Kayah Li script

Ian James
© May 2010

script name

This is a modern writing system for Western Kayah Li, a subgroup of Karen in Myanmar. The region of Kayah State borders on Maehongson, Thailand. The script was devised in 1962 by Htae Bu Phae. This font is an imitation of one produced by Phayap University in Chiangmai.


The letters for consonants share one or two features with Burmese and Tai writing systems. There is one digraph. The letters /g/ and /s/ are rarely found as initial consonants.

Vowels & Tones

Kayah Li has a vowel-set typical of the region, plus the option to apply breathiness to a vowel. Breathy vowels are never word-initial, the /h/ in that case having its own value. The plain and breathy diphthong has a special spelling in each case.

There are four level tones in the language (excluding any tonal implications of breathy voice) and it is the upper middle tone which is unmarked. Tone marks shown here with /a/.



I am afraid of what my parents are going to tell me.

>>> Font available on request.

Karen textile


This page © Ian James – last modified Sep.16,2012