A first look at Pyu grammar
Pyu, an extinct Sino-Tibetan language once spoken in what is now Upper Burma, remains barely explored beyond the level of transliterating texts and the identification of individual words. Knowledge of Pyu grammar has advanced little over the past century. This article (1) presents a methodology for discovering the syntax of Pyu, (2) identifies five word classes and their combinatorial properties, (3) lists all known grammatical morphemes with notes on usage, (4) formulates rules of word order, and (5) demonstrates how all of the above can elucidate the meaning of a previously undeciphered Pyu inscription. Over 200 examples are provided.
Keywords: Pyu, Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, epigraphy, grammar, morphology, syntax, word order, historical linguistics
Published online: 08 January 2020
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