A language of Myanmar

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

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


Kachin state: Mansi and Mogaung townships, Bhamo, Mohnyin, west Momauk, and south Myitkyina; Kayah state: Loikaw; Mandalay region: assorted north border areas; Sagaing region: Homalin and Tamu townships; Shan state: north in Konkyan, Muse, and Nanhkan townships, to south in Hsihseng, Langko, Mawkwa, and Mongpan townships; southeast in Matman, Mongkhet, Monghpyak, Mongyang, and Mongyawng townships. Myanmar-Yunnan border, Mu’ang Mao Long and Namkham (Tai Mao dialect).

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. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use Burmese [mya], Thai [tha]. Used as L2 by Eastern Kayah [eky], Khün [kkh], Lahu [lhu], Mok [mqt], 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.

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