Ceasefire gives Karenni language a chance to be heard

The ceasefire agreements between the Karenni armed groups and the Burma government has delivered a cultural bonus to Karenni people. U Thoo Reh, the director of the Karenni literature and culture department said people in Shadaw Township, Karenni (Kayah) State are learning the Karenni language, that was invented by the former chairman of the Karenni National Progressive Party, Ku Htae Bu Peh, in 1955, for the first time because of the recent ceasefire agreements.

U Thoo Reh said.

“We have been learnt this language many years ago, but it was banned from study when the SLORC and SPDC (Burma’s former military regimes] governed. Now we are trying to get it started by introducing it again at the basic level.”

A schoolteacher working in Shadaw, said that there were six levels in the teaching plan but for the moment they were starting with the basics in the Shadaw area with plans to extend in to other areas such as Loi Kaw and Demoso.

“Some educated people, teachers and local villagers have joined the basic language course as they want to study to be literate in their mother language.”

At the moment the Karenni people use three different languages, using Burmese and Roman consonants, and the one invented by Ku Htae Bu Peh, the former chairman of the Karenni National Progressive Party.

Most people in Karenni State use the Karenni language based on the Burmese and Roman consonants, but most of the Karenni living on the Thailand-Burma border and in the refugee camps use the one invented by Ku Htae Bu Peh.

A young Karenni woman told Karen News.
“Since 1997, I have learnt the Karenni language while I was living on the border – the one invented by Ku Htae Bu Peh – I can read and write it well.”

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