Update: 2018-09-20 04:17 AM -0400


Consonant Aksharas


by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA), Daw Khin Wutyi, Daw Thuzar Myint, Daw Zinthiri Han and staff of Tun Institute of Learning (TIL). Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL  Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR 
 - http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

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The BEPS consonants

- UKT 180822: Note that every basic consonant {by:} of Bur-Myan (in BEPS) has an inherent vowel /a/.

IE languages, English and Sanskrit, do not have words with r1c5, {gna.}/ {ng} as onset. They have it only in the coda, and r1c5 is always the nasal. Thus it deserves the name semi-nasal. There are two other aksharas similar to {gna.}/ {ng}.
See Macdonell's A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary : (link chk 171230)
- MCc1pp-indx.htm > p090-1.htm and my insert p090-1B.htm
- MCc2pp-indx.htm > p104-1.htm and my insert p104-1B.htm (lost link)
- MCc3pp-indx.htm > p104-5.htm and p104-6.htm (lost link)

Pali under the influence of Sanskrit does not have words beginning with r1c5. However, after comparing Bur-Myan 3 registers (tones), and Mon-Myan 2 registers, and noting that the /g/ sound is absent in Pegu dialect of Mon-Myan, I have concluded that r1c5 should be represented in Romabama as {gna.} - a non-nasal if it is in the onset of the syllable. Only in the coda it is {ng} - a true nasal. There are 3 types of codas differing in vowel-lengths: {ng.} (1 eye-blnk), {ng} (2 blnk), {ng:} (3 blnk).

r1c5 in onset, non-nasal: {gna.}/ {ng},
r1c5 in coda, nasal : {kn} 'to roast', {kn:} 'centipede'
Note the English word < king > /kɪŋ/ (DJPD16-300) does not have the /g/ sound. It is pronounced exactly like Bur-Myan {kn}. Unable to get rid of the digraph for coda , I have to change the preceding vowel (the nuclear vowel of the syllable) to . Note the dot of regular i .

Both Burmese and Nwari (of Buddha's remaining "relatives" in Npal} being Tib-Bur have words with onset {gna.} - the non-nasal. I must now conclude that in the Old Magadhi (the extinct language and the Prakrit from which Sanskrit was arrived), there was the onset {gna.}.

UKT 180330: On of the basis of presence of the word for 'fish', in both Burmese and Npali spelled with r1c5, I've come to conclude that pronunciation-wise, Myanmar word is derived from non-nasal onset {gna.}, and its nasal coda {ng}. These have parallels in English " gnome" and "king".

Most of Bur-Myan people, whether they be Buddhists, Christians or Moslems, are superstitious. And most of the Burmese-Buddhist personal-names given at birth follow astrological rules. I am Monday-born and was named Gyaw at first, which was then changed to Kyaw using the basic aksharas of the first row of akshara matrix: {ka.} and {ga.}. Being a Monday-born, I am supposed to have a Monday-mentality (or soul). According to Buddhism the individual is made of Soul (Name or mentality) and Body (Physical body or health), or Namarupa. To have a happy life, I must have a Monday-Name represented by the first row of aksharas. Only then, I would have a harmonized Rupa (physical health) and a Nama (mental health). See Wikipedia: - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namarupa 180403

Perhaps following the rules of names for humans, the individual akshara is also given a name to represent the sound which is its "soul". For example, for r1c1 the name Ka'gyi 'Ka-major' to represent sound IPA /k/.  Ga'gn 'Ga-minor' IPA /g/ to represent r1c3. I admit this view is mine, but could be changed as my knowledge progresses.

UKT 180417: In comparing languages, phoneticians tried to compare the speech sounds, heavily relying on the English transcriptions in Eng-Latin representations in Eng-Latin Alphabet, which is derived from the on the Hebrew Alphabet which writes from right to left.

UKT 180408: I interpret the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet as Ox and Stable of Ancient simple folks. I arrived at this view on the similarity to the word Gotra 'caste' गोत्र of the Sanskrit speakers. (I emphasize that I do not wish to offend any religions connected with these words,)
stable n. 1. a. A building for the shelter and feeding of domestic animals, especially horses and cattle. - AHTD

Ox or Alef -  א
House 'Stable' or Bet -  ב

I have not seen any who rely on the shape of the glyphs representing the phonemes. My approach is to use the perfectly circular shape of the Myanmar akshara to compare the Myanmar languages: Burmese, Karen, Mon, Pali, Shan, etc.

Myanmar akshara-glyphs are based on the shape of the perfect circle. As children, we have to practice drawing the perfect circle with right-handed stroke. If you draw the circle with left handed stroke, a slightly oval shape results. The perfect circle can be modified with dents, and open spaces.

Myanmar script is the only script that can be used to cast esoteric instruments known in Thai as "Yan" or in Bur-Myan as {n:}. I am basing my views beginning with Sama'leloan Inn {sa.ma.l:lon: n:} housed in square frame, and PudiAr Inn {pu.di.a n:}  - the most powerful Yans - of Esoteric Buddhism. See Folk Elements in Buddhism
-- flk-ele-indx.htm > ch05-magus.htm (link chk 180412)

A Lakkwak is used to help me sculpt individual glyphs of the Myanmar akshara. The bookmark for the glyph is based on Bur-Myan phonology. TIL website does not use any ready-made Myanmar fonts. Sculpting individual akshara is highly labor-intensive, yet it is the only way to use colour-codes to help the pronunciation of both types of conjuncts: vertical as well as horizontal. Moreover, the shapes have been modified to focus on the circularly-rounded shape of the Myanmar akshara.

Now, comes the trouble. In Bur-Myan, r1c3 is /ga./ (voiced), but in Mon-Myan it is /k/ (Peguan dialect) [Haswell: (name) , (power) k ] and /g/ (Martaban dialect). That it is NOT /g/ in the Peguan dialect, is according to J. M. Haswell (1874), who was in Burma in the second part of the 19th century when Peguan was not totally extinct, but was fast disappearing. See: the table of consonants on p003.
- JMHaswell-PeguanGrammVocab<> / Bkp<> (link chk 180403).

My great grand-mother, Daw Mma, and her sisters who hailed from Mayan village within a few miles from Kungyangon town, together with their elder brother U Maung Gnan had to flee from the Myanmar-held territory to Moulmein, the then capital of British-Burma. My mother, Daw Hla May, knew her grandmother and grandaunts well. My mother's mother, Daw Kyin and her sisters Daw Yin and Daw Hsin knew only a few words of Peguan - not enough to carry on a full conversation. I knew Daw Hsin well - she was living with us during the first part of Japanese occupation during WWII.

Sad to say, though I aspire to learn Peguan, there is none among my Mon relatives in Kungyangon area who could speak any Mon - whether Peguan or Martaban. What I am learning online is Martaban. I look into the writings of people like Haswell and have come to know that there was no g sound in Peguan. I've to delve into folk-history or myths to know more about the esoteric nature of the aksharas.

Aksharas form the core of esoteric Yantras such as {sa.Da.ba.wa. n:} aka {sa.ma.l:lon: n:}, and other Yantra. And I came across the Akshara-majors, such as Ka'gyi and Ga'gyi, Na'gyi, and La'gyi. Each has its minor counterpart except Ka'gyi.

Ka-major aka Ka'gyi ---- Ka-minor ?
Ga-major aka Ga'gyi --- Ga-minor aka ga'gn
Na-major aka Na'gyi  --  Na-minor aka na'gn
La-major aka La'gyi ----  La-minor aka la. - which we take to be la'gn

Note: beware of the English renditions which is not correct spelling-wise, e.g.
Ga'gyi is not correct: it is {Ga.kri:}, similarly
ga'ng is not correct: it is {ga.gn}.

I'm suggesting that the minor counterpart of Ka-major is Ka-mior, and is represented by {k} (Mon) - the same glyph for {ga.} (Bur). This would give us Mon row#1 : {ka.} {hka.} {k} {hk} {ng} . It is the case of the same glyph changing into a different pronunciation when we cross over from one language group to another: this time from Aus-Asi to Tib-Bur. Now, listen to present-day
  Mon row#1: - bk-cndl-{ka.}-row<))  : Mon-r1c4 is pronounced as {hk} - Why not with a deep-H sound?
  Mon row#4: - bk-cndl-{ta.}-row<)) 
  Mon row#5: - bk-cndl-Mon-row5<))

It is said that in Bur-Myan, r1c4 is "/ga./ (aspirated)". I cannot agree with the description "aspirated" because it has a deep H sound. All Burmese-Buddhist males when going temporarily into the Order of Sangha are taught to say this sound with a deep H. There is no aspiration as in English "Henry Higgins changing to  'enry 'iggins " about it. But in Mon-Myan, there is another kind of trouble: the vowel has changed from /a/ to /e/ resulting in {hk}

UKT 170907, 180606, 180818: Since many years ago, I realize that "digraphs" (wrongly thought to be diphthongs like oy in boy and ow in cow) can give endless trouble. This brings up the question of representing Palatal affricates, {kya.}, {hkya.}, {gya.}, as basic BEPS consonant-akshara. When we use the {ya.pn.} it implies that {kya.}, {hkya.}, {gya.} being conjuncts they cannot bear being under the Viram sign, whereas as basic aksharas they must be capable of remaining unbroken. Since this is a systemic problem, the only way is to introduce new glyphs: {sa.}, {hca.}, {ja.}. Immediate result is the ability to transcribe the English word church = {hcaahc}.

See also: Section 7: - MC-indx.htm > MCc1pp-indx.htm > p096-2.htm

It might even led to introduction of new glyphs for Palatal affricates for Mon-Myan.

Palatal-affricates - tentative (180607)
Mon:   {Sya.}, {hkya.}, {gya.} -->
BEPS:    {ca.},  {hca.},  {j.}, {hc}

Notice the difference between {Za.} (dedicated glyph), and {Sya.} (Ya'pn {ya.pn.} modified {Sa.}/ {S}. Introduction of new glyphs would solve the problem of IPA Cha /ʧ/ as in English <church> /ʧɜːʧ/ (DJPD16-097):  {chuuch}.

UKT 180918: In the transcription of Eng-Lat <church> /ʧɜːʧ/, I'm faced with the choice of using the front vowel /a/ {chaach}, or the back vowel /u/ {chuuch}. To conform more closely to English spelling, I've chosen the back vowel /u/ over the front vowel /a/. Also note that {aa} stands for "long a" (pronounced with 2 eye-blinks), {uu} for "long u" (2 blnk), and also r (without rhoticity) in English has been used for lengthening of the vowels.

With such innovations, I hope to overcome the drawbacks of the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) and IAST (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration), and arrive at Basic Consonants of BEPS.

It is to be noted that the IPA, in spite of its usefulness for European Alphabet-Letter languages, such as English {n~ga.lait sa.ka:} and French {prn-ic sa.ka:}, has failed when applied to the Asokan derived Abugida-Akshara languages such as Bur-Myan and Skt-Dev because it has missed columns c2, c4, and c5.

The followHg are my extensions for the IPA consonants for Bur-Myan and Skt-Dev.

The above inset has been prepared while going through A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary. by A. A. Macdonell. See:
- MC-indx.htm > MCc1pp-indx.htm > p081.htm (link chk 171230)

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You can go online and listen to a series of spoken grammar lessons from: Shaale.com: School of Traditional  Indian Arts and Literature
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAbHLSL4kFs&list=PLZ83joYJYmWSFgcg-r0nOwnWPEqmvoaN4 151120
If you are at the TIL research station, watch and listen to the downloaded files in TIL libraries
- SktDevGramLect01-indx.htm (link chk 180123)
- SktDevGramLect02-indx.htm (link chk 180123)
and listen to 109. GuNitakshara गुणिताक्षराणि guṇita akshara 'augmented akshara' in Sanskrit
  - Lesson109<>- Lesson109<)) (link chk 180123)

Caveat: I may have to change my view as I progress with my study, keeping in mind the Buddha's message:

UKT 180125, 180512: Caution: Differentiate the BEPS Ra'ric {ra.ric} spellings. There are three:
Though Ka'gyi ra'ric form is legible, Ga'gn ra'ric is problematic.

I need to clarify - at least for myself - the meaning of Lexeme {a.Daip~paa-aim}, which belongs to the field of modern Psycholinguistics in which its precursor is "lemma". The process of change known as lexicalisation :

 Lemma (mental-thought) --> Lexeme (meaning-sound)

Its parallel to the ancients is Spota  स्फोट sphoṭa "bursting, opening, spurt' of Spota-Vada sphoṭavāda of Bhartṛhari (ca. 5th CE). This theory belongs to a branch of knowledge known as Vyakarana {bya-ka.ra.Na.} (see: UTM-PDMD207) relating to the problem of speech production - how the mind orders linguistics units into coherent discourse and meaning.
See: - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemma-psycholinguistics 161127
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spho%E1%B9%ADa 161127

- LANGUAGE AND THOUGHT - lang-thot-indx.htm (link chk 161127)
  > Bhartṛhari's Syntax, Meaning, Sphoṭa - spho-bartri-matilal.htm (link chk 161127)
  and > Sphoṭa theory of language : a philosophical analysis - spho-cwrd-indx.htm
  " For early Buddhists (e.g., the Theravādins ) intuition is the highest source of knowledge.
  This intuition (prajā) is defined as "knowledge of things as they are in themselves
  as distinguished from what they appear to us."
  In general, the thrust of the Buddhist criticism of the Brahmanical viewpoint seems aimed
  more towards discrediting the unquestioning acceptance of a handed down tradition,
  rather than towards the rejection of śabda as having any possibility for truth bearing ".
- There many works explaining and analyzing Sphota by different authors.
  #1. A downloaded file by K K Mishra from his Bhartrihari's Theory of Spota,  p115-121
  of his Vol13art08, is in TIL HD-PDF & SD-PDF libraries
  - KKMishra-BhartrihaiSpota<> / Bkp<> (link chk 171224)
  - UnivHumanUnity-BhartrihariThSpota<> / Bkp<> (link chk 171224)
- Dictionary of Pali-derived Myanmar words (in Bur-Myan), by U Tun Myint, Univ. of Rangoon Press, 1968. - UTM-PDMD p207

Daniel Jones, (1881 1967), was the first Western phonetician to describe the vowels using a highly stylized quadrilateral. However, the vowel-space shows that the back vowels are so close to each other that, they all become mixed up in transcriptions in various languages.

Vowels are all voiced. However, since many of our words and syllables end in vowels, they have been mistaken for basic vowels even by the eminent phonetician and linguist Peter Ladefoged. He claims that Burmese has voiceless vowels, by citing basic nasals modified as {ha.hto:}.
See: http://hctv.humnet.ucla.edu/departments/linguistics/VowelsandConsonants/

Vowels are very tricky, transcriptions of the lower back vowels may have to be changed as I become more familiar with Mon-Myan and Skt-Dev pronunciations. The table presented above is tentative.

I am finding that rhymes aka rimes are as important as the basic vowels in BEPS. The paucity of nasals in English has compounded the problem when it comes to digraphs, particularly that of ŋ (velar) which is written in regular English as <ng>.

To get around this problem, I have been trying to give both the nuclear vowel and coda as a combination. The following is my attempt which may have to be modified as my work progresses. I am finding that -- supported by Pegu accent of Mon-Myan which has two kinds of intrinsic vowels, e.g. /ka./, /hka./, /k/, /hk/, /gn/ -- that the velar r1c5 is represented as {gna.}-onset (non-nasal), and {ng}-coda (nasal). The coda {ng} is the killed r1c5, and there can be 3, with differing vowel durations: {ng.} (1 eye-blnk}, {ng} (2 blnk), and {ng:} (2 blnk + emphasis).

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Romabama (Burmese speech in Latin script) is compatible with ASCII (American Standard Code for Info Interchange), and is suitable for writing emails & on the Internet. Myanmar fonts are not used, and individual words are sculpted according to a Lakkwak
- (bk-cndl) PIX > lakkwak.gif (link chk 180224)
(a 50% sized is reproduced in section on Mon-Myan - a Myanmar language.

A second Lakkwak that I would need for my research is on Magadhi-Asokan - the Old Magadhi - Buddha's mother-tongue.
(a 50% sized is reproduced in section on Pali-Myan - Pali grammars, and dictionaries

 Keep in mind the color code: red, green, brown, and black as default. It will help you to pronounce the Bur-Myan and Pal-Myan words. However, Mon language belonging to a different linguistic group, the Austro-Asiatic, cannot be pronounced from Romabama. Secondly, being in need a Glossary of a one-to-one Burmese-to-English terms for my BEPS in Romabama, I have to define my own terms as given on the right. Please note that these terms are not approved by Myanmar Language Commission (MLC), and I may have to redefine and extend them whenever the need arise.


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End of TIL file