A Comparison of Borrowed Words in the Shan Language

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Phannida Khanthaphad


This linguistic research is a comparative study on three groups of borrowings in the Shan language, which comprise Burmese borrowings, Pali-Sanskrit borrowings, and English borrowings. The aim of this study was to compare how these groups of borrowings are adopted in Shan, their characteristics, and factors related to their adoption. The sources of this comparative study included a Shan-English Dictionary, a Picture Dictionary, a Shan-Thai Dictionary, and Thai-Shan Dictionary. In this research, various word borrowing methods were identified, i.e. transliteration using the origin source-language word order (found in the three groups of borrowings), transliteration using the Shan word order (in Burmese and English borrowings), borrowing words through Burmese (in Pali-Sanskrit borrowings), translation of borrowings (in English borrowings), and defining new words (in English borrowings). The most common borrowing method is transliteration. Concerning their characteristics, the three groups of borrowings consist of single words, compounds formed between words from the same language, compounds which are formed between borrowings and Shan words, and compounds which are formed between borrowings. Most of the borrowings are single words. The factors related to adopting these borrowings consist of politics (found in Burmese and English borrowings); religions and beliefs (in all the three groups of borrowings); education and academic matters (in all the three groups); modernity and technology (in all the three groups); environmental proximity (in Burmese borrowings); and western culture (in English borrowings). However, the most common factors are religions and beliefs, followed by education and academic matters, and politics, respectively.


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Khanthaphad, phannida. (2020). A Comparison of Borrowed Words in the Shan Language. Journal of Liberal Arts Prince of Songkla University, 12(2), 121-146. Retrieved from https://so03.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/journal-la/article/view/187004
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