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Kachin language

Language is at the heart of culture. It is the life-blood that keeps a tribe alive. This is why it is so important to many people, to teach and to learn their native language. English is lucky, many people want to learn it and the language and the culture are thriving, Other languages are not so lucky, other cultures are not so healthy.

Listen to the video and read about the Jingpho language used in Kachin state.


Here in Kachin State's IDP camp school, the traditional Jingpho language is a choice for students who are fiercely proud of their heritage.

"Burmese only have their own curriculum in the schools but they ban us from studying our own language. They only teach us in Burmese language in the class."

For many, preserving the language also means retaining the cultural identity of the Kachin people amidst Myanmar's diverse ethnic mix of more than a hundred dialects.

If we don't continue to learn the Jingpho language and the Kachin culture it will disappear someday that's why I continue to teach language and traditional culture to the Kachin youth. If they don't learn the language and culture we will lose our identity and become Burmans.

Kachin journalists covering the war speak some Burmese but reports are delivered in the native tongue to the local population. Because of the travel into government controlled areas this reporter wants to remain anonymous to avoid possible discrimination.

'My target is to report the news in Jingpho language for the Kachin people who live in the mountains and the elders who don't know Burmese language so they can listen to the radio in Jingpho language and get information for their awareness.'

Many of the IDPs have relatives in the army but communication is sporadic so the news is often spread by word of mouth.

'Yeah I'm here at the IDP camp and I listen on radio news more often because the situation is getting worse and many of my friends are soldiers and in the jungles on the front lines so I listen to get more news and communicate with my friends all the time so that they get the info and are more alert.''

As fighting continues in parts of Kachin state for control over land and resources many hope to one day also have more control over their identity and culture.


There are eight NOUNS in bold in the transcript. Match the eight words with their meanings.

  1. treating a person or particular group of people differently, especially in a worse way from the way in which you treat other people.

  2. a level or a goal that you intend to achieve.

  3. the various methods of sending information between people and places, especially phones and computers.

  4. historical features belonging to a culture, such as traditions, languages, or buildings, that still have importance.

  5. forms of a language that people speak in particular parts of a country, containing some different words and grammar.

  6. who a person is, or the qualities of a person or group that make them different from others.

  7. something that can be used to help us.

  8. knowledge that something exists, or understanding of a situation.

When you are confident you have the answers, complete the test sheet.


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