Update: 2014-04-20 02:59 AM +0630


Dictionary of Noble Words of Lord Buddha


by U Myat Kyaw & U San Lwin, MLC (Myanmar Language Commission), 2002

Set in HTML, and edited, with additions from other sources, by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA), Daw Thuzar Myint, and staff of Tun Institute of Learning (TIL) . Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL  Computing and Language Center, Yangon, MYANMAR :  http://www.tuninst.net , http://www.softguide.net.mm , www.romabama.blogspot.com

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- by UKT 040909, 140420

Ever since I came to know how to type in English (in my pre-teens), my life-long desire has been to come up with a transcription of Burmese in Latin (English) alphabet. However, because of the changing nature of the English vowels, transcription of Burmese was almost impossible. I, therefore decided to start with a transliteration of Bur-Myan into Romabama (Burmese-Latin) alphabet.

The reader would notice that I am using two different words for what is generally regarded as the same. Though I am a chemist, I soon learned while studying linguistics, that it is very important to differentiate between the speech {sa.ka:} (spoken language) and the script {sa} (written language). Few realised that English, French and Spanish are languages and they all use the basic Latin script with some special characters (diacritics) for each language, e.g. è and é for French and ñ for Spanish. Similarly we must realised that Hindi and Sanskrit are languages and both are written in Devanagari script; and Burmese, Karen, Mon and Shan are languages and they are all written in Myanmar script. Pali is a language and is written in many scripts: Devanagari, Latin (English), Myanmar, Sinhala-script, Thai-script, etc.

One difficulty in transliteration is the rarely recognised fact that English is written in an alphabet where the consonantal characters have no sound, whereas Myanmar (and all scripts derived from Asoka script - erroneously dubbed "Brahmi") is written in an abugida (or akshara) where the characters have sounds of their own. Thus, the English letter k has no sound. It can come to have a sound only when a vowel such as a is present. In English ka has the sound /ka/, because of the vowel a {a.}. In Myanmar has the sound /ka/ because has the inherent vowel /a/. Characters such as are known as aksharas {ak~hka.ra} and are the basic characters of an abugida. Because the basic unit is the syllable, abugida is also known as alpha-syllabary. 

Before I can tackle the Myanmar script, I felt I would go through Pal-Myan (Pali in Myanmar script, or Pali as spoken in Myanmarpré. It is different from the so-called International Pali or Pal-Lat (Pali in English-Latin script). What is not well known is that there are dictionaries on Pali in Pal-Myan.

A person who knows only Pali as spoken in Myanmarpré find it very difficult to search for a Pali word on the Internet if she or he does not know International Pali. It is particularly difficult to look for a Pali name such as that of the famous Pali grammarian praised by the Buddha himself. His name, Shin Kicsi  {kic~sæÑ:} is particularly difficult for it involved a phoneme {Ña.} that is very common in Burmese but unknown in other languages of BEPS. {kic~sæÑ:} is spelled Kaccayano !
See A Pali grammar on the basis of Kaccayano, by Rev. F. Mason, 1868 - PEG-indx.htm

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