Pagrindinis informacijos šaltinis apie šanų kalbą anglų kalba yra ''Dunwoody Press'' išleista knyga "Šanų kalba angliškai kalbantiems" (''Shan for English Speakers''). Ši leidykla taip pat išleido šanų-anglų kalbų žodyną.
As noted above, Shan is a member of the Tai family of languages (superfamily [[Kam-tai]] or [[Kadai]]). It has five tones, which do not correspond exactly to Thai tones, plus a "sixth tone" used for emphasis. It is written in what may be called a pseudo-Burmese script, which appears to be Burmese to the casual observer but is in fact entirely different, just as the Shan language has no relation to the Burmese language (a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages).
The Shan tones correspond to Thai tones as follows:
1. The Shan low tone is equivalent to the Thai low tone.
2. The Shan high tone is equivalent to the Thai high tone.
3. The Shan rising tone is close to the Thai rising tone.
4. The Shan falling tone is close to the Thai falling tone.
5. The Shan mid-tone is different from the Thai mid-tone.
5a.It falls at the end, and therefore most people view Shan as having
5a1. a "high falling tone" (4), plus ▲
5a2. a "mid-falling tone" (5).
The Shan writing system is much less complex than the Thai writing system, and lacks the notions of high-class, mid-class and low-class consonants, distinctions which help the Thai alphabet to number some 44 consonants. Shan has just 18 consonants, and all tones are clearly indicated with unambiguous tonal markers (in the absence of any marker, the default is the rising tone). The number of consonants in a textbook may vary: there are 18 universally-accepted Shan consonants, and four more which represent sounds not found in Shan, namely 'b,' 'd,' f,' and 'th' as in 'thin.' The last four are quite rare. In addition, most editors include the 'dummy consonant' used to support leading vowels, but some do not. So a given textbook may present 18-23 Shan consonants.
Shan also lacks some of the vowel complexity of Thai, and Shan people learning Thai have difficulties with sounds such as "ia," "ua," and "uea." These all collapse to a single vowel in Shan. Shan also lacks the systematic distinction between long and short vowels characteristic of Thai. While Shan does contain some long and short vowels, most of the Thai long-short differences can only be represented in Shan writing by the corresponding tone shifts.
== Šaltiniai ==
* ''The Major Languages of East and South-East Asia''. [[Bernard Comrie]] (London, 1990).