Update: 2017-12-21 02:26 AM -0500


A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary


by A. A. Macdonell, 1893,
Scanned pages from Univ. Cologne
- http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/scans/MDScan/index.php?sfx=jpg; 1929.
Nataraj ed., 1st in 2006, 2012.
Digital online dictionary from Univ. Chicago
- http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/macdonell/
Benfey Skt-Eng Dictionary, 1866, in PDF - TBenfey-SktEngDict<> / Bkp<>
  Ref. as "Benfey" - no page numbers in Google e-book from which the PDF is copied

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 171129: To find the relation between Bur-Myan, Pal-Myan and Skt-Dev, words should be carefully spelled out. Giving only English transcription has hindered my understanding of such words, such as BEPS basic akshara {S~hpa.} --> स्फोट

In page-by-page reference of the original book 

  Vowels as onsets
   UKT 171125: Consolidated index of all vowels is under - MCv1pp-indx.htm
   Updates: v1 - update 2017Jan, v2 - 2017Jan

  Plosive-stops, affricates & semi-nasals as onsets - MCc1pp-indx.htm - update 2017Dec 
  UKT 171125: Consolidated index of consonants of r1 , r2 & r3
  Updates: r1 - 2017Dec, r2 - 2017Aug, r3 - 2017Aug

  Plosive-stops, true-nasals as onsets - MCc4pp-indx.htm - update 2017Dec 
UKT 171202: Consolidated index of consonants of r4 & r5 {pa.} 
  Updates: p105-p148-1 {ta.}-- 2017Nov, p148-2-p237-1 {pa.} - future update

  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

On grouped files - MCc-indx.htm - update 2017Nov
  : to be eventually deleted. I've started taking out its contents one by one.

I've gone over A. A. Macdonell A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary, looking at the entries in groups of 1, 2, 3, etc. a second time, in days before the split of TIL and Softguide. These are what I'm calling old files or grouped files. I'm now going over them again.
- MC-c41-indx.htm - update 2017Nov
- MC-c51-indx.htm  - future update
Though I have planned to access the individual files from individual TOCs, I'm finding that it is better to have a unified TOC for {ta.}-row and {pa.}-row. 


On script - MCscript-indx.htm - update 2017Dec
UKT to TIL editor 170827: The following are in txt-in-single-file form. If any are to be expanded, separate it as a nested folder. Contains:
Preface, Scanned pages, Digital online Univ Chicago version, Glossary, Nepali Dictionary,
Language comparison and roots of languages being compared Hand-written Skt-Dev Akshara
HD-nonPDF: LearnSktOnline-GrammTerms<> / Bkp<>
. In HD-PDF: KVAbhyankar-DictSktGramm<> / Bkp<>
Mahayana texts from website http://www.ishwar.com/buddhism/holy_mahayana_texts/ 171212

On speech - Remember Skt-Dev sounds belonging to IE languages, and Pal-Myan (& Bur-Myan) sounds belonging to Tib-Bur languages are entirely different. For example, listen to the pronunciation of Skt-Dev niroakta<))
Its equivalent in Pal-Myan is {ni.roak~ta.}. Concentrate on the closing sound. It is त occupying r4c1 of the akshara-matrix, the same place as . However how does त sound? Is it /ta/, /t/ or /t/, or something entirely different ? I will have to say "entirely different".

For the opening sound, the Sonority Scale is a help, but the closing sound is always a problem. Relying on spelling is entirely useless, especially for the velar, palatal, and retroflex words. They are absent in Eng-Lat, and unreliable in Skt-Dev.

The palatal sounds are the most problematical because of their fricative tendencies and because for Pal-Myan {a.} /θ/, there are three in Skt-Dev श /ʃ/ ; ष /S/; स /s/.
Note: /S/ & /s/ are my way of showing two very closely related sounds which are almost the same.

Now listen to the Skt-Dev vowel and consonant sounds from Lakshyā Yoga
- SktAlphLY<)) (link chk 171126)

Look at the akshara alphabet chart. On the right side are the vowels. Most of them has a short (1 eye-blink) and a long (2 eye-blink) version. And on the left side 25 consonants. And then 5 semi-consonants semivowels. And 3 Sibilants: the husher, the hisser, and fricative s. We, Tib-Burmans, pronounce the last one as thibilant as in English <thin>, however in Skt-Dev it is a sibilant.

The place of pronunciation aka POA (place of articulation)

Don't try to unify the sounds. You'll get a failing grade. Just remember what Gautama Buddha said to his monks 'you are permitted to spread my words in the vernacular of the audience':
He realizes that the meaning is more important than correct pronunciation. Just because spelling is the same don't imagine the pronunciation would be the same. An illustration is the difference in Bur-Myan r2 row {sa.}, {hsa.}, {za.}, {Za.}, {a.}, and Mon-Myan r2 row:
- bk-cndl-{sa.}-row<)) : Mon pronounce {sa.} as /{kya.}/

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.

UKT 170418: Some Macdonell's entries are very large. These are broken into individual entries for comparing with  entries from other sources. There are two kinds of marks: and
Mark : Cutting very large grouping into smaller groups. e.g. among the consonants, in the entries on :
- p076.htm : p076c1-b21
p082.htm : multiple cuts p082c-b15

Mark : Entries that are of interest to me. I have to come up with a spelling in Dev myself. I check it with the following sources:
Spoken Sanskrit dictionary (SpkSkt) online, 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)
Green Message - http://greenmesg.org/index.php (Don't open from HTML editor: link chk 170526
A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, by Theodor Benfey, 1866 , pp1145. Since it is of the same time-period of A A Macdonell, it uses the same old form of Skt-Dev script. It is a good reference to check the orthography of Macdonell. See Wikipedia: - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Benfey 170815
Downloaded copies of dictionary in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
- TBenfey-SktEngDict<> / Bkp<> (link chk 170816)

I need to listen to how Sanskrit words are pronounced. e.g. निरुक्ति nirukti.
UKT 150503: How would a Hindi-speaker pronounce it ?
https://www.howtopronounce.com/hindi/निरुक्ति/ 150712
The website gives the sound of this word निरुक्ति<)) (link chk 170814),
It sounds {ni.roak-t} to me, ending in /e/ instead of /i/. Maybe, my hearing is at fault.

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). However, it is not enough, and I have to change the vowel itself to solve the problem of Paucity of nasals.

UKT notes :
Doggie's Tale : copy and paste
Indology : forget the fairy-tales
My own thoughts and my inspiration : never bow down - look up to the stars
Nirukta  {ni.roat~ta} 
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
Pronunciation of Skt-Dev Basic Aksharas
Sonority hierarchy


Contents of this page

UKT notes

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
Book marks: * star, dagger (alt0134), double dagger (alt0135).
Bur-Myan: for {gna.}-onset use c ċ (U010B) - unfortunately ċ is non-ASCII
Instead of Skt-Dev ः {wic~sa.} use "colon" :
Avagraha ऽ use apostrophe
Repha spelling: exemplified by
  dharma: ध र ् म --> धर्म 
  spota: ष ् प र ् श ा ः --> ष्पर
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
IAST Dev: Repha & Viram-position, e.g. तर्ज tarj [ targ ] = त र ् ज
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

Go back Dog-tale-note-b

Contents of this page


-- 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.

Go back Indology-note-b

Contents of this page

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

Go back thoughts-inspiration-note-b

Contents of this page


- UKT 150923, 170425:

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. The downloaded pdf paper is in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
- LSarup-NighantuNirukta<> / bkp<> (link chk 170425)
See Buddha's conversation with two Brahmin-Poannars, on p075. He used the Socratic manner of argument to make the Poannars to reject their beliefs in axiomatic entities.
See what the Socratic method is in Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socratic_method 170425

The question of meaning of Niruta is also connected to how it is pronounced. I cannot get its pronunciation. What I could get is निरुक्ति nirukti. How would a lay Hindi-speaker , or a Poannar whose L1 is Hindi pronounce the word  निरुक्ति nirukti = न ि र ु क ् त ि --> {ni.roak~ti.}? Now, listen: निरुक्ति<)) (link chk 170425)
from: https://www.howtopronounce.com/hindi/निरुक्ति/ 150712

I don't know how another Hindi-speaker would heard it. But it sounds  {ni.roak-t} to me. No wonder we are all confused!

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 doubly confused!

Go back nirukta-note-b

Contents of this page

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

Contents of this page

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 े {} ै {}.

As a side-note, see how Panini the greatest ancient phonetician of the East gives a remarkable example of vowel variaties s as the call of a village cock in the early morning.

The controversy on the varieties (tones or registers) of vowels 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 also due to the 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. & are different 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 . 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,.
Retroflex  {Ta.-HTa.} row is quite different from Dental {ta.hta.} row. Now listen to
  Mon-Myan retroflex: Mon-retroflex<)) 
  Mon-Myan dental: Mon-dental<))

Now listen to 
Mon-Myan Velar: Mon-velar<))

According to European philologists J.M.Haswell (1874) and R.C.Temple, {ga.} is pronounced as {k}. However, I can only hear {g} in the Mon-velar<)).

What the European had heard was from the Peguan speakers themselves. What I am hearing now is the Martaban dialect. We will have to note that the Peguan, the mother tongue of my Mon ancestors which is a dead language. However, I could still hear the remanants of some sounds in the place-names of towns and villages near town of Kungyangoan where I was born and spent my pre-teen years.

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, the coda is very important for Abugida-Akshara system. 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.
Listen to Skt-Dev vowels:
Spoken Skt-Dev grammar - SpkSktDevGram01-indx.htm (link chk 171027)
and - SpkSktDevGram02-indx.htm. (link chk 171027)
Note #3:
  Short ह्रस्व hrasva (1 blnk), i.e., one मात्राकाल mātrākāla 
  Long दीर्घ dīrgha (2 blnk), i.e., two मात्राकाल mātrākāla 
  Protracted प्लुत pluta, i.e., three मात्राकाल mātrākāla  Lesson04<))
To be compared to the call of rooster in the morning.

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 Scale

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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