Update: 2017-04-21 03:38 AM -0400


A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary


by A. A. Macdonell, 1893,
http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/scans/MDScan/index.php?sfx=jpg; 1929.
Nataraj ed., 1st in 2006, 2012.

Edited by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA), Daw Khin Wutyi, 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 Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR : 
- http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

index.htm | Top

Contents of this page

UKT 170114 : I am thinking of presenting the downloaded
Macdonell's entries in width = 400 pix, instead of the present 300 pix in conformity
with Edgerton-BHS. See an example on p057-2.htm entry of p057-2c3-b01
Link to Edgerton Dictionary - FE-BHSD<> / Bkp<> (link chk 161231)

UKT 170418: Quite a few of Macdonell's entries are very large and need to break into smaller ones for ease of comparison to entries from other sources. You'll see examples of the breaks marked with , among the consonants, in the entries  on : - p072.htm : p072c1-b24 and - p076.htm : p076c1-b21
In these breaks, and other places, I am faced with English-transcription only. What I really need is Skt-Dev spelling which I've to come up with. I still need to check it. There are two sources: Spoken Sanskrit dictionary (SpkSkt), and Sanskrit Document website - http://sanskritdocuments.org/dict/dictall_unic.html (link chk 170415)
See the downloaded paper: MC-indx.htm > glossary.htm (link chk 170415)

UKT 170227: Paucity of nasals in IE - Eng-Lat & Skt-Dev - has necessitate the introduction of a sort of universal stand-in {kin}. It is allowed by Shin Kicsi  {rhn kic~sae:} - the Buddhist grammarian praised by Gautama Buddha.
See examples in {kan} & {kai} on p068.htm (among coda consonants).

Preface, Scanned pages, Glossary -- MC-pre1.htm / MC-pre2.htm / Glossary.htm
In page-by-page reference of the original book
  Vowels as onsets
  p001-p044-1 - MCv1pp-indx.htm - update 161130
  p044-2-p060c2 - MCv2pp-indx.htm - update 170131
  Plosive-stops & nasals as onsets
  p060c3-p104 - MCc1pp-indx.htm - update 170430
  p105-p148-1 MCc2pp-indx.htm - update 160430 
  p148-2-p237-1 -  MCc3pp-indx.htm - future upload
  Approximants regrouped as semi-consonants, fricatives, and H- as onsets:
  - The following - MCa-indx.htm - update 141217
    are to be rechecked, and moved to p030.htm represented in the following format.
  p237-2-p305.htm - MC-c61-indx.htm - MCa1pp-indx.htm - future upload
  p306-p374 - MC-c65-indx.htm - MCa2pp-indx.htm - future upload
  p375-p382 - MC-c72-indx.htm - MCa3pp-indx.htm - future upload

With more fill-ins from other sources and Pal-Myan
(the following format is found to be unwieldy, and is being worked-on in the above format)
Vowel-onsets MCv-indx.htm
  UKT 160318: I am starting to move some entries from the older works
  to newer p001-p044-1 - MCv1pp-indx.htm

Consonant-onsets - MCc-indx.htm - update 160430
Approximant-onsets - MCa-indx.htm - update 141217 (to be moved up)

BEPS languages - MCvowcon-indx.htm - update 161031
  - UKT 150814: I have created a new section on "BEPS languages"
  to relieve loadings thru MC-indx.htm . The "BEPS languages" is now
  handling - MC-anci-lang.htm & MC-BEPS-vow.htm
My own introduction to my work
  Gautama Buddha to his monks:
  "What is important is the message - not the correct pronunciation."
  Gautama Buddha the Wise let his monks pass on his message
  according to how the local audience could understand:

  - lang-relig-indx.htm (link chk 160222)
How would a Hindi-speaker pronounce the word  निरुक्ति nirukti ?
https://www.howtopronounce.com/hindi/निरुक्ति/ 150712
The website gives the sound of this word निरुक्ति<)) (link chk 151026): 
  निरुक्ति nirukti = न ि र ु क ् त ि --> {ni.roak~ti.} which sounds  {ni.roak-t} to me.

Remember there are at least two kinds of Brahmins who speak Skt-Dev: Vaishnavite-Poannar {braah~ma.Na PoaN~Na:} (mostly with Hindi as L1) and Shaivite-Poannar (mostly with Tamil as L1). Their Sanskrit pronunciations are different. Since, Hindi speech written in Devanagari script is the directly related to Skt-Dev, I would like to rely more on the Sanskrit speech of the Hindi speakers taking note that Hindi syllables that should end with coda are shown without the Virama sign, which has a bearing on their Sanskrit pronunciation. It results in a change in the nuclear vowel of the syllable. Thus Asoka has become Ashok, which in Bur-Myan means 'confusion'. And we are all confused!


UKT notes :
Aim of UKT's work : To find the closest to the way Gautama Buddha spoke.
Being a native of Magadha, he would have spoken the Magadhi speech similar to the Pal-Myan as spoken in Myanmarpr during the Sixth Buddhist Council held in Yangon in 1955. The finalized recitations in Pal-Myan covered 61 volumes which on transcription into Pal-Lat covered 40 volumes. The Pal-Lat was completed in 2005. The most severe in the Discipline in the Order of Monks, Parazika Pali {pa-ra-zi.ka. pa-Li.}, and the least, Culawagga Pali {su-la.wag~ga. pa-Li.} are shown on the right.
Bookmarks for entries : different for Macdonell's Skt and Edgerton's BHS
Doggie's Tale
 - copy and paste
Perceptual sound variation of lateral to rhotic sounds
  as reflected in Vedic to Sanskrit languages, with Pali in between
  Includes moves from old p045-1.htm which has been deleted:
  Vowel letters in Bur-Myan and Skt-Dev
  Checking the Bur-Myan vowels
My own thoughts and my inspiration
  written by UKT 120904, 140831.
Nirukta  {ni.roat~ta} 
Sonority hierarchy

Contents of this page

My own introduction to my work

UKT 150712

I had dreamt of learning Sanskrit (written in Devanagari script), and Pali (in Myanmar script) to compare the two languages word by word. I soon figured out that there would be no one to teach me, and I had to set out all by my self. I first came across OnlineSktDict - Online Sanskrit Dictionary, February 12, 2003. 221 pdf pages. http://sanskritdocuments.org/dict/dictall.pdf 090907, 110504, 150712.

Then on further search I came across Monier-William's dictionary. The online copy I have gives me only English transcriptions. On looking further for one with Devanagari script I came across 
- http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/macdonell (Mac-Chicago).
The main drawback of the 'dsal.uchicago.edu' is due to the mixing up of entries, no tallying to the pages from which they came.

Then I came across the
Scanned pages from Univ. Koeln --  MC-Scan.htm (link chk 150712)
Glossary from Sanskrit Documents -- Glossary.htm (link chk 150712)
The Univ. Koeln scanned pages are my primary source. I still have to rely on Mac-Chicago for spellings in Devanagari and I longed for a hard-copy. I now have the Nataraj edition.

The Sanskrit Compound words very complex: see Skt-compd.htm (link chk 150712)
They are difficult to decipher due to the horizontal conjunct forms. The vertical conjuncts are comparatively easier because of their similarity to Pal-Myanmar conjuncts. Yet I have to split them apart to see the individual akshara, especially the viram, to see their make up.

My intention is to download recorded sounds of Skt-Dev words to compare them to Pal-Myan sounds. However, since Sanskrit is a dead language, all I can get are the Hindi-Dev sounds. As both Hindi & Sanskrit are written in Devanagari script, Hind-Dev sounds would be the second-best to stand in for Skt-Dev. As an example, I tried to find how a Hindi speaker would pronounce the word Pali: {ni.roat~ti.} or Skt: {ni.roak~ti.} निरुक्ति = न ि र ु क ् त ि

UKT 150503: How would a Hindi-speaker pronounce the word  निरुक्ति nirukti ?
https://www.howtopronounce.com/hindi/निरुक्ति/ 150712
The website gives the sound of this word निरुक्ति<)) (link chk 150923): 
  निरुक्ति nirukti = न ि र ु क ् त ि --> {ni.roak~ti.}
  which sounds  {ni.roak-t} to me.
The first word ends with the vowel /ti/ and the second with /t/. Such a mixing up of vowels is common when you go from one speech to another: here /ti/ is how a Pal-Myan speaker, and /t/ is what a Skt-Dev would sound. Gautama Buddha must have realized this when he passed the following ruling: he let his monks pass on his message according to how the local audience could understand:

The word {ni.roat~ti.ya} - derived from Nirukta {ni.roat~ta} is important for me, as it was a word of Gautama Buddha, a ruling for the Buddhist monks.
See LANGUAGE AND RELIGION - lang-relig-indx.htm (link chk 160222)
See also Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirukta 150923

I am turning this dictionary into a learning tool, primarily for myself. Macdonell's entries are in 3 columns-per-page from which I had to cut out the individual entries, and bookmark them.

My approach has made Macdonell's Sanskrit English Dictionary very large, because of which I am splitting it into smaller parts.

Going by Akshara TOC, I find that, there are some Skt-Dev words which should be present are not given by Macdonell. These I fill, whenever possible, with entries from other sources:
A Dictionary of the Pali Language by R. C. Childers (in Pal-Dev) 1874,
- Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary, by F. Edgerton (1885-1963) - BHS-indx.htm. (link chk 160222)

For comparison to Pal-Myan words, I rely on Pali-Myanmar Dictionary by U Hoke Sein, Min. of Religious Affairs, Govt. of Burma, first print 1954, pp1180. 
- U Hoke Sein, Pali-Myanmar Dictionary (in Pal-Myan) (UHS-PMD) ,
- U Hoke Sein, The Universal Burmese-English-Pali Dictionary, (UHS-BEPD)

As I go though this work, as part of my study of Sanskrit beginning from 2009 Oct, I came upon more and more of the Indic divinities, their names, their ancestries, and their exploits in times of peace and war. You may find them to be just personifications of human traits -- despicable, yet understandable because in our hearts we have all their elements which we should correct to become better humans. Yet there is more: the occult and the hidden meanings for which I refer to the work of Madam H. P. Blavatsky and the interpretation from Theosophy by G. A. Barborka, 1939.
- http://theosophy.org/Other-or-Uncertain/Gods-and-Heroes-of-the-Bhagavad-Gita-(GAB)/Aheroes.htm#one  140226, 170303
In it you'll find: "a brief description of the mythology of ancient India as contained in the Bhagavad-Gita, including technical terms and explanations: in the light of Theosophy". The downloaded booklet, Gods and Heroes of the BhagavaGita is in TIL ~HD-nonPDF library. 
- GABarboka-GodsHeroes<> (link chk 170303)

I also rely on Glossaries to check my Skt-Dev spellings from:
1. http://sanskritdocuments.org/dict/dictall_unic.html 110810
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_Hinduism_terms 150506

For comparing various scripts,  I need an intermediary script which must be ASCII compatible. It must be a reliable substitute for IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) which is not suitable for Indic scripts. It must also be a reliable substitute for IAST (International Alphabet for Sanskrit & Hindi Transliteration) which is not suitable for Bur-Myan.

For BEPS work, I rely on my own invention the Romabama (acronym for {ro:ma.ba.ma}) which has been touted as Romanized Burmese and even as Burglish. Romabama stands for the "back bone" of my ancestral language - the speech of Bama-speakers written in Myanmar script. I have been toying with the invention of Romabama since my early teens when I tried writing Burmese on my father's English typewriter. And to come up with the present stage of Romabama, I have to study Phonetics and Linguistics which are well outside my field of study during my days of a university Chemistry teacher.
See: Human voice, Phonetics and Phonology - indx-HV.htm (link chk 150816)
and then proceed to Alpha and Beta [former hv2.htm] - alephbeth.htm (link chk 150816)

The following are the vowels and consonants of BEPS languages which you will need to write Romabama.


My work on Macdonell's dictionary is still an ongoing work, and at my present rate I will need many more years to cover the whole project. I may not even see the completion of my work. I have passed my 83rd birth-day. Maybe someone will come to continue my work, but I do not care because once I am dead, I cease to exist body and mind: an after-life is just a dream unproven by physical experiments and is not relevant to me as a down-to-earth scientist!

Contents of this page

UKT notes

Aim of UKT's work :
to find the way Gautama Buddha spoke

-- UKT 120924, 130912, 140710, 151123

See: Sanskrit to Pali or the other around - p009-3.htm (link chk 150816)
with my note dated 121001 to be brought forward to merge with the following.

Imagine yourself listening to a sermon preached by Gaudama Buddha himself. How would your brain have recorded the sounds? Unless, you belong to the same linguistic group as the Buddha, your brain would not be able to record it perfectly.

HUMAN VOICE , How sound is produced and heard
- indx-HV.htm > snd-hear.htm (link chk 160222)

Thus, I speculate, that the Tib-Bur speakers would hear the speech of Gautama Buddha and reproduce it in a non-rhotic non-hissing form, whereas IE (Indo-European) speakers, and Dravidian speakers (Aus-Asi - Austro-Asiatic), would have heard and recorded it in a rhotic hissing form. Since Magadha Mahajanapada {ma-ga.Da. ma.ha-za.na.pa.da.} 'foothold of of Magadha people' (c. 600 BCE - c. 300 BCE), is within "walking distance" from Tagaung Kingdom {ta.kaung:prN} in modern northern Myanmarpr, Pyus and others from our land, would surely be among his audience. And what they heard was brought back into Myanmarpr, and so our Pal-Myan is more close to the Buddha's speech than that of International Pali, Pal-Lat, which was derived from Sri Lanka Pali.

Though there were no sound recording machines during the time of Magadha Mahajanapada {ma-ga.Da. ma.ha-za.na.pa.da.}, we can still get a fair idea how speech of the people would have sounded from the Abugida-Akshara script of King Asoka - a perfect phonetic script of the period which preceded by thousands of years the IPA alphabet of our modern times. Please note I am not saying that Pal-Myan and Bur-Myan are the same, but since our peoples share many genetic and cultural aspects, our phonologies would be the same.
See downloaded pdf in TIL SD-Library
- Cunningham-Asoka-inscrip<> / bkp<> (link chk 160222)

Based on his work on this dictionary, A. A. Macdonell could be described as "a practical lexicographer", and not a theorist ("a theoretical lexicographer"). See Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexicography 120924.

What Macdonell has given is mostly surface meanings which he undoubtedly got from the Hindu religionist sources. However, I hold that a language such as Pali and Sanskrit is basically free of religious beliefs which do changed over the centuries, and to get to the underlying meanings we should compare contemporary languages of that time, say about the time of Buddha Gautama. With a view to this I am comparing what Macdonell has given with that what U Hoke Sein has. A word such as {a.da-na.} & its antonym {da-na.}, is an example on how I would like to proceed. And from such a comparison to get to the understanding of these languages by Ancient Myanmars of Tagaung of the same time-period. Example:

अदान  a-dāna --> {a.da-na.} 
Skt: n. not giving, withholding; a. not giving; not exuding juice from the temples [of elephant]. -- Mac09c1
Pal: {a.da-na.} - n. not giving, not giving charity - UKT from UHS-PMD0041
Pal antonym: {da-na.} - . n. giving, giving liberally, giving charity. . n. cutting (meaning "cutting of attachment"), cutting of family ties, must (a secretion from the temple of a male elephant which becomes excessive during must or mating season). . n. elimination
-- UKT from UHS-PMD0465

In the above example, अदान  a-dāna --> {a.da-na.}, we can use aks-to-aks to get from Skt-Dev to Pal-Myan.

However, there are other words which seem to be unrelated to each other, except in the meaning. For such words, I have to rely on authors who are more knowledgeable, such as, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil http://oaks.nvg.org/matters.html 121001, 140829, who I come across on the internet. The author writes from Mahayana perspective..

The author writes on Pali Canon:

"Whatever language or dialect Buddha spoke, the texts that first were in the form of oral recitations were, as Dalai Lama explains, later put down in writing, and these works are the basis for all subsequent Buddhist literature (in Bodhi, 2005). Recorded texts were recorded, eventually transcribed, often added to, and preserved in Pali as canonical Buddhist texts. They were put down in writing in Sri Lanka in the first century BCE.

"Historically, the Pali language is also associated with west India and the Sthavira sect of Buddhism that was centred in Avanti. And Avanti corresponds roughly with the Malwa region. Also, ancient inscriptions in Gujarat, western India, are linguistically closest to the Pali language among the Indian languages. [Wikipedia, s.v. "Pali"]

"The Pali language resembles Sanskrit and is a close relative to it (Holder 1006:vii). Mahayana discourses that correspond to Pali Sutras, employ Sanskrit terms [Chau, 1991]. Since I am somewhat familiar with Sanskrit terms, I side with them, although many of their corresponding Pali words are easier, somehow, just as Maurice Walshe pinpoints that in the Pali language,

"Sanskrit consonant clusters conjuncts are simplified, producing one single or double consonant:
UKT 131216: I have added Pal-Myan in Romabama - note the difference in vowel because International Pali is a transliteration whereas Pal-Myan in Romabama form is transcription.
 Skt agni (fire) > Pali aggi {ag~gi} - UHS PMD-0010 
 Skt svarga (heaven) > Pali sagga {ag~ga.} - UHS PMD-0940 
 Skt marga (path) > Pali magga {mag~ga.} - UHS PMD-0744
 Skt atman (self) > Pali attar {t~ta.} - UHS PMD-0035
 Skt samjna (perception) > Pali sanna;
 Skt sparsa (contact) > Pali phassa {hp~a.} - UHS PMD-0695 
 Skt alpa (little) > Pali appa etc.

Instead of vv we find bb, and instead of dy, dhy we find jj, jh:
 Skt nirvana > Pali nibbana;
 Skt adya (today) > Pali ajja;
 Skt dhyana (absorption) > Pali jhana. (Walshe 1995:17)

"Further, Skt karma equals Pali kamma, and Skt arhat is arahant in Pali, and so on.

" A few technicalities:  Many comprehensive key words apart from dukkha (suffering, and so on) are translated differently according to context. Renderings are good in such waters. The word brahma {brah~ma}, for example, may be translated or rendered as "holy" or "sacred," (see MN 49), or may go un-translated, or be rendered as "divine". Translation options are sometimes many.

UKT 150417: Be careful of the English brahma. In Bur-Myan it is {brah~ma} (spelled with single a ). A related word is {brah~ma.sor ta.ra:} 'sense of fairness'. {brah~ma.sor ta.ra:} according to Theravada Myanmar Buddhism is based on 4 outlook of one upon others:
  1. 'sympathy', {mt~ta} : note the Romabama vowel { }
    [UKT 150727: Do not translate this word as <love> -
    a misused English word now connected to 'sex' and 'sexual intercourse']
  2. 'compassion', {ka.ru.Na}
  3. 'appreciation of another's worthiness', {mu.di.ta}
  4. 'unbiased outlook', {U.pk~hka} : note the Romabama vowel { }
Please note that the glosses I have given are mine based on my life's experience, and my understanding of Burmese and English language terms. The Bur-Myan equivalents are from BMBI-040

A similar word to English brahma is {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} a human caste in India (spelled with aa ). In spite of their claims to "holiness", they are humans, with lovable as well as despicable human-traits.

"The modern translation of Nanomoli and Bodhi is recommended. In the above survey I have sifted wise thoughts from Bhikkhu Bodhi's enlightening introduction (p. 19-60), simplified too, and added a few things that may be of interest. Parts of their work is online at Access to Insight. I have added Sister Upalavanna's translation so you have something to compare with if you like.

" Tormod Kinnes, MPhil "

After coming across the above article, I came across another. Franklin Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary , 1885-1963, - BHS-indx.htm (link chk 160222), came into my hand. Edgerton wrote (p002c2):

1.15. The Buddha himself was an 'easterner'; his family lived at Kapilavastu, in northeaster Kosala (Oudh); his wanderings seem to have been chiefly bounded on the west by Srāvastī (also in Kosala, though considerably to the west of Kapilavastu) and on the east by Rājagrha, the capital of Magadha (Bihar south of the Ganges). All this region belongs linguistically to what is now called modern Bihari (except that Srāvastī may perhaps be just over the line in Eastern Hindi). Doubtless most of his disciples belonged to the same general region, and we may assume that, during the Buddha's lifetime, the Buddhist texts were mainly, at least, recited in eastern dialects. Yet no one knows just what dialect the Buddha spoke; and it seems clear that the dialects of his disciples differed perceptibly.

Realizing that his teachings would have to be spread among peoples speaking with differing phonologies, Buddha summarized:

Go back Aim-UKT-note-b

Contents of this page

Bookmarks for entries

UKT 130811, 131122, 170114, 170301: different for Macdonell's Skt and Edgerton's BHS

Because Macdonell had tried to save space, his entries sometimes are all bunched together. It is not suitable for comparison to Pali and other languages. To remedy this, his pages and the individual columns had been cut down individual entries. This makes it possible for comparison with Pal-Myan primarily from U Hoke Sein's Pali Myanmar dictionary with my translations. I am turning Macdonell's dictionary into a teaching aid for my own use which I hope will also help my readers.

Keep a look out for entries, marked , from Mcdonell's groups because of special interest in my research work on BEPS on a particular word, e.g. निरुक्ति nirukti contained in Buddha's words on Sanskrit.

UKT 150503: How would a Hindi-speaker pronounce the word  निरुक्ति nirukti ?
https://www.howtopronounce.com/hindi/निरुक्ति/ 150712
The website gives the sound of this word निरुक्ति<)) (link chk 150924),
which sounds {ni.roak-t} to me.

Because I am a Buddhist not only by birth but by conviction, I have been curious about the language used by the historical Buddha - the Gautama Buddha. It is obvious that he spoke mostly in his own language, the Magadhi, the language of {ma.ga.Da.teing:} 'Magadha-country' where he was born. The language is now recognized as the older form of Pali-Prakrit. What was its script?

It is accepted that the oldest script found in the Indian subcontinent was the script on Asoka pillars which is now dubbed Brahmi script. However, when one Magul king asked the Brahmin-Poannars {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} to decipher the script on the Asoka pillars, they could not. This shows that it was not their script, and I must object to the name the "Brahmi". I prefer to call it "Asokan". Or, if you are stuck with Brahmi , call it is Asokan-Brahmi. This would differentiate it from another similar script, the Tamil-Brahmi. My interest in Telugu and Tamil languages are because of their similarity to Mon-Myan language.
See Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil-Brahmi 170228
" Tamil-Brahmi, or Tamili, is a variant of the Brahmi script used to write the Tamil language. These are the earliest documents of a Dravidian language, and the script was well established in the Chera and Pandyan states, in what is now Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Sri Lanka. Inscriptions have been found on cave beds, pot sherds, Jar burials, coins, seals, and rings. The language is Archaic Tamil, and led to classical Sangam literature.. [1]

"Tamil Brahmi differs in several ways from Ashokan Brahmi. It adds several letters for sounds not found in Prakrit [Magadhi?]: ṉ ṟ ṛ ḷ. Secondly, in many of the inscriptions the inherent vowel has been discarded: A consonant written without diacritics represents the consonant alone, whereas the Ashokan diacritic for long ā is used for both ā and short a in Tamil Brahmi. This is unique to Tamil Brahmi and Bhattiprolu among the early Indian scripts. [2] This appears to be an adaptation to Dravidian phonotactics, where words commonly end in consonants, as opposed to Prakrit, where this never occurs. According to Mahadevan, in the earliest stages of the script the inherent vowel was either abandoned, as above, or the bare consonant was ambiguous as to whether it implied a short a or not. Later stages of Tamil Brahmi returned to the inherent vowel that was the norm in India. [1]"

Macdonell using an older transliteration represents palatal plosive-stop {sa.} च as ka [k is slanted  or in italics]. Note Bur-Myan uses the same glyph {Sa.} ष for dental fricative-sibilant. This transcription system was used by Indologists of his period, and if you are interested in Indology you should know about this transcription system.

UKT 170114: Bookmarks for entries from FE-BHS must be standardized as per entries on p001.htm .
Capitals for proper names are allowed, and diacritics removed.

Go back bookmarks-note-b

Contents of this page

Doggie's Tale

-- UKT 130613

Mnemonic The Doggie Tale:  
Little doggie cringe in fear -- ŋ (velar),
  Seeing Ella's flapping ears -- ɲ (palatal)
  And, the Shepard's hanging rear -- ɳ (retroflex).
Doggie so sad he can't get it out
  What's that Kasha क्ष when there's a Kha ख ?
  And when there's Jana ज्ञ what I am to do with Jha झ?
On top of all there're husher and hisser, Sha श /ʃ/ and Ssa ष /s/,
  when I am stuck with Theta स /θ/ !" 
Little Doggie don't be sad,
  You are no worse than a Celtic Gnome
  Losing G in his name, he is just a Nome!

Note to digitizer: you can copy and paste the following:
Ā ā ă ấ  Ē ē ĕ ế  Ī ī ĭ  Ō ō ŏ  Ū ū ŭ ː
Ḍ ḍ Ḥ ḥ Ḷ ḷ Ḹ ḹ Ṁ ṁ Ṃ ṃ
Ṅ ṅ Ṇ ṇ ɴ Ṛ ṛ Ṝ ṝ Ś ś Ṣ ṣ Ṭ ṭ ɕ ʂ
Bur-Myan: for {nga.} use c ċ (U010B) - unfortunately ċ is non-ASCII
Instead of Skt-Dev ः {wic~sa.} use "colon" :
Avagraha ऽ use apostrophe
Root sign √ ; approx ≅
IAST Dev: भ आ इ ई उ ऊ
  ऋ ऌ ऍ ऎ ए ऐ ऑ ऒ ओ औ
  च ca छ cha  श ś [ɕ] /ʃ/ ; ष ṣ [ʂ] /s/; स s [s] /θ/ ; ऋ {iRi.} & ॠ {iRi},
  viram ् , rhotic ऋ ृ
Skt-Dev Row #3: ट ठ ड ढ ण ; conjunct ट ् ठ = ट्ठ
Skt-Dev special phonemes: Ksa क ् ष = क्ष
Undertie in Dev transcription: ‿ U203F
Using ZWNJ (ZeroWidthNonJoiner), e.g. , क्‌ष (code: क्&zwnj;ष)
  See Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-width_non-joiner 150630
IPA-, Pali- & Sanskrit nasals: ŋ ṅ ṅ ,  ɲ , ɳ ṇ ṇ, n n n , m m m
  Pali- & Skt {::tn}: aṁ , aṃ 
IPA symbols:
 ɑ ɒ ə ɛ ɪ ɯ ʌ ʊ ʃ ʧ ʤ θ ŋ ɲ ɳ ɴ ɔ ɹ ʔ /ʰ/ /ʳ/ /ː/
  <king> /kɪŋ/ (DJPD16-300) 
  <kick> /kɪc/ (DJPD16-299 gives /kik/) and <kiss> /kɪs/ (DJPD16-301)
  <church> /ʧɜːʧ/ (DJPD16-097)
  <success> /sək'ses/ (DJPD16-515)
  <thin> /θɪn/ (DJPD16-535), <thorn> /θɔːn/ (DJPD16-535)
  circumflex-acute :
  ấ U+1EA5 , ế U+1EBF
  upsilon-vrachy  ῠ 
  small-u-breve  ῠ ŭ

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-- UKT 140831, 150703, 170326:

When you study Indology, you will come across many unexpected things, such as in a Hindu-religionist story on the founder of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Lord Chaitanya (18 February 1486 14 June 1534):
http://krishna.org/lord-chaitanya-defeats-the-buddhists/ - 140216, 140831, 150703 . He was considered to be Kishna himself. See also Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaitanya_Mahaprabhu 150703
Curiously, he was born 449 years before I was born on 18 Feb 1935, Monday just before the Moon became full.

Bur-Myan Buddhists - one group in my target audience - should be prepared for such stories, noting that Skt-Dev is just a language and that you must be able to treat it like any other language free from biases of the religionists.

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indology 130509

Indology is the academic study of the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent (most specifically the modern-day states of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal), and as such is a subset of Asian studies.

Indology may also be known as Indic studies or Indian studies, or South Asian studies [UKT: differentiate from South-East Asian (SE-Asian) studies], although scholars and university administrators sometimes have only partially overlapping interpretations of these terms.

The term Indology or (in German) Indologie is often associated with German scholarship, and is used more commonly in departmental titles in German and continental European universities than in the anglophone academy. In the Netherlands the term Indologie was used to designate the study of Indonesian history and culture in preparation for colonial service in the Dutch East Indies.

Specifically, Indology includes the study of Sanskrit literature and Hinduism along with the other Indian religions, Jainism, Buddhism and Pāli literature, and Sikhism. [UKT ]

UKT 151122, 170326: Pali language is an artificial language created from Old Magadhi of Buddha and king Asoka, and the native language of Sri Lanka aka Ceylon. Old Magadhi speech is written in Asokan (or Asokan-Brahmi) - the forerunner of Myanmar script, and Lanka speech in its own script.

Pal-Myan is related the Old Magadhi in Asakan-Brahmi, whereas International Pali to the Pali used in Sri Lanka.

Dravidology is the separate branch dedicated to the Dravidian languages of South India. What we meant by Indology is specifically called the Classical Indology dealing with Pali and Sanskrit and various forms of religion. It is to be differentiated from Modern Indology, is focussed on contemporary India, its politics and sociology.

Systematic study and editorial activity of Sanskrit literature is possible with appearances of works such as:
1. the St. Petersburg Sanskrit-Wrterbuch - 1850s to 1870s.
2. the Sacred Books of the East - beginning 1879.
3. Pāṇini's grammar by Otto von Bohtlingkappeared - 1887.
4. Rigveda by Max Mller - 184975.
5. Bibliotheca Buddhica by Sergey Oldenburg - 1897.
Take note of timeline in Myanmarpr: Anglo-Burmese Wars: 1st. 1824, 2nd. 1852, 3rd. 1885

UKT 130511: Macdonell has stated in his Preface MC-pre2.htm (link chk 160222)
in connection with Transliteration :

"The system is that which has been adopted in the 'Sacred Books of the East,' and already followed by me in my edition of Professor Max Mller's Sanskrit Grammar. Had I been guided exclusively by my own judgment I should have preferred c {sa.} and j {za.} to represent the hard and the soft palatal".

UKT: more in the Wikipedia article.

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My own thoughts and my inspiration

-- UKT120904, 140831, 160222

I have been asked by many why at this old age I have become a linguist after retirement from a life time of a university chemistry teacher which I had shared with my now departed wife Daw Than Than aka Mrs. Than Than Tun.

Retirement years as an old man physically handicapped to some extent are not the golden years as have been popularly imagined. Ordinarily I would have been treated even by my own children as a senile old man who has outlived his usual years as a human being. Luckily my love for my birth country Myanmarpr and its language Bur-Myan (Burmese speech in Myanmar) script have come to my rescue.

My love for Bur-Myan and my attempts to write it out on my father's English typewriter has been dormant all along in my life since my pre-teen days in the 1940s (before Burmese typewriters came on scene). The resulting script, Romabama, is thus not a Johnny-come-lately in my old age because I have nothing else to do. However, Romabama in its present form, was launched only in the late 1990s on the Internet from Canada, after both my wife and I had become Canadian citizens because of which our meagre service pension for serving in the Myanmar universities for over 33 years have been discontinued.

To be able to bring my beloved Myanmar script to the world's attention, and to try to "unify" BEPS (Burmese, English, Pali, & Sanskrit spoken languages written in Myanmar, IPA-English, & Devanagari scripts) have been my reward. To be able to continue with this study for these many years is because of the encouragements I have received from achievers in life . The following is one:

From a news report by Nick Collins, Science Correspondent, The Telegraph, 120110. Nick Collins wrote about Professor Stephen Hawking on his 70th birthday. Professor Hawking is the one who had been diagnosed 50 years ago, to live only five years. 
   "Prof Hawking reflected on his life as a "glorious time to be alive" and said he was happy to have made a "small contribution" to our understanding of the universe.
   "He concluded: "Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist.
   " 'Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up.' "
See also Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hawking 140831

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- UKT 150923: I have been on the Language problem of primitive Buddhism, since I received a photocopy sometime in 2004, from Daw Papa Aung, lecturer in Pali, Yangon University.

From: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirukta 150923

Nirukta निरुक्त {ni.roat~ta}, "explanation, etymological interpretation", is one of the six Vedānga disciplines of Hinduism, treating etymology, particularly of obscure words, especially those occurring in the Vedas. [1] [2] [3] The discipline is traditionally attributed to Yāska, an ancient Sanskrit Vedic grammarian. Yāska's association with the discipline is so great that he is also referred to as Niruktakāra or Niruktakrit ("Maker of Nirukta"), as well as Niruktavat ("Author of Nirukta"). In practical use, nirukta consists of brief rules (sūtras) for deriving word meanings, supplemented with glossaries of difficult or rare Vedic words.

Nirukta is also the name given to a celebrated commentary by Yāska on the Nighantu, an even older glossary (dated before 14th Century CE) [4] which was already traditional in his time. Yāska's Nirukta contains a treatise on etymology, and deals with various attempts to interpret the many difficult Vedic words in the Nighantu. It is in the form of explanations of words, and is the basis for later lexicons and dictionaries. [5] The Nighantu is now traditionally combined with the Nirukta as a unified text.

A critical edition of the Nighantu and the Nirukta was published by Lakshman Sarup in the 1920s.

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Perceptual sound variation of lateral to rhotic sounds
as reflected in Vedic to Sanskrit languages, with Pali in between

UKT 131019, 140725, 160807, 161007:

Strictly speaking approximants are neither vowels nor consonants though they have been described as semi-vowels which is the same as semi-consonants.

My interest is their effect on the preceding vowel - either free or bound as an inherent vowel in an akshara. Remember, as such they are the codas. e.g.: {y}, {r}, {l}, {w}, {h}

UKT 160807: In BHS we find, Rāhula {ra-hu.la.} has an equivalent, Lāghula {la-Gu.la.}. It is an evidence for pronunciations of Lateral (L-like) plane changing into those of Rhotic (R-like) plane.
See: F. Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary,
- BHS-indx.htm (link chk 161007)

Do not confuse these with {ya.pn.}, {ra.ric}, {la.hsw:}, {wa.hsw:}, and {ha.hto:}. As an illustration:

{ka.} + viram + {ya.}
  -->  {kya.}

{ka.} + {ya.} + viram
  --> {k}

The codas {y}, {r}, {l}, {w}, {h}, do not seem to change the pronunciation of the vowel, from {a.} to {i.}, but to effect its nature as to its rhoticity, laterality, and roundness.

{ma} --> {maar}
{bo} --> {bol}
{pa.o.} --> {pa.ow.}

However if your tongue is thick and is not versatile, you pronounce each pair the same. It has been suggested that {maar} can be pronounced as {maan} - which is not acceptable because it involves an unnecessary vowel change from rhotic to nasal.

The case of {r} is more complicated than the rest because it rise to repha sounds, {ar} (in {a.t}-form), and {ar~} (in {kn:si:}-form).

The highly rhotic vowels ऋ & ॠ are treated elsewhere . There is a perceptual difference between rhotic and lateral vowels ऌ & ॡ, and in classical Sanskrit of Panini, the lateral vowels have disappeared. However, we can expect to find them in Pal-Myan.

In this update, I will start to consider representing the lateral-rhotic changes in a Three-dimensional representation as shown above.


Burmese-Myanmar vowels compared to
Sanskrit-Devanagari and English-Latin vowels

-- UKT 120121, 120602, 120622

The following phonemes are controversial, because they are the most back and the most open. They can be pronounced with various degrees of lip rounding:

{o} to {AU} 
/ {AU:} to {AU}
Skt-Dev as ओ  o & औ au
Skt-Dev diacritics: े (E) ै (Ai), ो (O) ौ (Au) - (names according to Windows)

To get to the Bur-Myan way of writing before the British colonial-educators had to chance to meddle in it, I refer to A. W. Lonsdale: 

You will note that Lonsdale did not include {o}. The 'flags', ो ौ, on the aksharas should be compared to the those on े {} ै {}.

The controversy is based on several factors:
   1. Production of vowels depends upon linguistic groups, and within a linguistic group, it varies from person to person. Since the production of vowels depends on the muscles of the hyoid complex, we can expect quite a lot of divergence.

   2. When the external facial features differs from speakers of different ethnicity, it is to be expected that the contours of the vowel space would also be different.

3. Though we usually think in terms of a two-dimensional quadrilateral vowel diagram based on the classical diagram of Daniel-Jones, we must think in terms of at least a three-dimensional one where lip-rounding is taken into consideration. And then extend our thinking into a four-dimensional one taking into consideration the jaw positions, and of course on the length of jaw which would be dependent on the ethnicity of the speaker.

4. Last but not the least is the Two-three tone problem between English-Lat, the IE (Indo-European) language and Burmese-Myan, a Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) which is also a Thibilant-nasal language where the sounds of /θ/ {a.} and /ŋ/ {nga.} & /ɲ/ {a.} are quite prominent.

The controversy is due primarily to absence of the series {o.}, {o}, {o:} in both Skt-Dev and Eng-Lat.

The Romabama spellings given below are tentative: they may have to be changed with deeper understanding of the problems involved. -- UKT120121

A slight revision has been made to Myanmar graphemes, & , to differentiate them from very rhotic Sanskrit graphemes. The hood over the Myanmar graphemes has been has been drastically shortened whilst those for Sanskrit has been lengthened as much as possible, e.g. in ऋ (note the dummy part in red and the vowel part in green). Similarly, you will find a shortening of hoods in {ra.ric}-medials.


Vowel letters in Bur-Myan and Skt-Dev

-- UKT120817, 161120

If you look at the akshara table, you'll see that row #3 consonants, the retroflex, seem to stand apart from the other consonants. The first three consonants seem to be standing on pedestals.

The retroflex row#3 is quite outstanding in Mon-Myan pronunciation:
  Mon-Myan retroflex: Mon-retroflex<)) (link chk 161120)
Now listen to Mon-Myan Velar: Mon-velar<))
and Mon-Myan Palatal: Mon-palatal<))
Notice there is only one akshara sound with {} for retroflex, whereas there are 3 each for others.

Most of the other consonant-glyphs has shapes clearly based on One-circle-Two-circles shapes based on the full-rounded circle {wa.}. The consonant-glyphs do not extend into the upper-level, nor into the lower-level. In fact none extended into the upper-level. The following are some with extensions into the lower level:

r2c4 {Za.},   r2c5 {a.}
r4c5 {na.}
r7c3 {La.}

Unlike the vowels, none of these consonants have an alternate "Letter" form.

In the case of vowels, there are two forms: the vowel-letters and the vowel-signs. As the first part part of our study, we will deal with {a.wuN}-vowels: /a/ /i/, /u/ . They are the three of eight cardinal vowels of Daniel Jones. http://www.phonetics.ucla.edu/course/chapter9/cardinal/cardinal.html 120817

In all Indic languages and Bur-Myan, each of the above three has a short form a, i, and u, and a long form ā, ī, and ū. Right now our interest is only on /i/ & /u/, and their forms in Devanagari and in Myanmar. In both cases there are distinct vowel-letters, and {a.}+vowel-signs.

Our interest is now narrowed down to vowel-letters:

इ i {I.} ;  ई ī {I}
उ u {U} ;  ऊ ū {U}

In each case notice the diacritics when a short form is changed into the long form.

What most of the modern Bur-Myan have difficulty with is {I.}. They think it is a vertical conjunct of {ka.} over {ku.}. They do not know that it has the sound of {i.} and like {i.}, {I.} on being checked by a killed consonant changes into {ai}.


Checking the Burmese-Myanmar vowels

- UKT 110815 , 120119 , 161206

Though the Westerners who are used to Alphabet-Letter system, CVC, do not pay any attention to the coda, I am finding that the only way to study Bur-Myan language belonging to Abugida-Akshara, CV, is to study the effect of coda consonant, , on the nuclear vowel, V.

An added problem is the difference in number of tones or registers (time-duration of which are measured by the time you take to blink your eye) between different languages such as Bur-Myan, Eng-Lat, Mon-Myan, and Skt-Dev. At the beginning of my study, I notice what I have termed the Two-three tone problem. My work was hampered until I discovered the अः of Skt-Dev has a counter part in Mon-Myan {a:.}. My thanks to the Gayatri Mantra where I noticed the नः from which I find the Mon-Myan {na:.}.
- bk-cndl-gayatri<))

{a:.} अः (1/2 eye blink) , {a.} अ (1 blnk) , {a} आ (2 blnk), {a:} (2 blnk+emphasis),
Note #1: Bur: {aa.} (1/2 blnk) = Mon: {a:.}
Note #2: There is no emphatic in both Mon and Sanskrit.

The vowels in any human language are produced deep down in the throat by a set of muscles on the hyoid complex in the voice-box with accompanying tongue and lip movements. Because of this no two human beings will pronounce the same vowel, say {i.} /i/ in the same way. In fact the same human being will sing his or her vowels differently from time to time depending on his or her health (such as suffering from common cold), and in different consonantal environments.

When we are dealing with human beings of different linguistic groups such as Bur-Myan (Tib-Bur linguistic group), English-Latin (IE aka Indo-European), Pal-Myan (Tib-Bur), Sri Lankans (Austro-Asiatic), Northern Indians (Indo-Aryan) and Nepalis (Tib-Bur changing into Indo-Aryan), we must expect to hear them producing the same vowel /i/ noticeably differently.

Yet in many ways, we can still recognize what they are singing: it is the vowel /i/. So what we will be aiming at is the phonemic (phonology) distinctions rather than phonetics. We are concerned with accuracy rather than precision. The only reliable key to transcription is the two highly contrastive vowels:

First set: /i/ (front-close), and /ɑ/ (back-open)
Second set: /a/ (front-open), and /u/ (back-close)

Though the first-set is more reliable, we are faced with a set back because of the uncertainty of /ɑ/, because in Pal-Myan and Bur-Myan, this phoneme is a mix-up between /ɔ/ (open-o), /o/, and /ɑ/.

Our only choice is the second-set. We find the contrastive-ness in {u} and {a} in Mora Sutta.
Listen to Mora Sutta by Mingun Sayadaw - bk-cndl-Mingun<))
The phoneme {u} is used for the rising Sun in the morning, and {a} is used for the setting Sun in the evening. This finding and other similar findings has led me to conclude that we can know something of the pronunciation by looking at the shape of the Myanmar aksharas.

We need to take the four BEPS languages together because what we are aiming at is to come up with a reliable transcription from Bur-Myan to Eng-Latin and back. Romabama, my invention, is the interlanguage-ASCII-based alphabet. It is used to bridge the four languages.

To be continued.

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Sonority hierarchy

It is important in checking (or stopping) the sound of the peak or nuclear vowel of the syllable {sa.ka:n-su.}

-- UKT 120520, 120903, 150924

In the Abugida-Akshara system of writing, the syllable {sa.ka:n-su.} is the principal unit. The syllable has the canonical form CV where is a 'killed' consonant -- a consonantal akshara whose inherent vowel has been 'killed' by a virama (which I usually shorten to 'viram') in Sanskrit and {a.t} in Burmese.

A syllable may or may not have the onset C, or the coda , but it must always have the peak or the nuclear vowel V. In cases where the syllable is either V or just a V, the rime is important. For argument sake we may say V is a syllable with coda=1 and V to be a syllable with coda=0. Thus it is important to see how effective the is in checking the sound of V.

We see in the Sonority hierarchy, the most effective are the plosive-stop consonants, exemplified by {pa.}.

The nasals -- an example being {ma.} -- are not very effective and they fall in between the consonants (obstruents) and vowels (sonorants). Of the nasals, the velar {nga.} /ŋ/, is the probably very important in Bur-Myan. Unfortunately, neither the English speakers nor the Sanskrit speakers could pronounce it properly. They usually substitute its sound with that of {na.} /n/. I am beginning to believe that नः '1st personal pronoun possessive' in the last line of Gayatri Mantra of the Hindus is the "substitute" for {ngaa.}.

धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त्॥ ।
  dhyo y naḥ pracodyāt
UKT 150924: aks-to-aks: नः --> {na.:}
Listen to Gayatri Mantra, paying attention to नः॑ {na.:} , bk-cndl-gayatri<)) (link chk 160222)

English has only two nasals <m> /m/ & <n> /n/ in both onset and coda positions, and in my work on BEPS I am concentrating on these two rather than on {nga.} /ŋ/ which is present in the codas of the English syllable as in <king> /kɪŋ/ but not in the onset.

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