Eastern Pwo Karen (ဖၠုံ‎)

Eastern Pwo Karen is a member of the Pwo group of Karen languages. It is spoken by about 1 million people in Myanmar, and by about 50,000 in Thailand. In Myanmar it is spoken in Bago and Toungoo townships in the Bago region, in the Tanintharyi region, and in Kayin state. In Thailand it is spoken in the provinces of Kanchanaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, Suphan Buri, Uthai Thani and Tak.

Eastern Pwo Karen is also known as Moulmein Pwo Karen, Phlong, Pho, Phlou, Southern Pwo Karen or Southern Pwo. Dialects include Pa'an, Kawkareik and Tavoy, and there is a high degree mutually intelligiblity between the dialects.

Between 1830 and 1860 a script was developed for Eastern Pwo Karen by members of the millenarian Leke sect of Buddhism and known as the Leke script, the Pwo Karen Leke script or the Karen Chicken Scratch script. It was based on the ancient Mon script. Nowadays it is written with the Myanmar / Burmese script in Myanmar, while in Thailand the Thai alphabet is sometimes used.

Burmese/Mon alphabet for Eastern Pwo Karen

Burmese/Mon alphabet for Eastern Pwo Karen


ဂ, ဃ, ဇ, ဈ, ဋ, ဌ, ဎ, ဒ, ဓ, ဗ, ဘ and ဠ are only used in loanwords.

Download an alphabet chart for Eastern Pwo Karen (Excel)

Sample text

လ်ုုအ်ုဝီႋဍးအိုဝ်် တ်ုဝါန့်အှ်လ်ုဖၠုံး အှ်ဝေ့ဍး လ်ုခေါဟ်လံံင်ခင်းထာ််လ်ုၜုဂ်လ်ုယာင်ဏှ်လှ်။ လ်ုတ်ုဝါန့်ဖိုင်ဏှ် တ်ုုန့်ဖေါဟ်အှ်လ်ုၯာ အ်မိိင်မွာဲဲဝေ့ စဝ််ကၠောာဟ်ဓံံင့်ဏှ်လှ်။


Lə́ əwī dáò təwân ɔ́ lə phlóʊn, ɔ́ wêdá, lə́ khú lòn khánthài ləbàuləyàin nɔ́ lɔ́. Lə́ təwân phə̀n nɔ́ təwânphú ɔ́ lə gà, ə mèin mwɛ̄ wê Cɔ̀klúthôn nɔ́ lɔ.


Once upon a time, there was a village. The village was located not far from the foot of the mountain. There was a villager living in the village. His name was Kyaw Kloo Hton.

Details provided by Michael Peter Füstumum

Sample videos

Information about Eastern Pwo Karen | Numbers


Information Eastern Pwo Karen

Karenic languages

Eastern Pwo Karen, Manumanaw Karen, Northern Pwo, Pa'O, Red Karen (Kayah Li), S'gaw Karen, Western Pwo

Languages written with the Myanmar / Burmese script

Aiton, Arakanese, Burmese, Eastern Pwo Karen, Jingpho, Khamti, Marma, Palaung, Pa'O, S'gaw Karen, Tai Laing, Tai Phake, Western Pwo

Page created: 06.05.22. Last modified: 31.01.23


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