Harry Leonard Shorto

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Harry Leonard Shorto (1919–1995) was a British philologist and linguist who specialized on the Mon language and Mon-Khmer studies. He authored both a modern Mon dictionary and a dictionary of Mon epigraphy. He worked for most of his career at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, finally as Professor of Mon-Khmer Studies at the University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies) until his retirement in 1984.


Shorto is the author of two standard reference works, A Dictionary of Modern Spoken Mon (1962) and the highly respected author of the standard reference to epigraphic Mon - A Dictionary of the Mon Inscriptions (1971) - as well as the classic dictionary.

His magnum opus was the Mon-Khmer comparative dictionary, which was meant to be published in the early 1980s. It was rediscovered by his daughter Anna, and was published only in 2006. It presents 2,246 etymologies with almost 30,000 lexical citations. It is the most extensive analysis of Mon-Khmer to appear since Wilhelm Schmidt laid the foundations of comparative Mon-Khmer with the Grundzüge einer Lautlehre der Mon-Khmer-Sprachen (1905) and Die Mon-Khmer-Völker (1906).


  • 1960. Word and syllable patterns in Palaung. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 23:544-57.
  • 1961. “A Mon Genealogy of Kings: Observations on the Nidana Arambhakatha,” In In D. G. E. Hall (ed.). Historians of South-East Asia, London: Oxford University Press, pp. 62–72.
  • 1962. A Dictionary of Modern Spoken Mon.
  • Shorto, H. L. (1963). The 32 myos in the medieval Mon kingdom. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 26(3), 572-591.
  • 1963. The Structural pattern of northern Mon-Khmer languages. In H. L. Shorto (ed.), Linguistic Comparison in South-East Asia and the Pacific, pp. 45–61.
  • 1963. Shorto, Harry L.; Jacob, Judith M. & Simmonds, E. H. S.. Bibliographies of Mon-Khmer and Tai linguistics. London.
  • 1971. A Dictionary of the Mon Inscriptions from the sixth to the sixteenth centuries. London: Oxford University Press.
  • 1972. “The word for ‘two’ in Austroasiatic.” Jacqueline M. C. Thomas & Lucien Bernot (eds.). Langues et techniques, nature et société, Vol. 1, “Approche linguistique”. Paris: Klincksieck. 233-35
  • Shorto, H. L. (1973). Three Mon-Khmer word families. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 36(02), 374-381.
  • Shorto, H. L. (1976). The vocalism of proto-Mon-Khmer. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publication, 1041-1067.
  • Shorto, H. L. (1978). The Planets, the Days of the Week, and the Points of the Compass: Orientation Symbolism in Burma. Natural Symbols in South East Asia, 152-164.
  • 2006. A Mon-Khmer comparative dictionary. Edited by Paul J. Sidwell, Doug Cooper, and Christian Bauer. (Pacific Linguistics) Canberra: Australian National University.
  • Shorto, H. L. No Date. Nidana Ramadhipati-katha. Unpublished typescript translation of pp. 34–44, 61-264 of Phra Candakanto (editor). On binding Rajawamsa Dhammaceti Mahapitakadhara. Pak Lat, Siam (1912).


  • Shorto, Harry L.; Sidwell, Paul; Doug Cooper and Christian Bauer, eds. 2006. A Mon-Khmer Comparative Dictionary. Canberra: Australian National University. Pacific Linguistics. ISBN 0-85883-570-3.

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