Update: 2016-08-16 11:45 PM -0400


Speaking Mon-Myan Language


-- by U Kyaw Tun (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA), Daw Khin Wutyi,  and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning, Yangon, MYANMAR. 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

Based on Learn Mon Yourself : pronouncing all 61 lessons (Spk-all) in 10 chapters or groups. Downloaded and set in HTML by UKT and staff of TIL.

index.htm | Top

Contents of this page  

UKT151018: Original Video & SND for each lesson in Lesson groups are in the TIL SD-Library, and you will not hear them unless you are on a TIL computer.

SpkAll group #01
Speak All Lesson group#01, lessons01-09
Lesson 01-61 & 02-61
Lesson 03-61 : lessons 03, 04 should be read together
Lesson 04-61 :
Lesson 05-61
Lesson 06-61
Lesson 07-61 : medial-conjunct formers
Lesson 08-61 : Akshara song  - bk-cndl-Mon-aks-song<)) (link chk 160811) 
Lesson 09-61 : Pronouncing the akshara with a background song


UKT notes
Asokan derived languages
In Search of Missing Minor Ka :
  Major-Minor Akshara pairs
Mon-Myan numerals : NMT p240
Special status of Retroflex sounds


Contents of this page

Lessons 01-61 & 02-61

UKT 160810: Video and SND for this lesson in TIL SD-Library.
SN-SpkAll-les01-61<> / bkp01<> (link chk 160809) , & lesson01-61<))
  Note: {a:.} is missing in above.
SN-SpkAll-les02-61<> / bkp02<> (link chk 160809) , & lesson02-61<)) 
  Note: {a:.} is present in above.

{na.mau: boad~Da-ya. aid~Dn} - bk-cndl-Mon-prayer<))

CAUTION: Since Pali words in Bur-Myan and in Mon-Myan are almost  the same, I have given the pronunciation in Bur-Myan. However, an ordinary word spelled the same is very different in pronunciation.

- UKT 130415, ..., 151003, 160809: 

Common statements on vowel and consonant sounds such as "[AH] as in the word <father>" is very misleading. The only reliable way to study the vowels and consonants is by instrumental measuring F1 & F2. You must not forget how a foreigner hears our sounds is quite different from what we hear. His articulations depends on how his brain interprets what his ears has perceived. His reproduction of our sounds is always tainted by his culture and his L1. 

To handle all four languages of BEPS as a group, Romabama {ro:ma.ba.ma} (not romanization of Bur-Myan) has to come up with what Chemical Engineers term a "happy medium" which in reality nobody likes but which has to be accepted for being useful.

Palatal plosive-stop: Bur-Myan / {sa.}/{c}
   Mon-Myan interprets this sound as Palatal affricate: / {sa.}/{c} ipa / / च /ʧ/
Dental approximant sibilant (husher): / {Sa.}/{S} /s/ = ष
  - represented by MLC as {rha.}, and {hya.}:
  Both MLC renditions, {rha.}, and {hya.}, cannot be killed or under an Virama {a.t} without breaking up because they are medials.
  They are not suitable for use with Skt-Dev.

I had expected the pronunciations of Pali words to be quite similar in Bur-Myan and Mon-Myan. However, it is not so, and I have to remove the Romabama renditions which I had given in previous versions. Yet we can get the Pali meanings from the way the words are spelled in Bur-Myan and Mon-Myan. 

In these files with the file names "spk-all01.htm", "spk-all02.htm", "spk-all03.htm", etc. individual lessons of similar themes have been grouped together. For each lesson, I have given the "caption" or 'head', and the corresponding pronunciation lesson. However, in some lessons there can be more than one part.

    - lesson01-61cap<))
Note the pronunciation of numeral 12. It is written as (NMT) and alternately as (Haswell)

The heading simply means: Twelve Mon vowels. The word order in Mon is the opposite of Burmese, e.g. {wau} 'vowel' & 'Mon'. In Bur-Myan it would be {mwun a.ra.}.

- lesson02-61cap2<))

  - lesson02-61txt<))
Note: {a:.} is missing in lesson01-61txt<)) .

In all Asokan ( Brahmi) derived languages we find both vow-let (vowel letters) and vow-sign (vowel signs). The vow-let are regular vowels which can stand on their own, whereas the vow-signs are not  vowels. They are diacritics to be affixed to a consonant to change its inherent vowel. Yet they have been described as "dependent vowels". In the above I have used the dummy {a.} as the filled-in consonant. See my note on Asokan derived languages

In both Bur-Myan and Mon-Myan, we see a horizontally split vowel in {au:} in which the consonant goes between two-vowel parts, {kau:}. However, what is missing is vertically split vowel {o}. In Mon-Myan, we see a similar vowel in {kou} 'to give'. (Has038). I wonder whether the absence of {o} is due the influence of Indic speakers (including Eng-Lat) not having it.

In the above 12 vowels, we find two "classes" of 6 vowels each. The first 3 pairs (of 6 vowels on lighter background) are the {a.wuN} 'beautiful' pairs. The second 3 pairs (of 6 on darker background) are the {a.a.wuN} 'ugly' pairs. In the {a.wuN} pairs, the first member is the short vowel (of duration one eye-blink) and the second member is the long vowel lasting two eye-blinks. They can be said to be allophones. Such "beautiful" relationship is not present in the {a.a.wuN} pairs.

Contents of this page

Lesson 03-61

UKT151018: Video and SND for this lesson in TIL SD-Library
SN-SpkAll-les03-61<> / bkp03<> (link chk 160810), & lesson03-61<))

Refer to NMT p018/pdf022
and Haswell p001/pdf026 :
Remember Mon-Myan pronounces the Palatals as Affricates, because of which we can say that it is related to Skt-Dev. However, Bur-Myan pronounces the Palatals as Plosive-stops, which shows it is related to Tib-Bur languages. Pal-Myan is an artificial language developed in Lanka by the Asokan missionaries from old Magadhi and Lanka speech which is Aus-Asi (Austro-Asiatic language group). Even then Pal-Myan still has elements of old Magadhi speech, such as thibilant /θ/ pronunciations.

  - lesson04-61cap<))
Note the pronunciation of numeral 35.
Take the pronunciations ipa as {mwn} and ipa as {m}.

Listen to each row of consonants in Mon-Myan akshara index: (all links chk 150921)
while keeping in mind what Haswell has given in his Grammatical notes and Vocabulary of the Peguan Language, p003/pdf028:
Velar - bk-cndl-Mon-row1<))
Palatal (pronounced as Affricates) - bk-cndl-Mon-row2<))
Note: Romabama transcription is based on Bur-Myan phonology, and is not applicable to Mon-Myan. If I were to use it for Mon-Myan, it becomes unnecessarily complex because of mixing up of sounds in English. Thus, rendition of:

  sa > kya > ca
  hsa > hkya > hca > cha
  za > gya > ch or ch  :
English, as a transcription language, does not recognize and I have to settle for .

Rev. Dr. J. M. Haswell writes on p004/pdf029:
"There is no g in the language save {ngra.} which as an initial [onset] has the sound gn (the g being fully sounded.) As a final [coda] it has the sound of ng . There is no z or th ".

Now listen to Retroflex sounds. I wonder whether it is derived from an earlier form of language which the later speakers treat with reverence. See my note on Special status of Retroflex sounds.

Retroflex - bk-cndl-Mon-row3<))
Dental - bk-cndl-Mon-row4<))

Labial - bk-cndl-Mon-row5<))

Approximants of row#6 - bk-cndl-Mon-row6<))
Approximants of row#7 - bk-cndl-Mon-row7<))
Mon-akshara song giving all 7 rows - bk-cndl-Mon-aks-song<))

Mon word order is the reverse of Bama {mwun by:} . Myanmar akshara, whether it is used for Bama or Mon is classified into two main groups: the {wag} 'classifiable', and the {a.wag} 'non-classifiable'.

The {wag}-consonants are made up 5 rows, of 5 columns each: the velars, the palatals, the retroflex, the dental-alveolar (or simply the "dentals"), and the bilabials (labials).

For use in Bama, the {wag} consonants are also classified column-wise into #c1 tenuis, #c2 voiceless, #c3  voiced, #c4 deep-H, and #c5 nasal. All with intrinsic vowel /a/. However, this column differentiation does not hold for Mon in which both #c3 & #c4 are also voiceless, but with a different intrinsic vowel, /e/. Because of which I am describing #c4 of Mon-Myan as vl- (voiceless-). This reminds me of Tamil (of the same Austro-Asiatic group as Mon), in which there are only #c1 and #c5. For incorporating the sounds of northern-Indic, it has to invent #c2, #3, and #c4. Was proto-Mon like Tamil, and #c3 & #c4 had to be invented to incorporate the sounds of Bur-Myan , or Pal-Myan? See - BHS-indx.htm (link chk 160811) proceeding to Tamil, for comparison to Mon-Myan - tami.htm (link chk 160811)

#c2 = pha, #c3 = ba, and #c4 = bha

The last member of each row, under column #6 are the nasals. This Bama phonology does not hold in Mon mainly because Mon has two kinds of basic aksharas with differing intrinsic vowels.

In Mon-Myan, columns #1 and #2 made up one kind of basic akshara. They have the inherent vowel {a.}.

The second kind of Mon-Myan basic consonants has intrinsic vowel {e}. However, there are others who say differently:
  - NMT - {.}
  - Haswell - /ā-er/
  - Halliday in his Mon-English Dictionary, p.roman06 Table of 36 consonants - /e/
We now see that the intrinsic vowel of the second kind of consonants is controversial. The solution to this problem obviously lies in the nasals and approximants, and how they under the virama check the sound of the preceding vowel in V type of syllables:
  - nasals: {na.}-killed, {ma.}-killed :
    [{ngra.}-killed, {a.}-killed, and {Na.}-killed, are left out because of their sounds to most people controversial]
  - approximants: {ya.}-killed, {ra.}-killed, {la.}-killed, {wa.}-killed

UKT151020, 160811: I have found {a.}-killed be an approximant because it can be killed without breaking up. I have assigned Nya'l to Palatal nasal r2c5 cell, and have moved Nya'gyi to Palatal approximant position. Only then I can explain why Bur-Myan Nya'gyi can be under virama without breaking up. To move Nya'gyi to Palatal approximant position, I have to move Ya {ya.} (IPA /j/) to the Velar approximant position. Then Nya'gyi under virama can stand side by side with {} as {}.

To look into this problem further we should take a different tack as sailors would do: how the Esoteric Science treats the aksharas because of their hidden "powers". Look into my note on In Search of Missing Minor Ka .

The {a.wag}-consonants are the approximants made up of 2 rows. They are not classified column-wise.

UKT 151018: Pronunciation of columns 3 & 4 are different in Bur-Myan and Mon-Myan.
Column #3 is voiced in Bur-Myan. From what I heard in SpkAll (Martaban Mon dialect) it is also voiced in Mon-Myan. However, Haswell in his Grammatical notes and Vocabulary of the Peguan Language, on p003/pdf028 in his table of consonants has given it as the same as that of column #1 with a change of intrinsic vowel. He emphasized that there is no g sound. On p004/pdf029, he writes:

"There is no g in the language save {ngra.} which as an initial [onset] has the sound gn (the g being fully sounded.) As a final [coda] it has the sound of ng . There is no z or th ".

The column #4 is voiced in Bur-Myan, but definitely voiceless in Mon-Myan.


Contents of this page

Lesson 04-61  

UKT160810: Video and SND for this lesson in TIL SD-Library
SN-SpkAll-les04-61<> / bkp04<> (link chk 160810) , & lesson04-61<))

Refer to NMT p021/pdf025 : 35 consonants
  {a.n pau. by:} & {a.n l: by:}
and Haswell p004/pdf029 : 34 consonants
  two classes of consonants with different intrinsic vowels

  - lesson04-61cap<))

UKT 130417: Mon-Myan consonants are classified into two kinds with differing inherent vowels. The first kind, of 16 consonants, has a fixed inherent vowel /a/, but the second kind of 18 consonants, has either /e/ or /a/ as the inherent vowel. The total sum 16 + 18 just gives 34. You add {a.} (and derivative {}) to make the total equal to 35.

- lesson04-61txt<))

In the {wag} consonants, notice how, pronunciation-wise, a member of the first kind is related to a member of the second kind. I have given the IPA transcriptions as a guide. Thus:

velar:   {ka.} /ka/ --> {ga.} /ge/ ;
--------- {hka.} ---- --> {Ga.}
----------------------------- (in Bur-Myan, it is "deep-H", but in Mon-Myan, it is "vl-" )
palatal: {sa.} /ʧa/ --> {za.} /ʤe/;
--------- {hsa.} --- --> {Za.} 
---------------------------- (in Bur-Myan, it is "deep-H", but in Mon-Myan, it is "vl-" )

We do not find this type of correspondence in the {a.wag} consonants.
At this point, I find it helpful to listen to the Akshara song bk-cndl-Mon-aks-song<)) (link chk 160810) .

Note the two additional akshara in Mon-Myan which make the total number to come up to 35. Bur-Myan has only 33 akshara. Since the additional two occurs in row#7, and have the pronunciations similar to {ba.}, I have designated them as {a.}/{b7a.} and {}/{b7} - numeral 7 is written as a superscript. Mon-Myan, {a.} should be considered to be a consonant because it has a killed form: {a.}-killed transcribed in Romabama as {}.

Haswell listed some 29 words starting with {a.}/{b7a.}, and 8 words starting with {}/{b7} . 

Contents of this page

Lesson 05-61

UKT160810: Video and SND for this lesson in TIL SD-Library
SN-SpkAll-les05-61<> / bkp05<> (link chk 160810)
Refer to NMT p022/pdf026 
  {a.n pau. by:} - 17 nos. including {a.}
and Haswell p004/pdf029

Note the pronunciation of numeral 16 : (from which I have derived: )
use the word {pa.hta.ma.} as a cue.

- n. a sound, the voice - Halliday-MonED-379

Sixteen consonants of the first kind: their intrinsic vowel remains the same as {a.} even when the environment changes.

Note: presentation of the aksharas lumped together as shown on the right is just to remind you what the sixteen are. It does not show the rows and columns of the phonemic presentation.

Thus, {ka.} remains the same as / {ka.}/ even when a neighbouring consonant changes. It is not so with consonants of the second kind such as {g}. Its pronunciation changes from:

{ga.} /g/ <))  to  {ka.} /ka./ as in <))  and <))
  which sounds like /{ka.ta.}/ & /ka.ta.m/ . 
Note: I denote the pronunciation within /.../. Thus, the akshara {ga.} has the pronunciation /g/.

Notice that the spellings given by Haswell may not agree with those given on the internet website.


UKT 151018: Pronunciation-wise - from what my ears can make out - the 7x5 = 35 consonants can be classified into 3 classes:

Consonants with: 
#1. Fixed intrinsic vowel -{a.} // ----------------- - 4x4 = 16 nos.
#2. Variable intrinsic vowel: -{} /ɛ/ & -{a.} // -- 6x3 = 18 nos.
#3. consonant-cum-vowel {a.} and derivative {} =   1 no.


Contents of this page

Lesson 06-61

UKT160811: Video and SND for this lesson in TIL SD-Library
SN-SpkAll-les06-61<> / bkp06<> (link chk 160810), & lesson06-61<))
UKT 160817: lessons in <)) are not well organized. I am giving all the <)).
- lesson06-61cap<)) ; - lesson06-61cap1<)) ; - lesson06-61cap2<))
- lesson06-61txt<)) ; - lesson06-61txt1<))

Eighteen consonants of the second kind such as {ga.} ipa {g}.
Its pronunciation changes in certain environments. Note: presentation of the aksharas lumped together as shown on the right is just to remind you what the eighteen are. It does not show the rows and columns of the phonemic presentation.

{ga.} /g/ <))  to  {ka.} /ka./ as in <))  and <))
  which sounds like /{ka.ta.}/ & /ka.ta.m/ . 
Note: I denote the pronunciation within /.../

There are 18 consonants with the intrinsic vowel of the second kind. Since all consonants must have the open-front vowel as the intrinsic vowel, this can be only be the lip-round vowel /ɶ/. I presume because of this roundness, the consonant r5c5 has some element of {wa.hsw:}-sound, the word Mon is spelled without the {wa.hsw:} in Mon-Myan spelling: {mun} instead of {mwun}.

Contents of this page

Lesson 07-61

UKT160811: Video and SND for this lesson in TIL SD-Library
SN-SpkAll-les07-61<> / bkp07<> (link chk 160810) , & lesson07-61<))
- lesson07-61cap<)) ; - lesson07-61txt<))


Eight Medial-Conjunct formers

Ref: Haswell, Double & Compound consonants, p006/pdf031, lists 10.
Ref: NMT, [Bur pronunciation: {k~mak}] Hanging consonants, p047/pdf051, lists 11.

Note the pronunciation of numeral 8 : .
Take the pronunciations ipa as {m} as a cue. - lesson07-61cap<))

Remember medials are monosyllabic and conjuncts are disyllabic. There is a hiatus (a slight pause between) the two consonants in a disyllable. Going strictly by this distinction, Mon-Myan has only 3 or 5 medial formers.

However Spk-all counts 8 medial-conjunct formers:
{nga.}, {a.}, {na.}, {ma.}, {ya.}, {ra.}, {la.}, {wa.}.

NMT lists 11, including above 8 plus 3 more: {a.}, {ha.}, {a.}

As in all Abugida-akshara languages, the number of consonants may be increased by forming conjuncts with certain other consonants. In Skt-Dev, almost any consonant may act as conjunct-formers.

In Bur-Myan, we have the strict condition that the resulting ligature must also be monosyllabic and only {ya.}, {ra.}, {wa.}, and {ha.} can meet this condition. Thus we have medials known as {ya.ping.}, {ra.ric}, {wa.hsw:} and {ha.hto:}. In the Dawei dialect of Bur-Myan, we have {la.hsw:} as an addition.

{ka.} + viram + {ya.} --> {kya.}

The situation in Mon-Myan is slightly different. It has the above 8 as medial-conjunct formers forming a few medials and many more conjuncts. For pronouncing the conjuncts, schwa /ə/ is added after the first consonant.

Contents of this page

Lesson 08 

UKT160811: There is no SND for this lesson.

It is unfortunate that most, including the MLC (Myanmar Language Commission), do not realized that English uses an Alphabetic-letter system, whereas Bur-Myan, Mon-Myan, and Indic languages derived from the Asoka script use the Abugida-akshara. The smallest unit in an alphabetic system is a 'letter' which is mute (not pronounceable), whereas in the abugida the smallest unit is a syllable, or akshara, which can be pronounced because of the presence of an inherent vowel likened to a "short English a".

The possibility of an Abugida-akshara such as {ta.} being changed into an Alphabetic-letter თ (Georgian letter Tan) is still unexplained - after almost two years on this day 160811 - by my friends in Myanmar Historical Commission, and Myanmar Language Commission.

Notice the Mon-Myan akshara of the first kind seems to have the vowel /a/, whereas those of the second kind have /e/.

Contents of this page

Lesson 09

UKT160811: Video and SND for this lesson in TIL SD-Library
SN-SpkAll-les09-61<> / bkp09<> (link chk 160810)
- lesson09-61cap<)) ; - lesson09-61txt<))

Akshara song: note 'akshara' and 'alphabet' are radically different.
Listen to Mon-akshara song: - bk-cndl-line-Mon-aks-song<)) (link chk 160811)


UKT 140623: This lesson is just a background song over which, the akshara are pronounced one by one.
Now watch a solo dance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqOym0H5lgM&feature=kp 151022
or downloaded version in TIL SD-Library - Mon-Myan-solo<> (link chk 160811)

  - lesson09-61cap<))


Contents of this page

UKT notes

Asokan derived languages

UKT 140620, 150930, 160810:

Asokan is popularly known as Brahmi. After coming across F. Edgerton's, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary, - BHS-indx.htm (link chk 160810)
I stop using the word Brahmi.

The  "Brahmi" is a misnomer because the Brahmin-Poannas {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:}, or simply {poaN~Na:}, could not decipher the Asokan when called upon by their Muslim emperor to decipher the inscriptions.

We in Myanmarpr have thought the "Brahmi" to be the script of a heretical religion - the Brahmana Atta religion, the exact opposite of the Gautama Buddha's Anatta religion. Little do we realized that Brahmi is the script used by the Buddhist Emperor Asoka of the Magadha kingdom, and could very well be described as the script of the Magadha language. Many Buddhist-Myanmars hold that Magadha was the Universal language which everyone, including the animals could understand in the very ancient times. An important fact unknown to most of us in Myanmarpr is that our Myanmar akshara is the modern day version of Asokan. See
A Pali grammar on the basis of Kaccayano ({rhin kic~s:} in Bur-Myan), - by Rev. F. Mason, 1868
- PEG-indx.htm - update 150630
Downloaded version of 251 pdf pages are available in TIL SD-Library Mason-Kicsi<> (link chk 160812)

Asokan (Brahmi) was deciphered only in 1837 by James Prinsep (1799-1840). See:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Prinsep 140620 .
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmi_script 140620
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmic_scripts 140620
Myanmar script is mentioned in the 3rd of the Wiki article.

The vowels are represented as vowel letters as well as in as vowel signs. See:
1.  Grammatical notes and Vocabulary of the Peguan Language, to which are added a few pages of phrases, etc., by Haswell, J.M., ABM Press (American Baptist Mission Press), Rangoon, 1874
- MonMyan-Haswell-gramm-notes-vocab<> / bkp<> (link chk 160809)
4. Fundamentals of Mon Speech & Script (in Bur-Myan), by Naing Maung Toe, www.monlibrary.com, Yangon, 2007 (Romabama may be applicable in NMT)
- MonMyan-NMgToe-Mon-Bur<> / bkp<> (link chk 160809)
(frequently need to refer to {nga.hsw:} on p047/pdf051)
The following is from NMT:

UKT 151001: There are the three vow-signs in Mon-Myan & which produce different vowel effects.

In all human languages, the number of vowel-sounds are about the same: 12 or 13. However, languages differ from each other in using the number of glyphs, for example. The expression "Pal-Myan has eight vowels" is false. It should have been Pali represents the vowels with 8 graphemes or glyphs. Similarly, "English has five vowels" is wrong. When a language needs more representations it uses combinations of glyphs. The combinations are pronounced starting from the first glyph to the second. English drags on the sounds giving "glides" or "diphthongs" whereas Burmese gives an intermediate without any glide and is a "monophthong". What you see written down are neither diphthongs nor monophthongs, they are just "digraphs". Note: A digraph is not a diphthong.

Burmese uses 12 or 13 (a ā, i ī, u ū, , au. au, n aa:).

English uses only 5 (a, e, i, o, u )

Mon uses 12: (a ā, i ī, u ū, , au. au, n aa:) : same as Burmese . However, there are glaring pronunciation differences. For discussion, we numbered the vowels from #1 to #12
Haswell notes in his Grammatical notes and Vocabulary , p003/pdf028, that only the following 6 vowels are checked by codas: {a}, {I.}, {U.}, {}, {AW}, {n}.

The first six are pairs of short-long vowels, known as {a.wuN} 'matching pairs'. The rest are {a.a.wuN} 'ill-matching pairs'. There is almost no difference between Bur & Mon in {a.wuN} pairs, but there is difference for {a.a.wuN}-pairs.

Pali uses eight (a ā, i ī, u ū, o au) 

Sanskrit uses the eight of Pali plus a pair highly rhotic vowels.

Vedic uses the 10 of Sanskrit plus a pair of very lateral vowels which are almost absent in Sanskrit.

UKT 160811: Vedic is not Sanskrit. It is probable that Vedic was Tib-Bur and the Sanskrit IE. However the later Sanskritists have tainted the old Vedic to introduce their male gods, and marrying the Mother-goddess of the Tib-Bur to their male gods. They change the meter of Gayatri Mantra by the inclusion of Om. 

Further, I base my assumption on the presence of lateral sounds in Vedic which are absent in Sanskrit. The separation into two languages became formalized in the time of Panini. Based on the lateral sounds, I further maintain that Pali spoken in Myanmarpr is of Vedic origin - very much akin to Old Magadhi, whereas the Pali spoken in Sri Lanka is highly influenced by Sanskrit (IE), and Lanka (Aus-Asi).

Note: the transliteral glyph "o" in Pal-Lat (International Pali) and Bur-Myan < are different. This is because Pali-Lat is following the IAST transliteration.

In Indic languages as well as in Bur-Myan, the length and emphasis of the vowel is important. Pay attention to the pitch-registers (aka, but erroneously, "tones".). The vowels are present in pairs - the short and the long,  in Indic and Bur-Myan languages.

The vowels are all within the vowel quadrilateral of Daniel Jones (1881-1967). For representing uncommon sounds, in European languages, digraphs, and even trigraphs, are used. They are dipthongs and triphthongs in the European languages, but not in Bur-Myan. Whether Mon-Myan uses diphthongs or not is still an open question for me.

The very first lesson is on the vowel sounds or phonemes. These sounds are represented with Myanmar graphemes. Though represented with the same glyph, a Burmese vowel and the corresponding Mon vowel sound very different.

Notice the length of the vowels (measured in eye-blinks, or blk units), and its emphasis. The terms "short" and "long" vowels are in general use, but it is confusing in Bur-Myan. You may use in their stead: "short-creak", "creak", "modal", and the "emphatic". These allophones are not "tones", but are "pitch-registers". Because of anatomical sameness of the speakers, the Mon-Myan vowels are also not tones but pitch-registers. They differ from each other in the vowel-duration and emphasis: short creak  {aa.} 1/2 blk, creak {a.} 1 blk, modal {a} 2 blk, emphatic {a:} 2 blks with emphasis. Even in the same language the vowel duration and emphasis are different in isolated words and continuous speech. Just let your own ears to be your judge and totally ignore what the phoneticians say.

Bur-Myan:  short creak   {aa.} 1/2 blk,  short {a.} 1 blk, long {a} 2 blk, long-emphatic {a:} 2 blk+emphasis
Mon-Myan: short-creak   {a:.} ----------- short {a.} ------- long {a}

Note the different use of {wic~sa.} in Bur-Myan {a:} and Mon-Myan. {a:.} is represented in Romabama after the fashion of Tamil-Tamil ஃ (U0883) "Tamil Visarga". Though {wic~sa.} may be described as English colon with 2 circular dots, the look-alike IPA symbol is made up of 2 triangles and is known as the "triangular colon" /ː/ . It is used to show long vowel-sound as in British pronunciation of <father> <father>  /'fɑː.əʳ/ -- DJPD16-199  .

{wic~sa.} is used in the same way in Mon-Myan and Skt-Dev.
   {na:.}  नः   last line: धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त्॥ ।
See Gayatri Mantra: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gayatri_Mantra 140619
Listen downloaded SND - bk-cndl-gayatri<))

Lesson 02 has a second part giving the same pronunciation exercise.  Just listen to the sound and note how it is spelled. When I say "spelled", I do not mean the actual aksharas, just the "general shape" of the word. Let your brain associate the sound and the look - forget about the meaning which you can look up in a dictionary which differs from author to author especially with "politically sensitive words". These words are distorted to suit the motives of the current politics.

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In Search of Missing Minor Ka :
Major-Minor Akshara pairs

- UKT 151021, 160811

The Ancients in our parts of the world in their study of Esoteric Sciences place great importance to the sound and the akshara that represents the sound. The ancients are now dead and gone, but we still have strong "underground" religions hiding under the umbrella of Theravada Buddhism. See Folk Elements in Buddhism -- flk-ele-indx.htm (link chk 160811). Just as the Hindu religionists place great importance on the Sacred OM , (U0950) and its precise pronunciation, the Myanmar Esoterists believe that Sound has hidden powers, and the Aksharas that represents different Sounds have differing hidden powers. Thus to look deeper the question of pronunciation r1c3 {ga.} represented by English g , we must look into the study of Yans or Inn { n:}. See Vowels and Consonants :
navigate to - MC-indx.htm > MCvowcon-indx.htm > MC-anci-lang.htm (link chk 160811)
On the sides of the ring shown in the pix, you can see the group of four Major Aksharas, Ka'gyi {ka.kri:}, Ga'gyi {Ga.}, Na'gyi {Na.}, and La'gyi {La.}.

Since these four should have their Minor counterparts, and we have only three, with Mon pronunciation {hk} for , {n} for , and   { l} for , I suggest that it is the same glyph to represent Ka'ng with a different ending sound as {k} for .

This led us to Major-Minor Akshara pairs in Myanmar akshara:
when applied to Burmese, the intrinsic vowel is English "short a" .
Most of us who are Buddhists would remember that when we entered the Buddhist Monk-hood - a must for all of us - how our instructor-monk would emphasize how to say the word {n-Gau.} with emphasis on the {Ga.} sound. We have to say it differently from how we say {ga.}.

UKT 151021: I will present the Major-Minor Akshara pairs for Mon-Myan only after more study of the Mon-Myan language

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Mon-Myan numerals

UKT 160815: From NMT p240 of ink-on-paper book
Also, refer to: Vocabulary (from Haswell & Stevens: no separate update required)
- Has-vocab-indx.htm (link chk 160816)
  This link is to both vocabs of Haswell and Stevens which are in separate folders.
Names of months & numerals - name-dd-mm-no.htm (link chk 160816)

Numeral : pronunciations , 00 to 09, are available in spk-all10.htm
Haswell gives an alternate spellings for numeral 10 to 19 :

00 : ---------- 10 : / ------- 20 : ----------- 30 : ---------- 40 :
01 : ------------ 11 : ----------- 21 : ---------- 31 :
02 : ------------ 12 : / ---- 22 :
03 : ------------ 13 : ----------- 23 :
04 : ----------- 14 : ---------- 24 :
05 : --------- 15 : --------- 25 :
06 : ----------- 16 : (not given by NMT )/
07 : ---------- 17 :
08 : ----------- 18 :
09 : ---------- 19 :

Note: numeral 12 is written as /

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Special status of Retroflex sounds

UKT130419, 151021:

Haswell's observation that there is "no g "  has raised my curiosity on the shape of {ngra.} compared to Bur-Myan {nga.}. Did the original or proto-language of Mon has this phoneme? Or was it borrowed from another grapheme as I have observed in Skt-Dev. The Skt-Dev glyph was probably borrowed from the retroflex row #3, and a dot added:

ड + dot --> ङ 

The equivalent of Devanagari ड in Myanmar is r3c3 {a.}. It's relation r3c4 is {a.}. Similarly with Mon-Myan, the retroflex row #3 , seemed to be involved: 

{Ta.} --> {Ta.}-split -- >  {ng~ra.}

Mon-Myan {ng~ra.} brings to mind, a Bur-Myan disyllabic word {krau-ngra} where the second syllable {ngra} has the pronunciation /a/ and not /ŋa/. -- See MED2006-039

The solution to this problem lies in our understanding of the retroflex sounds. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retroflex_consonant 140620
   "A retroflex consonant is a coronal consonant where the tongue has a flat, concave, or even curled shape, and is articulated between the alveolar ridge and the hard palate. They are sometimes referred to as cerebral consonants, especially in Indology. "

Since both Devanagari and Myanmar are related to Asokan (erroneously called "Brahmi"), we might as well look into the shapes of these two akshara in Asokan, the oldest script found in India.

I suggest that proto-Mon did not have the phoneme velar /ŋ/. It had borrowed the retroflex {Ta.} and split it into two portions as shown above. It is also interesting to note that in both Skt-Dev and in Mon-Myan, very few or none of the syllables, has the phoneme /ŋ/ as the onset-consonant.

Both Bur-Myan & Mon-Myan consonants are listed in matrix form. The matrix is a 5x5 for the upper part. Because the POA (Place of Articulation), and phonation is well established the upper part is known as the {wag}-consonants 'classifiable'. The lower part made up of approximants are not easily classifiable and are known as {a.wag}-consonants. This form of presentation is common for all abugida derived from Asokan and is the basis of phonetics of the East which had been studied for thousands of years well before the era of Gautama Buddha.

There are 35 consonants in Mon-Myan compared to 33 of Bur-Myan. Both languages do not have the highly hissing dental sibilant-approximants exemplified in Skt-Dev: श ś [ɕ] /ʃ/ & ष ṣ [ʂ] /s/. The Mon-Myan {a.} seemed to be a consonant because it has a killed form: . At present, I have not been able to give a Romabama representation except {} - alt+0248. It would be useful in borrowed words, such as lye {lei} 'caustic solution' used in soap making. 

Lie - n.v. falsehood  /laɪ/ - DJPD16-315
Lie - v. recline  /laɪ/ - DJPD16-315
Lye - /laɪ/ - DJPD16-324
- because of the above, I have transcribed 'caustic solution' as {lei} , cf.
Pa'o - an ethnic group in Myanmarpr - spelled as {pa.o} - MLC MED2006-254

UKT151003: Bur-Myan words spelled with {wa.}-killed were common in early 1900s, however the {wa.}-killed were dropped by the British colonial government in my childhood days.

Mon-Myan pronounces the non-hissing dental thibilant-approximant /θ/ with a hissing sound. This dental thibilant /θ/ is realized in regular English word <thin>. Unfortunately the grapheme for this is represented with a digraph <th> in Modern-English, even though it was represented with the "thorn" character <> in Old-English. Incidentally it is worth to note that Old-English is treated as a foreign language in present-day England itself.

To do without the digraphs (not diphthongs), Romabama uses <> to represent the phoneme /θ/. In Romabama it is {a.} /θ/. In European languages, English alone, among the major modern languages, pronounces this grapheme as /θ/. Others, like German pronounces it as /s/. In this respect the German is like Skt-Dev. Romabama has to come up with a grapheme for this sound, which is actually a hissing sound: it is represented in Romabama with {Sa.}. However, in order to a seamless transcription between BEPS languages, {Sa.} is assigned the same glyph as the palatal: {sa.} & {Sa.} -- the killed consonants being {c} & {S}. Whether this arrangement will work for Mon-Myan is still an open question, especially when the glyph {sa.} is heard to be pronounced as श ś [ɕ] /ʃ/ by presenter on the website.

In continuous Mon-Myan speech {a.} /θ/ sounds like Bur-Myan {hsa.} .

The main difference between Bur-Myan & Mon-Myan is in the palatals. Mon-Myan pronounces the palatals the same way as Skt-Dev, showing that it is nearer to Sanskrit than to Pali. Bur-Myan is related to Pali or the old Magadhi the language used by the Gautama Buddha himself. The relationship is because of people travelling by the overland routes that had been in use centuries before the birth of the Buddha himself.

The overland routes across high mountain passes are difficult to use, but still useable except by large armed forces which had protected northern-Myanmarpr though out the ages.
See Geography, Geology, Fossils -- geo-indx.htm (link chk 160816)
and proceed to Physical geography -- phy-geo-myan.htm (link chk 160816)
and Malaria & other diseases as sentinels -- malaria.htm (link chk 160816) 
Read also a downloaded file on Geography written in 1890 by Blandford in the SD-Library:
- Blandford-Geo-Indi-Burm-Ceyl-1890<> / bkp<> (link chk 160816)
Read also notes on Ancient Geography of Burma written in 1906 by Duroiselle in SD-Library
- Duroiselle-AnciGeogBurma1906<> / bkp<> (link chk 160816)

Once the Magadhi language (speech & script) had reached northern-Myanmarp, long before the birth of the Gautama Buddha, it have been protected not only by the high mountains, but also by Malaria & other diseases as sentinels
-- malaria.htm (link chk 151003).

I maintain that the Myanmar akshara was the akshara of the Magadhi speech, and that Pal-Myan as spoken in Myanmarpr was the original script of Magadha. And also that only at later periods both Bama & Mon speeches had taken to writing in Myanmar akshara.

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