Organized Panel Session
The Shan and related varieties of Tai are relatively recent arrivals to the northern Greater Burma Zone, from what Enfield and Comrie (2015) have called the “Core Mainland Southeast Asia,” an area where the Tai languages Lao and Thai feature prominently. Shan and other Tai languages had the status of language of administration and literature in the region, but have lost much of that status to the spread of the dominant state language Burmese, especially during the twentieth century.
The role of the Shan language in the formation of the Greater Burma Zone has varied over time. In previous centuries Shan was central to the rise of the a linguistic “convergence zone” based in what is now Shan State, parts of Kachin and Kayah States, Mandalay Region, and adjacent areas of Northeast India and Yunnan.