Update: 2019-11-29 02:30 AM -0500


Burmese Grammar 1899 :
in two parts


by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA), Tun Institute of Learning (TIL). 
Based on Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis by A. W. Lonsdale, Education Department, Burma, British Burma Press, Rangoon, 1899. Start: 2008 Aug. Copied from photocopy of the ink-on-paper book by UKT and staff of 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

UKT 121117, 160404, 170611: In this work, because I (UKT) have altered many original ideas of A. W. Lonsdale, it would not be fair to him, the original author, if this work were to be presented as if it were his. He is entitled the credit of presenting the Burmese speech in the Myanmar script as a scientific phonetic language to the world.

The oldest Burmese Grammar that has come to my attention is: {mrm~ma n-pon:kri:} Burmese Spelling Book, C. Bennett, American Mission Press, Rangoon, 1862. The press was also known as American Baptist Mission Press.  It is one of the books that A. W. Lonsdale has relied on. See:
- https://books.google.com.mm/books? ...170611
Inset: top part of p.30 of Bennett's Burmese Spelling Book, a decade after the British Colonialists have annexed southern Burma in 1852.

A photocopy of the book is in TIL HD-nonPDF libraries in webpage section:
- CBennett-BurmeseSpellingBook<> / Bkp<> (link chk 190930)
Downloaded copies in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries
- CBennett-BurSpBook<> / Bkp<> (link chk 191009)


index.htm | Top

Contents of this page

Part 1. Orthoepy (pronunciation) and orthography (spelling) --  BG1899-1-indx.htm - update 2019Dec 
Part 2. Accidence (morphology) and syntax (sentence structure)  --  BG1899-2-indx.htm - update 121117
UKT: Preparations for a modern BEPS grammar
  From Western sources - BEPS01-1.htm / BEPS01-2.htm / BEPS01-3.htm - update 2019Dec
  From my own sources - BEPS02.htm - update 2019Dec 


UKT notes
Doggie's Tale

Contents of this page

UKT: 121212, 160404, 191103
The instrument for comparison of BEPS languages is Romabama (Bur-Latin script). Please note Romabama transcriptions are based on Bur-Myan phonology and is not good for Mon-Myan. Burmese belongs to Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) language group, whereas Mon is Aus-Asi (AustroAsiatic). Never forget that in our study we use the Abugida-Akshara system of recording speech in script, whereas in the West, they use the Alphabet-Letter system.

Do not be misled by the word "Grammar". Grammar is primarily concerned with the spoken word or speech. So we must always think in terms of phonetics and phonology -- not the way we make marks on paper to represent the spoken word. When we are just studying only one language say Burmese, we easily forget the importance of the spoken word.

Now, what is the difference between Phonetics and Phonology? Watch the following in TIL HD-VIDEO and SD-VIDEO libraries in Phonetics section, by Dr. Jrgen Handke, Marburg Univ., Germany :
- PHY101-PhoneticsPhonology<> / Bkp<> (link chk 191026)
And go to Phonetics which a relatively new study in the West - just about a couple of centuries, whereas it has been studied extensively in the East, particularly along the foot-hills of Himalayas extending into Myanmarpr for thousands of years:
- PHO101PhoneticsOverview<> / Bkp<> (link chk 191103) .

According to A. W. Lonsdale, the Bur-Myan akshara are distributed in the POA groups as follows. See p.007-008 sec.14 - ch02.htm (link chk: 190929).
Velar [approx. Gutteral {kN~HTa.}] :
    consonants: {ka.}, {ga.}, / {gna.}/{ng}; approximant: {ha.}; vowel: {a.}, {a}
Palatal {ta-lu.}:
    consonants: {sa.}, {za.}, / {a.}/{a.}; approximants: {ya.}, {I.}, {I}
  [UKT note: {I.} is pronounced as ; {I} as {i}]
Retroflex (Lingual or Cerebral): {Ta.}, {a.}, {Na.}, {ra.}, {La.}

UKT 121212, 160404, 161006: There are more interesting points to consider based on modern views and interpretations from Pal-Myan. Examples:

#1. Gutteral {kN~HTa.} 'throat' - UHS PMD0281.
IPA (International Phonetics Association) considers the POA of /k/ - for Eng-Lat - to be Velar, whereas some Eastern phoneticians take it to be further inwards - the Uvelar - like the Arabic /q/.

#2. I've reconsidered the problem of Nya-major / {a.}/{} & Nya-minor / {a.}/{} in r2c5 cell of the Akshara matrix in the light of killed consonants in the coda of the syllable CV.
   In Burmese, {a.} can be under virama {a.t} without breaking up, {}.
   In Pali it breaks up into {} & {a.}.
   In the light of the killed aksharas, I've placed Nya-minor / {a.}/{} in r2c5 cell as the sole occupier of the cell. And have moved Nya-major / {a.}/{} to the approximant row to the Palatal-approximant cell, moving out the / {a.}/{} to the Velar-approximant cell.

#3. In order to include Eng-Latin and Skt-Dev, I have to accept the Fricative hisser / {Sa.}/{S} and Fricative husher / {sha.}/{sh} as BEPS basic consonants.

#4. The only way to differentiate the Palatal plosive-stop and Dental fricative hisser & husher is to consider the Bur-Myan glyph, Romabama, and Skt-Dev together:

   Palatal plosive-stop : {sa.} च / {c} च्
   Dental fricative hisser: {Sa.} ष / {S} ष्
   Dental fricative husher: {sha.} श / {sh} श्
Caveat: Avoid using IAST and IPA transliterations when you are using Romabama transcription, remembering that Romabama is based on Bur-Myan phonology. As it is, Romabama transcription cannot be applied even to Mon-Myan. I expect it will also be inapplicable to Karen-Myan and Shan-Myanmar. However Romabama is applicable to Pali-Myan and to Skt-Dev to some extent.

Contents of this page

UKT notes

Doggie's Tale

Burmese-Myanmar speech has 5 nasals: English-Latin has only two, /n/ & /m/.
The paucity of nasals in English is just one of the obstacles of transcription from Burmese to English.

Mnemonic: The Doggie Tale
Little doggie cringe in fear -- ŋ (velar),
  Seeing Ella's flapping ears -- ɲ (palatal)
  And, the Shepard's hanging rear -- ɳ (retroflex).
Doggie so sad he can't get it out
  What's that Kasha क्ष when there's a Kha ख ?
  And when there's Jana ज्ञ what am I to do with Jha झ?
On top of all there're the husher Sha श /ʃ/, and hisser Ssa ष /s/,
  when I am stuck with Theta स /θ/ !" 
Little Doggie don't be sad,
  You are no worse than a Celtic Gnome
  Losing G in his name, he is just a Nome!

Note to digitizer: you can copy and paste the following:
Ā ā ă  Ē ē ĕ  Ī ī ĭ  Ō ō ŏ  Ū ū ŭ ː
Ḍ ḍ Ḥ ḥ Ḷ ḷ Ḹ ḹ Ṁ ṁ Ṃ ṃ
Ṅ ṅ Ṇ ṇ Ṛ ṛ Ṝ ṝ Ś ś Ṣ ṣ Ṭ ṭ ɕ ʂ
Instead of Skt-Dev ः {wic~sa.} use "colon" :
Angle Brackets: 〈 〉: these are different from key-board angle brackets < >
Avagraha ऽ use apostrophe
Root sign √ ; approx ≅
IAST Dev: भ आ इ ई उ ऊ
  ऋ ऌ ऍ ऎ ए ऐ ऑ ऒ ओ औ
  च ca छ cha  श ś [ɕ] /ʃ/ ; ष ṣ [ʂ] /s/; स s [s] /θ/ ; ऋ {iRi.} & ॠ {iRi},
  viram ् , rhotic ऋ ृ
Skt-Dev Row #3: ट ठ ड ढ ण ; conjunct ट ् ठ = ट्ठ
Skt-Dev special phonemes: Ksa क ् ष = क्ष
Undertie in Dev transcription: ‿ U203F
Using ZWNJ (ZeroWidthNonJoiner), e.g. , क्‌ष (code: क्&zwnj;ष)
  See Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-width_non-joiner 150630
IPA-, Pali- & Sanskrit nasals: ŋ ṅ ṅ ,  ɲ , ɳ ṇ ṇ, n n n , m m m
  Pali- & Skt {::ting}: aṁ , aṃ 
IPA symbols:
 ɑ ɒ ə ɛ ɪ ɯ ʌ ʊ ʃ ʧ ʤ θ ŋ ɲ ɳ ɴ ɔ ɹ ʔ /ʰ/ /ʳ/ /ː/
  <king> /kɪŋ/ (DJPD16-300) 
  <church> /ʧɜːʧ/ (DJPD16-097)
  <success> /sək'ses/ (DJPD16-515)
  <thin> /θɪn/ (DJPD16-535), <thorn> /θɔːn/ (DJPD16-535)
  circumflex-acute :
  ấ U+1EA5 , ế U+1EBF
  upsilon-vrachy  ῠ 
  small-u-breve  ῠ ŭ

Go back Dog-tale-note-b

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End of TIL file