Shan

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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.)
Population

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

Location

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).

Dialects

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.

Writing

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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