A language of Myanmar


Alternate Names
Burmese Shan, Great Thai, “Ngeo” (pej.), “Ngiao” (pej.), “Ngiaw” (pej.), “Ngio” (pej.), “Ngiow” (pej.), Sam, Sha, Shan Bama, Shan Gyi, Tai Long, Tai Luang, Tai Shan, Tai Yai, Tai-Lon, Thai Yai

3,200,000 in Myanmar (Johnstone and Mandryk 2001). 350,000 Tai Mao (1990 A. Diller). Total users in all countries: 3,295,000.


Mostly Shan State: broad swath from north (Nanhkan, Muse, and Konkyan townships), east of Taunggyi, to the south (Hsihseng, Mawkwa, Langko, and Mongpan townships), with 2 distinct areas southeastward, Matman, Mongkhet, Mongyang, Monghpyak, and Mongyawng townships; Sagaing region: Homalin and Tamu townships; Kachin State: Mohnyin, Mogaung, south Myitkyni, western Momauk, Bhamo and Mansi township; Kayah State: Loikaw; north Mandalay, assorted border areas; Tai Mao is on Myanmar-Yunnan border, centered at Mu’ang Mao Long or Namkham.

Language Status

3 (Wider communication).


Tai Mao (Mao Shan, Tai Khe), Northern Shan State, Southern Shan State. Regional dialect differences. Low intelligibility of Lü [khb].

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Burmese [mya], Thai [tha]. Used as L2 by Eastern Kayah [eky], Khün [kkh], Lahu [lhu], Pa’o [blk], Parauk Wa [prk], Pyen [pyy], Riang Lai [yin], Riang Lang [ril], Ruching Palaung [pce], Rumai Palaung [rbb], Shwe Palaung [pll].

Language Development
Bible: 1892–2002.

Myanmar (Burmese) script [Mymr].

Other Comments

Tai Mao (Mao Shan, Tai Khe) is linguistically closer to Tai Nüa [tdd] but political and cultural factors lead them to identify with Shan. Buddhist.

Also spoken in:

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