In 1940, Sao Hsai Muong and Shan literary committee created new Shan script and writing system by adding some tone marks and new characters to make the letter more accurate in writing and reading. It is now called “New Shan Script.” The old writing system was used in Shan literature for more than four hundred years until new writing system was fully developed in 1958. Shan-English and English-Shan dictionary were produced by Rev. J. N. Cushing in 1881 and revised by H.W. Mix, in January 1914. Revised version of Cushing’s Shan-English dictionary in new Shan script was done by Sao Tern Moeng and published in 1995. Shan dictionary was written by Gant Kham Sung Sum and published in December 2001.
There are 18 alphabets in old writing system and 20 in new Shan writing system. Some use two more alphabets in new system. There are 20 initial consonants, 10 plain vowels, 12 diphthongs and 6 tone marks in new Shan writing system.
Regretfully Shan literatures are not allowed to be taught in public schools in Shan States. All public schools are government schools. Nowadays younger generation prefer reading Burmese instead of Shan because of the following reasons.
They do not have a chance of learning Shan at school.
They learn Burmese at school and know only Burmese well.
They know Burmese better than Shan.
There are very few books written in Shan.
Very few educational books or interesting books written in Shan. No educational books such as science, medicine, engineering, arts, agriculture, and mining are written or translated in Shan.
If you want to read Shan literature please click website below.