UZH News

Towards the publication of a corpus of the Pyu inscriptions of ancient Burma and the decipherment of the Pyu language (Tibeto-Burman)

Freitag, 2. Oktober 2015, 10:15 Uhr bis 12:00 Uhr

The corpus of Pyu inscriptions is the last virtually untouched corpus of Southeast Asian inscriptions. Besides rare inscriptions in Sanskrit (in a North Indian form of Brāhmī script), and Pali (in South Indian Brāhmī), the major part of the corpus is formed by inscriptions in a language belonging to the Tibeto-Burman family written in its own characteristic form of Indic script whose closest Indian model seems to be the corpus of inscriptions of Nagarjunakonda (Andhra Pradesh), dating to the 3rd and 4th centuries. This suggests that Pyu might be among the oldest attested Tibeto-Burman languages. The script shows several innovative features whose interpretation has not yet been settled. So far, the language has been approached almost exclusively on the basis of one quadrilingual (Burmese-Mon-Pali-Pyu) inscription, while dozens of others, including a bilingual text (Sanskrit with Pyu glosses), remain unstudied. My research on the Pyu corpus, launched in 2012 and undertaken since 2014 in collaboration with linguist J.K. Wheatley, aims to establish an up-to-date inventory; to gather high-resolution images for each entry; to produce exact transliterations of all inscriptions; and on this basis to make contributions to the decipherment of the Pyu language. This lecture will offer a first report on our research.

MitArlo Griffiths (EFEO Paris)
Ort Karl Schmid-Strasse 4, 8006 Zürich
Raum: KO2 F 175
VeranstalterInstitut für Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft
KontaktFlorian Sommer (Mail)