Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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This paper presents preliminary findings of the research project entitled "Ethnicity, Language, Culture and Ethnic Tourism Development." It has three goals. First, it aims to identify the Karen language spoken in six provinces in the western region of Thailand, namely, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Suphan Buri, and Nakhon Pathom. The next goal is to explore Karen language use and attitudes towards languages of the wider community. The final goal is to evaluate the development of sustainable ethnic tourism in the region. A preliminary survey of language use and attitude of Karen people towards the Karen language and Ethnic Tourism Development (ETD) in these six provinces was carried out using a qualitative approach. Thirty subjects made up of local administrators and community leaders were interviewed using two kinds of guided questionnaires, community and personal questionnaires. The villages where the Karen language is spoken are presented on an ethno-linguistic map, linked with cultural information about the Karen. The interviews with participants yield preliminary findings on the language vitality and attitude of Karen people towards the Karen language and ETD in the six provinces. Karen in Prachuap Khiri Khan has the strongest language vitality whereas Karen in Nakhon Pathom has the weakest. In the other provinces, around fifty percent of Karen people still speak Karen.

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