Tuesday, October 15, 2013

97. Shan

  Shan (lìk tái)

Shan is a Tai language spoken by about 3.3 million people in the Shan States of Burma in the northeast of the country, and also in parts of northern Thailand and in the Xishuangbanna (Sipsongpanna) Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan province in southwestern China. The language is also known as Tai-Yai, Tai-Long and ภาษาไทใหญ่.
The Shan script is used in Burma to write Shan, although few Shan speakers can read and write in the Shan script. In China a script similar to Dehong Dai (Tai Le) is used.

Notable Features

  • Type of writing system: syllabic alphabet - each letter has an inherent vowel [a]. Other vowels sounds are indicated using diacritics attached to the consonants.
  • Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines.
  • Shan is a tonal language with five tones, plus a sixth which is used for emphasis.


Shan consonants


Shan Diphthongs

Tones and punctuation

Shan tone indication and punctuation


Shan numerals

Sample texts

Sample text in Shan


1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2. The same was in the beginning with God.
(John 1:1-2) from: http://www.skyknowledge.com/shan.htm
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Shan


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)


Information about the Shan language and alphabet


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