The connection between Pyu and Nungish

Randy LaPolla randy.lapolla at
Thu Aug 14 00:54:08 UTC 2014

Hi Uwe,
Why did you send this again? I replied on the 10th.


On Sat, Aug 9, 2014 at 11:54 PM, uwe krech <linguk at> wrote:

> Dear Prof. LaPolla,
> I am writing you in your function as a/the senior organiser of the
> Tibeto-Burman Linguistics mailing list of The LinguistList internet portal (
> <>,
> etc.).
> In my mail posted at this mailing list on 17 July 2014 I replied to David
> Bradley’s insulting allegation posted which he on 5 June 2014 and requested,
> “…[I]f David Bradley is not able to provide serious evidence concerning
> my alleged claims within a fortnight – which he certainly will not be
> able to do, neither within a year nor within a still longer time span – I
> request that the staff of this mailing list attach a well-visible tag to
> the relevant statement of Bradley calling it what it is: a malicious lie.”
> As the staff of this mailing list in charge then informed me that my mail
> was forwarded to you the same day. Yet, although Bradley has not been able
> to provide evidence for his allegations towards me in the meantime – as
> predicted – sadly I could figure out no relevant correction in the archive
> of this mailing list so far. As I have no intention to disturb the archive,
> I suggested a correction in form of a tag (see the quotation above) but any
> alternative clear and unmistakable correction of Bradley’s allegation I
> would welcome too. So far I have not assumed that this mailing list
> supports Bradley’s lies; but this would change, of course, if there would
> be no clear and unmistakable correction.
> Prof. LaPolla, may I quote your defense of your own position in your
> recent paper “Once Again on Person Marking in Tibeto-Burman: A Reply to
> DeLancey 2010” (2012):
> “DeLancey’s most recent paper on this question (2010) misrepresents my
> views, claiming that I have changed my position and moved closer to his
> view, but I have not changed my view at all, and in fact have found much
> evidence to support my original suggestions.
> The paper makes it seem as if DeLancey came up with the idea of the
> systems being hierarchical, and that he has now convinced me of that fact,
> when actually it was the other way around.
> The paper misrepresents my approach and reasons for positing the Rung
> branch, and assumes that any language that has a velar nasal 1st person
> marker qualifies as belonging to Rung, and states that I posited Rung just
> as a way to put all of the languages with person marking into one branch,
> calling it a “grab-bag”, but that is a major misrepresent­ation. This shows
> DeLancey has not understood or is ignoring my methodology.”
> And so on. Though I had no time to check all relevant issues among the
> several pieces of writing of concern, I find this reply legitimate in
> principle.
> Similar to your case, I am upset about the vicious allegation of Bradley
> towards me and my work as mentioned above. – There is a notable difference,
> however. Bradleys allegation is markedly more serious, because it includes
> a personal level: it is clearly insulting. Bradley underlined this in his
> above-mentioned posting unequivocally: “Krech is completely off the
> planet about Pyu…”.
> I have never maintained that “Pyu” was allegedly Shan, as Bradley claimed
> me to have done. That is why I cannot tolerate the
> above-mentioned posting of Bradley in its present state, viz. without some
> hint or the like that corrects Bradley's statement. (If I would state that
> Bradley had made the same claim, this statement would have exactly the same
> truth value as Bradley’s allegation.) When hearing of Bradley’s allegation,
> you, Prof. LaPolla, must actually be startled, as you attended not only my
> first presentation on the decipherment and interpretation of the “Pyu” text
> of the Myazedi inscriptions, which I gave – on your invitation – at La
> Trobe University, Melbourne, on 01 May 2008. You attended also a later
> presentation of mine on the same topic (though with much revised content)
> at ICSTLL45, Nanyang University, Singapore, on 27 October 2012. In
> neither of these two presentations I stated anything close to Bradley
> allegation. If this does not suffice to convince you, please read my
> article “A Preliminary Reassessment of the Pyu Faces of the Myazedi
> inscriptions at Pagan” in Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages IV (2012).
> Though this article, which reflects essentially the state of my research at
> the end of 2010 (i.e. roughly halftime between the twp presentations), is
> outdated in some respects (particularly with respect to the section of my
> detailed interpretation of the extant “Pyu” text), you will not find any
> piece of evidence there that would confirm Bradley’s vicious allegation.
> After now more than five years of intensive investigation the “Pyu” text of
> the Myazedi inscriptions and its relations to other languages of the Burma
> area and its periphery I am probably that person on this planet who has the
> most thorough knowledge of this epigraph, its underlying *language, and the
> connections of the latter with other individual languages and language
> groupings.
> Bradley seems to have overlooked that my statements relate first and
> foremost exclusively to the so-called “Pyu” text of the Myazedi
> inscriptions and its underlying *language – and not at all to a currently
> purely hypothetical **single “Pyu” language that some prematurely believe
> to underly the non-Indo-Aryan “Pyu” inscriptions in general. (As you know,
> the present state of “Pyu” research is extremely desolate. We are still far
> from a state that would allow us to confirm or reject with any certainty
> that the non-Indo-Aryan “Pyu” inscriptions might represent this *single
> underlying language – not to mention the unknown **traits of this currently
> purely fictitious **language. In essence, the hypothesis of a **single
> general “Pyu” language boils down to a – beginner-level – confusion between
> script and language – in which regard Bradley is no exception at all among
> the distinguished linguists that commented on “Pyu”.) Given this
> background, Bradley’s confusion between the two distinct linguistic “Pyu”
> taxons – one being real, the other merely hypothetical – becomes apparent.
> Hence, his allegation towards me reveals as being untenable for logical
> reasons. How could I claim that **“Pyu” was Shan if, at the time being, it
> is not even known whether a **single “Pyu” language has ever existed?!
> Though Bradley’s knowledge of matters (Myazedi) “Pyu” is small, his
> arrogance is big. During the last two decades he repeatedly made statements
> regarding the affiliation of “Pyu”, i.e. that “Pyu” was a allegedly a
> Cakish language (Bradley used the pejorative term “Luish” instead of
> “Cakish”). Yet, he has never put forward any evidence in support of his
> claim. This, by the way, parallels many other statements he made in the
> respective papers on the genetic taxonomy of Tibeto-Burman languages.
> Certainly it is not Bradley’s fault that Tibeto-Burman taxonomy is in many
> respects problematic, varying in quality from one group to another, as you
> know. Yet, being the author of these articles it would have been Bradley’s
> responsibility to point these problems out in a clearly recognisable way –
> which he did not, as a rule. And in more obscure cases as “Pyu” he went
> even a step further and made things up, without evidence. (Although it will
> become apparent in full only when my thesis will eventually be available to
> the public, I may state already at this occasion that the *language
> underlying the Myazedi Pyu text is most likely no Cakish language; this
> unlikely option is in fact almost as unlikely as an alleged identification
> of the *Myazedi Pyu language with Shan.)
> I must insist that some clear and unmistakable correction of Bradley’s
> posting of 5 June 2014 should be made now as indicated above; Bradley has
> had enough time to respond. I do not tolerate his insults, not on this
> mailing list nor elsewhere.
> Yours, sincerely,
> Uwe Krech
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