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Language Information

The Karen languages (of which Kayah is a part) are tonal languages spoken by some three million Karen people. They are of unclear affiliation within the Tibeto-Burman languages. The Karen languages are written using the Burmese script. The three main branches are Sgaw, Pwo, and Pa'o. Karenni (also known Kayah or Red Karen, which is a dialect continuum spoken by over half a million Kayah people in Burma) and Kayan (also known as Padaung) are related to the Sgaw branch. They are almost unique among the Tibeto-Burman languages in having a subject–verb–object word order; other than Karen and Bai, Tibeto-Burman languages feature a subject–object–verb order. This is likely due to influence from neighboring Mon and Tai languages. The languages are also considered unusual for not having any Chinese influence. Eastern Kayah is reported to have been spoken by 260,000 people in Burma and 100,000 in Thailand in 2000. Western Kayah is reported to have been spoken by 210,000 people in Burma in 1987.


Bible Information:

For a comparison chart showing the omissions in the Kayah New Testament, click here.