Lisu is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by about 942,000 people in southern China, northern Myanmar (Burma), northern Thailand and northern India. In the year 2000 there were about 600,000 speakers of Lisu in China, mainly along the Mekong and Salween rivers in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. Lisu speakers are taught to read and write their language in churches. The language is also taught in schools, and used in literature, newspapers and on the radio.
In 2007 there were about 300,000 Lisu speakers in Kachin and Shan states in northern Myanmar. There were also 40,000 speakers of Lisu in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaeng Phet, Mae Hong Son, Phayao, Sukhothai and Tak provinces in Thailand, and about 2,700 in Arunachal Pradesh state in northern India.
Lisu is also known as Chedi, Cheli, Chung, Khae, Leisu, and by various other names. It is closely related to Lahu and Akha, and also to Burmese, Kachin and Yi.
The Fraser alphabet or Old Lisu Alphabet was invented in about 1915 by Sara Ba Thaw, a Karen preacher from Myanmar, and improved by the missionary James O. Fraser, a missionary who lived and worked with the Lisu people in China from 1910 to 1949. During his time in China, Fraser learnt to speak Chinese and Lisu and produced a Lisu translation of the New Testament using his alphabet. He also devised a system of muscial notation for the Lisu to use.
In 1992 the Chinese government recognised the Fraser alphabet as the official script for the Lisu language and has encouraged its use since then.
Hear how to pronounce Lisu:
The Lisu Latin alphabet is based on Pinyin and was introduced in China in 1964, however most Lisu speakers continued to use the Fraser alphabet.
So when you pray, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, we pray that your name will always be kept holy. We pray that your kingdom will come, and that the things you want will be done here on earth, the same as in heaven. Give us the food we need for each day. Forgive the sins we have done, the same as we have forgiven the people that did wrong to us. Don't let us be tempted, but save us from the Evil One. Yes, if you forgive other people for the things they do wrong, then your Father in heaven will also forgive you for the things you do wrong.
Information about the Fraser alphabet
Information about J. O. Fraser
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Page last modified: 16.03.23
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