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Fraser alphabet

The Fraser alphabet or Old Lisu Alphabet was invented in about 1915 by Sara Ba Thaw, a Karen preacher from Myanmar, and improved by the missionary James O. Fraser, a missionary who lived and worked with the Lisu people in China from 1910 to 1949. During his time in China, Fraser learnt to speak Chinese and Lisu and produced a Lisu translation of the New Testament using his alphabet. He also devised a system of muscial notation for the Lisu to use.

In 1992 the Chinese government recognised the Fraser alphabet as the official script for the Lisu language and has encouraged its use since then.

Notable features

Used to write

Lisu (LI-SU) a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by about 657,000 people in Burma, India, Thailand and in the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan.

Fraser alphabet

Sample text in the Fraser alphabet

Sample text in the Fraser alphabet


So when you pray, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, we pray that your name will always be kept holy. We pray that your kingdom will come, and that the things you want will be done here on earth, the same as in heaven. Give us the food we need for each day. Forgive the sins we have done, the same as we have forgiven the people that did wrong to us. Don't let us be tempted, but save us from the Evil One. Yes, if you forgive other people for the things they do wrong, then your Father in heaven will also forgive you for the things you do wrong.


Tower of Babel in Lisu in the Fraser alphabet


Information about the Fraser alphabet

Information about the Lisu language

Information about J. O. Fraser

Tibeto-Burman languages

Burmese, Dzongkha, Garo, Karbi, Kayah Li, Karen, Ladakhi, Lepcha, Limbu, Lisu, Manipuri, Marma, Mizo, Mro, Naxi, Nepal Bhasa / Newari, Sunuwar, Tangut, Tibetan, Tshangla, Tujia, Yi

Syllabic alphabets / abugidas