Pa'O language

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Pa'O Karen
Native toBurma
EthnicityPa'O people
Native speakers
(560,000 cited 1983)[1]
Burmese script (Pa'O alphabet)
Karen Braille
Language codes
ISO 639-3blk

Pa'O (also rendered Pa-O, Pa Oh) is a Karen language spoken by half a million Pa'O people in Burma.

The language is primarily written using a system of phonetics devised by Christian missionaries,[3][4] and many of the materials now available for it on the internet derive from Christian missionary involvement, although the majority of the Pa'O are generally reported to be Buddhists (without real statistics, etc.).

The language is also referred to by the exonyms "Black Karen" and "White Karen", both of which are terms used in contrast to the Karenni, or "Red Karen".


  1. ^ Pa'O at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Pa'o Karen". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ A Pa'O wordlist:
  4. ^ Some remarks on Pa'O Orthography: