Shan (လိၵ်ႈတႆး)

Shan is a Southwestern Tai language spoken mainly in northern Myanmar, in the states of Northen Shan, Southern Shan, Kachin and Kayah, and in the Mandalay and Sagaing regions. There are also Shan speakers in Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, and Tak provinces in northern Thailand, and in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan province in southwestern China. In 2017 there were about 4.59 million speakers of Shan in Myanmar, and in 2006 there were about 95,000 Shan speakers in Thailand.

Written Shan is known as လိၵ်ႈတႆး [lik táj], while spoken Shan is known as ၵႂၢမ်းတႆး [kwáːm táj] or ၽႃႇသႃႇတႆး [pʰàːsʰàː táj]. Other names for Shan include: Burmese Shan, Great Thai, Sam, Sha, Shan Bama, Shan Gyi, Tai, Tai Long, Tai Luang, Tai Shan, Tai Yai, Tai-Lon and Thai Yai.

Shan Script

The Shan script is used in Burma to write Shan, although few Shan speakers can read it. The Burmese / Myanmar script is also used. In China a script similar to Dehong Dai (Tai Le) is used.

Notable Features

Shan alphabet

Shan script

How to write the Shan alphabet

Sample text

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Shan


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample videos in Shan

Information about Shan | Tower of Babel


Information about the Shan language and alphabet

Tai-Kaidai languages

Ahom, Bouyei, Dehong Dai, Kam, (Tai) Khün, Lanna, Lao, Lue, Shan, Sui, Tai Dam, Tai Ya, Thai, Yang Zhuang, Zhuang

Syllabic alphabets / abugidas

Ahom, Badaga, Balinese, Batak, Baybayin (Tagalog), Bengali, Bilang-bilang, Bima, Blackfoot, Brahmi, Buhid, Burmese, Carrier, Chakma, Cham, Cree, Dehong Dai, Devanagari, Ditema, Dives Akuru, Ethiopic, Evēla Akuru, Fraser, Gond, Goykanadi, Grantha, Gujarati, Gunjala Gondi, Gupta, Gurmukhi, Hanifi, Hanuno'o, Ibalnan, Inuktitut, Javanese, Jenticha, Kaithi, Kadamba, Kannada, Kawi, Kerinci, Kharosthi, Khema, Khe Phri, Khmer, Khojki, Kulitan, Lampung, Lanna, Lao, Lepcha, Limbu, Lontara/Makasar, Lota Ende, Magar Akkha, Malayalam, Manpuri, Meroïtic, Masarm Gondi, Modi, Mon, Mongolian Horizontal Square Script, Nandinagari, Newa, Ojibwe, Odia, Pahawh Hmong, Pallava, Phags-pa, Ranjana, Redjang, Sasak, Satera Jontal, Shan, Sharda, Siddham, Sindhi, Sinhala, Sorang Sompeng, Sourashtra, Soyombo, Sundanese, Syloti Nagri, Tagbanwa, Takri, Tamil, Thaana, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Tigalari (Tulu), Tikamuli, Tocharian, Tolong Siki, Varang Kshiti

Green Web Hosting - Kualo

Why not share this page:


If you need to type in many different languages, the Q International Keyboard can help. It enables you to type almost any language that uses the Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets, and is free.

If you like this site and find it useful, you can support it by making a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or by contributing in other ways. Omniglot is how I make my living.


Note: all links on this site to, and are affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you click on any of them and buy something. So by clicking on these links you can help to support this site.