Shan have their own language, literature , belief, dress, festivals and practices, which they proudly called “Shan culture .” However it is difficult to say whether it is an “Authentic Shan Culture ” or “Buddhist Practices.” For instance, the novice ordination festival (y.B;omifbv.if;) normally held in March is, as claimed by the Shan, a Shan culture. It fact it is a Buddhist customs to make their sons becoming monks for a month in monastery to obtain merit for better future. Since Shan people have adopted Buddhism for almost two thousand years, all Buddhist practices have naturally and automatically become their culture. Buddhist festivals, activities and practices are sometime identified or assumed or considered or claimed as Shan culture. Sometime they call it “Buddhist Shan Culture.” Shan people claim that Buddhism is Shan religion, Shan are Buddhists and Buddhism is Shan culture. People have been identified with religion. Thus it makes Shan very difficult to become Christian or belong to other religions.
The Tai people in different countries and places still have many words in common although changes in dialect and accents. There are common languages and terms among Tai, Thai , Lao , Shan , Dai and Tai Ahom in spite of their separation for hundreds of years. For instance they all call “rice” as “kao” (c0fj), and the “spirit” as “Phe” (zD), “water” as “namm” (erfh)? The number, one (ekdifj), two (o.if), three (omrf), four (oDb), five ([Mj), six (=uf;), seven (qAwf;) eight (yFwfb), nine (u0fj), ten (odyf;) are the same. They also have similar dress and same method of cooking, dressing, life style and common food. Shan language belongs to the Tai linguistic group, which also includes the Thai , Lao and Zhuang languages.
Shan language is different from other languages in Burma. In their own language the Shan call themselves Tai (wB;) and their country Muong Tai (rldif;wB;) and their language Tai language (ugmrf;wB;). The Tai languages are a subgroup of the Tai Kadai language family.
Tai Cheung Language
Tai Dum Language
Tai Khamti Language
Tai Khun Language
Tai Lao Language
Tai Lu Language
Tai Loi Language
Tai Mao Language
Tai Nua Language
Tai Sa Language
Tai Loong Language
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