Ancient Lanna Language Class in Chiang Rai

September 15, 2014 by | Filed Under: Authentic Experiences, Travel

A visit to Wat Kiuphraow (Kiuprao) and Prathat Sri Song Wiang made my day. They are located next to each other on a quiet back road in Chiang Rai province. Few people travel on this road.

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I interrupted a Lanna language class. A monk was teaching a group of people the old Lanna alphabet. This alphabet is known as the Tai Tham script and is used for three living languages: Northern Thai (aka Kham Muang), Tai Lü and Tai Khün. All these languages are closely related to the Thai and Lao languages.

In Northern Thailand you will see this script on temple signs, old towns and on street signs in Tai Lü villages. It is very beautiful. Thai people often say that the Lanna language has the most beautifully sweet sounds, signifying the slow-placed life and kind hearted nature of the ancient Lanna Kingdom people.

I know that the language is still alive, but I was not aware that people were still interested to learn using its ancient alphabet. It was a wonderful experience to see the conservation and writings of this ancient language in action! I am now inspired to learn more about this script.

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The very friendly monk wrote my name in the Lanna language on his white board, which was a very nice gesture.

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The temple also houses a kind of museum with old agricultural utensils, discarded radios, musical instruments, etc. Very, very interesting.

Among various Northern Thai’s cultural connection activities, this one is definitely worth a visit. I will definitely be back there.

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