Update: 2020-03-24 03:16 AM -0500


Practical Sanskrit Dictionary for Buddhists and Hindus


1 A Practical Sanskrikt 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.
- https://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/macdonell/ 190516
  link: uchicago
Skt-Doc Glossary online:
- https://sanskritdocuments.org/dict/dictall.html 190701
  Downloaded (unedited) in TIL non-PDF & non-SD libraries,
  Web-Archive section.

The Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary, BHS, vol.2, by F. Edgerton, pp. 627.
- FEdgerton-BHSD<> / Bkp<> (link chk 180627)

UKT 200114: We'll have to cut the entries from FEdgerton as we did for AAMacdonell, which will take us years to complete. We may not be able to finish it before I die: I'm already 86. However, we may be able to finish copying from the above, which is the first task, and cut only selective pages.

I've a sneaky suspicion that BHS, Nepali, and Burmese speeches are closely associated. I'll enter words from all the three into my dictionary to either reject or confirm my suspicion.

2. Student's Pali-English Dictionary, by Maung Tin (U Pe Maung Tin), (UPMT-PED) in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries
- UPMT-PaliDict1920<> / bkp<> (link chk 190113)

UKT 200226: In this dictionary you'll come across lead-entries that are from Pali, which will eventually be spelled in Devanagari. These lead entries are marked with white bullets .
See Triratna Translations in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries, on:
- TT-05MangalaSutta<> / Bkp<> (link chk 200226)

UKT 200309: With the end of the first round of digitalizing the Macdonell's dictionary in sight at the end of this month I have now an urge to start including Latin.

3. Pali-Myanmar Dictionary (in Pal-Myan) (UHS-PMD), by U Hoke Sein, 1954
This dictionary in ink-on-paper form is in TIL research library at 35 Thantada St., Sanchaung, Yangon, Myanmar.

4. See the list of Supporting dictionaries 

Edited by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA), Daw Khin Wutyi, Daw Thuzar Myint, Daw Zinthiri Han 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

Basic consonants of BEPS
  Approximants - subset of consonants
Basic vowels of BEPS
History of Sanskrit Literature 
 in a separate file, by A A Macdonell, 1900
Introduction to the present work
 includes the Preface to Macdonell's (MC) dictionary.

UKT 171129, ... , 200107, 200310: Please remember this dictionary is a learning tool for me to learn Skt-Dev. I do not intend to speak Sanskrit. I just want to know its connection to Pali and Magadhi. Caveat: A. A. Macdonell, M. Monier-Williams, and their contemporaries use the older form of Devanagari script, and the conjuncts are stacked as in Pal-Myan. This is an added problem for me.

The TOC is in Akshara order, which is very difficult to follow unless you know the Akshara matrices of vowels {a.ra.} and consonants {by:}. I've to invent Romabama {ro:ma.ba.ma} based on Bur-Myan phonology to serve my purpose. To share my work with others on the Internet, I've to make Romabama ASCII compatible.

The overall TOC arrangement in this dictionary follows the pattern set by Bur-Myan dictionaries, where the consonants come first {by:} and the vowels {a.ra.} last, with the approximants in between. In Pali- and Sanskrit dictionaries, the vowels comes first, followed by consonants.

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 {Shpa.} --> स्फोट

The "correct spelling" means, I must invent new glyphs such as various forms of Ra'ric {ra.ric} to show the different degrees of rhoticity. BEPS has 3 kinds of Ra'ric {ra.ric}. Bamah {ra.ric} of the majority dialect - the Irrawaddy dialect - has no rhoticity, whereas that of Rakhine dialect has rhoticity as in Pali. The Sanskrit {ra.ric} is the most rhotic.

UKT 180511: What does the glyph {a.} represent? In Eng-Lat script, a represents the vowel /a/ without specifying the vowel-duration. It could be either {a.} of duration 1 blnk (eye-blink), or {a} 2 blnk. It could also be the negation of something. However, the negation in Bur-Myan is not {a.}, but {ma.}. Avoid using the terms "short vowel" and "long vowel": use vowel of 1 blnk, and 2 blnk duration.

Contents of this page

Basic Consonants {by:} as onsets (page-by-page) 
Plosive-stops, affricates, semi-nasals & true nasals

Consolidated - MCc1pp-indx.htm - update 2020Mar 

UKT 200104: Consonants, with exceptions, as listed as
Velar, r1 {ka.} क  including Pseudo-Kha {kSa.} & {kSa}
Palatal stop, r2  {sa.} च  including Pseudo-Za {za.} & {za}
---- affricate*, r2, {ca.} & {cha.}
Retroflex, r3 {Ta.} ट ,
Dental, r4 {ta.} त ,
Bilabial, r5 {pa.} प
Approximants, r6 & r7:

Approximants are a subset of Consonants made up of Semi-consonants aka semi-vowels {ya.}, {ra.}; Fricatives {sha.}, / {Sa.}/{S}, {a.}; Deep-h {ha.} (which may even be an aspirate), Retroflex {La.}; and Nasalizer-pair {n.} {n} -  (used for semi-nasals).

*Palatal affricates are a problem due to: (1) the communicating language, English, not having tenuis sounds, (2) both English and Sanskrit using Palatal affricates, {ca.}, {cha.}, {ja.} , instead of stops, and (3) both English and Sanskrit using Labial-dentals {fa.}, {va.} instead of stops. These 3 reasons are mainly responsible for partial failure of my Romabama transcription.

The 4th reason is the inability of Sanskrit speakers to articulate (and to hear) the Thibilant /θ/: they can only recognize /s/. This led them to change {a.} /θ/ to hisser {Sa.} /s/ and husher {sha.} /ʃ/. My study of A A Macdonell's A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary, p361 to p374, particularly p363.htm, has confirmed my discovery of Lisping Consonants, {Ska.} etc., in the year 2015. See my paper Vowels and Consonants: A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary :
- https://www.tuninst.net/SED-MCvowcon/MC-BEPS-vow/MC-BEPS-vow.htm 200321

For the present, the pronunciation of Labial-dentals and Affricates are not included in BEPS transcription, even though the glyphs are included in the table of consonants as Palatal Affricates. However, when it becomes absolutely necessary their pronunciation have to be included, e.g. in the transcription of English <church> as {chaach} for GA (American English) and {chuuch} for RP (British English).

UKT 200311: It might be necessary to re-group the r5 column as the "Nasal group". However, it would disrupt the page numbers listed in Macdonell's TOC. It might be confusing and lessened the benefit of re-grouping.

UKT 200118: Though Nepali-Devanagari, and Mon-Myanmar are not strictly included in BEPS languages, there are some interesting points - no doubt connected to respective phonologies - such as extra consonants ड़ and ढ़ in Nepali, and Mon-Myan {a.} and {}.

Contents of this page

Approximants as onsets (page-by-page)
regrouped as Semi-consonants, Fricatives, and H- as onsets

UKT 181209: Approximants under - MCa1pp-indx.htm - update 2020Mar 
- Consolidated  
Semi-consonants  {ya.} य, {ra.} र, {la.} ल, {wa.} व - from old MCa/ MC-c61 signifying row#6-column#1
Fricatives {sha.} श, {Sa.} ष, {a.} स - from old MCa/ MC-c65 signifying row#6-column#5
H-deep {ha.} - from old MCa/ MC-c72 signifying row#7-column#2

Contents of this page

Basic vowels of Binpathak {bn~pa-ak} or BEPS
(Burmese, English, Pali, Sanskrit speeches written in Myanmar, Latin, and Devanagari scripts.)

Vowels as onsets (page-by-page)

UKT 180922, 190625: Vowels under - MCv1pp-indx.htm - update 2019Jun 
IE (Indo-European) vowels employ {a.}-prefix as negation which is not found in Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) in vowels. The negation in Tib-Bur is either {na.} or {ma.} exemplified by {i.} "known" and {ma.i.} "unknown". Formerly, I had considered splitting vowels into 2 groups as {a.wuN} "beautiful pair", and {a.a.wuN} "ugly pair". However, I'm now considering splitting V1 into a regular subgroup and negation subgroup:
  negation, V0
  {a.wuN}, V1 
  {a.a.wuN}, V2 .
The jury is still out.
IE is definitely rhotic, whereas Tib-Bur is not. It necessitates more than one kind of representation to show different forms of Ra'ric {ra.ric} to show rhoticity in Bur-Myan 

Contents of this page

History of Sanskrit Literature

Sanskrit and Vedic, - VedicSkt.htm - update 2020Mar 
from A History of Sanskrit Literature, by A A Macdonell, 1900 

- UKT: 200318:
Back in 1953, when I and my fellow classmates, Ko (Dr.) Thein Aung and Ko Thant Zin were admitted into B.Sc. (Chemistry Honours) course, our Professor and Head of the Department of Chemistry, University of Rangoon, was U Po Tha. Back then, Mandalay University was still a college affiliated to the University of Rangoon, because of which Ko (Dr.) Maung Di, came from Mandalay college to join us. Mandalay college could not offer Honours course and Ko Di had to come to Rangoon.  Ko Di later went to the United Kingdom to get his doctorate. He later became the Deputy Minister of Education. He told me how one of his UK professors, a Welsh man, challenged him to pronounce the phoneme /ll/ (double L). This phoneme is in Bur-Myan as La'ha'hto {lha.}. The Welsh man was thrilled at Ko Di's ability, and I became interested in the Welsh language and beliefs - leprechauns and gnomes and all.

Now back to Saya U Po Tha. He was probably a last member of IES (Indian Educational Service) contemporaries of ICS (Indian Civil Service) and IMS (Indian Medical Service). And he had worked under Dr. Peacock - a Scot - notorious among his students for being a strict scientist and chemist. One of my old lecturers, Saya U San Tun who had worked under Dr. Peacock told me how Dr. Peacock had scolded him for being absent from duty on King George's the Fifth birthday - a public holiday in British Burma. Dr. Peacock had said: "San Tun, in Chemistry we are interested in Things, not People." By Chemistry is meant Science and People is kings and politicians. Dr. Peacock had to severely pay for his uncompromising attitude in the end: he was dismissed from service by the Governor General himself - the then chancellor of the university. The proud Scot had to go back to his native Scotland and ended his career in University of Sheffield. By chance I met one of his students from Sheffield in Canada and we became best friends. 

Now you can expect U Po Tha to be uncompromising in many of his scientific views. He made us study the History of Chemistry - which I enjoyed much because of my good understanding of English. Naturally, most of his students, including Ko Thein Aung and Ko Thant Zin fumed for having to study such worthless subject as History. Now you'll understand why I am interested in the History of Sanskrit Literature.

Contents of this page

Introduction to the present work

- UKT 200312:
My own introduction is presented as a separate page - MC-intro.htm - update 2020Mar 

Preface to Macdonell's (MC) dictionary, Scanned pages - MC-pre1.htm / MC-pre2.htm - update 2020Mar 

Nighantu and Nirukta: Buddha's anti-Brahmanism - nirukta.htm - update 2018Oct 
* A Glossary of Sanskrit words, from Sanskrit Documents, has been moved
on 190715  to ~~HD-nonPDF & SD-nonPDF, Archive sections and will be available
only in TIL Research Station, Yangon.

Contents of this page

Check the following which were once part of MCv-indx.htm .
  Vowels in general - Human Voice - MC-acoustics.htm (link chk 160110)
  Ancient Languages: BEPS & Georgian - MC-anci-lang.htm (link chk 160110)
  Comparison of Skt-Dev, Eng-IPALatin, and Bur-Myan vowels - MC-BEPS-vow.htm (link chk 191026) 

The Roots, Verb-forms, and Primary derivatives of the Sanskrit Language, by W. D. Whitney, downloaded txt in TIL PDF libraries:
Single-page format - WDWhitney-RootsVerbFormS<> / Bkp<> (link chk 200311)
   Whitney's work is intended especially as a Supplement to his Sanskrit Grammar (Leipzig, 1879). I'm including his work in Macdonell's Dictionary to serve me in my study of Sanskrit Grammar.

On script - MCscript-indx.htm - update 2018Aug
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".

Contents of this page

UKT notes
Supporting dictionaries
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} : Listen to Skt-Dev BkCnd-VIDEO<))
  Vowel letters in Bur-Myan and Skt-Dev
  Checking the Bur-Myan vowels
Pronunciation of Skt-Dev Basic Aksharas
Sonority hierarchy
Sounds and Shapes

Contents of this page

UKT notes

Supporting dictionaries

Latin-English Vocabulary II, by Hans H rberg, 1998
- HHOrberg-LinguaLatina<> / Bkp<> (link chk 190624)

Sanskrit Grammar (vocal: SND files), by Dr. Pankaja Rajagopal
- SktGramRajagopal<> (link chk 190928)

Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis in 2 Parts, A. W. Lonsdale, Rangoon 1899
- BG1899-indx.htm (link chk 191008)
"The Burmese language is constructed on scientific principles, and there is no reason why its grammar should not be dealt with also from a scientific standpoint. But it may be safely said that Burmese grammar as a science has not received that attention it deserves."
   Note: This Burmese grammar in English compared with modern Burmese grammars in Bur-Myan will illustrate how the British colonialists had set out to destroy - with success - the influence of Burmese Buddhist monks on secular education.

Digital online dictionary from Univ. Chicago
- http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/macdonell/

Roots and Verb-forms in Sanskrit, by W. D. Whitney, 1885.
  Note: This and the following dictionaries are in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
  Single-page format - WDWhitney-RootsVerbFormS<> / Bkp<> (link chk 200119)
Skt-Eng Dictionary, by T. Benfey, 1866,
- TBenfey-SktEngDict<> / Bkp<> (link chk 200119)
  Ref. as "Benfey" - no page numbers in Google e-book from which the PDF is copied
Skt-Eng Dictionary, by M. Monier-Williams, 1899,
- MMonier-Williams-SktEngDic<> / Bkp<> (link chk 200119)

The Student's Pali English dictionary , by U Pe Maung Tin, 1920.
- (ref: UPMT-PEDxxx).  Downloaded copies in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
- UPMT-PaliDict1920<> / bkp<> (link chk 190113)
Pali-Myanmar dictionary, by U Hoke Sein (in Pal-Myan), Min. of Religious Affars, Govt. of Burma, first print 1954, pp1180 - (UHS-PMD) ,
The Universal Burmese-English-Pali Dictionary, by U Hoke Sein, - (UHS-BEPD)

Online Sanskrit Dictionary , February 12, 2003 .
  - http://sanskritdocuments.org/dict/dictall.pdf  090907, 110504, 140805
  - http://sanskritdocuments.org/dict/dictall_unic.html 110810, 140805
Downloaded files in TIL HD-PDF & SD-PDF libraries
- SktDoc-OnlineSktDict<> / Bkp<> (link chk 181217)
It has been suspended to concentrate on Macdonell's. I'll be merge the two eventually. The link to my suspended work is:
- SED-indx.htm (link chk 181217)

UKT 181213: Similar to Macdonell's entries, BHS entries are also stored in a dedicated folder, ~~CUTS. They are not to be uploaded to the Internet. However, U Hoke's Sein's entries have to be uploaded to the Internet. I'm toying with the idea of forming BANKs for the UHS similar to AK-BNKs. They would be named UHS-BNKs.

A Dictionary of the Pali Language, by R.C. Childers, reprint 2007 available in TIL library in Research Center in Yangon.
  The above as downloaded text from 1875 ed. in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
- RCChilders-PaliLangDict<> / Bkp<> (link chk 180701)
Buddhist Dict. of Pali Proper names
- http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_names/dic_idx.html (link chk 190127)

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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
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
Skt-Dev numbers, 0-9:  ०  १  २  ३  ४  ५  ६  ७  ८  ९ 
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 ħ ʔ /ˌ / /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
Subscripts: ₀ ₁ ₂ ₃ ₄ : CO₂

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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 ]

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 :
- MCscript-indx.htm > MC-pre2.htm

"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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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

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Contents of this page

Sounds and Shapes

- UKT 150429, 170121, 180702, 180717, 190417:

After studying the sounds and shapes of the aksharas - not letters of alphabet - I am beginning to form an opinion that there is an underlying reason for the single-circle and double-circle in the Bur-Myanmar matrix:

Taking a cue from the column#2 of Asoka akshara of row#3, and the corresponding akshara of row#4, the perfect circle and a circle with a blemish inside, and a second cue is from the Sa'ma Le'loan Inn {sa.ma.l:lon: n:} aka {sa.Da.ba.wa. n:}.

Perfection is represented by a full circle. Thus a perfect character, a cherished aim of all men such as the Gautama Buddha, is represented by a full circle.

To write the Myanmar aksharas into the frames of an {n:} to give "life and power" to it you must not lift the stylus from the substrate which may be a sheet of metal such as silver or gold, a blade of palm leaf, or an potsherd. While moving the stylus deliberately and slowly, you must recite the Mantra "formula" - a message, a command to all unseen entities, such as gods and goddesses, down to the lowest ghost and devils. You will write clock-wise as shown.

The message is not a hymn to them. You do not pray to them. You command them to do your bidding as par  message of the Mantra. You as a Buddhist is above all to these gods and goddesses, and because of these Mantras they are literally your servants. An {n:} constructed in such a way has become an implement or a Yantra .

Now, who wrote all these Mantras? First, they are some ten ancient Vdic Rishis respected by Buddha himself. But then there are others who wrote Mantras. There are both good and evil messages, and the King of Heaven Indra himself is afraid of these humans and is always on the lookout to destroy them before they become powerful enough to write powerful Mantras.

The meaning of the Sa'ma Le'loan Inn {sa.ma.l:lon: n:} is:
  First: all men and women are born with wrong intentions and views such as "Greed", "Anger", undue indulgence in "Sex", and "Self Conceit". These are the imperfections of the Heart. It is a circle with an imperfection, a dent in the circle on the left where your heart resides.
  Second: try to become perfect, and you'll come to realize you are still left with an imperfection - the uncontrolled Sexual desires. These reside in your sexual organs at the lower end of your body.
  Third: strive again for perfection. You are still left with imperfection of thinking which resides in your head. It is represented by a dent on the top side of the circle.
  Final: put in more effort. Then you become perfect: a full circle.
You'll notice that Buddha and his Arahats would be the first and foremost achievers of Perfection. Their quality is the ability to face calamities of life with calmness. They may or may not survive, but remain calm. The Sa'ma Le'loan Inn {sa.ma.l:lon: n:} is an instrument of protection from danger, or at least makes you calm .

The above explanation of Sa'ma Le'loan Inn {sa.ma.l:lon: n:} is my own. Each {n:} comes to have "life and power" because of the message it conveys if the person casting it (the caster), either a man or woman, has sufficiently prepared himself. The caster must a clear concentrated mind by fasting, abstaining from sex, and intoxicating, for a few days. Of course he must already know the Mantra written by some Rishi.

Above I've shown that Bur-Myan aksharas must be pronounced as clearly as possible to convey a message. Coming back to the Burmese-Myanmar aksharas, you'll notice that in the first two columns:
  row#5 is represented by single-cicles: {pa.} /p/ --> {hpa.} /pʰ/ (usually difficult to pronounce)
  row#4 is represented by double-circles: {ta.} /t/ --> {hta.} /tʰ/ (easier to pronounce)
  row#1 & row#2 taken together is represented by
    double-circle {ka.} /k/ --> single-circle {hka.} /kʰ/ --> single-circle {sa.} /c/--> double-circle {hsa.} /cʰ/.
At present, I can only note that there is something intriguing to the above relations. I need to observe more.

Because of mispronunciation of the non-hissing dental-fricative thibilant /θ/ as hissing dental sibilant /s/ by the Sanskrit-speakers, and the reliance of the European philologists on them for the pronunciation of the Bur-Myan phonemes, a considerable number of Burmese words came to have wrong transliterations leading to wrong transcriptions, and wrong interpretations.

In Pal-Myan and Bur-Myan, {n} has the same pronunciation as {a.} checked by {na.}/ {n} : {n}. However, the transcription has been /ɪn/ which sounds like { n}. Thus the name of the robber-turned-saint Angulimala came to be different in Pali-Myan and Pali-Lat.

Some phonemes came to be spelled with repha, e.g. p017.htm & p018.htm .

In Skt-Myan, {n} has the pronunciation of {m}.

The entries in FE-BHS are in English transcription which can be confusing between various authors of different dictionaries. My solution is to use Devanagari script with help from other sources.

The three nasals, the velar, palatal, and the reflex are the most difficult to pronounce. The most difficult, because of its absence in Eng-Lat, and Skt-Dev, is the r1c5 phoneme {gna.}/ {ng}, with IPA transcription /ŋ/ (velar). In Eng-Lat transcription of Bur-Myan in BEPS, it is spelled with <gna> in the onset, and <nga> in the coda. It is non-nasal in the onset, and nasal in the coda earning the name of semi-nasal to differentiate it from true nasals like {na.} and {ma.}.

There are no words in Eng-Lat, Skt-Dev, and Pal-Myan, that begins with {gna.}. This is strikingly different from Bur-Myan, and Nepali-Dev. The Burmese the word for <fish> is {gna:}, and in Nep-Dev it is equivalent to {gna}.
Remember not to bring in Mon-Myan to solve the problem of {gna.}, because the Mon writes this grapheme as {ng~ra.} with a hanging {ra.}. Bur-Myan and Mon-Myan belong to different language groups: Burmese to Tib-Bur, and Mon to Aus-Asi.

There are two contenders for the second nasal (palatal), r2c5, because of mixing stops, affricates and approximants. Bur-Myan has no affricates, whereas Eng-Latin, and Skt-Dev has affricates. The two contenders for r2c5 are Nya-major {a.}/ {}, and Nya-minor  {a.}/ {} row#2. The shapes of the two glyphs clearly show that they are related. Since Nya-minor belongs to the class of single-circle it and its derivatives are difficult to pronounce, whereas the pronunciations of Nya-major and its derivatives belonging to double-circle class is easy to control. Unfortunately, as far as I know Bur-Myan is the only language that has a phoneme like Nya-major, and I've no way of comparison in other languages. Comparatively, r1c5 {gna.}/ {ng} is in better position than r2c5 {a.}/ {}.

We are taking note of the following observations:
#1. In Pali-Myan (which is well integrated into Bur-Myan), {} breaks down into two components, {} + {a.} in words like {pi~a} 'knowledge, education'. This shows that Nya-major has some nasal properties like {gna.}.
#2. Position-wise, Nya-minor {a.} being under Gna {gna.}, is a better contender for the cell r2c5 of the akshara matrix. Both Gna {gna.} and {a.} are semi-nasals whereas {na.} and {ma.} are true-nasals.
#3. Comparison of {} and {} in Bur-Myan, in word-pairs like: {t} and {t} shows that Nya-major has no nasality but only friction. Therefore {ya.} and {a.} are neighbours in Approximant class.

Remember this is a Sanskrit Dictionary. I am just attempting to give Skt-Myan spellings and their transcriptions in Romabama to help you to learn written Sanskrit. When learning to speak Sanskrit you'll have to use Sanskrit phonology which you can get from one who speaks Sanskrit.

Go back sounds-shapes-note-



Contents of this page

----- the following are from the old format. They will be incorporated into the above,
or moved to BEPS-indx.htm BEPS-indx.htm and its nested files

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/.  
: /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':

His disciple monk, Shin Kic'si, came up with his motto:

 UKT 171208, 180326: The postulate of Shin Kic'si {shin kic~s}: "The signification is known by akshara" was highly approved by the Gautama Buddha, who then declared his disciple monk as the greatest "grammarian". 
See my note on this postulate on p077F.htm (link chk 180325)
The motto is also in Mason-Mazard, p036 in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries.
- FMasonMazard-KicsiPali<> / bkp<> (link chk 171224)

UKT 180403: Notice how the syllable {t} ते is written in scripts of Pali-Myan, Engl-Lat, and Skt-Dev. The order (by position) of  vowel glyph {a.w hto:} - written as ), and the consonant {ta.} त is different.

Pali-Myan: vowel (left) - consonant (right): {t}
Engl-Latin: consonant (left) - vowel (right): te
Skt-Dev: vowel (above) - consonant (below): ते

In BEPS-Myan, vowel glyph Tha'we'hto {a.w hto:} has been pushed up as in the case of Skt-Dev and Mon-Myan. A pushed-up Tha'we'hto or Super-Tha'we'hto is found in Mon words. See the logo on An Introduction to Mon language by M. Jenny, 2001. Downloaded paper in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
- MJenny-IntroMonLang<> / Bkp<> (link chk 180403)

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-Myan pronounce {sa.} as / {kya.}/ which necessitates the invention of  a new glyph for Mon-Myan: {sa.}-Mon

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  {shn 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.


Contents of this page

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.

Go back lateral-rhotic-note-b

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End of TIL file