A language of Myanmar

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

133,000 in Myanmar (2005 E. Phan). Very few monolinguals. Population total all countries: 133,180.


South Shan State, Pekon township; Northwest Kayah State; Kayin State, Thandaung township; Mandalay Region, Pyinnmana township. Kayan Lahwi dialect: Kayah State, Lahwi and northwest Dimawso; Shan State, south Pekon. Kayan Kangan dialect: northwest Kayan State, Dimawso area. Also in Thailand.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Kayan Kangan (Yeinbaw, Yinbaw), Kayan Lahwi, Standard Pekon. Significant dialectal variation. Most seem to understand standard Pekon (prestige) dialect. Lexical similarity: more than 90% with Kayan 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. Also use Sgaw Karen [ksw] among Baptists; others also use Burmese [mya].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: Below 5%. Literacy classes in some communities. Poetry. Dictionary. Bible portions: 2009–2011.
Latin script.
Other Comments

Christian, Buddhist, traditional religion.