Traces of Burmese language in The Rama tale of Tai Yai (Chao Rama)


  • Sittichai Panchon Ph.D. Candidate, Graduate Programs in Epigraphy in Thai and Oriental Languages, Faculty of Archeology, Silpakorn University
  • Sirisarn Mueanphothong Faculty of Archeology, Silpakorn University.


Rama tales; Burmese language; Tai Yai (Shan); Loanword; Ramayana


Background and objective (s):

There is clear evidence that The Shan and the Burmese kingdoms have been connected in historical and political dimensions for a long time. However, there is scarce evidence of the connection between the two in terms of linguistic and literary dimensions. The Rama tale of the Shan (Chao Rama) is a Shan version of the story of Rama that indicates the connection between the two kingdoms in terms of language. This article aims to point out the influence of the Burmese language on Shan literature by studying the traces of the script and Burmese orthography, including the characteristics of loan words that appear in the Chao Rama story.


Analysis of the alphabet used, orthography and loanwords in the literature.

Main result:

Pali verse and Burmese words are frequently  written using the Burmese alphabet and orthography. In terms of alphabet and orthography, the results demonstrated that this Shan (Tai Yai) literature employs both Burmese and Pali loanwords, in addition to Pali loanwords using the Shan alphabet and Burmese orthography.

The use of Burmese words in this literature suggests that the Shan may have adopted various Burmese words from the Bagan period to the present. The spelling and pronunciation of Burmese loanwords in the Shan language are distinct. Furthermore, it was found that the fonts have been modified to correspond with the pronunciation in the Shan language. Finally, similar to Pali loanwords in Burmese, the Shan Pali loanwords are pronounced with consonant spellings and the addition of tonal sounds based on the sound characteristics of the Burmese language.

 Relevance to Thai Studies:

This article aims to expand the knowledge of Tai Studies, especially the relationship between Shan and Burmese language and literature. This study shows that the Burmese language has influenced the Shan language. This article will serve as the starting point for a further comparative study of the Burmese, Thai and Shan Rama stories.


Burmese language traces found in the Shan Rama story indicate a relationship between the Shan and Burma languages and cultures. The Shan poets used Burmese loan words to compose their works, modifying the sound following the characteristics of the Shan language. Therefore, this combination of the Shan and Burmese languages also reflects the linguistic prowess of the Shan poets.


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How to Cite

Panchon, S., & Mueanphothong, S. . (2023). Traces of Burmese language in The Rama tale of Tai Yai (Chao Rama). Journal of Thai Studies, 19(2), Article ID: e260969 (34 pages). Retrieved from



Research article