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Once-taboo language lives again in rural Myanmar

Shan-ni tongue and culture revive after years of suppression and conflict

Former Kachin State Minister for Shan Affairs and Shan-ni advocate Daw Khin Pyone holds a 50-year-old Shan-ni script. (Photo by Lorcan Lovett)

LONE TON, Myanmar -- A punchy cadence echoes from a one-story school building toward verdant mountains -- the familiar sound of children reciting lines to learn a language. But in this part of northern Myanmar, speaking Shan-ni, the local dialect, only a decade ago was seen as taboo, and treated as a crime.

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