Cite as follows:

Luangthongkum, Theraphan. 2013. A view on Proto-Karen phonology and lexicon. (unpublished ms. contributed to STEDT). Accessed via STEDT database <> on 2024-06-16.

With the exception of Bwe, data was collected by the author during fieldwork in Thailand (2009-2011).

N.Pa-O: Huai Khan village, Mok Champae sub-district, Mueang district, Mae Hong Son province

S.Pa-O: Wat Thaiwatthanaram, Mae Sot district, Tak province

Kayah, Kayan, Kayaw: Huai Suea Thao village, Pha Bong sub-district, Mueang district, Mae Hong Son province

N.Sgaw: Huai Khom village, Mae Yao sub-district, Mueang district, Chiangrai province

S.Sgaw: Pa La-U village, Huai Sat Yai sub-district, Hua Hin district, Prachuap Khiri Khan province

N.Pwo: Dong Dam village, Dong Dam sub-district, Li district, Lamphun province

S.Pwo: Chao Wat Yang Daeng village, Kaen Magrut sub-district, Mueang district, Uthai Thani province

W.Bwe: [Henderson’s Bwe Karen dictionary: with texts and English-Karen word
list (1997)]

From the author, regarding classification:

“Even though Karenic languages have been classified with different criteria by different linguists as summarised in the first section of this paper, in selecting the Karenic languages to be used as the representatives of each branch, I adopted Kauffman’s classification which is geographically based. I do not think that a definite subgrouping can be done with certainty until many more Karenic languages spoken in Myanmar are carefully studied. In my study, two varieties of Pa-O (N.Pa-O and S.Pa-O) were chosen to represent Northern Karen (NK); Kayan, E.Kayah, W.Bwe (Henderson’s Blimaw) and Kayaw for Central Karen (CK); two varieties of Sgaw (N.Sgaw and S.Sgaw) and two varieties of Pwo (N.Pwo and S.Pwo) for Southern Karen (SK).”

Regarding conventions:

“I use ~ to signal ‘part of a compound’ or ‘always appear after or before a certain word’ while a dash to indicate an existence of prefix or sesqui-syllable.”

Languages in this source:

ISO 639-3 Language Name Short Lg Name Group num. of records Phon. Inventory
n/a *Karen PK 7 - Karenic 342
n/a *Karen [Burling] RB 7 - Karenic 192
bwe Bwe BW 7 - Karenic 245
n/a Kayah KH 7 - Karenic 299
pdu Kayan KN 7 - Karenic 293
kvl Kayaw KW 7 - Karenic 314
blk Pa-O (Northern) N.PO 7 - Karenic 278
blk Pa-O (Southern) S.PO 7 - Karenic 265
n/a Pwo (Southern) S.PW 7 - Karenic 297
ksw Sgaw (Northern) N.SG 7 - Karenic 312
ksw Sgaw (Southern) S.SG 7 - Karenic 300
pww Pwo (Northern) N.PW 7 - Karenic 281
n/a *Karen (Southern) PSK 7 - Karenic 1
n/a *Karen (Central) PCK 7 - Karenic 1
n/a *Karen (Northern) PNK 7 - Karenic 1