Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Population and Language of LAWA

Population: There are 43 know villages of Lawa, which number some 300 or more households, averaging about 30 house per village, and 7.0 persons per house. The total papulation is estimated at 9,000persons(this my be a low estimate). The largest village is Baw Luang, in which there are 230 households. Few Lawa villages number less than 25 houses.

Language : As outlined above, the Lawa speak a language related to Wa, and use many of the same words. The author does not feel that this is one of the Mon-Khmer language, nor is there anything more than remote Mon-Khmer influences, if any, in this language. It is a language, together with Wa, which perhaps deserves a separate classification. There are no clear indications to show linguistic influences which the Mon invaders of the 6th and 7th century A.D. might have had on the Lawa people. Today, most of the Lawa are able to speak Lao-Thai fluently, Those Lawa, found on the Baw Luang plateau, and nearer to Mae Sariang, have been in close contact with the Thai people, so that many of younger people have been Thai schools. While some of them are literate in Thai, few of them speak Thai well, preferring the northern(Lao-Thai) dialect. There are individuals who can speak Skaw Karen well, or have good understanding of it. They speak no other language, and have no written language of their own.

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