History And Development Of The Shan Scripts, The
by Sai Kam Mong
About This Book
From the earliest reference to Shan found in a Pagan inscription from AD 1120, the author explores the history of the Shan people and their close relationship with Burma and northern Thailand, to provide a backdrop for the focus of his research: the development of the Shan scripts.
The book explores the possible origins of the Shan alphabet, citing wide-ranging opinions of many scholars, and then delves into a careful analysis of the successive stages of the Shan script, from the earliest forms of Lik Hto Ngouk, through to Lik Tou Moan and Hkun scripts, noting the problems and idiosyncracies of each. In addition, it examines the spelling and handling of Pali words within religious writings in each of these scripts and in the Yuan script. Excerpts from early manuscripts are presented as evidence.
In the final section, the author considers the shortcomings of the early Shan scripts and presents the various modern scripts that have been proposed as alternatives, namely Mai Sung Lik Tai, the Shan Council Script, the Common Shan Script, the Hsipaw Script, and the Shan Commission Script. He concludes with a report outlining policy issues in teaching the Shan language over the past fifty years and the resulting erosion of Shan language identity. Appendices give explanations of Shan writing culture, the grammar and vocabulary of early Shan, and Shan poetry, in addition to an extensive bibliography.
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