[Tibeto-burman-linguistics] Etymology of the ethnonym Hpyen and variants

Patrick McCormick mccormick.yangon at gmail.com
Sun Dec 2 04:35:07 UTC 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I've been reading Vanina Bouté's _Mirroring Power: Ethnogenesis among the
Phunoy of Northern Laos_.

She claims (p 16) that the name Pyen is from Shan; then later (p41) talks
about Hpyen meaning "mercenary" in Shan. That py- initial doesn't look
native Shan to me (it seems common in loanwords, however). Cushing's
Shan-English dictionary lists nothing like it.

My questions:
1) is "(H)pyen an exonym?
2) Does it have any recoverable meaning in Phunoi or Bisu?

Any leads would be appreciated. My interest is in the idea of some of these
groups supposedly having their origins in Burma as mercenaries and where
this idea came from.

Patrick McCormick
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