Update: 2012-12-01 11:30 AM +0630

TIL

English Phonetics and Phonology for Burmese-Myanmar speakers

Eng-phon-indx

by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A), Tun Institute of Learning (TIL),  Not for sale. Prepared for staff and students of TIL.
http://www.tuninst.net , http://www.softguide.net.mm , http://www.romabama.blogspot.com

based on Peter Roach. English Phonetics and Phonology, a practical course. 2nd ed., 4th printing 1993, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-40718-4. pp 262 . For my reference, the printed book was digitized (type-copied) by Daw Khin Wutyi, B.Sc., TIL Computing and Language Center, Yangon, Myanmar. 2009. Page references to the original book are shown in my text for easy reference.

UKT's apology to the readers: The language used by Peter Roach, the senior editor of DJPD16 - Daniel Jones English Pronouncing Dictionary 16ed., 2003, is unnecessarily complex because of his academic style of writing. However, if it could be rewritten in news-paper style it would be an excellent book to read. If the person doing the rewriting has an intimate knowledge of at least one other language, it would be better still. Therefore I have set out to do the rewriting using my deep understanding of Bur-Myan (Burmese-Myanmar), and some understanding of Pal-Myan (Pali-Myanmar) languages augmented by some understanding of Skt-Dev (Sanskrit-Devanagari). I have added material from many other sources. However, in this edition I will try to follow Roach's presentation as closely as possible. My rewriting could introduce unintentional errors of which I alone am responsible. - UKT110223, 121201

index.htm |Top
Eng-phon-indx.htm

Contents of this page

Introduction
Production of English sounds - prod-snd.htm
English consonants and vowels - con-vow.htm
English short vowels - short-vow.htm
English long vowels - long-vow.htm
English diphthongs and triphthongs - diphth.htm

Notes on problems and further reading
Notes for teachers

Note: Inclusions by UKT are marked [{...}]. This notation is used particularly to mark the pages of the printed book, e.g. [{p005end}].

UKT notes
Extension of IPA for interlanguage study of BEPS
Mappings of BEPS consonants
Mappings of BEPS vowels
POA - the Places of Articulation (pictorial)
Rhoticity across BEPS languages (& sonority scale)
Stress in English pronunciation
Vedic Sanskrit

Noteworthy words in this file :
Because of the notoriously confusing nature of English spelling it is particularly important to learn to think of English pronunciation in terms of phonemes rather than letters [{graphemes}] of the alphabet.
[Peter Roach:] This course is not written for people who wish to study American pronunciation.
[UKT: However, I have to include the American pronunciation as well. - 110213]

Contents of this page
p.003

Introduction

UKT: Few realized that the Bur-Myan (Burmese-Myanmar) script is based on sound phonemic principals and is actually a phonetic script. Thus, those who speak Burmese and write in Myanmar already knew phonetics. My task is to find a reliable mapping of Myanmar to IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) for consonants, vowels, semivowels aka (also-known-as) semiconsonants, and rimes. The intermediary script, Romabama, basically a transliteration (leading to transcription) of Bur-Myan to Eng-Lat (English-extended Latin), has been invented to serve as bridge between Myanmar and IPA. Because, the Bur-Myan reader already knows phonetics, I am giving the IPA transcriptions mainly from DJPD16 of the English words from the very beginning. However, please note that Roach is writing for those who do not know phonetics and is therefore more complicated than is really necessary.

You probably want to know what the purpose of this course is, and what you can expect to learn from it. An important purpose of the course is to explain how English, a very versatile language, is pronounced in England (the British accent) and in North America (the American English). [See my note on " rhoticity".] If this was the only thing the course did, a more suitable title would have been "English Pronunciation".

UKT: However, in my TIL version, I am giving the approximate pronunciations of Bur-Myan (Burmese-Myanmar), Pal-Myan (Pali-Myanmar) and Skt-Dev (Sanskrit-Devanagari) in terms of English transcriptions of IAST (International Alphabet for Sanskrit Transcription). Romabama (Burmese-extended Latin) is the intermediary script. My approximate pronunciations are based on DJPD16 . It should be noted that both Devanagari and Myanmar were derived from the Asoka script which has been dubbed the Brahmi {braah~mi} script. You can see how close Myanmar is to Brahmi from the first line of the akshara-matrix.

Actually, there are eight aksharas out of 32 consonants which can be easily identified as the "same". I would like to place a high emphasis on the nasal phoneme /ŋ/ {nga.} which probably was absent in Devanagari, and certainly in English. Devanagari nga ङ looks as if it had been "borrowed" from ḍa ड and a dot added. 

However, at the comparatively advanced level at which this course is aimed it is usual to present the information on pronunciation in the context of a general theory about speech sounds and how they are used in languages such as BEPS (Burmese-English-Pali-Sanskrit); this theoretical context is called phonetics {d~da. b-da.} and phonology {wa-s~a.ra. b-da.}.

 

UKT: Though I have grouped the four languages as BEPS, two are from one linguistic group - the Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman: comprising Bur-Myan and Pal-Myan) and the other IE (Indo-European: comprising Eng-Lat and Skt-Dev). The commonality between the two linguistic groups is mainly due to geo-political reasons. The difference, due to the ethnic diversity (which is expected to influence the group of vocal muscles used for the production of consonants, vowels, semivowels, and rimes) between the speakers, is highly interesting.

My interest in BEPS is not only theoretical, but practical. There is a need for a transcription (speech) between Burmese and English. I am motivated by a personal reason - the need to communicate within the TUN family: between my grandsons born and educated outside Myanmar and their immediate relatives who were born and educated in Myanmar. My grandsons speak Eng-Lat but their relatives speak Bur-Myan. I, as the bilingual in Bur-Myan and in Eng-Lat, am the natural and necessary intermediary. I have already developed Romabama (Bur-Lat) and have more than a cursory interest in the backgrounds of English speakers (history, linguistic origin, politics and religion) and Burmese speakers. - UKT110218: my 76th birthday.

UKT: The hyoid bone is the main bone used in production of speech sounds. It is not connected to any other bone and is "suspended" by the group of muscles shown in the inset. During the production of a vowel, say /i/ represented by {i} or {I}, and ई, only some of the muscles are involved. Which muscles are chosen and the tension used for each is expected to depend on the ethnicity of the speaker, his or her length of the neck and other anatomical features, and on the ear of the speaker. That your ear plays a very important part in the production of speech sounds is shown by the common observation that a speaker, say an ethnic Bur-Myan, tend to pick up the "accent" of the place he had migrated to, after the lapse of a few years. See how the Germans and Russians produce the same vowel, say /i/ differently.

Why is it necessary to learn this theoretical background? The same question arises in connection with grammar: at lower levels of study you need only to know how to form grammatical sentences. But when you are working as a teacher or researcher of language you need to know the deeper meanings. For this understanding you study the grammatical theory and related areas of linguistics {Ba-a b-da.}. The theoretical material given in the present course is necessary for you to understand the principles speech-sounds in spoken English and other languages of BEPS.

UKT: The theoretical background is a real necessity in my approach, because, I am convinced that the Myanmar akshara is a phonetic script like the IPA. Since you already knew Bur-Myan, you already unknowingly knew the POA of consonants and modes of articulation of the vowels. As an elder, you must have been saying your prayers in Pali all throughout your life. You may not know the real meanings but you are familiar with the Pali sounds. What you are lacking are the sibilant sounds of English. Jumping from Pali to Sanskrit is not as difficult as you might think especially if you know some Sanskrit words that you must have heard from the astrologers. Whether we like it or not Astrology is a part of Bur-Myan life. Sanskrit has more sibilant and rhotic sounds than English.

Keep your Burglish pronunciations - don't change them deliberately. Listen to the sound clips in my CDs, and insert your CD with the AHTD into your computer (if you don't know how to, ask your grandchildren to do it for you) and listen to the sound. Bit by bit, your pronunciation would improve. After you have gone through my course, you and your grandchildren, can enjoy listening, "speaking", and playing with the English language. If you are a monk or a nun, you can enjoy talking to your disciples inserting English words and sentences here and there. If you are planning to go abroad to spread the word of the Buddha, my course would be the basic on which you can build your English to speak to an international audience.

The nature of phonetics and phonology will be explained as the course progresses, but one or two basic ideas need to be introduced at this introductory stage. In any language we can identify a small number of regularly used sounds -- vowels {a.ra.}, consonants {by:}, phonemes {n-ring:}, and the syllables {wN~Na.} formed by combination of phonemes in the canonical form CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant), for example,

pronunciation difference due to rime (vowel + coda-consonant) :

words <pin> /pɪn/ and <pen> /pen/ are different because of rimes /ɪn/ and /en/

words <pit> /pɪn/ and <pet> /pet/ are different because of rimes /ɪn/ and /et/

UKT: Western authors usually do not pay attention to the differences due to where is the consonant is situated. They do not emphasize the difference of the onset-consonant (consonant in the onset position), and the coda-consonant (consonant in the coda position) in the pronunciation of the syllable as a whole. However, in Bur-Myan we have to point out the special case of the coda-consonant with a 'diacritic' known as the {a.t). The problem of transcription between Burmese and English is compounded because Eng-Lat does not have all the nasal {na-i.ka.} consonants of Bur-Myan. 

English has only two: /m/ {ma.}; /n/ {na.}
English lacks /ɳ/ {Na.}; /ɲ/ {a.}; /ŋ/ {nga.}.

Because of this paucity of nasals in English, transcription of words ending in nasals is a hassle. For example <pin> /pɪn/ cannot be transcribed into Bur-Myan without changing the English coda. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to change the vowel as well: <pin> /pɪn/ is loosely transcribed in Bur-Myan as {ping} which in IPA is /pɪŋ/.

pronunciation difference due to onset-consonant :

words <pet> /pet/ and <bet> /bet/ are different
because of onset-consonants <p> /p/ and <b> /b/ .

words <spit> /spɪt/ and <pit> /pɪt/ are different
because of onset-consonants <sp> /sp/ and <p> /p/ .

UKT: English spelling has consonant clusters like <sp> <st> and <sk> which are difficult to pronounce for a Bur-Myan. A well-known example is <kn> in <knee> which they themselves could not pronounce. This is because /k/ as a velar phoneme has a POA (Point of Articulation) far removed from /n/ as the dental-alveolar. (See my note on POA pictorial.) To pronounce this consonant cluster, the tongue body and tip would require to do movements which are not humanly possible. The result is the English speaker simply ignores the /k/ and pronounce <knee> /niː/ as similar to <nee> /neɪ/ . In this case <k> becomes silent. A less well-known case is the "silent b" in <plumber> /plʌm.əʳ/ where the /b/ is ignored. The pronunciation is /<plumer>/.

English and other European languages do not have the two classes of consonants that are very important in Bur-Myan and Indic languages. They are in columns 2 and 4, headed by {hka.} and {Ga.} in Bur-Myan and Pal-Myan wag-akshara matrix. These two classes are dubbed by Western authors as "aspirated", and they add an <h> after the main letter:

<k> --> <kh> and
<g> --> <gh>.

IPA, developed in the West, does not have dedicated symbols for these and have to give /kʰ/ and /gʰ/ . Because of this I am forced to extend the IPA for study of BEPS. See my note on extension of IPA .

Incidentally, you cannot avoid pronouncing the English <ice cream> which involves the <sk> sound. I have found a way to teach it. Start with <sp> as in <spin>. All the Bur-Myan I have taught can pronounce this sound slowly at first. Then pronounce it more rapidly, then you will find you can pronounce it. Practice this for a few times, and then proceed to <st> in <stin> or <stingy>. Again practice for a few times. Finally go to <sk> in <skin>. The order of this method is always: <sp>, <st>, <sk>.

Because of the notoriously confusing nature of English spelling it is particularly important to learn to think of English pronunciation in terms of sound (phonemes {n-ring:}) rather than the way you write it. The way you write in letters (graphemes) of the alphabet can lead you astray. For example, the word <enough> /ɪnʌf/ begins with the same vowel sound as that in <inept> /ɪ'nept/ and ends with the same consonant sound as <stuff> /stʌf/.

UKT: Speakers of Burmese particularly those who are able to write in Myanmar should never forget that English is written in Latin script. Eng-Lat is an alphabet, whereas Bur-Myan is an abugida. aka alpha-syllabic .

I must emphasize that alphabet and abugida (also known as alpha-syllabic script) are not the same. This is a point missed by MLC which continues to call akshara an alphabet. See MLC MED2006-619

Eng-Lat is non-phonetic whereas Bur-Myan is, and therefore it is possible to have a one-to-one mapping to IPA. Because of this, it is theoretically possible to use Myanmar akshara to teach English. However, it is found that if an intermediate script, such as Romabama (Bur-Lat), were used as an intermediate script the task becomes easier. Note: Romabama had started out  primarily a transliteration from Bur-Myan, however I am convinced that by now (121201) it is a full-fledged transcription and I have been able to go through A. A. Macdonell's A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary entry-by-entry comparing the entries to U Hoke Sein's Pali-Myanmar Dictionary (in Bur-Myan). -- UKT 121201

The first part of the course is mainly concerned with identifying and describing the phonemes of English. Chapters 2 and 3 deal with vowels and Chapter 4 with some consonants. After this preliminary contact with the practical business of how some English sounds are pronounced [{p003end}], the fifth chapter looks at the phoneme and at the use of symbols in a theoretical way, while the corresponding Tape unit [UKT: tapes are not available] revises the material of Chapters 2-4. After the phonemes of English have been introduced, the rest of the course goes on to look at larger units of speech such as the syllable and at aspects of speech such as stress (which could be roughly described as the relative strength of a syllable) and intonation (the use of the pitch of the voice to convey meaning). It would be a mistake to think that phonemes are studied first because they are the most important aspect of speech; the reason is simply that, in Roach's experience, courses which begin with matters such as stress and intonation and deal with phonemes later are found more confusing by the students who use them.

You will have to learn a number of technical terms such as phoneme, phonetics and phonology. They are written in bold type the first time they are introduced. Another convention to remember is that when words used as examples are gives in spelling form, they are enclosed in single quotes (e.g. 'pin', 'pen', etc.) by Roach. However, I, UKT, has to rewrite them in angle brackets, e.g., <pin>, <pen>, etc. Double quote marks are used where quote marks would normally be used; see, for example, "English Pronunciation" above.

UKT: Romabama uses a slightly different convention which I, UKT, have followed in my notes and additions.
  <...> - regular English letters and words
  {...} - Romabama -- uses extended Latin
  /.../ - phonemic or broad transcription
  [...] - phonetic or narrow transcription - this will be changed to /.../ to include approximate pronunciations across languages of BEPS

Romabama does not confine itself to Eng-Lat graphemes only. To increase the number of characters, it uses letters of extended Latin alphabet, as long as they are in ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange). Moreover, the small letters and capital letters are considered to be independent of each other, for example, <but> /bʌt/ spelled as {bt} or {Bt} to be differentiated from <put> /pʊt/ {pwut}.

Languages have different accents: they are pronounced differently by people from different geographical places, from different social classes, of different ages and different educational backgrounds. The word "accent" is often confused with dialect. We use the word "dialect" to refer to a variety of a language which is different from others not just in pronunciation but also in such matters as vocabulary, grammar and word-order. Differences of accent, on the other hand, are pronunciation differences only.

Though this course was not written by Roach for people who wish to study American pronunciation aka (also known as)  GA (General American), I find it necessary to include it. The accent that we concentrate on and use as our model is the one that is most often recommended for foreign learners studying International English which might be considered to be a hybrid of RP (Received Pronunciation, BBC English, or British accent) and GA. It is most familiar as the accent used by most announcers and newsreaders on serious national and international BBC broadcasting channels and American channels. The pronunciation of English in America is different from most accents found in Britain. There are exceptions to this - you can find accents in parts of Britain that sound American, and accents in America that sound British. But the pronunciation that you are likely to hear from most Americans does sound noticeably different from RP.

In talking about accents of English, you the second-language (L2) learner, should know the difference between England and Britain; there are many different accents in England, but the range becomes very much wider if the accents of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (Scotland and [{p004end}] Wales are included. These areas are all parts of Britain. Include Northern Ireland and you must call it the UK (United Kingdom) and not Britain. Within the accents of England, the distinction that is most frequently made by the majority of English people is between Northern and Southern. This is a very rough division, and there can be endless argument over where the boundaries lie, but most people on hearing a pronunciation typical of someone from Lancashire, Yorkshire or other counties further north would identify it as "Northern".

Though this course deals almost entirely with RP as far as "British English" is concerned, there is, of course, no implication that other accents are inferior or less pleasant-sounding; the reason is simply that RP is the accent that has always been chosen by British-English teachers to teach to foreign learners (as in Burma and India during British colonial occupation), and is the accent that has been most fully described and has been used as the basis for textbooks and pronouncing dictionaries.

As a Bur-Myan what you have been taught in Myanmar-country is supposed to be RP. But people will stay you sound Burglish. Keep your own accent, but notice the difference from RP and GA you will hear on the international radio and TV. Roach does not, of course, suggests that you should try to change your pronunciation to RP! As an L2 learner of English you are recommended to concentrate on RP initially.

Contents of this page
p005

Notes on problems and further reading

Roach and I feel that if we had a completely free choice of model accent it would be possible to find more suitable ones: many Scottish and Irish accents, for example, have a much more straightforward relationship between spelling and sounds than does RP, and have simpler vowel systems, and would therefore be easier for most foreign learners to acquire. Unfortunately, the majority of English teachers in Britain and elsewhere would be reluctant to learn to speak in the classroom with such an accent, so this is not a practical possibility. This is the basis of my conviction that a so-called "native-speaker of English" teaching English in Myanmarpr is not as effective as is commonly thought in my mother-land.

For introductory reading on English pronunciation, Roach suggests: see O'Connor (1980), pp.5-6; Brown (1990), pp. 12-13; Gimson (1989), pp.83-8. For a discussion of the status of RP, see Abercrombie (1965). For those who want to know more about British accents, a simple introduction is Hughes and Trudgill (1987); undoubtedly the major work on all accents of English is Wells (1982), which is a very valuable source of information (see especially pp. 117-18 and 279-301 on RP). A recent book that has caused a certain amount of controversy is Honey (1989) [{p005end}], which discusses the importance of accents (and RP in particular) in education, politics and social life. Roach disagrees with many of the views expressed, but the book is interesting to read.

A problem area that has received a lot of attention is the choice of symbols for representing English phonemes. The symbols used by Roach in his book are in almost every respect those devised by A. C. Gimson for the English Pronouncing Dictionary (14th edition). However, I, UKT, rely entirely on DJPD16 (Daniel Jones Pronouncing Distionary 16the ed.)

Contents of this page
p006

Notes for teachers

Pronunciation teaching is not popular all the time with teachers and language-teaching theorists, and in recent years it has been fashionable to treat it as a rather outdated activity. It has been claimed, for example, that it attempts to make learners try to sound like native speakers of RP, that it discourages them through difficult and repetitive exercise and that it fails to give importance to communication. A good example of this attitude is to be found in Brown and Yule (1983), pp. 26-7. The criticism is misguided, Roach believes. No pronunciation course that he knows of has ever said that learners must try to speak perfect RP, to claim this mixes up models with goals: the model chosen is RP, but the goal is normally to develop the learner's pronunciation sufficiently to permit effective communication with other English speakers across the world. Pronunciation exercises can be difficult, of course, but if we eliminate everything difficult from our teaching, we may end up doing very little beyond getting students to play little communication games. It is, incidentally, quite incorrect to suggest that the classic works on pronunciation and phonetics teaching concentrated on mechanically perfecting vowels and consonants: Jones (1956), for example, writes " 'Good' speech may be defined as a way of speaking which is clearly intelligible to all ordinary people, 'Bad' speech is a way of talking which is difficult for most people to understand ... . A person may speak with sounds very different from those of his hearers [{p006end}] and yet be clearly intelligible to all of them, as for instance when a Scotsman or an American address an English audience with clear articulation. Their speech cannot be described as other than 'good'."

There are many different and well-tried methods of teaching and testing pronunciation, many of which are used in this book. Roach does not feel that it is suitable in this book to go into a detailed analysis of these methods, but there is an excellent treatment of the subject in Kenworthy (1987) . Gimson (1989) also discusses pronunciation teaching ( chapter 12 ), and Brown and Yule (1983) contains some interesting ideas. [{p007end}]

Contents of this page

UKT notes

Extension of IPA for interlanguage study of BEPS

by UKT , 110218, 121201

The c4 (column 4) of the akshara matrix of wag-consonants, {Ga.} {Za.} {a.} {Da.} {Ba.} and their equivalents घ झ ढ ध भ have been tentatively identified as voiced-pharyngeal. However, they been traditionally written as voiced-aspirate. At one time these, together with r3 consonants were thought to be mostly useful for Pal-Myan. Though r3 consonants are regarded as Retroflex, c4 have never been clearly understood and some had dubbed them as voiced aspirates. Naturally, I was confused. At present (121201), based on my careful consideration of my own articulation and those of the others -- Bur-Myan Buddhist males who had the experience of being monks especially when we had to pronounce the Pal-Myan word {n~Gau:} -- I have given them the name "deep-h".  [ I wait for input from Bur-Myan Buddhist monks -- UKT121201]

The above table shows two groups of POA (Point of Articulation), the bilabial and dental-alveolar, extended to accommodate the c2 and c4 wag-consonants. And the table below shows the extension of the palatal [ {a-hkaung ma}] and velar [ {a-hkaung pyau.}] groups. The constriction and blocking of the air-passage in bilabial and dental-alveolar groups are effected by the tongue tip, whereas that of palatal and velar groups are effected by the body of the tongue. The very agile tongue tip gives problems of its own which are different from those presented by the not-so agile body of the tongue. In fact, in Bur-Myan, I find for myself that /c/ and /ɟ/ as onsets are impossible to produce. My attempts to articulate them always result in /s/ and /z/. However, it is easy to produce them as codas, the "killed" consonants, represented as {a.t} .

We find such coda-consonants in disyllabic words such as in Eng-Lat <success> /sək'ses/, and in Bur-Myan {ic~sa}. Of course, in Bur-Myan, the coda-consonant is given as an {a.t} where the "flag" is not shown when the word is spelled as a conjunct. Thus, I have been arguing that in <success> it could very well be /səc'ses/ in which case the so-called "double c" becomes the same as the {paaHt.hsing.} - the Pali vertical conjunct.

A well known Bur-Myan and Pal-Myan conjunct is the "horizontal conjunct" found in the word for "education", {pi~a}, where the two {a.} are conjoined  horizontally as --> {a.} resulting in the common spelling {pa.a} which must be pronounced continueously - NOT as {pa.) and {a}separately. Such horizontal conjuncts lack a name and I propose to call them {paaHt.tw:}.

The above table shows the POAs of bilabial [ {nhoat-hkm:}], and dental-alveolar [ {wa:}- {wa:ring:ro:}] groups.

It seems that {hka.} of Pal-Myan is heard differently by Skt-Dev speakers depending on the phonological environment: sometimes as ख Kha and at other times क्ष Ksa . The second sound is found in words like {a.r-hkt~ta.ra} the second part of which is transcribed as क्षेत्र kṣetra (alt. trans.: kShetra)  n.  field - SpkSkt क्षेत्र (kShetra) ]

Go back extension-IPA-note-b

Contents of this page

Mappings of BEPS : among consonants

by UKT

The following are the mappings of Myanmar to IPA:
(Note: In some IPA tables you will see a new column added between Pharyngeal and Glottal. It is named Epiglottal. In the Fricative row you will find "voiceless epiglottal fricative" - the small capital ʜ. When I listened to the sound clip given by Wikipedia on "voiced epiglottal fricative" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiced_epiglottal_fricative 090702, it sounded like {hwa}.)

In mappings Myanmar to IPA, it is found that unless labio-dental phonemes and their dedicated graphemes are introduced into Myanmar, transcription of English into Burmese become very cumbersome. Since in some English words the phoneme /f/ is represented by the digraph <ph>, I suggest that the syllable /fa/ be represented by {hpha.}. According to my friend U Tun Tint of MLC, such an introduction "could" be allowed by Burmese-Myanmar grammar, and accordingly I have introduced two graphemes for f and v : {hpha.} from {hpa.}, and {bha.} from {ba.} respectively. Since the forms are in medial, a change is further made to give the grapheme basic forms and new Romabama names: {fa.} and {va.}. You'll note that /f/ is also not present in Devanagari (and in most Indian languages), and a new grapheme has been derived from फ (Pha) --> फ़ (Fa) (not from प (Pa)).

 

 

We see the Pal: {hsa.}   (palatal plosive approximated by IPA /sʰ/) changing into
  Skt: {Sa.} and / {sha.} (dental-alveolar sibilant fricatives approximated by IPA /s/ and /ʃ/)
  (shown by the blue line). Do not be confused by Romabama {sa.} and {Sa.}
  used for the Bur-Myan grapheme . In the onset of syllables both {sa.} and {Sa.}
  have the same sound /s/
. Only in the coda, for Bur-Myan words, has the sound
  /c/ (for native Burmese words), and /s/ (for loan words).
Skt-Devan: Skt: षट् ṣaṭ 'six' ; and, Skt: षष् ṣaṣ num. 'six'
   Pal-Lat: cha  num. six -- UPMT-PED093
   Pal-Myan: {hsa.} - - UHS-PMD0399
   Bur-Myan: {hkrauk} - n. six - MLC-BED078 : Differentiate from rhotic {hkRauk} and non-rhotic {hkyauk}
Skt-Devan: शकन्  śakan n. 'animal dung'
   Pal-Lat: chaka n. dung, excrement - UPMT-PED093 
   Pal-Myan: {hsa.ka.} - - UHS-PMD0399
   Bur-Myan: {hky:} - n. excrement, faeces - MLC-BED067
This change is due to the difference in ethnicity (or race) of the Pali speakers (more properly Magadhi speakers - Tib-Bur)
from that of Sanskrit speakers (IndoEuropean - IE) - UKT100630
[Note: MLC (Myanmar Language Commission) uses another version for /ʃ/: which is not phonetically tenable
as can be seen from Romabama rendering {rha.}.]
In going from Sanskrit to Pali, we sometimes have to go from highly fricative sibilant sounds to slightly fricative
non-sibilant sounds:
क्ष ksa (= क ् ष) --> {hka.} :
   क्षत्रिय (kShatriya) = {hkt~ti.ya.} 'warrior class'
अष aṣṭa (= अ ष ) --> (= ) {T~HTa.} 'eight'
स्फो spho (= स ् फ ो ) --> ? :   स्फोट sphoṭa 'burst'
Note to HTML editors: Because of the need for dedicated bookmarks for retroflex (row 3), ASCII alt+0179 superscript is added after the consonant letter, e.g., {Ta.} is marked as ta or t3a . - UKT100523

Go back map-con-note-b

Contents of this page

Mappings of BEPS vowels

- by UKT

 

 

 

The consonants can combine with medial formers, {ya.} {ra.}  {wa.} {ha.}, to form medials. However, {la.} is said to form medials at one time and it is still found in the dialect of Tavoy region. We note that the medial formers are all approximants. Pali {ra.} more rhotic than Burmese {ra.} forms a rhotic medial where as the Burmese {ra.} on forming {ra.ric} does not give a r-rolling sound and the {ra.ric} sounds similar to  {ya.ping.`}. There is need to use a dedicated grapheme for the rhotic medial sometimes, and I suggest that for transcription of words like <cross> :

to introduce , e.g. for {k~ra.} into Romabama and call {ka.ra.hsw:}. Then, <cross> becomes {k~rau:S}. Another possibility is
to borrow a "rhotic vowel" from Sanskrit-Devanagari and introduce {Ra.} . Thus, <cross> can be transcripted as {kRau:S} .
  - I'm waiting for input from my Burmese-Myanmar peers. As it now stands {kRau:S} seems to be preferred transcription.

In the mappings of vowels, the positions of the Burmese-Myanmar vowels are my suggestions. I do not expect the mappings to be as reliable as in the case of the consonants. Because of this I haven't given the Romabama equivalents at this stage of analysis (090621). You will notice that the Burmese-Myanmar vowels inside the quadrilateral can be followed by killed consonants and are checked vowels. I am introducing a "new" grapheme for Burmese-Myanmar mid vowel {:} for cases when it is followed by a killed consonant, e.g., --> {k} .

Since there is correspondence between Myanmar and Devanagari, studying Pali-Devanagari need not be difficult.

After studying the Sanskrit vowels, it came to my mind to "extend" the BEPS, or Bur-Myan, or Pal-Myan vowels by treating the medial formers commonly called semi-vowels as vowels:

vowel-letter {ya.} --> vowel-sign {-ya.}/ {ya.ping.}
vowel-letter {ra.} --> vowel-sign {-ra.}/ {ra.ric}
vowel-letter {ra.} (same form as above) --> vowel-sign {-Ra.}/ {Ra.ric-kri:} (to show high rhoticity)
vowel-letter {la.} --> vowel-sign {-la.}/ {la.hsw:}
vowel-letter {wa.} -->  vowel-sign {-wa.}/ {wa.hsw:}
vowel-letter {ha.} --> vowel-sign {-ha.}/ {ha.hto:}

Go back map-vow-note-b

Contents of this page

POA - the Places of articulation

- by UKT

Few people have looked thoroughly inside their mouths. Dentists certainly have to look inside the mouth. But, theirs like yours are the teeth. I have asked many the name of the uvula, the most prominent feature in hungry and greedy animal cartoons. They would say {a-i:} literally the "fruit of the interior mouth". But almost none responded with {lya-hking} literally the "beloved of the tongue". Open your mouth wide, but for a better view why not "cut" your cheeks as is done in the drawing of Gray's Fig. 1014. (Pardon me: it's meant to be a joke.), and you will clearly see inside your mouth. You'll the places of articulation of the consonants. However, none, probably including the ancient phoneticians such as Panini (Pāṇini, पाणिनि , {pa-Ni.ni.}) (520 460 BC)  and his predecessor Yāska यास्कः {ya-a.ka.} / {ya~a.ka}  ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaska  080620 - UKT: this link does not work on 110216), has ever seen the vocal chords in action - in active speech - until recent times. Thanks to surgery of the throat (because of cancer and other diseases) we now know what the inside of the throat looks like and know those vocal parts responsible for the vowels.

A graphical representation of the POA from various sources is shown below.

It is common to describe the articulators and the place where each is located. Roach names seven articulators. They are also known as POA (Points of Articulation):

Note: I am very careful on giving the correct Bur-Myan spellings. However, whenever, I cannot find a term I need in any of the dictionaries mentioned as my references, I have to coin it. The reader is requested to check it with the disciplines concerned and to inform me.

Go back POA-pix-note-b

Contents of this page

Rhoticity across BEPS languages

From: http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/elltankw/history/Phon/D.htm 101028

Accents of English can be either rhotic or non-rhotic. A rhotic accent generally has /r/ more or less whenever it appears in the spelling. A non-rhotic accent, however, does not have the /r/ in final or pre-consonantal positions (this is sometimes known as the post-vocalic /r/, although others use the more accurate, but perhaps more cumbersome term, the non-prevocalic /r/). What this means is that speakers of non-rhotic accents have this rule: if the <r> in the spelling does not occur before a vowel sound, dont pronounce it. (NOTE: vowel sound, not vowel letter.)

UKT: I always get annoyed when people use high sounding terms like "pre-" and "post-" . All they have to do is to say that the syllable has CV structure. Note that I simply describe the onset-consonant as C, the vowel as V, and the coda-consonant as . Thus, I will rewrite:
  "A non-rhotic accent has no /r/ either as onset or coda." and,
  "Post-vocalic /r/" means "/r/ in the coda" .

Based on the above I can describe how the anti-Buddha (I am not using the word "devil" or "evil"), Mara {maar} came to be called /{mn-nt}/ in Bur-Myan.

{maar-nt} - n. 1. Mara - the archangel of evil -- MED359

Taking the Pali and Burmese words as a combination, we get /{maar~nt}/, and appying the "repha" conversion from Sanskrit and Pali, we get /{maan~nt}/ or /{mn-nt}/.

Mara lives on the highest deva-world much higher than that of {i.kra:ming:}. The only reason why he was opposed to the Buddha, was because the Buddha has shown humans and other creatures the way out of the cycle of birth and rebirth. Mara, being the "highest" deva does not like to see his underlings - Man - to leave his sphere of influence. Other than being anti-Buddha, Mara does not incite Man to do evil. Mara should not be compared to the Christian Devil. This is my understanding after a comparative study of Buddhism and Christianity.

Here are examples of words and phrases where the <r> wont be pronounced by non-rhotic speakers:

<department>
<party pooper >
<utter nonsense and balderdash>
<Mr Carter, you are so argumentative, arent you ?>

The phenomenon of non-rhoticity can be found in some other languages as well, such as Malay. Malay in Malaysia (Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Malaysia) is non-rhotic whilst Malay in Indonesia (Bahasa Indonesia) is distinctively rhotic.

Indeed most southern Chinese languages like Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese do not make use of /r/ at all, whereas northern Chinese languages like Mandarin make use of it extensively, so that some Singaporean versions of Mandarin are also non-rhotic, with the non-prevocalic <r> not pronounced (eger two pronounced [@] or [3]) and <r> in other positions pronounced [l] (egren person pronounced [l@n]).

UKT: SAMPA = IPA ; [@] = /ə/ ; [3] = /ɜ/ - http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/sampa/ 110224
SAMPA (Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet)

Turning back to English, we can say that all English accents were rhotic up until the early MnE period and non-rhoticity was a relatively late development. (Remember, spelling reflects pronunciation in the early MnE period.) What is particularly interesting about the non-prevocalic /r/ is that before it was lost, it affected the vowel preceding it. It did three kinds of things:
   (1) lengthened the preceding vowel sound;
   (2) changed the quality of the vowel sound;
   (3) caused diphthongisation.

UKT: More in the original article.

Rhotic consonant

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhotic_consonant 110112
Unfortunately, the Wikipedia article does not mention anything about Burmese, Pali or Sanskrit not even in name!

In phonetics, rhotic consonants, also called tremulants or "R-like" sounds, are liquid consonants that are traditionally represented orthographically by symbols derived from the Greek letter rho, ρ , including Roman R and Cyrillic Р. They are symbolized in the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) by upper- or lower-case variants of Roman R.

UKT: The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_consonant 110216
   "In phonetics, liquids or liquid consonants are a class of consonants consisting of lateral consonants together with rhotics. ...
   "Liquids as a class often behave in a similar way in the phonotactics of a language: for example, they often have the greatest freedom in occurring in consonant clusters. In some languages, such as Japanese, there is one liquid phoneme which may have both lateral and rhotic allophones.
   "English has one lateral, /l/ and one rhotic, /r/, and therefore has two liquids, exemplified in words such as <led> and <red>. Most other European languages also have two liquids, corresponding to /l/ and /r/ respectively."

My guesses on the obstruction and sonority of the plosives and nasals are based on their ability to check the vowel {i.} /i/ or syllable {pi.}: {laim}, {lain}, {laing}. I'm waiting for input from my Bur-Myan peers.

It is unfortunate that the above Wikipedia article does not mention anything about Bur-Myan, nor Skt-Dev. However, in compliance with the above, we can certainly say that Bur-Myan, {ra.}, {la.}, and {La.}, and suggest that Skt-Dev र ऱ ल ळ ऴ are liquids.

Consonants clusters, in the onset and coda, are quite common in English syllables. However, in Bur-Myan, these clusters behave like medial formers such as {ra.ric} and Tavoyan {la.hsw:}. They are of interest to us because they generate "medial" sounds. Because of this, the question bothering me at present is whether to consider them to be "vowels" similar to Skt-Dev ऋ ॠ (rhotic short and long vowels), and ऌ ॡ (lateral short and long vowels). -- UKT110116.

This class of sounds is difficult to characterise phonetically; from a phonetic standpoint, there is no single articulatory correlate common to rhotic consonants.  Rhotics have instead been found to carry out similar phonological functions or to have certain similar phonological features across different languages. Although some have been found to share certain acoustic peculiarities, such as a lowered third formant , further study has revealed that this does not hold true across different languages. For example, the acoustic quality of lowered third formants pertains almost exclusively to American varieties of English. Being "R-like" is an elusive and ambiguous concept phonetically and the same sounds that function as rhotics in some systems may pattern with fricatives, semivowels or even stops in others.

The most typical rhotic sounds found in the world's languages are the following:

Trill (popularly known as rolled r): The airstream is interrupted several times as one of the organs of speech (usually the tip of the tongue or the uvula) vibrates, closing and opening the air passage. If a trill is made with the tip of the tongue against the upper gum, it is called an apical (tongue-tip) alveolar trill; the IPA symbol for this sound is [r]. If it is made with the uvula against the back of the tongue, it is a uvular trill; the IPA symbol for this sound is [ʀ]. The bilabial trill, however, is not considered a rhotic.
   Many languages, such as Bulgarian, Swedish, Norwegian, Italian, Spanish, Russian, and Dutch, use trilled rhotics. In the English-speaking world, the stereotyped Scottish rolled [r] is well known. The "stage pronunciation" of German specifies the alveolar trill for clarity. Rare kinds of trills include Czech ř [r̭] (fricative trill) and Welsh rh [r̥] (voiceless trill).

Tap or flap (these terms describe very similar articulations): Similar to a trill, but involving just one brief interruption of airflow. In many languages taps are used as reduced variants of trills, especially in fast speech. However, in Spanish, for example, taps and trills contrast, as in pero /ˈpeɾo/ ("but") versus perro /ˈpero/ ("dog"). In some English dialects, such as American and Australian, flaps do not function as rhotics but are realizations of intervocalic apical stops (/t/ and /d/, as in <rider> and <butter>). The IPA symbol for this sound is [ɾ].

Alveolar or retroflex approximant (as in most accents of English with minute differences): The front part of the tongue approaches the upper gum, or the tongue-tip is curled back towards the roof of the mouth ("retroflexion"). No or little friction can be heard, and there is no momentary closure of the vocal tract. The IPA symbol for the alveolar approximant is [ɹ] and the symbol for the retroflex approximant is [ɻ]. There is a distinction between an unrounded retroflex approximant and a rounded variety found in Anglo-Saxon and even to this day in some dialects of English, where the orthographic key is <r> for the unrounded version and usually <wr> for the rounded version (these dialects will make a differentiation between <right> and <write>).

UKT: <right> /raɪt/  and <write> /raɪt/. DJPD16 gives the same sound for both words. However, in Bur-Myan, these would be differentiated:
<right> --> {Reit}; <write> --> {wReit} : {Reit} must be pronounced as in Rakhine dialect, and <w> {wa.} sound must not be dropped.

Uvular, velar or glottal approximant or fricative (popularly called guttural r): The back of the tongue approaches the soft palate or the uvula. The standard /r/s in Portuguese, French, German, and Danish are variants of this rhotic. If fricative, the sound is often impressionistically described as harsh or grating. This includes the voiced uvular fricative, voiceless uvular fricative, voiced velar fricative, voiceless velar fricative, and velar approximant. In northern England, there used to be accents that employed the voiced velar fricative, which was called a "burr". In southern England, the velar approximant is considered a prestigious kind of lisp, though it does not occur in many other national accents. In many Brazilian Portuguese dialects, the "r" is actually realized as a voiceless glottal fricative, unless it occurs single between vowels, being so realized as a tap.

Characteristics

In broad transcription rhotics are usually symbolised as /r/ unless there are two or more types of rhotic in the same language. The IPA has a full set of different symbols which can be used whenever more phonetic precision is required: an r rotated 180 [ɹ] for the alveolar approximant, a small capital R [ʀ] for the uvular trill, and a flipped small capital R [ʁ] for the voiced uvular fricative or approximant.

The fact that the sounds conventionally classified as "rhotics" vary greatly in both place and manner in terms of articulation, and also in their acoustic characteristics, has led several linguists to investigate what, if anything, they have in common that justifies grouping them together. One suggestion that has been made is that each member of the class of rhotics shares certain properties with other members of the class, but not necessarily the same properties with all; in this case, rhotics have a "family resemblance" with each other rather than a strict set of shared properties. Another suggestion is that rhotics are defined by their behavior on the sonority hierarchy, namely, that a rhotic is any sound that patterns as being more sonorous than a lateral consonant [ {la.n by:} but less sonorous than a vowel. The potential for variation within the class of rhotics makes them a popular area for research in sociolinguistics.

UKT: End of Wikipedia article.

 

Vocalic R (German): pronounced as vowel

From: Paul Joyce, German Course, Univ. of Portsmouth. http://userweb.port.ac.uk/~joyce1/abinitio/pronounce/consonr3.html 100102

The German vocalic 'r' is so-called because it is pronounced as a vowel, not a consonant. Sometimes referred to as a 'dark schwa', vocalic 'r' is articulated with the tongue slightly lower and further back in the vowel area than the 'schwa' sound heard at the end of such German words as 'Liebe', 'Katze' and 'Ratte'.

Vocalic 'r' can only be used in certain specific situations which are outlined below. Its most common usage is in unstressed "-er" syllables at the end of German words.

Sounds 1: Vocalic 'r' in final position: 83.mp3 <))
Bruder <brother> ; Schwester <sister>; Mutter <mother>; Vater <father>

The vocalic 'r' is also used in the final position in a word when the 'r'  follows a long vowel. Listen to the following six words, all of which end with a vocalic 'r' after a long vowel.

Sounds 2: Vocalic 'r' after a long vowel: 82.mp3 <))
Tor <gate; goal> ; Uhr <clock> ;
mehr <more> ; vier <four> ;
Bier <beer> ; Chor <chorus>

Vocalic 'r' is also heard when the letter 'r' follows a long vowel but precedes another consonant. Listen to the following four words in which vocalic 'r' occurs before a following consonant.

Sounds 3: Vocalic 'r' after long vowel + before another consonant: 81.mp3 <))
Pferd <horse> ; Herd <cooker> ;
sprte <felt> ; fhrte <led>

You will also hear vocalic 'r' in the unstressed German prefixes er-, ver-, zer- and her-. Listen to the vocalic 'r' in four words containing these prefixes.

Sounds 4: Vocalic 'r' in unstressed prefixes: 84.mp3 <))
erlauben <to allow> ; vergessen <to forget> ;
zertren <to destroy) ; hereinkommen <to come in>

Distinguishing between vocalic 'r' ['r' as vowel] and consonantal 'r'  ['r' as consonant]

In the following pairs of words, the first word contains a vocalic 'r' in final position. The second word in each pair however contains a consonantal 'r'. Listen and note the distinction between the sounds that are made in each pair of words.

Sounds 5: Vocalic 'r' or consonantal 'r' ? : jnger.wav <))
jnger <younger> ; die jngere <the younger one>
Meer <sea> ; Meere <seas>
clever <clever> ; der clevere <the clever one>

Finally, listen to these words in which vocalic 'r' and consonantal 'r' occur within the same word. Note in particular how adding an '-in' suffix can change the articulation of what was previously a vocalic 'r' sound.

Sounds 6: Vocalic and consonantal 'r' within the same word: bruder.wav <))
Frankfurter (Frankfurter sausage) ; Bruder <brother>
Lehrer (male teacher) ; Lehrerin (female teacher)
Reporter (male reporter) ; Reporterin (female reporter)

 

Vocalic r (syllabic r)

Excerpt from: http://www.enotes.com/topic/R-colored_vowel 110215

In English

A few dialects of English, particularly GA (General American) and Ulster English, contain a vocalic R sound, equivalent to the consonantal R sound [ɹ]. In Ulster English, both long and short versions exist, conditioned by the Scots Vowel Length Rule:

/wɹ̩k/ <work> (short vowel before the vl (voiceless consonant) /k/
/kɹ̩ːv/ <curve> (long vowel before the vd (voiced consonant) /v/

This is a little different from rhotacization described below (/wɝk/, /kɝv/ as opposed to non-rhotic /wɜːk/, /kɜːv/), as /ɹ̩/ is not a rhotic vowel or even a vowel, but may be treated as a similar phenomenon in this case, because this [ɹ̩] is phonemically identical to [ɝ], just realized differently. In general, however, a syllabic r (a vocalic r) and a rhotic vowel are different concepts.

The r-colored vowels of GA are written with vowel-r digraphs. Any vowel can be used:

Stressed /ɝ/: hearse, assert, mirth, work, turkey, myrtle
Unstressed /ɚ/: standard, dinner, Lincolnshire, editor, measure, martyr

An example of an r-colored vowel written as a vowel following "r" can be found in the word <iron> /ˈaɪɚn/ .

In Sanskrit

The ancient Indian language Sanskrit possessed short and long versions of a vowel sound often referred to as "vocalic r". It is represented in Devanagari by ऋ (short form) and ॠ (long form), and in IAST transliteration by ṛ (short form) and ṝ (long form), and is thought to correspond to original vocalic "l" or "r" in PIE (Proto-Indo-European).

The grammarian Pāṇini classified this vowel as retroflex and its pronunciation is thought to have been a retroflex approximant [ɻ] in classical Sanskrit (c. 500 BC). Earlier grammarians classified its sound in the Vedic period as velar. [See my note on Vedic Sanskrit] In Middle Indo-Aryan languages, the sound developed into a short vowel, usually /i/, but sometimes /a/ or /u/ (the latter sound especially when adjacent to a labial consonant).

However, when Sanskrit words containing this sound are borrowed into modern IA (Indo-Aryan languages) such as Hindi or Nepali its pronunciation changes to [ɾɪ] (short form) or [ɾiː] (long form), leading to forms such as "Krishna" for kṛṣṇa  कृष्ण kṛṣṇa, and "Rigveda" for ऋग्वेद ṛgveda, a pronunciation that is also prevalent among contemporary pandits. In the Southern Indo-Aryan language Sinhala, vocalic r in Sanskrit words is pronounced as [ur] or [ru], depending on the phonological context.

UKT: Though the very rhotic vowels, ऋ (short) and ॠ (long), are common in Classical Sanskrit, the lateral vowels, ऌ (short) ॡ (long) were only common in Vedic. Moreover, the way the vowel signs are written:
   ऋ --> ृ ; ॠ --> ॄ , compared to
   ऌ --> ॢ ; ॡ --> ॣ , are different.
With the lateral vowels, looking at the vowel sign tells you immediately the vowel letter. But this is not the case with rhotic vowels. This reminds the case of the present-day Bur-Myan medial signs, {ra.ric}-sign and {wa.hsw:}-sign. By looking at the {ra.ric}-sign you would not know what the medial former is. This observation has led me to believe the medial formers, {ya.}, {ra.}, {la.}, {wa.}, {ha.} can be looked on as "vowels", and that I should include them in the Bur-Myan vowel table.
  {ra.} <-- {ra.ric}-sign
  {wa.} <-- {wa.hsw:}-sign
Secondly, in accommodate Sanskrit rhotic vowels, we have to introduce a highly rhotic vowel. Thus we would have the rhotic vowel-signs:
  {ra.ric}-sign and {Ra.ric}-sign .

UKT: More in the article.

Go back rhoticity-note-b

Contents of this page

Stress in English pronunciation

From: English Pronunciation Guide - Learn to Speak English, Part 1
Click on the word (hyperactive in blue usually marked with <)) - but not here) to hear the sound.

There are, unfortunately, no rules for stress in English. There is no way of knowing which syllable or syllables are stressed in any English word. Consequently, you must learn the stress of a word when you learn the word. There is, however, a general tendency in English accentuation that will help you make educated guesses when you meet a new word and do not already know what syllable is stressed.

The great majority of two-syllable words in English are stressed on the first syllable, for example, English <)), second <)), photo <)), upper <)), etc. You should note, however, that sometimes the same word might be stressed on the first syllable to mean one thing and also stressed on the second syllable to mean another, for example, 'produce <)) and produce <)), the first being a noun and the second a verb. There are many examples of this phenomenon, such as 'subject <)) (noun) and subject <)) (verb), 'object <)) (noun) and object <)) (verb).

Of historical interest is the fact that when determination of syllabic stress in English is related to the origin of the words under discussion. Thus, in the sequence love <)), lovely <)), lovable <)), loveliness <)), lovableness <)), we see that the stress is constant on the first syllable. These are native English words. However, in the sequences, photograph <)), photography <)), photographic <)) and 'equal <)), equality <)), equalization <)), equilitarian <)), we find the stress shifting from one syllable to another as the word gets longer. Words that follow this stress pattern are from Greek or Latin origin.

Go back stress-note-b

Contents of this page

Vedic Sanskrit

UKT: Was "Vedic Sanskrit" Sanskrit? Or was it a Tibeto-Burmese language similar to "Magadhi"? Or, was it Magadi itself? And, therefore simply call it "Vedic" dropping the suffix "Sanskrit" altogether. How is the Vedic Sanskrit similar to Pali-Myanmar? These are the questions bothering me right now. -- UKT110218 , the 76th birthday.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_India 110218

The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. [UKT ]

Speech, with syntax, is the most important thing that distinguish man from apes. Apes do communicate with each other, but their calls lack syntax. Was Homo erectus (H. erectus) able to speak? It depends on the length of his neck. And if he could, what was his language? -- UKT 110218.

The Soanian is an archaeological culture of the Lower Paleolithic (ca. 500,000 to 125,000 BP) in the Siwalik region of the Indian subcontinent[1]. Contemporary to the Acheulean, it is named after the Soan Valley in the Sivalik Hills, Pakistan. Soanian sites are found along the Sivalik region in present-day India, Nepal and Pakistan.[2] The bearers of this culture were Homo erectus. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soan_Culture 110218

The Bhimbetka rock shelters (भीमबेटका पाषाण आश्रय) are an archaeological World Heritage site located in Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The Bhimbetka shelters exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India; a number of analyses suggest that at least some of these shelters were inhabited by man for in excess of 100,000 years. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_India 110218

In Myanmar, "The Padalin caves are situated at Ywangan Township in Taunggyi, Shan State. In this area, the tools are largely made on pebbles. They are crude and without marks of secondary flaking or retouching, resembling the palaeolithic tools. The occurrence of Potsherds characterizes the neolithic pattern of culture. The mural paintings are seen in the eastern cave, No-1. The rest are animal figures, bulls, bisons, a deer, hinds of elephants, a huge fish." -- http://culturemyanmar.org/pages/doa_development%20cultural%20period%20in%20myanmar.htm 110218

UKT: Of course, those who had made the cave paintings were humans. But what were their speeches?

The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from c. 3300 to 1300 BCE, was the first major civilization in India. A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture developed in the Mature Harappan period, from 2600 to 1900 BCE. This Bronze Age civilization collapsed before the end of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Iron Age Vedic Civilization, which extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic plain and which witnessed the rise of major polities known as the Mahajanapadas. In one of these kingdoms, Magadha, Mahavira and Gautama Buddha were born in the 6th or 5th century BCE and propagated their śramanic philosophies.

UKT: Who were the people of the Bronze age in India? "The Bronze Age in South Asia begins around 3000 BC (Harappan 1) in North India, and in the end gives rise to the Indus Valley Civilization, which had its mature period between 2600 BC and 1900 BC. It continues into the Rigvedic period, the early part of the Vedic period. It is succeeded by the Indian Iron Age, beginning around 1000 BC. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_Age_India 110218

UKT: When the word "bronze" is mentioned by non-chemists, do we know what they mean. It could very well be "brass" an alloy of copper and zinc. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. When copper ore containing zinc is made into metal the colour is more yellow than when a copper ore containing tin is used. Hence, the Bur-Myan terms {kr:ni} 'copper' (reddish), {kr:wa} 'brass' (yellowish), and {kr:o} 'brozne' (greyish). Unfortunately, at this late age of mine, I would not be able to analyze the alloys found in each culture. Copper ore found in the areas of Myanmar close to the Indian border is more abundant in zinc than in tin, and so analyzing the metal artifacts of the Indian bronze age might throw some light on whether the ancient Indians had imported the ore from Myanmar or not. Close trade links would suggest close cultural links and perhaps close linguistic links. Since Bur-Myan has quite a lot of lateral sounds, and since Vedic had lateral vowels, could we conclude that Vedic was also a Tibeto-Burman language linked to Bur-Myan. In this case, Pal-Myan would be more close to Vedic than to Classical Sanskrit. Please note as a material scientist, I am careful about suggestions, and so my suggestions above should be to be nothing more than suggestions - not even hypotheses nor theories. -- UKT 110218

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedic_Sanskrit 110216
Edited by UKT to include Skt-Dev spellings and other notes.

Vedic Sanskrit is an Old Indic language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language. Vedic Sanskrit is the oldest attested language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the IE (Indo-European) family.

UKT: Was Vedic an IE? IE languages do not have many laterals, whereas Vedic has them similar to Burmese which has quite a few: {la.}; {lya.}, {lwa.}, {lha.}; {lhya.}, {lhwa.} . This should be compared to English which has only one or possibly two.

Vedic Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas, texts compiled over the period of early-to-mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE. Vedic Sanskrit has been orally preserved as a part of the Śrauta tradition of Vedic chanting, predating the advent of alphabetic writing in India by several centuries. For lack of both epigraphic evidence and an unboken manuscript tradition, Vedic Sanskrit can be considered a reconstructed language. Especially the oldest stage of the language, Rigvedic Sanskrit, the language of the hymns of the Rigveda, is preserved only in a redacted form several centuries younger than the texts' composition, and recovering its original form is a matter of linguistic reconstruction.

... ... ...

Early Vedic society consisted of largely pastoral groups, with late Harappan urbanization having been abandoned. After the time of the Rigveda, Aryan society became increasingly agricultural and was socially organized around the four social class or varnas, वर्ण varṇa .

The terms Varna (general classification based on occupation) and Jati (caste) are two distinct concepts. Varna (from Sanskrit, literally "arrangement") is usually a unification of all the Hindu castes or jatis into four groups: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra. It is sometimes also used to refer to this unification into one of several varna-sankaras वर्ण संकर. Jati (community) is an endogamous group. Generally a sub-community is divided into exogamous groups based on same gotras गोत्र. The classical authors scarcely speak of anything other than the varnas. Indologists sometimes confuse the two. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varna_Hinduism 110302

In addition to the Vedas, the principal texts of Hinduism, the core themes of the Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are said to have their ultimate origins during this period.[20] The early Indo-Aryan presence probably corresponds, in part, to the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture in archaeological contexts.[21]

The Kuru kingdom[22] corresponds to the Black and Red Ware and Painted Grey Ware cultures and to the beginning of the Iron Age in northwestern India, around 1000 BCE, as well as with the composition of the Atharvaveda, the first Indian text to mention iron, as śyāma ayas, literally "black metal." The Painted Grey Ware culture spanned much of northern India from about 1100 to 600 BCE.[21] The Vedic Period also established republics such as Vaishali, which existed as early as the 6th century BCE and persisted in some areas until the 4th century CE. The later part of this period corresponds with an increasing movement away from the previous tribal system towards the establishment of kingdoms, called mahajanapadas.

... ... ...

From ca. 600 BCE, in the classical period of Iron Age Ancient India, Vedic Sanskrit gave way to Classical Sanskrit as defined by the grammar of Pāṇini.

UKT: The following map, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_India 110218, shows Nanda Empire and other areas in northern India in which Classical Sanskrit was spoken at least by the educated. (fact need to be further checked. - UKT 110218)

Go back vedic-note-b

Contents of this page

End of TIL file