Update: 2019-10-21 09:19 PM -0400


English Grammar in Plain Language


by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning).
Based on Barrons Educational Series, Grammar In Plain English, by Diamond, H. and Dutwin, P., Barrons Educational Series, Inc., Woodbury, New York. Copyright 1977. 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

index.htm |Top

Contents of this page

  What is an Akshara
  What is Grammar
Monastic Education: the influence of Pali-Myan on Bur-Myan
Syllable, Word, Sentence, and Syntax 
The Syllable - the basic unit of Abugida-Akshara writing system
Introduction of new aksharas for BEPS work
Phonetics for exploration of nasal sounds
Articulatory Phonetics and Acoustic Phonetics


UKT notes
 abugida aka alphasyllabary or Kagyi-Khakw {ka.kri:hka.hkw:}
 IPA - International Phonetic Alphabet and Association
 palatal nasal - Nya-minor / {a.}/{} : pronounced as IPA /ɲ/
  Nya-major / {a.}/{} though belonging to Palatal POA-group is not plosive-stop. From the pronunciation
  of syllables with {} as coda, it is determined to be an approximant similar to syllables with {y},
  differing only in number of tones:  {.}, {}, {:}, and & {y.}, {y} 
particle {pic~s:} / nominalization - sentence endings, {}, {m}
    Beware of similar sounding words: {I} ; {.} , {}
syllable {sa.ka:n-su.} 'group of speech-units'

 Always differentiate {sa.ka:} 'speech' from {sa} 'script'. MLC PMD2006-480 gives <syllable> as {wN~Na.} which we usually understand as "good appearance". To avoid confusion, I will use {sa.ka:n-su.} 'group of speech-units' for <sylllable>,  from which we get:
  <monosyllable> {-ka. sa.ka:n-su.},
  <disyllable> {dwi. sa.ka:n-su.}, and
  <polysyllable> {ba.hu. sa.ka:n-su.} 

syntax {wa-kya.s:} .
   {wa-kya.} - n. gram  sentence -- MLC MED2006-473

For comparison to Bur-Myan grammar, see:
  Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis 1899 by A. W. Lonsdale, Rangoon:
  British Burma Press, 1899 xii, 461, in two parts. 
  Part 1. Orthoepy and orthography; Part 2. Accidence and syntax
- BG1899-indx.htm > BG1899-1-indx.htm > BG1899-2-indx.htm (link chk 191011)
  MLC Burmese Grammar (in Bur-Myan) :
  See downloaded pdf files in TIL  PDF libraries:  HD-PDF-B and SD-PDF-B (link chk 191010)
  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.
  1. bkp1. --- --- 2. bkp2. --- ---- 3. bkp3.---   ---- 4. bkp4. -- - --- 5. bkp5. --- ---- 6. bkp6.
  Ink-on-paper book available in TIL Research Library in 3 volumes, 17 sections.

Contents of this page


What is an Akshara {ak~hka.ra}

The following comments are taken from my edited version of Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis by A. W. Lonsdale, Education Department, Burma, British Burma Press, Rangoon, 1899.
- BG1899-indx.htm > BG1899-1-indx.htm > ch01-1.htm (link chk 160918)

Lonsdale sec.002p001. The Bur-Myan grammarians, having no suitable grammatical terms of their own, were obliged to borrow them from the Pali Language. The term they employ for Grammar is {d~da-t~htn} (fn001-02), commonly called {d~da kym:}, or simply {d~da}.

Lonsdale sec.003p001. In general the written representation of a sound is called Akshara {ak~hka.ra}. Because of its inherent vowel, an Akshara is pronounceable: it is called a Syllable {sa.ka:n-su.} or {wN~Na.}.

UKT 160915: In this respect, Akshara is entirely different from the Letter of the Alphabet-Letter system of writing. The Letter is mute. This distinction was not made when Lonsdale was writing his Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis. A combination of syllables is called a Word {waad} or {poad}.

{poad} - n. . word. . ortho punctuation mark. - MLC MED2006-274
{wN~Na.} - n. . appearance. . letter; syllable [Pali ] -- MLC MED2006-480

Because of the polysemous [many meanings] nature of such words, I feel that we have to come up with clear one-to-one definitions. What I have done is given on the right. I discussed this problem with U Tun Tint (retd MLC editor) on 150715.

For example for an unambiguous meaning for syllable, we, Ko Tun Tint and I, consider alternatives, such as:

{sa.ka:su.}/ {sa.ka:lon:} (referring to spoken language),
{sa-su.}/ {sa-lon:} (referring to written language).

We realized that a key word referring to speech sound, {a.n}, must be included. Further, we must show that the disyllable must be pronounced rapidly. Thus a mid-dot -- for mid-central vowel schwa -- must be used instead of a full-stop: {an}. However, a mid-dot is sometimes inconvenient to write, and a full-stop -- grudgingly -- would have to do. And, the definition {sa.ka:n-su.} is accepted because of the almost one-to-one mapping of speech and script of the Bur-Myan language. This I am doing contrary to what a Western die-hard phonetician would do.

I am indebted to my friend U (Dr.) Tun Tint of MLC for such discussions, many times over the phone.

Also, I decided to adopt a transcription from English <word> {waad}. And reserve, {poad} for  ortho "punctuation mark".

See Polysemy in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polysemy 160915
"Polysemy is a pivotal concept within disciplines such as media studies and linguistics. The analysis of polysemy, synonymy, and hyponymy and hypernymy is vital to taxonomy and ontology in the information-science senses of those terms. It has applications in pedagogy and machine learning, because they rely on word-sense disambiguation and schemas."

See also Tagging: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Part-of-speech_tagging 191012
"In corpus linguistics, part-of-speech tagging (POS tagging or PoS tagging or POST), aka called grammatical tagging or word-category disambiguation, is the process of marking up a word in a text (corpus) as corresponding to a particular part of speech, [1] based on both its definition and its context -- i.e., its relationship with adjacent and related words in a phrase, sentence, or paragraph. A simplified form of this is commonly taught to school-age children, in the identification of words as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc."
See Normalization of Myanmar Grammatical Categories for Part-of-Speech Tagging by Phyu Hninn Myint, Tin Myat Htwe, and Ni Lar Thein, in TIL HD-PDF & SD-PDF (P section) libraries:
- PHMyintEtAl-POS-Tag<> / Bkp<> (link chk 191015)
Also Function Tagging for Myanmar Language, by Win Win Thant, Tin Myat Htwe, Ni Lar Thein, in HD-PDF & SD-PDF (W section) libraries:
- WWThant-FunctionTag<> / Bkp<> (link chk 191015)

A word {waad} may contain just one syllable: it is called monosyllabic. When it contains more than one syllable it is called polysyllabic.

The most basic idea behind the Ka'gyi-Kha'gw {ka.kri:hka.hkw:} or Abugida-Akshara system of writing is the syllable {sa.ka:n-su.} - an acoustic sound unit.

UKT 191012: Foreigners take note: to avoid confusion, never call {ka.kri:} as Ka'gyi . Call it Ka-major.
And, {ga.gn} as Ga'nge . It is Ga-minor.

It is reported in an online newspaper article dated 2012 Mar 26, that computer scientists in designing computer languages noticed the importance of the idea of syllable in Sanskrit.
See my note on Sanskrit as computer language .
"Very soon the traditional Indian language Sanskrit will be a part of the space, with the United States of America (USA) mulling to use it as computer language at NASA."

However, I advice my readers to read newspaper articles with suspicion. They are useful for general information only. Until I see a piece of information in a well-reputed academic or scientific journal, all facts posted must be taken with caution.

Lonsdale sec.004p002. The Bur-Myan Grammar may be divided into three principal parts, viz.

{ak~hka.rp~pa.B-da.} -- Distinction of Letters
  -- includes Orthography (spelling) and Orthoepy (pronunciation)  (fn002-03)
{pa.da.wi.w-sa.na.} -- Word Investigation
  -- embraces the classification of words, their accidence (inflection) and derivation (etymology)
{ka-ra.ka.kp~pa.} -- Rules concerning the necessary relations of words in a sentence.
  -- what we understand by syntax .

In need of a term, I suggest {wa-kya.s:} for syntax. -- UKT121122

For unusual English words, I have given the gloss in (...) or within '...' based on AHTD.

Now that we know what Akshara {ak~hka.ra} and Syllable {sa.ka:n-su.} are, we have to know what is meant by the inherent vowel of the Akshara.

Akshara is pronounceable because it has an inherent vowel, whereas the Letter without an inherent vowel is mute. The two are related as can be seen in the case of Bur-Myan Akshara {ta.}, and the Georgian Consonantal Letter "Tan" თ (U10D7) and Vowel Letter "An" ა (10D0), where the latter can be used as an inherent vowel:

{ta.} --> თ "Tan" + ა "An" -->  თა /ta/


Contents of this page

What is Grammar {d~da}

UKT 191012: The English word "Grammar" may be transcribed as {gRm~ma}. The nuclear vowel of the first syllable is back-vowel /ʌ/ and not the front-vowel //.

Grammar is {d~da} in Bur-Myan. In Pali-Myan {d~da.} is slightly modified. Both implies primarily Sound. Pali-Myan  Grammarians place all sounds under two heads, viz. {sait~ta.za. d~da.} 'mind produced sounds,' and {U.tu.za. d~da.} 'accidentally or naturally produced sounds'.

Very few people love Grammar: at least the traditional way of learning it. The terminology which we have to memorize has very little practical meaning in day-to-day speech. The scope of this manuscript can be judged from the aim of the original book: To prepare for the General Educational Development (GED) test. The following are several passages in Romabama which you can easily read if you know how to speak Burmese and read the Myanmar script.


{gRm~ma} ko kreik pa-t hso-t. lu ha a.lwun sha: pa-t// a.htu:a.hprn. a.ma.ro:kya. {gRm~ma} ko moan: kra. t// mhan-pa-t// Ba-hpric lo. l: hso tau. a.ma.ro:kya. {gRm~ma} ha sa.ka: prau: t. n ra mha lon:wa.ni: pa: a.on: ma.wn-Bu://

We should note that when a Bur-Myan child goes to school to learn English, we say in Burmese that he goes to learn {n~ga.laip sa} or the written English, i.e. the "script". Of course, he will come to know how to "speak" English, but his primary goal is to learn how to read and to write. However, in these lessons, the emphasis will be on spoken English "speech" first and then we will proceed to written English "script".


pa-hta.ma. U:hsoan: n~ga.laip-sa n ta la:/ n~ga.laip-sa.ka: n ta la: hso-ta hkw:hkra: i.Bo. lo t//
a.hku. n-hkn:sa tw ka. sa.ka: a.prau: mha lo p t. a.hkr-hkn ka. sa. m/ ta.hpr:hpr: n. a.r: Bak ko wn wa: m//


a.ma.ro:kya. d~da (o.ma.hoat) traditional {gRm~ma} ha n~ga.laip-sa a.r: mha ma.pa rn ma.hpric-Bu: lo. htn-kra.t. lu tw ka. mya: pa-t// da-kraung. <A noun is the name of a person or thing.> hso-ta mro: ko sa. n kra. tau. t// di-lo pon- <definition> tw ko kyak hken: lo. n-kra: ra.t. kyaung:a: ha <definition> tw a.lwut rwut rn: n. {gRm~ma} ko krauk wa: tau. t// n~ga.laip sa.ka: prau: prn tau. l: {gRm~ma} mhn pa. ma.la: hso t. sait wn la-pri: sa.ka: prau: ma.htwak tau.Bu://


a.hku. n-hkn:sa mha <traditional {gRm~ma} definition> tw ha n~ga.laip sa.ka: prau: t. n ra mha-a ma.hoat/ a.r: mha l: lon:wa. ni:pa: ma.lo Bu: lo. tw. ra. laim.m// prn-prau: pa. m/ ma.lo-Bu: hso ta {gRm~ma} ko prau: ta ma. hoat Bu:// <definition> tw ma.lo Bu: lo. prau: ta hpric t//

In Bur-Myan traditional grammar, the student learns the grammatical terms which are mostly derived from Pali. In essence, the students of my father's generation (turn of 19th century to early 20th) ended up learning a set of grammatical terms in Pali (a foreign language in Myanmarpr), and another set of grammatical terms in English (another foreign language), to be bilingual in Burmese and English.

Caveat: There are many indigenous languages, such as Mon and Shan, which write in Myanmar Akshara. Therefore, when you say Myanmar Grammar {mrn-ma d~da}, unless you are a narrow minded person, you should not mean just the grammar for Bama spoken language or speech. Just remember to emphasise that it is for Bama speech only and say {ba.ma d~da}. Use the hyphenated term Burmese-Myanmar Grammar. Remember that there are Mon-Myanmar Grammar {mwun d~da}, Shan-Myan Grammar {shm: d~da}, etc.

mrn-ma ak~hka.ra n. re: ta ba.ma tw a ma. hoat Bu:/ ten:rn: a: a.mya: su. l: mrn-ma ak~hka.ra n. r: kra. pa t// 

In our days, the emphasis on Bur-Myan grammar became and less and less important. It was eventually totally dropped in high school. In the university, those taking Burmese as a specialized subject had to learn the Burmese grammar, but for us Science students, we did not have to take any.

However during the days of Burmese Way to Socialism, under the leadership of Chairman U N Win, [as General NWin (1962-1974) and Chairman U N Win (1974-1988)], he forced the MLC (Myanmar Language Commission) to rewrite a new version of Burmese Grammar .

The result was the students have to learn what was then touted as Bur-Myan terms but which reality were Pali just as in old days of my father's generation.

The following are some of the terms taken from MLC Burmese Grammar (in Bur-Myan) :

{d~da} - grammar - MLC MED2006-517

{ak~hka.ra} 'akshara' alphabet - MLC MED2006-619

{wa-sn~ga.} 'parts of speech' [POS] - MLC MED2006-473

{naam} 'noun'
{naam-sa:} - 'pronoun'
(Checking a long vowel by a killed consonant is allowed only in Pal-Myan, and loan words.)

{lan} - 'grammatical gender' : not sex.
{kain:} - number

In an English sentence, the <number> {kain:} in subject (noun) must be compatible with the <number> {kain:} of the verb, e.g.

A man buys mangoes.
Two men buy mangoes. - <man> becomes <men>, & <buys> becomes <buy>.

In Bur-Myan only an affix may be added. Even then it is not compulsory. Bur-Myan has very simple grammar. Unless the information is relevant, it need not be included. {kain:} 'number' is not important in the sentence: <man mango buy>.

{lu} {tic-yauk} -- {a.rak-i:} {w-t}//
man ----- one person --------- mango ----------- buy //
{lu} {nhic-yauk} {a.rak-i:} {w-t}//
man ----- two person --------- mango ----------- buy //

It is the same with gender. In French gender is important, and even <table> & <chairs> are 'feminine' (une table & une chaise), whilst <wall> is masculine (un mur). English is simpler than French. How lucky we are to have English as our International language! Best of all is our Bur-Myan: it has no gender, no number, and no tense.

{kRi.ya} (pronounce as in Pal-Myan) - 'verb' - MLC MED2006-038

{ka-la.} - 'tense'
(The word Tense is only one of the ideas in a term of convenience, TAM (Tense-Aspect-Mood). Bur-Myan does not have tense forms.
-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_language 121121. )

{di} {lu}  {ma.n.ka.} {a.rak-i:} {w-t}//
This  man -- yesterday-when ------- mango ------------- buy
{di} {lu} {di-n.} {a.rak-i:} {w-t}//
This  man ---- today --------- mango ------------ buy

{na-ma. wi.e-a.na.} 'adjective' - MLC MED2006-222
{kRi.ya wi.ea.na.} 'adverb'  - MLC MED2006-038   

{wi.Bt} - 'determiner', post-positional marker, word suffixed to a noun or pronoun to designate it as the subject or object, and to a verb to indicate time or mood  - MLC MED2006-475

{m~bn~Da.} 'conjunction' - MLC MED2006-520

{pic~s:} 'modifier'
   See in my note on particle


{a-me-ait} 'interjection' - MLC-MED2006-605

{wa-kya.} 'sentence' --  MLC MED2006-473
   See in my notes on
   - nominalization - literally : making of Nouns from other POS)
     (see particle {pic~s:} 'modifier')
   - syntax - {wa-kya.s:} 'rules for sentence construction'.
     {wa-kya.} - n. gram  sentence -- MLC MED2006-473
     I suggest   {wa-kya.s:} for <syntax>.

{poad-hprt} same as {poad-ka.l:} -- MLC MED2006-274/275
   I suggest {poad} be solely used for 'ortho punctuation'. And use my coined word {waad} for English <word>.

Most of us, those with modern education such as those among the staff of Rangoon University, ended up thinking that these two modern languages, Burmese and English, which we have to use in our everyday life are so far apart that it is better to drop one almost completely. I am speaking this from the experiences of my wife and myself as university teachers for over 30 years. I notice the same with our fellow staff members -- an observation which makes me keep up with my language skills in both Burmese and English.

Contents of this page

Monastic Education: the influence of Pali-Myan on Bur-Myan

I, UKT, must admit that what Lonsdale has observed still stands by looking at how Bur-Myan students have to learn. The following are some definitions which a student of my father's generation had to learn, mostly at the monastic schools. The primary aim of the monastic education is to train Bur-Myan males to be able to become Theravada Buddhist monks. Or, at least to train both males and females to become aware of Buddhist philosophy - not religion nor for conversion to Buddhism - and become useful citizens of the country based on Thirty Eight Rules of Morality .
See: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/soni/wheel254.html 191016

The first lesson taught to the young children, mostly boys, aged about 6 to 8 was how to write a perfect circle on a wooden-slate blackened by rubbing in lamp-soot with the juice from the leaves of various plants. The pencil was a small piece of talc fixed on to a holder. By the time I was going to school just before the Second World War, wooden-slates and talc were used only in very remote areas. In small towns and large villages, we were using soap-stone slates and slate pencils made from the same mineral. The teachers were Theravada monks in the monasteries teaching boys (and by Theravada nuns living in a separate compound close to the monastery, teaching girls). Strict discipline was enforced.
See Burma under British Rule and before vol.2 , by John Nisbet, 1901 in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries
- JNisbet-BurmaUnderBritVol2<> / Bkp<> (link chk 191016)
Beginning from p192 we read: "Until about seven years of age or more the little boys and girls pass the time in one continuous round of play, sometimes dressed very much like grown-up people and sometimes in a state of either partial or complete nudity, ... At about eight or nine years of age this happy time of unrestricted nudity and amusement comes to an end, when the boy goes to the monastery in order to struggle with the difficulties of the Burmese equivalents to pothooks and hangers. [UKT ]

UKT 191016: pothooks and hangers, the curved strokes used in writing, which supposedly resemble the hooks and hangers found in a kitchen -- Oxford Reference . The author, J. Nisbet, has missed to note that Bur-Myan script is based on the perfect circle very much unlike the English hand-writing.

But even here, while acquiring the elements of reading, writing, and elementary arithmetic, it is by no means all work and no play, and "the little son of a monastery" {Kyaung Thagale) or "disciple" {Tabyi) has an uncommonly joyous and merry time of it. ... After the alphabet has been thoroughly mastered, an advance is made to the most simple combinations of a vowel and a consonant, and then by well considered gradations to words of
complex structure. This whole system, an excellent method of attaining its purpose, is briefly comprised in the "great basket of learning" (Thmbongyi). When the Thinboiigyi has been assimilated, a gradual course of instruction is given in the religious precepts and in the simpler instructions relating to the tenets of Buddhism. These are first of all recited by the Pongyi and repeated many times in chorus by the small boys, who then write them down, phrase by phrase, on the Parabaik, and continue repeating them in as loud a tone as they feel inclined to. When each lesson is ended, the Parabaik are all simply sponged over and scrubbed in order to remove the soapstone characters, and then hung out to dry until required for the next lesson."

Because of this monastic education, which I as a child under 10, had tasted to some extent during the Second World War, in Kungyangon Town where I was born, I can understand what A. W. Lonsdale has written in his Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis 1899 , Rangoon: British Burma Press, 1899 xii, 461, in two parts:
Part 1. Orthoepy (pronunciation) and Orthography (spelling);
Part 2. Accidence (inflexion of words) and Syntax (sentence structure)
- BG1899-indx.htm >
Part 1. BG1899-1-indx.htm and go into Preface ... - ch00.htm
  Part 2. BG1899-2-indx.htm

Lonsdale has written:
" The Burmese language is constructed on scientific principles, and there is no reason why its grammar should not be dealt with also from a scientific standpoint. But it may be safely said that Burmese grammar as a science has not received that attention it deserves.
" With regard to the grammatical treatises by native writers, it is no exaggeration to say that there is not one which can be properly called a Burmese grammar. These writers, not content with merely borrowing the grammatical nomenclature of the Pali language [UKT 160912: it may very well be Sanskrit. See the Skt-Dev Sanskrit cases ], also attempted to assimilate the grammatical principles of the uninflected Burmese to those of the inflected Pali; so that they produced, not Burmese grammars, but modified Pali grammars in Burmese dress. The servile veneration in which they held Pali, the language they had adopted as the classic, is, no doubt, directly responsible for the composition of such works. In their endeavour to conform strictly to Pali methods, they often introduced unnecessary terms and misapplied them, ignoring those grammatical points in Burmese for which they could find no parallel in Pali. How futile their attempts were may be judged by the numerous difficulties and anomalies they created, from some of which even now teachers of the language have not quite extricated themselves - take, for instance, the case-inflexions."

Case is {ka-ra.ka.} in Bur-Myan. A very simple Bur-Myan sentence construction is SOV the opposite of Engl-Latin which is SVO,
where Syntax : Subject, S - {kt-ta:}, Verb, V - {kRi.ya}, Object, O - {kn} 

Contents of this page

Syllable, Word, Sentence, and Syntax

The Bur-Myan grammarians, even now, has not paid much attention to grammar. In the days of Burmese Way to Socialism, Chairman U N Win had to forced the MLC (Myanmar Language Commission) to come up with a Burmese Grammar. Their work was in two parts each with three divisions: a series of six books for schools and universities. In the preface in book 2 (bg-mlc-1-2 : see insert) MLC had written:

MLC later combined the six books into a single volume of 438 pages in the year 2005, after a regime change leaving out the preface mentioning the Burmese Way to Socialism and Chaiman U N Win.


MLC Burmese Grammar (in Bur-Myan) -  Available online from Wordpress.com. from
- https://whiteboylearningburmese.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/bg-mlc-1-1.pdf 190929 ,
  See downloaded pdf files in TIL  PDF libraries:  HD-PDF-B and SD-PDF-B (link chk 191010)
  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.
  1. bkp1. --- --- 2. bkp2. --- ---- 3. bkp3.---   ---- 4. bkp4. -- - --- 5. bkp5. --- ---- 6. bkp6.

Below is the excerpt from TOC of ink-on-paper book available in TIL Research Library in 3 volumes, 17 sections.
 01. {d~da} - p001;  02. {ak~hka.ra} - p001 ;   03. {wn~ga.} - p038 ;
 04. {a.ra. nhic-myo:} - p105;   05. {n pran:pra. n~k-ta.} - p106;
 06. {by: ak~hka.ra l:myo:} - p153 ;  
 07. {by:mya: tw:sp-pon} - p203
 08. {a.t mya:} - p205;  
 09. {ba.ma sa.ka: hsen-ra i.mht-hpw mya:} - p273
----- {HTaan} (POA or Point Of Articulation);
----- {ka.reN:} & {pa.yt} (MOA or Mode Of Articulation) - p284
----- Take note of another abbreviation, POS or Parts of Speech, which you'll meet in
----- Tagging of Bur-Myan language. See TIL HD-PDF & SD-PDF libraries, by
------ Phyu Hninn Myint, et. al. on POS tagging : Noun, Pronoun, Verb, Adjective, Adverb, Postpositional Marker, Particles and Interjection.
------ WinWin Thant, et. al.  on Function tagging  
 10. {a.n} (sound), {sa.ka: n} (human voice) - p349
 11. {sa.ka:lon:}; {poad}; {poad-su.} - p088, p368
 12. {poad} - p369
 13. {wa-sn~ga.} - p003, etc.
 14. {wa-sn~ga. hsen-ra i.mht-hpw mya:} - p298
 15. - p032, p090, p146, p195, p392
 16. {wa.kya. hsen-ra i.mht-hpw mya:} - p328
 17. {poad-hprt} {poad-rp}

UKT 191007: MLC Burmese Grammar definitions are mostly from vol.1 mod.1 bg-mlc-1-1. Page numbers are from consolidated ink-on-paper printed book. TIL scheme of one line corresponding to height 22 pix are adhered to.

I hate grammar, both Burmese and English, until I come across Grammar In Plain English (EGPE), by H. Diamond and P. Dutwin, 1977, when I realize that you can learn a language without going into formal grammar. Yet, I must learn formal Bur-Myan grammar before I can proceed with this topic.

Though Bur-Myan has its basis on phonetics and phonemics, our grammarians seemed to have failed to recognized the importance of the Syllable and they have not come up with a Burmese term for it. They are content with its Pali term, {wN~Na.}. And I have no choice but to come up with definitions used in my work.

MLC MED2006-480 gives:
{wuN~Na.} - n. 1. appearance. 2. letter, syllable [Pal ]
  {wuN~Na.da.a.ka.} - n. the decade of prime beauty in a person's life (between 21 and 30)
  {wuN~Na.lau:pa.n:} - n. elision

The following are 8 or 9 POS (Parts of Speech) {wa-sn~ga.} (from: 1. bg-mlc-1-1) which is necessary in Bur-Myan, to be compared to Case-inflexions. {ka-ra.ka.} .
See also Tagging of Bur-Myan language in TIL HD-PDF & SD-PDF libraries, by
Phyu Hninn Myint, et. al. on POS tagging : Noun, Pronoun, Verb, Adjective, etc.
WinWin Thant, et. al.  on Function tagging

The following are examples from the printed book, with page numbers on upper right corner:


Contents of this page

The Syllable - the basic unit of Abugida-Akshara writing system

In any spoken language, we start with a syllable {sa.ka:n-su.}, and then group the syllables into words {waad}. Then we arrange the words in a definite pattern to form a meaningful sentence {wa-kya.}.

The arrangement of words {waad} is known as syntax {wa-kya.s:}. The syntax of Bur-Myan is SOV, whereas that of English is SVO. You'll come to know what S-Subject {kt~ta:}, V-Verb {kRi.ya}, & O-Object {kn} stands for in
- ch01.htm (link chk 191017).

In English-Latin the canonical structure of syllable is CVC, where the first C is known as onset-consonant, V is the peak or nuclear vowel, and the second C is the coda-consonant. However, Bur-Myan, Pali-Myan & Skt-Dev has the structure, CV, where the coda-consonant is a "killed" akshara whose inherent vowel has been killed by Virama {a.t} which I usually shorten to viram. e.g.

{ka.} क + {ka.} क --> {ka.ka.} कक  -  the sound of the cawing of a crow.

The akshara has a sound: it may or may not have a meaning.

{ka.} क + {ka.} क + viram --> {kak} कक्  - 'domino'

Notice the shapes of the {a.t} in Bur-Myan, and that of virama in Skt-Dev: ्  The Bur-Myan {a.t} is likened to a little flag and is known as {tn-hkwun}. The virama of Skt-Dev looks like a little goose-stepping foot. Their functions are the same - to kill the inherent vowel of the akshara. It is known as vowel-killer. If so, what is its opposite - the vowel-giver?

We find it in Georgian alphabet, which I contend is Mrammar {mrm~ma} where the Abugida-Akshara has been changed to Alphabet-Letter. The Georgian vowel-giver is ა (Georgian letter An). Notice the strange similarity - yet upside down - of vowel-killer of Bur-Myan and Georgian. Stranger is the similarity in "pronunciation" of consonant-letter, {t} & თ (Georgian letter Tan), with the IPA /t/.

{ka.} क + viram +  {ka.} क --> {k~ka} क्क - no longer a syllable: cannot be pronounced

The first {ka.} has lost its inherent vowel and should be shown under the viram sign. By using a vertical conjunct the viram-sign is hidden. The conjunct can also be written as a horizontal conjunct. The conjunct if preceded by another akshara can come to    have a sound. e.g.

{ta.} त + {k~ka.} क्क --> {tak~ka.} तक्क - part of the word {tak~ka.ol} 'university'

{tak~ka.} is now a disyllable and can be pronounced. {tak~ka.ol} is a trisyllabic word. It's equivalent is Taxila. The ancient Taxila university is now in Pakistan where the official script is Urdu - a script that writes from right to left. Urdu is not easily comparable to Sanskrit or Myanmar.

The difference between CVC and CV is due to the difference in the underlying principle of encoding between the Alphabet-Letter and the Abugida-Akshara systems of writing. The difference can be illustrated as follows between the Georgian script (Alphabet-Letter system) is changed from Myanmar script (Abugida-Akshara system), e.g.

Bur-Myan: {ta.} + viram ---> {t}
------------- {t} --+  <a*>  --> {ta.}
------------- {t} -- {i.}-sign --> {ti.}

Georgian: თ {t} + ი {i.} --> თი {ti.} in the name of the capital of Georgia - Tbilisi .
------------- თ {t} + ა {a.} --> თა {ta.} in the name of another place - Mtskheta

You can even say that Georgian ა {a.} is just the 'reverse' of Bur-Myan {a.t} / {a.t}-sign. It is used in place of the <a*> 'intrinsic vowel' of our consonantal-akshara.

In these lessons, we must always remember that syntax is more important than the traditional grammar definitions.


UKT 191018: You'll notice that I have been writing very complex sentences. They are not suitable to write in Romabama as can be seen below. I need to rewrite them as simply as possible. Please note that these sentences were written many years ago, and need revision.

B lu-myo: r. sa.ka: mha hpric-hpric {sa.ka:n-su.} lo. hkau-t. <syllable> / hto-mha. ta.hsn. {waad} <word> lo. hkau-t. a.n-tw: tw hpric pau ra. t// {waad} tw ha a.si-a.si tic-myo: ko leik-na ra. t// :. a.si-a.si ko <syntax> lo. hkau-t// n~ga.laip sa.ka: r. {wa-kya.s:} <syntax> ha ba.ma sa.ka: r. <syntax> n. ma.tu Bu:// <syntax> ha sa.ka:prau: n t. n-ra mha <grammar definition> tw htak a.r: kri: pa t//


a.htak mha (ba.ma sa.ka:) hso-t. a.on: a.nhon: ko on: leik ta mha:ywn: on t lo. ma.htn pa-n.// Ba-a-b da. lo. hkau-t. <Linguistics> mha a.prau: n. a.r: ko hkw:hkra: hta: t// a.hku. n-hkn:sa tw ko <Linguistics> rhu.daung. ka r:hta: ta hpric lo. (ba.ma-sa.ka:) <Burmese spoken language> n. (mrn-ma ak~hka.ra) (Myanmar akshara) to. ko hkw: hkra: prau: ra. laim. m//

Long before the electronic recording was invented, the spoken word (speech) was recorded on paper, or any suitable material, in the form of markings (glyphs). The ancient Egyptians used little "pictures" to represent the words. The Chinese also use what can be described as pictures.

Myanmars, and peoples of the Indian sub-continent and places as far away as Philippines use the Abugida-Akshara system of writing.

English and the peoples of Europe use the Alphabet-Letter system. The Alphabet with its Alef "Ox" and Bet "Stable" was invented by simple farmers and cattle breeders

UKT 191018: I am suggesting that someone or a small school of geniuses or genii were using a single geometrical shape, such as square, triangle, or rounded circle to form glyphs to represent hidden messages.

Such a method is the Mramma {mrm~ma} akshara which uses the perfectly rounded circle. I am suggesting that Mramma {mrm~ma} is an Esoteric language. The Swastika (which has become a hated symbol thanks to the Nazis) that has been found in the ancient Indus-Sarasvati civilization is an esoteric symbol in Myanmar and South-Indian cultures.

The Cuneiform script of Tigris-Euphrates civilization, that is based on the triangle, and its sacred symbols might also be a esoteric language similar to Mramma {mrm~ma}.

I will have to dispute the notion that whatever we have in Myanmarpr had come from India. The connection between Myanmar culture and the other ancient cultures can also be seen in Astronomy and Calendar: - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_calendar 170428
"One key difference from Indian systems was that the Burmese system followed a 19-year intercalation schedule (Metonic cycle). It is unclear from where, when or how the Metonic system was introduced".
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metonic_cycle 170428
Named after Greek astronomer Meton of Athens (5th century BC). However it was used in the Babylonian calendar, ancient Chinese calendar systems (the 'Rule Cycle' 章) and the medieval computus (i.e., the calculation of the date of Easter). :

The word <akshara> is derived from Sanskrit. In Burmese we use the term {ak~hka.ra} which is derived from Pali. I was told by my Bengali friends of Deep River, Ontario, Canada, that the Bengali pronunciation is also {ak~hka.ra} and not <akshara>.

The information on {ak~hka.ra} pronunciation of Bengali has led me to compare the two languages: Bengali-Bangla (the speech of country called "Bangladesh") and  Bur-Myan. Though the languages are different, many pronunciations are found to be similar. (This is just a rough observation which would have to be checked further.) This has led me to wonder if Bengali had been a Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) language just as Burmese is. Since the two areas speaking the languages are geographically next to each other, we should expect the two populations to be using the same set of muscles in pronouncing the syllables especially the vowels.

In the country of Npal, the word for Akshara is:
अक्षर्_akṣar = अ क ् ष र ्
 - #1. A Comparative and Etymological Dictionary of Nepali Language by R L Turner, p003-004
 - #2. English to Nepal Bhasa Dictionary by Sabin Bhuju सबिन भुजु , 2005, "Alphabet" is spelled with {hka.} ākhaḥ. 
Note: #1. gives Nepali (IE) spelling, and #2. gives Nwari (Tib-Bur) spelling.

For a description of vowel production see works on Voice Quality such as The Phonetic Description of Voice quality by John Laver, Reader in the Department of Linguistics, University of Edinburgh. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, London, New York, New Rochelle, Melbourne, Sydney. 1980. First published 1980. ISBN 0 521 231 760. A photocopy of this rare book is available in the TIL library. See Voice quality in Human voice, Phonetics and Phonology
- HV-indx.htm > voice-qual.htm

This conjecture that the peoples of modern Bengal (India) , modern Myanmar and Nwar (blood relatives of Gautama Buddha) of modern Nepal, use almost the same set of muscles to produce the similar sounds could be extended to the idea that the ancient peoples of the area had spoken the languages of Tib-Bur group. Thus we would be able to conclude that the pronunciation of the Buddha would be similar to that of the people of Myanmar. And that the Pali-Myan pronunciation is more authentic than that of the so-called International Pali.

English uses the Alphabet-Letter system of writing. It has all together 26 characters - 21 consonantal-characters together with the 5 vowel-characters.

For a change listen to the pronunciation of Letters of English in a children's songs:
- For all 26 characters - in which the consonants have been made pronounceable by coupling with /a/. <))
- For 5 letters of the vowels <))
Change vowels a e i o u in Apples & Bananas and listen to the effects.

There are 33 consonantal characters in the Bur-Myan which uses Abugida-Akshara system. It has 12 vowel characters set separately from the 33 consonants.

  Bur-Myan-akshara system, or the akshara {ak~hka.ra} has 33 consonantal-characters
  Eng-Lat-alphabetic system, or the alphabet {al~fa-bakt} has 21 consonantal-characters


Contents of this page

Introduction of new aksharas for use in BEPS work

It is not the policy of TIL to introduce new glyphs at every turn of events. Yet we are seeing that we will have to "invent" three glyphs to transcribe English. These three derived with medial former {ha.} are illegal in regular Bur-Myan:

for < f- - {fa.} & {fa} /f/   derived from {hpa.}
for < v- - {va.} & {va} /v/ derived from {ba.}
for < sh > - {sha.} & /ʃ/ derived from / {Sa.}/{S}

Notice how I have represented the syllables {back} & {bakt} which has two coda consonants: a flag has been added. Otherwise they would become disyllabic {bac~ka.} & {bak~ta.}. Regular Bur-Myan syllable has either coda- = 0 or 1 and not more. Eng-Lat coda can have up to coda-C = 3 or more. e.g., <backs> with coda-C = 3. Romabama has to follow the Eng-Lat syllable-construction.


The biggest advantage of an akshara over the alphabet is, the akshara is based on phonemic principles which are well-known in the East for thousands of years, whereas the alphabet has no such basis.


n~ga.laip sa.ka: ka. <Latin alphabet> ko on: t// da-kraung. < English-Latin> <Bur-Myan> hso-t. a.on:a.nhon: tw ko tw. ra. laim. m// <alphabet> n. <akshara> ha lon:wa. ma.tu Bu:// di a.hpric ko <linguistic> rhu.daung. n. , a.n-b-da. lo. hkau-lo. ra.t. <phonetics> rhu.daung. to. ka. kr. mha. a kwak-kwak kwn:kwn: mrn nen t//


sa.ka: prau t. a.hka a.n mhn Bo./ a.n la ta pa:sp nhoat-hkm: , a-hkn-twn: ,   nha.hkaung: sa.lo. , B n ra ka. htwak la t hso ta i.Bo. lo t// :da ko <phonemics> lo. hkau t// : ka. mha. ta. hsn. , a.n a.hsw:a.ngn , a.hprt-a.tauk sa. lo. , a.: saip-la ta ko <phonetics> lo. hkau t//


mrn-ma ak~hka.ra ko n-pon:kri: a.si-a.si n. r: rn/ a.tn: 7 tn: <7 rows>/ a.ten 5 ten <5 columns> n. r: t// : lo r: ta ko n~hkya a.on: a.nhoan: a.ra. <matrix> lo. hkau t/ mrn-ma ak~hka.ra ko <7r x 5c matrix> lo. hkau t//


kau-ln a. leik <r1c5> {gna.} mha. <r4c5> {na.} a.hti. nha-hkaung: n tw ko tw. ra. laim. m// htu: hsn: ta ka. <Mon-Myan> a.n tw mha {Na.} ka. lw: lo. {gn}, {}, {n}, {m} hpric n ta ko tw. ra. ta hpric t//

Listen to all the 7x5 sounds <)) of Mon-Myan akshara, and try to pick out the rows:
1. velar {kN~HTa.} r1<))
2. palatal {ta-lu.} r2<))
4. dental {dn~ta.} r4<))
5. labial {AT~HTa.} r5<))


a.n hpric t. n ra tw ha a-hkn-twn: mha. ta.hpr: hpr: a.prn Bak o. htwak la ta ko tw ra. laim. m//


a.hku. n-hkn: sa tw ha  <phonemics> a.hky hkn shi. t. mrn-ma sa ko tt kywm: u tw a.twak a.lwun lw ku pa t//


mrn-ma sa ma.tt kywum: : t. hka.l: tw a.twak ma. hoat Bu://


a.n hpa.lh <transcription> loap t. n-ra mha <English-Latin alphabet> r. hkyo.t. mhu. kraung. a.hkak a.hk: a.mya.kri: tw. ra. pa t// da.kraung. mrn-ma lu-a.m , mro.a.m , n. d-a.a.m to. ko n~ga.laip lo a.myo:myo: sa-lon: paung: kra. ta ko tw. ra.pa-t //

To overcome the deficiencies of the European-languages, linguists have to invent a phonetic alphabet known as the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA ).


  B n ra mha <English-Latin alphabet> hkyo. t. n a. l: hso rn, - {gna.n} /ŋ/ (velar), - {}-n  /ɲ/ (palatal plosive-stop) , n. - {a.}-n /?/ (palatal approximant) to. ko pra. Bo. <letter of alphabet> ma.shi. ta hpric t//


na.mu-na a.n n. n~ga.laip sa-lon: <sing> ht ka. <ng> mha {ga.}-n ma. Bu://


pra. sa. ra <alphabet-letter> ma. shi. lo. nhic.lon: tw: <digraph ng> n. r: ra. t// mrn-ma a.mya: prau: n-a.lo {ga.}-n ht. prau: rn mha: t// a.htauk a.hta: <DJPD16 p.490> ko kr. pa//


U.rau:pa. teik <European continent> mha. sa.ka: sa mya: pric kra. t. <English-Latin>, <French-Latin>, <Spanish-Latin> to. ko tic.hku. mha. tic.hku. o. a.n hpa.lh Bo. pru. loap t. a. hka mha tw. ra. t. a.hkak a.hk: tw ko kyau lwuan Bo. <alphabet> tic.myo: ko ti-htwn hk. kra. ra. t// :da ko <International Phonetic Alphabet = IPA> lo. hkau pa t//


<Bur-Myan> mha nha-hkan: n 5 hku. rhi. t// <English-Latin> mha tau. 3 hku. a shi. lo. <English native speakers> tw <transcription> loap t. hka doak~hka. rauk kra. ra. t// u-to. a.hkak-a.hk: shi. kra. ta. ka. {gna.}, {a.}, {a.}, n. {Na.} to. hpric kra. t//


{gna.} ha <IPA ŋ (U014B) velar nasal consonant> hpric pa t//


  {a.} ha < IPA ɲ (U0272) palatal nasal consonant> hpric pa t// <Spanish-Latin> mha < IPA ɲ > n. r: ta. ko a. sw: pru. pri: <Romabama> mha r: pa t// <English-Latin alphabet> mha tau. :di. a.n ko pra. sa. ra ma.rhi. lo <diagraph ny > n. r: kra. ra. t//


{a.} ka. tau. <palatal> oap su. mha pa p m. <approximant consonant> hpric n ta ko tw. ra. pa t// {a.}-akshara r. nn B: o. rauk wa: pa t//


nauk-tic hku. ka. tau. {Na.} <IPA ɳ (U0273) retroflex nasal consonant> hpric pa t//

These three IPA symbols are so alike that the little TIL mascot is reduced to saying:

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's 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!


(U014B) lo a.mht a.a: ha <Unicode font> nn-paat hpric t// <Unicode font> a.kran: ka. <computer, information technology> a.ma: tw n. a hsen lo. a.hku. n-hkn:sa tw mha ma. shn: pra. tau. Bu://


Contents of this page

Phonetics for exploration of nasal sounds

UKT 191020: A nasal sound is a sound during whose production air travels up the nasal passage. In consonants, nasal is a manner of articulation. Nasal is a feature which characterizes sounds that are produced by lowering the soft palate (=velum), allowing the air to escape through the nose. - from Google

You need phonetics to go into the study of human sound. But phoneticians do not agree on what they hear when they hear foreign sounds that is not in their mother-tongue. To get around that problem take what you find in the observations of ancient foreign phoneticians or grammarians. By studying what Skt-Dev phoneticians had observed and recorded in the dictionaries of words and their meanings, and comparing these to the results of Pali-Myan phoneticians, I hope to be able to bridge the two languages, Pali and Sanskrit, together. By including Burmese dictionaries and Npali dictionaries together, I hop to rediscover those phonemes that we have lost. Read:
Speaker Perception and Social Behavior: Bridging Social Psychology and Speech Science, by
Robert M. Krauss and Jennifer S. Pardo in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
- RMKraussJSPardo-BridgeSocPsySpSc<> / Bkp<> (link chk 191020) 
"Robert M. Krauss is a social psychologist whose research has focused on human communication with a particular emphasis on language and speech."
Watch a video by a singing instructor, a non-academic, explain what formants and harmonics are, and their interaction:
- KarynOConnor-FormantsHarmonics<> / Bkp<> (link chk 191020)
"Formants are the resonance frequencies of the vocal track."

IPA /ŋ/ - velar nasal. The most prominent part in the interior of the mouth is the uvula  {lhya-hkn} . It is attached to the velum. Though IPA /ŋ/ is now identified with Bur-Myan {gna.} & Mon-Myan {gn.}, it is not entirely correct.

UKT 191020: The r1c5 nasal, Bur {gna.} and Mon {gn.}, has some prominent /g/ element which reminds us of the two English words <sign> and <sing>, and the rendering of the name of a village near my birthplace. The village is known as Gnak'aw'san {gnak.au-sm} 'the natural spring where the birds sing'. There is controversy in rendering of the name of the village. The controversy is in rendering {gnak} or {ngak} 'bird'. I remember my father, who had to visit the village on his tours many times, used to spelled it as {gnak}. Now that he has passed away, I can no longer check. Because of these facts, I am calling r1c5 nasal, Bur-Myan / {gna.}/{ng}, as Semi-nasal.

IPA /ɲ/ - palatal nasal. Nya-minor {a.} is the occupier of r2c5 cell in Pali-Myan. This cell is occupied by Nya-major {a.} in both Bur-Myan and Mon-Myan. Since a cell can be occupied by one grapheme only, I have to search for an explanation. Both contenders Nya-major and Nya-minor are nasal to be sure. But in Pali-Myan {a.} cannot be under a viram {a.t}: breaking down into two Nya-minors: . Pali Nya-major is a conjunct. Therefore, at least in BEPS (I'm not going to quarrel with MLC on this point), Nya-major is a palatal approximant.

UKT 191020: Because of the above arguments, Nya-major-minor pair is also a Semi-nasal .

IPA /ɳ/ - retroflex nasal is Na-major, r3c5, Bur-Myan {Na.}. Retroflex sounds are probably the remnants of an older language. They are easy to produce individually with the back of tong-tip touching the roof of the mouth. However when used in a sentence or when speaking casually, their pronunciation is exactly like those of r4 sounds. Na-major r3c5 {Na.} sounds like Na-minor r4c5 {na.} which a True-nasal. Though not sure, I'll for the moment also take Na-major as a True-nasal.

Please note that until about a few decades ago, the furthest most you can see of the interior of the mouth of a living person is the area around uvula and velum. And so the places of production or articulation (POA) that could be observed and described by ancient phoneticians were those of the consonants only. Vowels are produced in the interior, the voice box or larynx producing them in a living person was not seen until modern times. Therefore how the vowels are produced by a living person is not well described. Yet the ancients knew that the vowels were produced deep in the throat.

From: R. M. Krauss Source-Filter Theory 
- http://www.columbia.edu/itc/psychology/rmk/T2/sf_theory.html 071224 (not available on 191020)
Listen to the buzzing of the vocal folds sounds like before it enters the vocal tract,  - Krauss-exit<))
Listen to the filtering action of the vocal tract, - Krauss-filter<))
Listen to the resultant speech, - Krauss-speech<)) (all links chk 191020)

The sounds that you hear above can be approximated by what is known as an electrolarynx. Persons who have their larynx removed surgically because of cancer, can still talk with the help of an electrolarynx. See Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolarynx 191021
"The most common device is a handheld, battery-operated device pressed against the skin under the mandible which produces vibrations to allow speech; [1] other variations include a device similar to the "talk box" electronic music device, which delivers the basis of the speech sound via a tube placed in the mouth. [2] "

Much of our knowledge of the larynx and the muscles controlling them is from the surgery of the cancerous parts of the larynx. This is a point not generally appreciated by most linguists (grammarians) especially those from Myanmarpr especially like my friend U Tun Tint of the MLC who always insists that the "sounds" of Pali have been well described. To them my answer is: no one really knows the sounds of the ancient Pali or Magadhi (the speech of Gautama Buddha) -- no voice recording machines have been made until recently. And the usual way of saying that such and such is the "sound of Pali" is not only wrong but very misleading.


a:lon:hkyon prau:ra. rn a.hku. n-hkn:sa tw ha mrn-ma tw tw. n kra. <grammar> ma.hoat-Bu: hso ta hpric pa-t//

I admit what little Peanut telling Daisy is just boring: 

 "Now, Daisy, my little pet", 
     said little Peanut seeing Daisy going to sleep.
  "Wake up and learn your Alphabet!
  "ka.gyi: , kka.hkw: , ga.ng ...
  "b ma. l: kw. Daisy r ?"
Daisy has run away - not to be seen for some 60 years.

UKT 150705: Daisy Than, Barbara Soe - another childhood friend, and I parted when we changed school in 1948. We were all just over 10. I met Daisy only in 2006 and we have been continuing our friendship. As for Barbara, I heard that she committed suicide in 1955. I was already an Assistant Lecturer in Chemistry Dept., Univ. of Rangoon. I had jumped ahead of them when I matriculated in 1950. They had had their trust in the Burmese educational system in force then. At the Rangoon University, if only they had taken Chemistry as one of their courses, they would have had a taste of their old classmate's radical methods of teaching. As for Daisy, when we met after all these years, I told her about teaching English grammar. She soon ran away again, ever glad that she had not taken Chemistry!

Undaunted Little Peanut concluded his knowledge of Grammar is not enough. He decided to learn more: his choice is Bur-Myan grammar. The result is what you can expect - the Failing Grade!

The following are Basic consonants and vowels used for the group of four languages, Bur-Myan, Engl-Latin, Pali-Myan, and Skt-Myan. Note: Skt-Myan is derived from Skt-Dev by akshara-to-akshara exchange. The intermediary language used in BEPS work is Romabama which is not meant to replace my beloved circularly rounded Myanmar akshara.

Contents of this page

Articulatory Phonetics and Acoustic Phonetics

- UKT 150720, 191021

Comparing the Bur-Myan grammar of Lonsdale of 1899, and that of today 2013, on Orthoepy and orthography, see pages 281 of BG-MLC {HTaan}, {ka.reiN:}, and {pa.yt},

{HTaan} - n. place of articulation - MLC MED2006-160
{ka.reiN:} - n. 1 gram. means of articulation (usually with ref. to tongue) - MLC MED2006-006
{pa.yat} - n. gram. manner of articulation - MLC MED2006-251

We can very well see that Grammar as is taught relies only on Articulatory Phonetics, and not at all on Acoustic and Auditory Phonetics. However, for BEPS work, we need to look into Theoretical Linguistics. We need to know how speech-sound is 1. produced, 2. transmitted, and 3. perceived.

I have looked into this aspect in Section 1 : Human voice and languages. See: Tun Institute of Learning -  http://www.tuninst.net/ , which is continually updated.
Or in Human voice, Phonetics and Phonology
- indx-HV.htm (link chk 191021) 
and look into its sub-heads:
- Human sound production [former hv1.htm] - human-snd.htm (I need to update the link - 191021)
In the above is a note on Panini, who was listed as a Sanskrit grammarian, but is now recognized as the father of modern Linguistics. I have taken the following from Human sound production :
Panini should be thought of as the forerunner of the modern formal language theory used to specify computer languages. The Backus Normal Form was discovered independently by John Backus (1924-2007) in 1959, but Panini's notation is equivalent in its power to that of Backus and has many similar properties. It is remarkable to think that concepts which are fundamental to today's theoretical computer science should have their origin with an Indian genius around 2500 years ago.

The following is a review with my additions on Articulatory, Acoustics and Auditory Phonetics 

Based on a review from: Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany. Founded in 1969
- http://www.uni-bielefeld.de/lili/personen/vgramley/teaching/HTHS/review.pdf 150720
See in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries
- BielefeldUniv-AticulatoryAuditoryPhonetics<> / Bkp<> (link chk 191021)

When we look at speech-sounds, we look at how it is 1. produced, 2. transmitted, and 3. perceived
1. Articulatory phonetics looks at the production side (how speech sounds are, for example, articulated)
2. Acoustic phonetics looks at the transmission of these sounds (what are the acoustic properties of speech duration, frequency, energy (all physical properties
3. Auditory phonetics looks at how humans perceive theses speech sounds (what happens in the ear)

We have to  know the physical properties of the human vocal-sound. Some of these can be measured by instruments. Relying on human linguists and language teachers (the so-called native-speakers), who cannot overcome the influence of their mother tongue, L1, has made the inter-language transcription, such as between Bur-Myan and Eng-Latin, a mess.

Acoustic Phonetics

fundamental frequency (Hz)
intensity (dB)
duration (t)

Auditory phonetics

pitch (how high or low do we perceive a sound)
loudness (how loud or soft do we perceive a sound)
speech tempo (how fast or slow we perceive a speech signal)


The amplitude is simply a displacement of the vibrating medium from its rest position. It refers to the maximum amount of displacement of a particle on the medium from its rest position. In a sense, the amplitude is the distance from rest to crest (positives Maximum). Similarly, the amplitude can be measured from the rest position to the trough (negatives Maximum) position.

A human child even when it was developing as an embryo in its mother womb starts to hear its mother voice most of the time. Then it would start to recognized its father's voice. Occasionally, it would start to hear other voices. Usually they would be speaking in normal voices. Of course, it would not understand the language. What it would start to recognized is to differentiate the nature of the sound.

Mother's voice comparable to - nasal<))
Father's voice comparable to - pharyngeal<))
normal voice - modal<))

After leaving the womb the newly born child would start to associate the voices with faces. It would experiment articulating all kinds of sounds.

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UKT notes

International Phonetic Alphabet and Association

n. Abbr. IPA I.P.A. 1. A phonetic alphabet and diacritic modifiers sponsored by the International Phonetic Association to provide a uniform and universally understood system for transcribing the speech sounds of all languages. -- AHTD

In 1886, in Paris, a small group of language teachers formed an association to encourage the use of phonetic notation in schools to help children acquire realistic pronunciations of foreign languages and also to aid in teaching reading to young children. The group, led by Paul Passy, called itself initially Dhi Fontik Tcerz' Ascicon (the FTA). In January 1889, the name of the Association was changed to L'Association Phontique des Professeurs de Langues Vivantes (AP), and, in 1897, to L'Association Phontique Internationale (API) ?in English, the International Phonetic Association (IPA).

The IPAs peak of membership and influence in education circles was around 1914, when there were 1751 members in 40 countries. World War I and its aftermath severely disrupted the Association's activities, and the Journal did not resume regular publication until 1922.

The groups initial aim was to create a set of phonetic symbols to which different articulations could apply, such that each language would have an alphabet particularly suited to describe the sounds of the language. Eventually it was decided that a universal alphabet, with the same symbol being used for the same sound in different languages was the ideal, and development of the International Phonetic Alphabet progressed rapidly up to the turn of the 20th century. Since then, there have been several sets of changes to the Alphabet, with additions and deletions that the progress of the science of phonetics has indicated. -- Wikipedia 070710

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Palatal nasal: IPA [ ɲ ]

-- UKT 070710, 080815, 150715, 191021

There are two contenders for the cell r2c5 in the Akshara matrix: Nya-minor {a.}, and Nya-major {a.}. Working with this problem for years has convinced me that it is only Nya-minor {a.} that is true occupier of r2c5. Nya-major {a.} is an approximant and should be placed by the side of Ya'palak {ya.} as a palatal, and Ya'palak {ya.} itself be moved to velar position. I arrived at this conclusion from a study of killed aksharas, {y} & {}.

From Wikipedia 070710

IPA [] / [] (upper / lower case ) ( / {a.kri:/ a.l:}) are represented by graphemes of the modern Roman alphabet formed by an N or n  with a diacritical tilde. They are used in the Spanish alphabet, where it precisely represents a palatal nasal (IPA: [ ɲ ]). Unlike many other alphabets that use diacritic marks (such as in Astur-Leonese or in Tagalog), in Spanish, is considered a letter in its own right, with its own name (ee) and its own place in the alphabet (after N).

The palatal nasal sound is roughly reminiscent of as /nj/ as in "onion" IPA: [ˈʌnjən]. This description is enough to give a rough idea of the sound, but it is not precise (it is the equivalent of giving the pronunciation of the English word "shot" as "syot").

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palatal_nasal 080815

The palatal nasal is a type of consonant, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) that represents this sound is ɲ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is J. The IPA symbol is a lowercase letter n with a leftward-pointing tail protruding from the bottom of the left stem of the letter. Compare n and ɲ. The symbol ɲ should not be confused with ɳ, the symbol for the retroflex nasal, which has a rightward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the right stem, or with ŋ, the symbol for the velar nasal, which has a leftward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the right stem. In Spanish and languages whose writing systems are influenced by Spanish orthography, this sound is represented with the letter ee ().

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Particle & Nominalization

- UKT 121122, 150722

What is the equivalent of grammatical Particle in Bur-Myan? The following are what is given by MLC, and examples


UKT translation: 32. {pic~s:} is the grammatical term denoting a qualifier that adds more information to the noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb.

Now from Wikipedia:

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_language#Particles 121122, 150722 , 160921

The Bur-Myan language makes prominent usage of particles , {pic~s:}, which are untranslatable words that are suffixed or prefixed to words to indicate level of respect, grammatical tense, or mood. According to the MyanmarEnglish Dictionary (1993), there are 449 particles in the Bur-Myan language. [UKT ]

For example,

{sm:}, is a grammatical particle used to indicate the imperative mood.
{loap} 'to work'
{loap sm} 'you do it' - the imperative mood does not indicate politeness
{loap pa} 'you do it' - the imperative mood is now more polite: 'please do it'

Particles may be combined in some cases, especially those modifying verbs.

Some particles modify the word's Part of Speech aka POS. Among the most prominent of these is the particle {a.}, which is prefixed to verbs and adjectives to form nouns or adverbs. [UKT ]

Unlike Pali, {a.} does not mean negation. [Negation in Bur-Myan is {ma.}]. For instance, the word {wn} 'to enter' but in combination as {a.wn} 'entrance'. [ {ma.wn-ra.} "entrance forbidden" or "no entrance". ] Combination  {a.loap} 'work'. Here the particle {a.} has turned verbs into nouns.

UKT 191012: I have always been intrigued by sentence endings such as {I.}, {}, {m}. A Bur-Myan sentence ends with such endings. What are they? Are they Particles {pic~s:}? I am also intrigued by the word "nominalization" is related to "noun" {naam}. I've seen authors using the word "normalization" - probably a spelling mistake. And that had confused me further.

Now what is Nominalization? From: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/english_as_a_second_language/esl_students/nominalizations_and_subject_position.html 191014
"Nominalizations are nouns that are created from adjectives (words that describe nouns) or verbs (action words). For example, interference is a nominalization of interfere, decision is a nominalization of decide, and argument is a nominalization of argue.

From: Normalization of Myanmar Grammatical Categories for Part-of-Speech Tagging, by Ms. Phyu Hninn Myint, Ms. Tin Myat Htwe, & Ms. Ni Lar Thein (Univ. of Computer Studies, Yangon, Myanmar), International Journal of Computer Applications (0975 8887), Volume 36 No.1, December 2011.
See downloaded article in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
- Normalizers-BurMyan<> / bkp<> (link chk 191012)

2.4 Particle : The Bur-Myan language makes prominent usage of particles {pic~s:}, which are untranslatable words that are suffixed or prefixed to words to indicate level of respect, grammatical tense, or mood. According to the Myanmar-English Dictionary, there are 449 particles in the Myanmar language. For example, {p:} is a grammatical particle used to indicate the imperative mood. While {loap-pa} ("work" + particle indicating politeness) does not indicate the imperative,   {loap-p:pa} ("work" + particle indicating imperative mood + particle indicating politeness) does. Particles may be combined in some cases, especially those modifying verbs.

Some particles modify the word's part of speech. Among the most prominent of these is the particle {a.} , which is prefixed to verbs and adjectives to form nouns or adverbs. For instance, the word {wn} means "to enter," but combined with {a.}, it means "entrance" {a.wn}. Also, the second {a.} in words can follow the pattern {a.} + noun/adverb + {a.} + noun/adverb, like {a.hsauk-a.on}.

From:  The Grammaticalization of Nominalizers in Burmese by Andrew Simpson, Professor of Linguistics & East Asian Languages and Cultures. Read downloaded txt TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries
- ASimpson-DPs-SEAsianLang2005<> / bkp<> (link chk 191014)
"The term nominalizer is a purely functional label which is appropriately used to refer to all those morphemes/words which have the specific function of creating a nominal morpho-syntactic form as the result of their combination with other kinds of non-nominal input, as indicated in (1):
   (1) A nominalizer: a morpheme whose primary function is to convert a non-nominal input form into a nominal category.
Nominal categories, and hence the presence of functional elements which may be nominalizers, can in turn be identified in two basic ways:
   (a) through the occurrence of noun-like/nominal morphological patterns, and/or
   (b) via syntactic privileges otherwise commonly associated with nouns and their syntactic projections.
(2) Morphological indications that a syntactic constituent is nominal:
   i.  the occurrence of case inflections on a constituent
  ii. possible pluralization/plural-marking of the constituent
 iii. possible enumeration of the constituent (combination of the constituent with numerals)
 iv. the potential occurrence of demonstratives and adjectives with the constituent, rather than complementizers and adverbs
  v. use of case-marking strategies associated specifically with nouns in the marking of arguments of the noun (e.g. use of possessive/Genitive case to mark the nouns arguments rather than Nominative/Accusative case)

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Sanskrit as computer language

UKT 121128: I always look on newspaper articles with suspicion. They are useful for general information only. Until I see a piece of information in a well-reputed academic or scientific journal, all facts posted below must be taken with caution.

From: News article in Jagran Post - an online newspaper
Posted on: 26 Mar 2012, 04:13 PM

Agra: Very soon the traditional Indian language Sanskrit will be a part of the space, with the United States of America (USA) mulling to use it as computer language at NASA. After the refusal of the Indian Sanskrit scholars to help them acquire command over the language, US has urged its young generation to learn Sanskrit.

On visit to Agra, Aurobindo Foundation (Indian Culture) Puducherry Director Sampadananda Mishra told Dainik Jagran about the prospects of Sanskrit. Mishra said, In 1985, NASA scientist Rick Briggs had invited 1,000 Sanskrit scholars from India for working at NASA. But scholars refused to allow the language to be put to foreign use.

According to Rick Briggs, Sanskrit is such a language in which a message can be sent by the computer in the least number of words.

After the refusal of Indian experts to offer any help in understanding the scientific concept of the language, American kids were imparted Sanskrit lessons since their childhood.

The NASA website also confirms its Mission Sanskrit and describes it as the best language for computers. The website clearly mentions that NASA has spent a large sum of time and money on the project during the last two decades.

The scientists believe that Sanskrit is also helpful in speech therapy besides helping in mathematics and science. It also improves concentration. The alphabets used in the language are scientific and their correct pronunciation improves the tone of speech. It encourages imagination and improves memory retention also.

Mishra told the daily that even the call centre employees are improving their voice by reading Sanskrit, besides the language being used by news readers, film and theatre artist for alternative voice remedy.


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Syllable {sa.ka:n-su.} 'group of speech-units'
Always differentiate {sa.ka:} 'speech' from {sa} 'script'

-- UKT: 121128, 150723

The syllable is the most basic idea in Abugida or Akshara system of writing. Yet it is not given a prominent place in Bur-Myan grammar.

n. Abbr. syl. syll. 1. Linguistics a. A unit of spoken language consisting of a single uninterrupted sound formed by a vowel, diphthong, or syllabic consonant alone, or by any of these sounds preceded, followed, or surrounded by one or more consonants. b. One or more letters or phonetic symbols written or printed to approximate a spoken syllable. 2. The slightest bit of spoken or written expression: Do not alter a syllable of this message. v. tr. syllabled syllabling syllables Linguistics 1. To pronounce in syllables. [Middle English sillable from Anglo-Norman alteration of Old French sillabe from Latin syllaba from Greek sullab ē from sullabein, second aorist of sullambanein to combine in pronunciation sun- syn- lambanein to take]

MLC in its MED2006-480 gives <syllable> as {wN~Na.} -- a term which almost all, including myself at one time, knows as "beautiful appearance". Clearly we need another term for it. I had suggested {sa.ka:su.} 'group of speech-units'. However, to emphasize the presence of sound, I had to settle for from which we get <monosyllable> {-ka.sa.ka:n-su.}; <disyllable> {dwi.sa.ka:su.}, and <polysyllable> {ba.hu.sa.ka:su.}. These may be shortened by dropping the part {su.} to , , and .

Unless you know the pronunciation of a word {sa.ka:n}, you cannot count the number of syllables in it. Since, the pronunciation can vary from place to place, from country to country, and from one time-period to another, the syllable count can differ. This is especially true in loan words. Always consult a pronouncing dictionary like Daniel Jones Pronouncing Dictionary which I have made the standard for my works: English Pronouncing Dictionary by Daniel Jones. 16th ed. Edited by Peter Roach, James Hartman and Jane Setter. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

As an example of a word (example given in UseE - http://www.usingenglish.com/ ), let's take <elevate>. Look in AHTD, which gives elevate -- three syllables. Thus <elevate> is a tri-syllabic word.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllable 121128

A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word <water> is composed of two syllables: <wa> and <ter>. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel) with optional initial and final margins (typically, consonants).

UKT 191021. An Eng-Lat syllable has the canonical form CVC, whereas Bur-Myan, Pal-Myan, & Skt-Dev syllables have CV, where has its inherent vowel  killed by virama aka {a.t}. Use of virama decreases the syllable-count and makes the language more easy to speak. Pali-Myan does not use visible virama and uses vertical conjuncts. Pali-Myan words ends in vowel sounds. However Bur-Myan sometimes uses virama.

Syllables are often considered the phonological "building blocks" of words. They can influence the rhythm of a language, its prosody, its poetic meter and its stress patterns.

Syllabic writing began several hundred years before the first letters [UKT: alphabet]. The earliest recorded syllables are on tablets written around 2800 BC in the Sumerian city of Ur. This shift from pictograms to syllables has been called "the most important advance in the history of writing". [1]

A word that consists of a single syllable (like English <dog>) is called a monosyllable (and is said to be monosyllabic). Similar terms include disyllable (and disyllabic) for a word of two syllables; trisyllable (and trisyllabic) for a word of three syllables; and polysyllable (and polysyllabic), which may refer either to a word of more than three syllables or to any word of more than one syllable.

UKT: More in the Wikipedia article.

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Syntax = {wa-kya.s:} (TIL-coined word)

-- UKT 121120, 150723, 191021

Many of us have heard about this word: syntax. Yet, I, for one did not know what it actually is. As usual let's turn to a dictionary - I always have a dictionary on my computer hard disk, otherwise, I am too lazy to look up in an ink-on-paper printed book.

n. 1. a. The study of the rules whereby words or other elements of sentence structure are combined to form grammatical sentences. -- AHTD

A. W. Lonsdale 1899, p.002, states: " {ka-ra.ka.kp~pa.} -- Rules concerning the necessary relations of words in a sentence. Let's get more.

Written by UKT based on:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syntax 121120
(You should also look into: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_language 121121)

Modern research in syntax attempts to describe languages in terms of such rules. Many professionals in this discipline attempt to find general rules that apply to all natural languages. The term syntax is also used to refer to the rules governing the behavior of mathematical systems, such as formal languages used in logic. (See Logical syntax).

Works on grammar were written long before modern syntax came about; the Aṣṭādhyāyī of the Indian linguist  Pāṇini {pa-Ni.ni. hsa.ra} (fl. about the time of Gautama Buddha) is often cited as an example of a pre-modern work that approaches the sophistication of a modern syntactic theory. Pāṇini {pa-Ni.ni. hsa.ra} was responsible for formulating Vedic [probably a Tib-Bur language] into classical Sanskrit [a confirmed Indo-European language].

I had always wonder what Vedic was. It was the oldest language, committed to memory, used for composing Vedic hymns - to the three principal deities: Indra (the king of heavenly beings - or deva and asura), Agni (the messenger between devas and humans), and Soma (the health drink which has now degenerated into an alcoholic drink. I think Soma may be the deva who cools human passions and sorrows.). Was Vedic Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) or IE (Indo-European)? How was it connected to Bur-Myan? The way Vedic hymns are recited, and the way we recite our Parrita are quite similar, e.g. Gayatri mantra & the Peacock Paritta. 

In the West, the school of thought that came to be known as "traditional grammar" began with the work of Greek grammarian Dionysius Thrax. (170 BC 90 BC) who appeared on the scene many centuries later after Pāṇini {pa-Ni.ni. hsa.ra}. So the question remains: Were the Indians getting knowledge from the Greeks or the other way around?

One of the modern approach to language was pioneered by Noam Chomsky. Most generative theories (although not all of them) assume that syntax is based upon the constituent structure of sentences. Generative grammars are among the theories that focus primarily on the form of a sentence, rather than its communicative function.

Grammar in Plain English

UKT: Now a word on Grammar in Plain English on which I have based my work.

Though the English text is almost entirely from Barron, the explanations in Romabama, are mine. What I am trying to do here is to prescribe Barron, and to go through it giving explanations in Bur-Myan (Burmese-Myanmar). However, because of the difficulty of presenting the Bur-Myan font on the internet, I have to resort to Romabama {ro:ma.ba.ma} - not {rau:ma.ba.ma} - which started out as a transliteration, but which has evolved into a transcription. I have been putting it to a severe test by going into Skt-Dev (Sanskrit-Devanagari) in A. A. Macdonell A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary. One advantage of using Romabama is due to the phonetic nature of the Myanmar script itself, because of which I can give the pronunciations of English words in Romabama instead of in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). After making some progress, I have started out to experiment with Mon-Myan. So far I've failed to bring Bur-Myan and Mon-Myan together: the reason being they belong to different linguistic group. Bur-Myan to Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman), and Mon-Myan to Aus-Asi (Austro-Asiatic).

Excerpt from:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_language 121121

The basic word order of the Bur-Myan sentence {wa-kya.} (MLC MED2006-473) is SOV (Subject-Object-Verb). Pronouns in Bur-Myan vary according to the gender and status of the audience. Bur-Myan is monosyllabic (i.e., every word is a root to which a particle but not another word may be prefixed). [16] Sentence structure determines syntactical relations and verbs are not conjugated. Instead they have particles suffixed to them. For example, the verb "to eat," {sa:} (ca: [s] is itself unchanged when modified.

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