Part of CoRSAL

About the Language

Akha (ISO 639-3 ahk) belongs to the Lolo-Burmese subgroup of Tibeto-Burman languages. The Akha people are spread over the border areas between Burma, Thailand, China, Laos, and Vietnam. Their homeland is presumed to be in southwest China. The migration routes have gone from China southwards to Burma and then on to Thailand since around 1900, and also to Laos and Vietnam. The Akha have traditionally lived on semi-high mountains, growing dry rice, but, by now, many Akhas live in the lowlands and in the cities.

Akha has a rich oral tradition with a huge body of ritual texts transmitted orally. The ritual language is slightly different from the modern language. Most disyllabic nouns in the modern language are monosyllabic; the syntax is also changed to fit the metrical pattern, which makes the texts difficult to understand for young Akhas. Apart from the ritual texts, there is also a vivid tradition of songs, storytelling, and myths.

About the Collection

This collection includes audio recordings, photographs, transcriptions, and notebooks representing the fieldwork of Inga-Lill Hansson of Lund University. Material was collected in Copenhagen and during field trips to Akha villages in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand and subsequently analyzed by Hansson. Genres include ritual texts, traditional narratives, oral histories, music, descriptions of village life, riddles, conversation, and more.

At a Glance

Cite This Collection

Here is our suggested citation. Consult an appropriate style guide for conformance to specific guidelines.

Akha Language Resource in UNT Digital Library. University of North Texas Libraries. accessed September 22, 2023.

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