Harry L. Shorto

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Harry L. Shorto (1919-1995) was a British expert in comparative Mon-Khmer studies.


Shorto was 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.
  • 1962. A Dictionary of Modern Spoken Mon.
  • 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.
  • Shorto, Harry L. & Jacob, Judith M. & Simmonds, E.H.S. 1963. Bibliographies of Mon-Khmer and Tai linguistics. London.
  • 1971. A Dictionary of the Mon Inscriptions.
  • 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
  • 2006. A Mon-Khmer comparative dictionary. Edited by Paul J. Sidwell, Doug Cooper, and Christian Bauer. (Pacific Linguistics) Canberra: Australian National University.