Myanmar Marks 100th Anniv. Of Lisu Script Created by James Outram Fraser

By Yi Yang, December 20, 2017 07:12 AM

The celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the Old Lisu script was begun in Myitkyina on December 14, 2017.

The Lisu people are an ethnic minority of Southeast Asia in China, Myanmar, India, and Thailand.

Celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the Old Lisu script, also called the Fraser script, kicked off in Myitkyina, the capital city of Kachin State in Myanmar, on December 14, 2017.

A thanksgiving service was held and songs and dances were performances.

The theme of the celebrations was "Script of Vitality", aiming at the protection and heritage of Lisu language and script and inspiring Lisu people to unite together and work hard.

Known as the "apostle to the Lisu People", James Outram Fraser was the first missionary to reach the ethnic group and created the Fraser alphabet for the Lisu language, according to material provided by the church in Yijiang County, Yunnan. He arrived in China in 1908 and pioneered in the country's southwestern areas. Fraser built churches in Yunnan and preached the gospel in the Lisu regions of Yunnan and Myanmar.

The missionary also translated the Bible into the Lisu language and published it.

The alphabet consists of 40 letters, 26 of which are from the uppercase Latin letters in Gothic typefaces while the rest are rotations or inversions of them.

The old Lisu script was only used in the Christian community before 1949. A new script was developed by the Chinese government in 1975.

In terms of the wide usage of the Fraser script among the Lisu, the alphabet was recognized by the government as the official script for the Lisu writing language in 1992.  

- Translated by Karen Luo

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