Pyu
Tircul
Pyu Alphabets.jpg
Pyu alphabet
RegionPyu city-states, Pagan Kingdom
Extinct13th century
Pyu script
Language codes
ISO 639-3pyx
pyx
Glottologburm1262

The Pyu language (Pyu:

Pyu pyx.png
; Burmese: ပျူ ဘာသာ, IPA: [pjù bàðà]; also Tircul language) is an extinct Sino-Tibetan language that was mainly spoken in what is now Myanmar in the first millennium CE. It was the vernacular of the Pyu city-states, which thrived between the second century BCE and the ninth century CE. Its usage declined starting in the late ninth century when the Bamar people of Nanzhao began to overtake the Pyu city-states. The language was still in use, at least in royal inscriptions of the Pagan Kingdom if not in popular vernacular, until the late twelfth century. It became extinct in the thirteenth century, completing the rise of the Burmese language, the language of the Pagan Kingdom, in Upper Burma, the former Pyu realm.[1]

The language is principally known from inscriptions on four stone urns (7th and 8th centuries) found near the Payagyi pagoda (in the modern Bago Township) and the multi-lingual Myazedi inscription (early 12th century).[2][3] These were first deciphered by Charles Otto Blagden in the early 1910s.[3]

The Pyu script was a Brahmic script. The most recent scholarship suggests the Pyu script may have been the source of the Burmese script.[4]

Classification

Pyu Inscription from Hanlin
Pyu Inscription from Hanlin
Pyu city-states circa 8th century; Pagan shown for comparison only, not contemporary to the Pyu cities
Pyu city-states circa 8th century; Pagan shown for comparison only, not contemporary to the Pyu cities

Blagden (1911: 382) was the first scholar to recognize Pyu as an independent branch of Sino-Tibetan.[5] Miyake (2021, 2022[6]) argues that Pyu forms a branch of its own within the Sino-Tibetan language phylum due to its divergent phonological and lexical characteristics. Pyu is not a particularly conservative Sino-Tibetan language, as it displays many phonological and lexical innovations as has lost much of the original Proto-Sino-Tibetan morphology.[7][8] Miyake (2022) suggests that this may be due to a possible creoloid origin of Pyu.[6]

Pyu was tentatively classified within the Lolo-Burmese languages by Matisoff and thought to most likely be Luish by Bradley, although Miyake later showed that neither of these hypotheses are plausible. Van Driem also tentatively classified Pyu as an independent branch of Sino-Tibetan.[9]

Phonology

Marc Miyake reconstructs the syllable structure of Pyu as:[7]

(C.)CV(C)(H)
(preinitial) + syllable

7 vowels are reconstructed.[7]

front mid back
high i u
mid e ə o
low æ a

Miyake reconstructs 43-44 onsets, depending on whether or not the initial glottal stop is included. Innovative onsets are:[7]

10 codas are reconstructed, which are -k, -t, -p, -m, -n, -ŋ, -j, -r, -l, -w. Pyu is apparently isolating, with no inflection morphology observed.[7]

List of Pyu inscriptions

Location Inventory number
Halin 01[10]
Śrī Kṣetra 04[11]
Pagan 07[12]
Pagan 08[13]
Śrī Kṣetra 10[14]
Pagan 11[15]
Śrī Kṣetra 12[16]
Śrī Kṣetra 22[17]
Śrī Kṣetra 25[18]
Śrī Kṣetra 28[19]
Śrī Kṣetra 29[20]
Myittha 32[21]
Myittha 39[22]
Śrī Kṣetra 42[23]
Śrī Kṣetra 55[24]
Śrī Kṣetra 56[25]
Śrī Kṣetra 57[26]
Halin 60[27]
Halin 61[28]
??? 63[29]
Śrī Kṣetra 105[30]
Śrī Kṣetra 160[31]
??? 163[32]
Śrī Kṣetra 164[33]
Śrī Kṣetra 167[34]

Vocabulary

Below are selected Pyu basic vocabulary items from Gordon Luce and Marc Miyake.

Gloss Luce (1985)[35] Miyake (2016)[36] Miyake (2021)[7]
one ta(k·)ṁ /tæk/
two hni° kni
three ho:, hau: hoḥ /n.homH/ < *n.sumH < *məsumH
four pḷå plaṁ
five pi°ŋa (piṁ/miṁ) ṅa /pəŋa/
six tru tru(k·?)
seven kni hni(t·?)ṁ
eight hrå hra(t·)ṁ
nine tko tko /t.ko/
ten sū, sau su
twenty tpū
bone, relic ru
water tdu̱- /t.du/
gold tha
day phru̱
month de [ḷe ?]
year sni:
village o
good; well ha
to be in pain, ill hni°:
nearness mtu
name mi /r.miŋ/
I ga°:
my gi
wife maya:
consort, wife [u] vo̱:
child, son sa: /saH/
grandchild pli, pli°
give /pæH/

Sound changes

Pyu displays the following sound changes from Proto-Tibeto-Burman.[7]

Usage

The language was the vernacular of the Pyu states. But Sanskrit and Pali appeared to have co-existed alongside Pyu as the court language. The Chinese records state that the 35 musicians that accompanied the Pyu embassy to the Tang court in 800–802 played music and sang in the Fàn ( "Sanskrit") language.[37]

Pyu Pali Burmese Pali Thai Pali Translate[38]
Pyu script 1.png

(Pyu alphabet AD 500 to 600 Writings)
ဣတိပိ သော ဘဂဝါ အရဟံ
သမ္မာသမ္ဗုဒ္ဓော ဝိဇ္ဇာစရဏသမ္ပန္နော
อิติปิ โส ภควา อรหํ สมฺมาสมฺพุทฺโธ วิชฺชาจรณสมฺปนฺโน Thus, indeed is that Gracious One: The Worthy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct,
Pyu script 2.png
သုဂတော လောကဝိဒူ အနုတ္တရော ပုရိသဒမ္မ သာရထိ သတ္ထာ ဒေဝမနုသာနံ ဗုဒ္ဓေါ ဘဂဝါ(တိ) สุคโต โลกวิทู อนุตฺตโร ปุริสทมฺมสารถิ สตฺถาเทวมนุสฺสานํ พุทฺโธ ภควา(ติ) sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the unsurpassed guide of those who need taming, the Teacher of gods and men, the Buddha and the Gracious One.

Notes

  1. ^ Htin Aung, pp. 51–52
  2. ^ Blagden, C. Otto (1913–14). "The 'Pyu' inscriptions". Epigraphia Indica. 12: 127–132.
  3. ^ a b Beckwith, Christopher I. (2002). "A glossary of Pyu". In Beckwith, Christopher I. (ed.). Medieval Tibeto-Burman languages. Brill. pp. 159–161. ISBN 978-90-04-12424-0.
  4. ^ Aung-Thwin, pp. 167–177
  5. ^ Blagden, C. O. 1911. A preliminary study of the fourth text of the Myazedi inscriptions. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 43(2): 365‒388.
  6. ^ a b Miyake, Marc (2022-01-28). Alves, Mark; Sidwell, Paul (eds.). "The Prehistory of Pyu". Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society: Papers from the 30th Conference of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (2021). 15 (3): 1–40. doi:10.5281/zenodo.5778089. ISSN 1836-6821. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Miyake, Marc. 2021. The prehistory of Pyu. SEALS 2021. (Video)
  8. ^ Miyake, Marc (2021). The Pyu Language of Ancient Burma. Beyond Boundaries. Vol. 6. De Gruyter. ISBN 9783110656442.
  9. ^ van Driem, George. "Trans-Himalayan Database". Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  10. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU001) held at the Archaeological Museum at Halin [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.579711
  11. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU004) around a funerary urn held by the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.581381
  12. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of the quadrilingual Pyu inscription (PYU007) kept in an inscription shed on the grounds of the Myazedi pagoda in Pagan [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.579873
  13. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of the quadrilingual Pyu inscription (PYU008) held at the Pagan museum, originally found in the grounds of the Myazedi pagoda [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/10.5281/zenodo.580158
  14. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU010) kept in one of two inscription sheds on the grounds of the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.580597
  15. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a bilingual Pyu inscription (PYU011) held at the Pagan museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.580282
  16. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Sanskrit-Pyu bilingual inscription (PYU012) around the base of a Buddha statue held by the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.581383
  17. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU022) held by the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.581468
  18. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU025) on the base of a funerary urn held at the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.580777
  19. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU028) kept in one of two inscription sheds on the grounds of the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.580791
  20. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU029) kept in one of two inscription sheds on the grounds of the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.581217
  21. ^ Miles, James, & Hill, Nathan W. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscriptions (PYU032) kept in an inscription shed on the grounds of a pagoda in Myittha [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.579848
  22. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU039) kept in an inscription shed on the grounds of a monastery in Myittha [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.579725
  23. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU042) kept in one of two inscription sheds on the grounds of the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. . Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.581251
  24. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU055) held by the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.806133
  25. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU056) held by the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.806148
  26. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU057) held by the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.806163
  27. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscriptions (PYU060) kept in the inscription shed outside the Archaeological Museum at Halin [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.579695
  28. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscriptions (PYU061) held at the Archaeological Museum at Halin [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.579710
  29. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU063) held at the National Museum (Burmese: အမျိုးသား ပြတိုက်) in Rangoon [Data set]. Zenodo. http://doi.org/ doi:10.5281/zenodo.806174
  30. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription on a gold ring (PYU105) held by the Śrī Kṣetra museum [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.806168
  31. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU160) discovered in Śrī Kṣetra [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.823725
  32. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU163) [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.825673
  33. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU164) [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.825685
  34. ^ Miles, James. (2016). Documentation of a Pyu inscription (PYU167) [Data set]. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.823753
  35. ^ Luce, George. 1985. Phases of Pre-Pagan Burma: languages and history (volume 2). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-713595-1. pp. 66–69.
  36. ^ Miyake, Marc. 2016. Pyu numerals in comparative perspective. Presentation given at SEALS 26.
  37. ^ Aung-Thwin, pp. 35–36
  38. ^ "Microsoft Word - Full moon chant.docx" (PDF). Tufts University Chaplaincy. Retrieved Feb 8, 2022. ((cite web)): |first= missing |last= (help)

References

Further reading