A language of Myanmar

Alternate Names
Kayang, Ka-Yun, Lahwi, “Long-Necked Karen” (pej.), “Padaung” (pej.), “Padaung Karen” (pej.)

133,000 in Myanmar (2005 E. Phan). Total users in all countries: 133,180.


South Shan State, Pekon township; northwest Kayah State; Kayin State, Thandaung township; Mandalay Region, Pyinmana township. Kayan Lahwi dialect: Kayah State, Lahwi and northwest Dimawso; Shan State, south Pekon. Kayan Kangan dialect: northwest Kayah State, Dimawso area.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).


Standard Pekon, Kayan Lahwi, Kayan Kangan (Yeinbaw, Yinbaw). Significant dialectal variation. Most seem to understand standard Pekon (prestige) dialect. Lexical similarity: more than 90% among dialects, 71%–76% with Lahta [kvt].

Language Use

Vigorous in most areas, but in some larger towns, children are no longer learning it. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Some also use S’gaw Karen [ksw]. Also use Burmese [mya]. Used as L2 by Lahta [kvt], Zayein [kxk].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 20%. Literacy rate in L2: 40% in Burmese [mya]; 10% in Sgaw Karen [ksw]. Literacy classes in some communities. Poetry. Films. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 2009–2015.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Christian, Buddhist, traditional religion.

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