This plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.



This plugin is devoted to making it easier to use the Karen languages on the Internet. Due to poor technical support, the Karen langauges currently have limited online presence. However, with the help of this WordPress plugin, you can help change that.

The Karen languages are commonly written with a script derived from the Myanmar script. The Sgaw and Pwo Karen scripts are implemented in recent versions of Unicode as an extension of the Myanmar script. However, many people may still be using psuedo-Unicode Myanmar fonts, which commonly use minority language code points for their own use. This causes a problem for browsers which don’t know which font to use, and commonly choose the wrong one, rendering Karen text unreadable.

The solution is to specifically assign the correct font to all Karen text. The primary function of this plugin is to facilitate this assignment. It does this by scanning content for Karen text, and assigning a CSS class containing font family information to any text it finds.


To complete installation of the Kawthulei plugin, you simply:

  1. Upload the kawthulei folder to the /wp-content/plugins/
    directory. And activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress

The WordPress framework does not make it easy to process post and page titles. To enable Karen titles on your own theme, you’re going to have to modify your templates. First, put the following function in your functions.php file.

function yyp_the_displayed_title() { echo apply_filters(   'the_displayed_title', the_title( '', '', false ) );   } } 

Second, you need to change all occurences of the_title(); in your template files to the_displayed_title();.


Who are the Karen people?

The Karen people are an ethnic group in Thailand and Myanmar, and are the second largest ethnic group in Myanmar. Most estimates place their population around 5 million.

What on earth does “Kawthulei” mean?

“Kawthulei” is the name the Karens have traditionally call their homeland. The word has been variously translated, but one translation is “Green land” or “Lush land” (“Thulei” is the name of an delicious green edible plant that grows in aboundance there).

What is meant by Sgaw Karen? Pwo Karen?

There are a number of Karen tribes in Thailand and Myanmar speaking several dialects of the Karenic language group. Two of those tribes are Sgaw and Pwo.

= What problems must be overcome for Karen to be commonly used on the Internet? =

The four main problems that a Karen speaker must overcome to use her language on a computer are:

  1. Fonts for this language are not installed by default on most operating systems and many people don’t know that real Unicode fonts exist.
  2. Psuedo-Unicode fonts often get in the way.
  3. Keyboards forthis language are not installed by default, and many people don’t realize they are available at all. 1. Many applications don’t properly draw complex Myanmar fonts.

= I’m a developer, how can I help the Karen language move forward in the modern world? =

You can go to the ( wiki site, and learn how you can contribute there.

Contributors & Developers

“Kawthulei” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.

Translate “Kawthulei” into your language.

Interested in development?

Browse the code, check out the SVN repository, or subscribe to the development log by RSS.



  • Changed to using my own font, Karen Text, rather than Tharlon or Padauk. This should work better on OS X and Windows 8.
  • Fixed some small bugs on OS X.


  • Added the necessary Karen fonts to support Chrome and Safari on OSX.
  • Added CSS to select the proper font for WPML’s language switcher widgit.


  • Added support for Pwo Karen.
  • Removed the canvas drawing and font changing scripts, remote font loading should be enough in most cases.


  • Fixed a bug in the search filter hook
  • Added CSS to specify fonts, no longer any need to add this to the theme
  • Added remote font loading via the CSS @font-face rule
  • Added a script to try different fonts and apply the first one that displays correctly
  • Added script functionality to draw text on html canvas elements in cases where the native fonts are not able to display correctly (mostly webkit browsers, I think)

This version should work out of the box on any theme as long as you don’t use Karen in post or page titles. Also, in order for the script to display a warning message if it fails to display correctly, your theme will need to provide one. For more information, see the installation page.


  • Initial release