burmese) script.
Other Comments

Buddhist, traditional religion, Christian.

Also spoken in:

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