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 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

PDF version for the language Shan
PDF Version


Source: United Nations Information Centre, Burma


Native Name

Total Speakers
3,000,000 (1995)

Usage By Country
Home Speakers: Myanmar

It has five tones and is a part of the Kam-Tai or Kadai language family, which are found from Northern Burma and India on the west through Southern China on the north, and Laos on the east. It is related to the Thai language and is called Tai-Yai, or Tai Long in the Tai languages. The term "Shan" is believed to be a Burmese variation on "Siam", which surely indicates that the ethnic Burmese believed that the "Shan" were a Thai (Tai) people. Studies of the Shan are complicated by the civil war within Burma and the difficulty of escaping to Thailand.

Received 8/28/2000