In spoken Lahu, the subject and/or object are often obvious. This is the case in example ‘I-read’ below, where the speaker is the subject and there is no object. In example ‘we-read’, the object particle hta would not normally be spoken in conversation as it is implied and obvious. In written Lahu, however, it is more acceptable to include the particles unless they are overly obvious.

Foreigners speaking Lahu often use too many particles in their speech. While the sentence may be correct it is not colloquial and may seem overly formal.

Lahu Ngaˬ g’aw ve yoˬ PoS (sbj) (vb) English I read

Example 'I-read'

Lahu Ngaˬ hui li hta g’aw ve yoˬ PoS (sbj) (obj) (vb) English we the book read

Example 'we-read'

Lahu Yawˇ hui lehˬ iˉ kaˆ dawˬ ve yoˬ PoS (sbj) (obj) (vb) English they water drink

Example 'they-drink'

Lahu Chehˇ -aw PoS (vb) (fp) English to be already

Example 'be-here'

In examples such as those above, the subject and object are often very clear. In example ‘we read’, the book can only be read by us, it cannot read us. In more complex sentences, however, it is necessary to clarify various parts of the sentence such as identifying the subject and object. Particles allow us to do this.

Lahu G’ui sha lehˬ ngaˬ hui hta maˍ laˇ ve yoˬ PoS (sbj) (obj) (vb) English God us teaches

Example 'god-teaches'

The previous example demonstrates the use of the particles. In cases like this it is particularly necessary to qualify the subject and object to get the correct sense (who is teaching whom).

Particle Usage
lehˬ Subject particle
hta Object particle or indicator
ve (Many uses) Identifies verbs, possession etc…
yoˬ Final affirmative particle
mehˍ Final emphatic request (polite)
sheˍ Final emphatic request (more forceful)
Common Particles