Kayah, Western

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A language of Myanmar

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

150,000 (2007). 2,000 refugees in Thailand.

Location

Kayah State and Kayin State, 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).

Dialects

Northern dialect of Western Kayah, Southern dialect of Western Kayah, Dawtama, Dawnnyjekhu, Sounglog, Chi Kwe, 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. Some also use S’gaw Karen [ksw]. Also use Burmese [mya]. Used as L2 by Eastern Kayah [eky].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 10%. Literacy classes in some communities. Dictionary. NT: 2010. Agency: Kayah Literature and Culture Committee.
Writing

Kayah Li script [Kali]. Latin script [Latn], preferred by Catholics. Myanmar (Burmese) script [Mymr].

Other Comments

Buddhist, Christian, traditional religion.

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