Lawa, Western


A language of Thailand

Alternate Names
L’wa, Lava, Lavua, Lavüa, Mae Hong Son Lawa, Mountain Lawa, Omphai Lawa, “Lua” (pej.), “Luwa” (pej.)

8,000 (Nahhas 2011). Ethnic population: 8,500 (Nahhas 2011).


Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son provinces.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).


La-up, Omphai, Northern Western Lawa. Each village has a distinct accent. Ban Kok Luang, a village of the Northern group, has the most distinct dialect.

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains except government and education, which are in Thai [tha]. Used by all. Some also use S’gaw Karen [ksw], especially older adults. Also use Northern Thai [nod], Thai [tha].

Language Development

Literacy in Western Lawa more common among Christians. Literacy in Thai [tha] has become more common as education becomes more available. Literature. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 2001.


Thai script [Thai].

Other Comments

Orthography and literature based on Ban La-up dialect. Traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian.

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