Kayah Li script was devised by Htae Bu Phae in March 1962, in part in response to the appearance of Latin-based orthographies which had appeared after 1950. It is taught in schools in refugee camps in Thailand. Kayah Li’s relation to Brahmic scripts can be seen in its ordering and the shapes of some of its letters, although the shapes of most of them were developed independently. At least nine of its characters bear a relation to characters in the Myanmar script.
Unlike the Myanmar script, the Kayah Li script is an alphabet proper as the consonant letters don't have any subsequent vowel. Four of the vowels are written with separate letter, the others are written using a combination of the letter for a and a diacritic marker. The diacritics can also be used in combination with the letter for ơ to represent sounds occurring in loanwords. There is also a set of three diacritics that are used to indicate tone. Unlike the vowel diacritics, that are written above the letter, these are written under.