The connection between Pyu and Nungish

Nathan Straub 曹內森 nstraub at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jul 20 08:40:29 UTC 2014

Dear Uwe,

Welcome to the list, and thanks for your detailed response. I'm glad to get
a variety of perspectives on the issue. It sounds like there's a consensus
that the Myazedi Pyu inscriptions are of some TB variety, even though it's
hard to say what they're most closely related to without more data and
comparative work, and also that there's scant evidence for the close
relationship to Nungish that Benedict suggested. Looking forward to reading
your thesis when it's done!


On Sat, Jul 19, 2014 at 10:33 PM, uwe krech <linguk at> wrote:

> Hi, again,
> 1) It seems I made a mistake in my last mail (see below). I have to thank
> Daniel W. Bruhn for the attachment "APPENDIX VI. Pyu". My appology.
> And I would like to make a comment on this paper. I have looked
> it through and came to the conclusion that this paper must have
> been the exclusive work of Shafer. Virtually all examples in this
> paper reappear in Shafer's article on Pyu (1943) and Shafer did
> not mention Benedict in that article. Further, as I have found nowhere
> else a comment of Shafer on a possible connection between "Pyu" and
> Nungish, we should not expect any comment from him in this paper
> either.
> 2) May I ask the subscribers of this mailing list if anybody found on the
> web
> - oder made him/herself - high resolution photos of the recently discovered
> inscription of Pay-taw monastery, Myittha township, in Burma/Myanmar?
> (This inscription has passages not only in "Pyu" but, reportedly, passages
> in four additional languages as well.)
> I would be very interested in such photos.
> Thank you for your attention,
> Uwe
> *Gesendet:* Donnerstag, 17. Juli 2014 um 19:55 Uhr
> *Von:* "uwe krech" <linguk at>
> *Betreff:* The connection between Pyu and Nungish
> Hi,
> I am a new subscriber of this mailing list but, regrettably, because of a
> rather sad circumstance. Last month (on 05 June 2014) Nathan Straub asked
> on this mailing list “Would anybody know why Paul Benedict said that Pyu
> was closest to the Nung(ish) subgroup? [...]”, relating to a statement in
> Benedict's Conspectus (1972); and Nathan Straub mentioned in this context
> also my article “Reassess-ment of Myazedi Pyu [...]” (Uwe Krech, in
> MTBL4, 2012), stating – correctly – that I did not say there why Benedict
> may have suggested that connection.
> On the same day David Bradley posted a comment on Nathan Straub's query:
> “Krech is completely off the planet about Pyu, he claims it is Shan. Pyu
> could probably be classified better now that we have much more Luish data –
> Sak/Thet, Kadu and so on. I think that is the most likely fit.” It is
> obvious that Bradley had no intended to answer Nathan Straub's question. -
> Given that that what Bradley claimed about me is not at all true, what
> was Bradley's intention then?
> On the one hand, to merely “think” that so-called “Pyu” was – “probably”
> – affiliated with Cakish (Bradley uses the derogatory term “Luish”) is
> and remains a mere guess, no matter if one repeats this claim again and
> again, over years, as Bradley; it will not become “truer” by that. In
> science one has to argue on the basis of evidence. Now that fairly
> extensive data of three Cakish languages are available, his “educated
> guesses” cannot be tolerated any longer. Simply demonstrate what you
> “think” – if you can – and then everybody can judge his/herself! Nobody
> can figure out what you think was “probable” as long as you have not laid
> it out in detail!
> On the other hand, a much more serious issue is, however, that, instead
> of going the common scientific way Bradley seems to have preferred to
> attempt to undermine the credibility of the researcher (that is, me) who
> has been doing intensive research on the two so-called “Pyu” faces of the
> Myazedi inscriptions and their underlying *Myazedi Pyu language (as I call
> it), for more than 5 years now – and who came to another conclusion
> regarding the genetic affiliation(s) of this *language. (In the article
> mentioned above I have given my view that reflected the early stage of my
> reasearch, at ca. the end of 2010. At ICSTLL45, at Nanyang Uni, Singapore,
> October 2012, I have given a revised assessment, reflecting my research at
> that time.)
> In fact I have never made any linguistic statement on so-called “Pyu” in
> general. “Pyu” is, first of all, a palaeographic term, not a linguistic
> one. Apart from the so-called “Pyu” inscriptions – i.e. inscriptions in
> “Pyu script” - that record the Indo-Aryan languages Pali and Sanskrit, the
> bulk of the remaining “Pyu” inscriptions are yet undeciphered; the 4 short
> urn inscriptions investigated by C. O. Blagden (1913-14) are deciphered
> only in part, respectively, and much of those parts only tentatively;
> because of their limited size these 4 inscriptions may be of value for
> linguistic research at a later time but not at the present stage. Moreover,
> given this state, nobody knows whether the non-Indo-Aryan “Pyu”
> inscriptions record just a single language or more than one. That is why
> all linguistic claims about an imagined “Pyu” language are without
> substance at the present stage. Yet, I am in the position to make an
> informed judgment on the linguistic nature of Myazedi Pyu – and I
> demonstrate that in my thesis (which is in its final stage).
> Moreover, I have always maintained that *Myazedi Pyu is a
> (Sino-)Tibeto-Burman language (and have certainly never claimed that
> *Myazedi Pyu was Shan). To put words like the latter ones in my mouth is
> nothing else than trying to bring me and my research into discredit (which
> Bradley underlined by his phrasing that I was “off the planet”). I regard
> Bradley's posting as a severe breach of basic rules of academic conduct.
> Therefore, if 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's posting mentioned above calling
> it what it is: a malicious lie.
> 3) Concerning the original question of Nathan Straub I would like to add
> the following. Because of the circumstances sketched above I am unable to
> make any statement about a (construed) relationship between an (imagined)
> “Pyu” language and Nungish, along the lines of Paul King Benedict
> (Conspectus, 1972: 196). But I may add, more specifically, that a
> particular relationship between the *Myazedi Pyu language and Nungish my
> research does not confirm. Hereby I thank Nathan Straub for his hint
> regarding the hitherto unpublished note on “Pyu” in STL, Vol. 12, which I
> did not know of before.
> Yours,
> Uwe

We are sent into this world for some end.  It is our duty to discover by
close study what this end is & when we once discover it to pursue it with
unconquerable perseverance.
JQA at age 12 to his brother Charles (June 1778)
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