ELL: To M. McDaniel

Matthew McDaniel akha at LOXINFO.CO.TH
Sun Aug 26 02:53:04 UTC 2001

The Roman letters started with the Italian priests for different
languages in Burma probably before the turn of the century when they
first came here.

Thus they picked these letters for the Akha, maybe the Akha were in the
process maybe not.

Because three of the five countries the Akha are in can be verified to
now use Akha letters, the Akha on the project thought it obviuos to "for
now" stay with the roman letters.  But the obvious choice was to at some
point begin with a Tibetan based script, since that is the ancestry and
since the Akha came from that region when that region apparently did
have a script according to some.

Currently the logic for continuing use of the Roman script is that it is
close to english, which the Thai don't care to learn so much, and it
allows the Akha to leap frog the Thai and gain more contact with the
English speaking people who are most interested in them, thus coming to

The Roman Script writing style orthography that we use makes learning
reading and writing english about a one month operation.

An Akha can read and write in the Akha in about two months including
computer use.

A month on top of that and they can read english.

This is an Akha who has never been out of the village and has never been
to school or done any reading or writing of any kind.

We keep in mind to do the Tibetan style script as well, including making
new links to Tibet.


>      May I ask you, why you use Roman letters? I think a language
>      like Akha could be better maintained with a regional
>      alphabet like the Thai. Or a more related to the Akha
>      language. I donĀ“t think that the Roman letters can help the
>      Akha people developing a good written language.
>      The reason why the Akha have chosen the Roman leters could
>      be, that they want to set a political sign against the
>      political suppression they suffer from. The same thing
>      happened with Kurdish ( Kurmanji ) in Iraq. They have
>      changed their Arabic letters into Roman, because they wanted
>      to set a sign against the Iraqi government.
>      Cem
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