Wa is a member of the Palaungic branch of Mon-Khmer languages spoken mainly in northern Burma, and in neighbouring parts of China and Thailand, by about 950,000 people. There are three varities of Wa, which are sometimes considered separate languages: Parauk, Vo and Awa, each of which have many dialects.
Wa was first written using a version of the Latin alphabet devised by William Marcus Young, a Christian missionary from Nebraska, USA, and Sara Yaw Shu Chin. The first publication in Wa was a compilation of hymns published in 1933, which was followed by a Wa version of the New Testament of the Bible in 1938. The orthography used for these publications is now known as the Bible orthography and is still used to some extent in Burma and Thailand.
A revised version of the Bible orthography has been adopted as the offical Wa spelling in the Wa Special Region 2 in Pangkham in Burma, and is also used online. A spelling system for Wa based on Chinese pinyin is used in official publications in Yunan, though is little used by the general public.
Beid La iag dīx mu, noh mag mom mai moux dix gah mgreem kaox mag bao dīag, si nax hlax kaox grouh an heui, "Pan hag diex nkrub, aex (ex) dōum (dum) sang hu oud ndēe mox?" noh gēd ndaex hrom dix yūh nan heui. Mglang yām ged noh yūh nan, blix mag bao dīag dīx mu jōud gah bīang hlax kaox ndēe moux noh dix, yām hmōung noh loux an, noh si yaoh, noh gēd hag diex hoig nkrub, noh yāog dix gaoh, ang lai mgī blag kaix dix mai dou kaing dan heui.
Part of [Mgroh Mgrong] Beid La Ba Ang Goui Hrom Ged ("The Mindless Rabbit") from Lāi Vax (Wa Reader) Mglōg 4
Information about Wa
A Dictionary of the Wa Language with Burmese (Myanmar), Chinese, and English Glosses
Online Wa lessons
Page last modified: 23.04.21
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