Update: 2016-09-18 10:32 PM -0400


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: 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.


index.htm | Top

Contents of this page

Part 1. Orthoepy and orthography --  BG1899-1-indx.htm - update 160930
Part 2. Accidence and syntax        --  BG1899-2-indx.htm - update 121117

Ref: MLC Burmese Grammar (in Bur-Myan)
  Vol 1. For Middle school; Vol 2. For High school; Vol 3. For University
  Available online from Wordpress.com. from
  - https://whiteboylearningburmese.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/bg-mlc-1-1.pdf 160405
  See downloaded pdf files in TIL SD-Library : links to TIL SD-Library
  SD-Library<> 1. bg-mlc-1-1. 2. bg-mlc-1-2. 3. bg-mlc-1-3. 4. bg-mlc-1-4. 5. bg-mlc-2-5. 6. bg-mlc-2-6. (link chk 160911)
  bkp<> -------- 1. bkp1. ------- 2. bkp2. ------- 3. bkp3. ------  4. bkp4. ------ 5. bkp5. ------- 6. bkp6. (link chk 160911)


UKT notes
Doggie's Tale

UKT: 121212, 160404
The instrument for comparison of BEPS languages is Romabama (Bur-Latin script). On the right is the table of base consonants. Please note Romabama transcriptions are based on Bur-Myan phonology and is not good for Mon-Myan, because Burmese belongs to Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) language group, whereas Mon is an Aus-Asi (AustroAsiatic).

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.

For comparing to the IPA, (International Phonetic Alphabets), we need the following.

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: 160404).
Velar [approx. Gutteral {kN~HTa.}] : consonants: {ka.}, {ga.}, {nga.}; approximant: {ha.}; vowel: {a.}, {a}
Palatal {ta-lu.}: consonants: {sa.}, {za.}, {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: 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 considers the POA of /k/ - for Eng-Lat - to be Velar, whereas the Eastern phoneticians take it to be further inwards - the Uvelar - like the Arabic /q/.

#2. I've reconsidered the problem of Nya'gyi {a.} & Nya'l {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 without breaking up, {}. In Pali it breaks up into {} & {a.}


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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" :
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

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End of TIL file