Spoken L1 Language: Paku Karen

Comments on subclassification

Ken Manson 2019

AES status:
not endangered
David M. Eberhard and Gary F. Simons and Charles D. Fennig 2024
Karen, Paku (jkp-jkp) = 6a (Vigorous).

Retired in ISO 639-3: Split into Paku Karen [jkp] and Mobwa Karen [jkm]

  • Change request: 2011-059
  • ISO 639-3: kpp
  • Name: Paku Karen
  • Reason: split
  • Effective: 2012-02-03

Excerpt from change request document:

The entry for Karen, Paku contained Mobwa as a dialect in the past. However, speakers of Mobwa report low inherent intelligibility with Paku. Based on low reported comprehension and separate identities, it seems that Mobwa should be considered a separate language from Paku. In addition, Mobwa is treated as a distinct variety from Paku in the linguistic literature.

Regarding Mobwa being different from Paku and from Sgaw, there is an article by Shintani (2001) in which he did lexicostatistical analysis of various Karen varieties, including Sgaw, Paku, and Mobwa. He found 79% similarity between Mobwa and Paku and put them in separate groupings. He found 74% similarity between Mobwa and Sgaw and put them in separate groupings.

The Mobwa live among the Bwe, but have to switch to Sgaw or Burmese to communicate with them. They do not have much contact with Paku people, have low understanding of Paku, and have a distinct identity from the Paku.

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