Lahu vowels contain all the vowels in English with a few extras.

Lahu English Equivalent
i as in ‘in’
e as in ‘get’
eh as above
ui like the Thai ‘เ◌ือ’
eu like the Thai ‘◌ือ’
a as in ‘are’
u as in ‘cue’
o as in ‘got’
aw as in ‘claw

There is also a tenth vowel ‘uh’ that does not occur at the beginning of a word. It only occurs with nine consonants and in these cases can actually sound different. #tab-uh shows how ‘uh’ is effected with various consonant combinations.

Written Meaning Spoken
tcuh ve to send cuh ve
tsuhˇ ve to wash chuhˇ ve
tzuhˆ ve to itch juhˆ ve
suh ve to die suh ve
zuhˆ ve to sleep yuhˆ ve


Diphthongs can be described as a sound made by combining two vowels together smoothly in one syllable. For example the word ‘kite’ in English has a diphthong represented by the letter i. Phonetically it could be written ‘k-eye-ee-t’ if said slowly.

The following table shows the diphthongs used in Lahu:

Lahu English Equivalent
ai as in ‘fly
ao as in ‘grouch’
aweh as in ‘boy
awan said quickly as written (rare)