Update: 2012-01-01 06:08 AM +0630


BEPS Sanskrit Dictionary


by U Kyaw Tun, M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), Daw Khin Wutyi, B.Sc., and staff of TIL Computing and Language Centre, Yangon, Myanmar. Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone.

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The vowels
Vowel change in different environments
IAST (International alphabet of Sanskrit transliteration)

UKT notes :
Checking the inherent vowel Lip-rounding Paat-hsin / {paaT-hsing.} quantal vowel/a/ /i/ /u/
R-coloured vowel repha रेप Two-three tone problem vocalic R (German)

Note: the inset "elepha-mouse" reminds one of the Hindu-god Gasnesh on his vehicle the mouse. By this little cute logo, I do not wish to offend any one.

Note: Transliteration: You will meet 3 types of transliterations: IAST without brackets, ITRANS within (...) from OnlineSktDict, and ASCII within <...> from SpkSkt.

 CAVEAT: In the following pages, entries in Burmese-Myanmar may NOT be in conjunct {paaT-hsing.} form.
   Remember when different fonts are used there can always be differences in rendering. TIL files are in Arial Unicode MS font whilst other online sources can be in other fonts which makes the same word appear differently. To overcome this obstacle, a suspicious word can be broken down into individual aksharas including the viram, visagar, etc. to see if it has the individual components in the correct order or not.

Note: {a.} and {aR.} : Unlike {a.} of Bur-Myan, the {aR.} vowel sound is present in very rhotic languages such as Sanskrit and other Indic languages. It is pronounced with a rolling burring guttural sound which I am tentatively representing as {aR.}.

There is another less rhotic sound formed from the approximant र ra . The r here is realized in medials such क्र kri. = क ् र . This medial is the same as Pal-Myan {kri.}. The r is usually represented as a repha रेप and is placed over the next consonant ). In shape it is similar to a Bur-Myan {a.tht}.

कर्कटी karkaṭī 
Skt: कर्कटी karkaṭī - cucumber - OnlineSktDict
Skt: कर्कटी karkaṭī - f.  cucumber - SpkSkt 
Pal: kakkaṭī - f. a kind of cucumber, snake, pot - UPMT-PED061
Pal: {kak~ka.Ti} - - UHS-PMD0275

The following are some entries involving {king:si:} :

Some entries in the format:

  कंस्य kaṁsa (kansya)
  Skt: कंस्य (kansya) - bronze - OnlineSkt
  Pal: kaṁsa - m. metal, bronze, a gong, bowl - UPMT-PED061
  Pal: {kn-a.}/{kn-tha.}
    - UHS-PMD0275

line 1 Skt: in Devanagari (IAST and/or ITRAN) usually
   from OnlineSktDict PDF page
line 2 Pal: in IAST, from UPMT-PEDict to cue in line 3 entry.
    * preceding Pal means the entry may not be exactly the same as Skt
line 3 Pal: in Pal-Myan (Romabama), usually from UHS-MPDict
   for the equivalent or near-equivalent Pali word, 
line 4 Bur: in Bur-Myan (Romabama), usually from MLC MEDict
  only for those words which can be related to Pal-Myan .

Note: There are cases where neither UPMT-PEDict nor Pali-Text-Soc gives an entry, yet it is found in UHS-PMDict which agrees with the Skt entry of line 1. See: आवेगः (aavegaH) Skt:  m.  impulse - a2va1-031b1-3.htm . Such cases must be checked by more knowledgeable persons.

My wish is to include sound samples as well. But I realize that only very few samples will be available. The following are mp3 from: http://www.sanghatasutra.net/pronouncing.html#Listening_to_the_Sanskrit_ 100610
rjuna <))
Sanghta Sutra <))

The Sanghata Sutra (Ārya Sanghāta Sūtra) is a Mahāyāna Buddhist scripture widely circulated in northwest India and Central Asia. -- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanghata_Sutra 110511

Some of the information given in "Introduction" given below on this file has been moved into a separate file: SED-intro.htm .

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  Before we say something about the vowels in particular, let me ask you this. Have you ever opened your mouth wide enough and looked inside? The prominent feature is the Uvula aka {lhya hking} usually depicting a hungry mouth in cartoons. It stands as a guard between the oral cavity and the tube (pharynx) behind it.

Try to pronounce the word {lhya hking} and ask a native born Burmese speaker if he could understand you. He would say 'yes', but would probably add that the proper pronunciation is /{sha hking}/. The majority pronounce {lhya.} as {hya.] which I have transcribed as {sha.}.

The lateral sound {lhya.} in Bur-Myan involves the phoneme /l/ {la.}. The lateral sounds were present in Vedic e.g. ऌ , but very rare in Classical Sanskrit of Panini. Why? In Sanskrit these sounds became dental-sibilant fricatives such as /ʃ/  श. Was it because Vedic, the language of the Vedas, and Sanskrit were different languages or if I may suggest the dialects of the same language spoken by peoples of different ethnic groups who even in facial features were noticeably different. And so this difference in external features would be reflected in the various muscles they use to sing their vowels. Who were they? They were Tibeto-Burmese (Tib-Bur) speakers and Indo-European (IE) speakers. Panini was the linguist or grammarian who systematized the change.

Vowels are complex sounds coming out the voice box. When the human voice comes out the oral cavity they can be either checked or free. Checking the vowel in the oral cavity is done by the tongue which is like a bag of jelly with no definite shape controlled by various muscles attached the adjoining bones.

Vowels are also affected by the position of the jaw, and the shape of the lips. The vowels can also be checked in the nasal passage particularly by the velum. They occupy the most important position in the production of syllables in an alphasyllabic language aka abugida. - UKT110923.

Vowels are more complex than consonants. This is true of all languages. However, since we are dealing here with four languages, Burmese, English, Pali and Sanskrit, usually written in three scripts, Myanmar, Latin (IPA - International Phonetic Alphabet), and Devanagari, the problem is compounded. Moreover the scripts are of two types, the alphabet and the abugida (or akshara) which are fundamentally different.

Few would have dared to take on the four languages together because of the complexity, but because I am a bilingual in two languages, Burmese and English, and belonging to two different cultures, Burmese-Myanmar in the East and English-Latin in the West, who is steeped in the dominant religions - Buddhism and Christianity, and also because of my life-time interest in ancient histories of the East and the West, I feel that perhaps I should venture to take on this task of looking into the four languages together. It is a necessity in the task of transcription of Burmese into English and vice-versa.

I am aided in my work by my own invention the Romabama (Burmese speech in extended-Latin script), a transliteration system developed to be written in ASCII on the internet. It has been designed to be closely related to IPA, so that I can go from Burmese-Myanmar to Romabama, and then to IPA, and finally to English-Latin. I can also use the reverse process to transcribe English into Burmese.

Though not well realized, the vowels (at least the Burmese-Myanmar vowels) are said to be made up of two groups: {a.wuN} and {a.a.wuN}. See Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis by A. W. Lonsdale (Education Department, Burma, British Burma Press, Rangoon, 1899) Part 1, para 8 :

The vowels are either similar, called {tha.wuN}, thawn, or dissimilar, called {a.tha.wuN} athawn; thus, {a.} and {a} , and {I.} and {I}, {U.} and / {U} are similar; {:} and {:} in Pli, and {:} , {:} , {AU:} , and {AU} in Burmese are dissimilar, not only to one another but to all the others.

There are three similar short-long pairs. They are quantal vowels. In the following they are given as vowel-letters. When they are combined with consonants, they take on various forms of diacritics and are then known as vowel-signs They are also given below:

In Sanskrit the rhotic short-long vowel pair, ऋ-ॠ {iR.}-{iR} is prominent. Hence, I am dubbing them as Skt-Dev-vowels. However in Vedic, the lateral short-long vowel-pair, ऌ-ॡ, seems to dominate. This pair is rarely found in Classical Sanskrit . In my younger days, we used to chide the Chinese in the US for their "fly-lice" which they eat instead of "fried-rice".

The highly rhotic-<i>, ऋ (short) and ॠ (long) pair is not present in Burmese-Myanmar (Bur-Myan). Though the old Sanskrit speakers in Myanmar have given graphemes for them, I am introducing two new vowel-sign graphemes. My sole intention is to show that they are vowels related to front-close /i/: > {iR.} ऋ ṛ and > {iR} ॠ ṝ  . These with the phoneme /k/ or {ka.} would give {kRi.} and {kRi} instead of the regular Bur-Myan {kri.} and {kri} which are so un-rhotic that they sound like / {kyi.}/ and / {kyi}/ . Notice the length of the "hood" in highly rhotic vowels.

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Vowel change in different environments

What has been generally overlooked in transcription of Burmese to English (or back) is that the vowels do change in different environments. For example the English word <at> cannot be transcribed in Burmese-Myanmar as {t} even though {a.} is generally equated to <a> . The vowel seems to have changed from // to /ʌ/ due to the coda /t/. In other words the peak aka the nucleus of the syllable has been changed because of its being "checked" by the coda-consonant. See my note " Checking the inherent vowel". In Romabama I have tried accommodate such changes, and because of this Romabama which originated as a transliteration in the late 1990s is now being changed into a transliteration.

You can now take on the short and long vowels in SED-vow-a1-indx.htm and other vowel index pages.

And of course, before all vowels (remember we are presenting Sanskrit - the "holy" language of Hinduism) comes the ubiquitous OM, / {on/ON}.

U Hoke Sein lists short-vowel {U.} (UHS-PMD0197 to 0249) and then for long-vowel {Ui.} (UHS-PMD0250) but not {Uu.} and {Uu} which sets me hunting for OM  {on/ON}. On MLC MED2010-624 is listed {AUng:}.

Bur: {AUng:} - n. Om ; word prefacing Pali verse or mantra
  to ensure potency or success [Sans ] - MED2010-624

MLC MED2010 also does not list {Uu.} and {Uu}.


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IAST (International alphabet of Sanskrit transliteration)

The following are for akshara-to-akshara transliteration between Devanagari and Myanmar. 


Sanskrit speakers seem to have difficulty in distinguishing the consonants ब /{ba.}/ /b/, and व /{wa.}/ /w/.   It should be noted that /{ba.}/ is how a Bur-Myan speaker would pronounce ब as a dental /b/, and how an Eng-Lat speaker would pronounce it as <b> as in <boat> - again as a dental. The English speaker would not pronounce the onset as labio-dental /v/.
   That the Sanskrit speakers seem to difficulty is attested by the fact that they even assign very similar shapes: ब and व . This is very different from the case of Bur-Myan, especially in certain environments as in {bya.} /bja/, and {wa.} /wa/ .

Sanskrit, unlike Burmese and probably the ancient Magadhi, is rhotic, but possibly less so than Tamil.
   Sanskrit has a pair of highly rhotic vowels which are unknown in Burmese: ऋ (short) and ॠ (long). Both are related to vowel /i/. For this pair, I have tentatively set {aRi.} and {aRi} for use in Romabama.
   At this point, I must remind the reader that the term "Sanskrit" is applied to two different languages: the language of the Veda and the classical language codified by Panini. I feel that the term "Vedic Sanskrit" is an oxymoron because even by the time of Panini many Vedic forms were no longer used. Thus, I prefer the term "Vedic" in place of "Vedic Sanskrit". I would identify the two languages as the Vedic and Sanskrit in stead of "Vedic Sanskrit" and "Classical Sanskrit".

The Vedic was an Tibeto-Burman language (with sounds similar to Bur-Myan where the sounds are almost non-rhotic and with both sibilant and thibilant sounds present), and the Sanskrit an Indo-European language (with sounds similar to the Central European languages - highly rhotic and and where only sibilant sounds are present.). This is only a hypothesis and is bound to be disputed. -- UKT110607

The Vedic, at present a reconstructed language, had a pair of lateral vowels ऌ (short) and ॡ (long). They are also related to the vowel /i/. By "lateral" I mean those sounds related to the Bur-Myan {la.} /l/. Bur-Myan can give rise to medial sounds with medial formers {ya.}, {wa.}, and {ha.} singly or more: {lya.}, {lwa.}, {lha.}, {lhya.}, {lhwa.}. If you are a Myanmar born Bur-Myanmar you would be able to pronounce all these sounds.

Skt-Myan has a few dedicated graphemes as equivalents to Devanagari:
  - UHS-PMD-pg-{hsa.}
Note: Romabama does not use them, primarily their shapes do not reflect the grapheme shapes of other Bur-Myan graphemes.

UKT: Note to digitizer/Devanagari transcriber :
you can copy and paste the following:
Ā ā  Ē ē  Ī ī  Ō ō  Ū ū
Ḍ ḍ  Ḥ ḥ  Ḷ ḷ  Ṁ ṁ  Ṃ ṃ  Ṅ ṅ    Ṇ ṇ  Ṛ ṛ  Ṝ ṝ  Ś ś  Ṣ ṣ  Ṭ ṭ    ɕ ʂ
Instead of Devanagari ः {wic~sa.} use "colon" :
Root sign √
Sanskrit-Devanagari : श ś [ɕ]; ष ṣ [ʂ]; स s [s];

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UKT notes

Checking the inherent vowel

by UKT 100509
Note: in order to be politically correct, whenever I have to mention two names in a row, I use the alphabetical order. Thus, when I say "Devanagari and Myanmar", I am following the alphabetical order without any other motive.

A hallmark of the abugida writing system is the presence of an inherent vowel in each grapheme. Thus, {ka.} represents the IPA /k/ followed by the inherent vowel which is likened to the English short a //. The vowels in the Devanagari and Myanmar are of two types: the vowel letter and the vowel sign. For example the close front vowel /i/ is represented by vowel letters इ  i  and {I.} in Devanagari and Myanmar respectively. When this vowel is to be linked to a consonant, it is represented by vowel signs ि and , with the consonant taking the place of the empty circle/line . For consonant /k/ , this becomes कि ki and {ki.} . The vowel /i/ is counted as the second vowel in both Devanagari and Myanmar: the first being what we generally called the 'inherent vowel'. The vowel letters for the inherent vowel are अ a and {a.} . The first consonants are: क ka and {ka.}. The consonant is actually a syllable and is pronounceable approximately as /ka/. The abugida writing system is sometimes called the alpha-syllabic system because the basic units are syllables. This is the main difference from the alphabetic systems where the consonant k is not pronounceable unless supplied with a vowel.

When the inherent vowel from Devanagari (or Myanmar) is killed by a virama ("viram" for short) (or {a.tht}) we get a phoneme which is the same as the "letter" of the alphabet. The killed consonants are marked with ् and . Thus

क ka + viram ् --> क् k
{ka.} + {a.tht} --> {k}

The question here is what happens when this {a.} is checked by the 'killed' c1- (column 1) consonants of the akshara matrix: {k}, {c}, {t} and {p}. More specifically what do we put in place of the in the following as vowels. From the way we pronounce Burmese-Myanmar, to simply put in <a> is not satisfactory.

{k} ; {c} ; {t} ; {p}
Note: The {c} is the palatal <c> which is supposed to be absent in English.
See my discussions on the palatal <c> in English in Antimoon forum:
English Palatal stop: http://www.antimoon.com/forum/t9649.htm (recent access: 100217
Pronouncing the double c: http://www.antimoon.com/forum/t9999.htm (recent access: 100217)

My good friend U Tun Tint of MLC has noted that if Romabama is a transliteration the question of vowel change in different environment becomes moot. My reply is: Romabama would be eventually changed into a transcription (for common people a transcription is needed: for the learned we already have the MLC system of transliteration) and we would have to take into consideration the vowel changes in different environments. The consonants are rather stable and we need not be bothered with them. -- UKT 100412

For a solution I am looking into the way the English words <...> are pronounced (IPA transcriptions as given in DJPD16):

<ack> /k/ ; <is> /ɪz/ ; <at> /t/ ; <up> /ʌp/ - for c1 consonants as coda
<?ng> ; <?> ; <an> /n/ ; <am> /m/ - for c5 consonants as coda

Since the Romabama letters must be in ASCII, I am using the following approximation for c1-coda:

{ak} ; {ic} ; {t} ; {p}

For the c5 coda we have a problem because we cannot find English words for <?ng> and <?> , and <an> /n/ and <am> /m/ seem to be quite different from Burmese nasals, especially for <m>. Therefore, I have used the following tentatively (adding one for the retroflex r3c5):

{n}/{ing} ; {i} (Pal-Myan) / {} (Bur-Myan) ; {aN} ; {n} ; {m}

Go back Check-inherent-vow-note-b

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From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundedness 100711

In phonetics, vowel roundedness refers to the amount of rounding in the lips during the articulation of a vowel. That is, it is vocalic labialization. When pronouncing a rounded vowel, the lips form a circular opening, while unrounded vowels (also called spread vowels) are pronounced with the lips relaxed. In most languages, front vowels tend to be unrounded, while back vowels tend to be rounded. But some languages, such as French and German, distinguish rounded and unrounded front vowels of the same height, while, for example, Vietnamese distinguishes rounded and unrounded back vowels of the same height.

In the IPA vowel chart, rounded vowels are the ones that occur on the right in each pair of vowels. There are also diacritics, respectively SND/ɔ̹ ɔ̜, to indicate greater or lesser degrees of rounding. The 'more' and 'less rounded' diacritics are sometimes also used with consonants to indicate degrees of labialization. (See relative articulation.)

There are two types of vowel rounding: protruded and compressed. [1] [UKT ]

In protruded rounding, the corners of the mouth are drawn together and the lips protrude like a tube, with their inner surface visible. In compressed rounding, the corners of the mouth are drawn together, but the lips are also drawn together horizontally ("compressed") and do not protrude, with only their outer surface visible. That is, in protruded vowels the inner surfaces of the lips form the opening (thus the alternate term endolabial), while in compressed vowels it is the margins of the lips which form the opening (thus exolabial). Catford (1982:172) observes that back and central rounded vowels, such as German SND//o/ and SND//u/, are typically protruded, while front rounded vowels such as German SND/// and SND//y/ are typically compressed. Back or central compressed vowels and front protruded vowels are uncommon,[2] and a contrast between the two types has been found to be phonemic in only one instance.[3] There are no dedicated IPA diacritics to represent the distinction.


Roundedness and labialization

(Protrusion) roundedness is the vocalic equivalent of consonantal labialization. As such, rounded vowels and labialized consonants affect each other through phonetic assimilation: Rounded vowels labialize consonants, and labialized consonants round vowels.

In many languages such effects are minor phonetic detail, but in some cases they become significant. For example, in Mandarin Chinese, the unrounded vowel /ɤ/ is pronounced [o] after labial consonants, an allophonic effect salient enough to be encoded in pinyin transliteration: velar /xɤ/ he vs. labial /pɤ/ bo. In Vietnamese, the opposite assimilation takes place: velar codas /k/ and /ŋ/ are pronounced as labialized [kʷ] and [ŋʷ], or even labial-velar /kp/ and /ŋm/, after the rounded vowels /u/ and /o/. In the Northwest Caucasian languages of the Caucasus and the Sepik languages of Papua New Guinea, historically rounded vowels have become unrounded, with the rounding being taken up by the consonant, so that, for example, Sepik [ku] and [ko] are phonemically /kwɨ/ and /kwə/ ; similarly, Ubykh [ku] and [ko] are phonemically /kʷə/ and /kʷa/.

Go back lip-round-note-b

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Paat-hsin / {paaT-hsing.}

UKT - 100528:

Contrast कर् (kar) {ka.kri: ra.kauk-tht} with र् क  =  र ् क   and {kra.} क्र (kra) = क ् र .

A Bur-Myan word similar to the above is {maar} which on rendering into Devanagari is मार् = {maar} (MED2010-359) derived from Pali-Latin māra 'the evil one' (UPMT-PED171) .

Because many words such as कर्क (karka) are pronounced as a conjunct, Romabama has tentatively inserted a tilde ~ after {kar~} e.g.

Skt {kar~ma.} is usually found as Pal  {kam~ma.}
which is usually written as a vertical conjunct {kam~ma.}.

Such vertical conjuncts are usually found in words derived from Pali, because of which they are commonly known as {paaT-hsing.} . However, it is regrettable that the horizontal conjuncts such as {~a.} have not been given a group name with the result that many including the learned monks has come to think of them as regular consonants. In fact {~a.} is actually a horizontal conjunct {~a.} and should have been named {paaT-tw:}.

Go back paat-hsin-note-b

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quantal vowel

From: A Dictionary of Phonetics and Phonology cited by
http://www.bookrags.com/tandf/quantal-vowel-tf/ 100414

n. A vowel whose acoustic qualities are little affected by variation in its articulation and whose perception is little affected by variation in its acoustic quality: one of [i u a]. Stevens (1972).

Go back quantal-vow-note-b

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R-coloured vowel

From: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-colored_vowel 100117
UKT: my inserts in [...] .

In phonetics, vocalic r refers to the phenomenon of a rhotic segment such as [r] or [ɹ] occurring as the syllable nucleus. This is a feature of a number of Slavic languages such as Czech, Macedonian [UKT: Alexander the Great was Macedonian] and Serbo-Croatian, as well as some western Bulgarian and eastern Slovene (Stirian) dialects. It also appears in languages like English and Mandarin Chinese, where it occurs as an r-colored vowel, a vowel whose distinctive feature is a low third formant.

UKT: It is my conjecture that hard rolling R sound or rhotic sound was not known in languages just south of the Himalayas in Tibeto-Burman languages until the invasion of the Macedonian Alexander the Great into Persia and India. I have arrived at this position from the fact that Burmese-Myanmar is almost entirely free of this sound, and that in Pali-Myanmar, this sound is not as frequent as in Sanskrit-Devanagari. -- UKT 100118

In most rhotic accents of English such as General American [GA], vocalic r occurs in words like butter and church.

UKT: The name of the country "Myanmar" spelled with an <r> at the end is pronounced in GA as in <butter> with a rolling sound at the end. It is not found in RP or BBC accent where the end <r> is not prominent. The correct Burmese pronunciation is without <r> resembling the RP and not GA.

A vowel [such as Schwa /ə/ or /ɚ/] may have either the tip or blade of the tongue turned up during at least part of the articulation of the vowel (a retroflex articulation) or with the tip of the tongue down and the back of the tongue bunched. Both articulations produce basically the same auditory effect, a lowering in frequency of the third formant. Although they are rarely attested, they occur in some non-standard varieties of Dutch and in a number of rhotic accents of English like GA. The English vowel may be analyzed phonemically as an underlying /ər/ rather than a syllabic consonant.

A few dialects of English, particularly GA and Ulster English, contain a vocalic R sound, equivalent to the consonantal R sound [ɹ]. In Ulster English, both long and short versions exist, conditioned by the Scots Vowel Length Rule:

[wɹ̩k] work (short vowel before the voiceless consonant /k/ [equivalent to Burmese-Myanmar {ka.} - not {hka.}]
[kɹ̩ːv] curve (long vowel before the voiced consonant /v/

UKT: During my very first trip to the US in 1957-59, I find it very difficult to pronounce <work>, and my good American friends from Main, particularly Karl Krasky, took great pains in helping me pronounce it differently from <walk> . Finally, I learned how to pronounce <work> as [wɜːk] which in Burmese-Myanmar derived through Romabama is {w:k}.

This is a little different from rhotacization described below ([wɝk], [kɝv] as opposed to non-rhotic [wɜːk], [kɜːv]), as [ɹ̩] is not a rhotic vowel or even a vowel, but may be treated as a similar phenomenon in this case, because this [ɹ̩] is phonemically identical to [ɝ], just realized differently. In general, however, a syllabic r (a vocalic r) and a rhotic vowel are different concepts.

The r-colored vowels of GA are written with vowel-r digraphs. Any vowel can be used:

Stressed [ɝ]: hearse, assert, mirth, work, turkey, myrtle
Unstressed [ɚ]: standard, dinner, Lincolnshire, editor, measure, martyr

An example of an r-colored vowel written as a vowel following "r" can be found in the word iron [ˈaɪɚn].

In Mandarin Chinese, the rhotacized ending of some words is the prime way by which to distinguish speakers of Standard Mandarin such as Beijing, Tianjin, Shenyang, Harbin accents from those of other forms of Mandarin such as Sichuan. Mandarin speakers call this phenomenon Erhua. In many words, -r suffix is added to indicate some meaning changes. In simplified written Chinese, the change is indicated with the suffix 儿. (If the word ends in a nasal, the final consonant is lost and the vowel becomes nasalized if what is lost is a nasal velar.)

In rhotic accents of Standard Mandarin Chinese such as accents in cities Beijing, Tianjin, most of Hebei province (e.g. Tangshan, Baoding, Chengde), Eastern Inner Mongolia (e.g. Chifeng, Hailar), and the three Northeastern provinces, vocalic r occurs as a diminutive endings to nouns (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: r ) and the past tense indicative (Chinese: ; pinyin: le ). This also occurs in the middle syllables of compound words consisting of 3 or more syllables. For example, restaurant 'Gou Bu Li' (狗不理; Gǒublǐ -> Gǒurlǐ) in Tianjin and 'B zhī do' (不知道 Bzhīdo -> Brdo) meaning 'Do not know'.

Vocalic r (syllabic r)

Sanskrit. The ancient Indian language Sanskrit possessed short and long versions of a vowel sound often referred to as "vocalic r".[2] It is represented in Devanagari by ऋ (short form) and ॠ (long form), and in IAST transliteration by (short form) and (long form), and is thought to correspond to original vocalic "l" or "r" in Proto-Indo-European [PIE].[2] (UKT )

The grammarian Pāṇini classified this vowel as retroflex[3] and its pronunciation is thought to have been a retroflex approximant [ɻ] in classical Sanskrit (c. 500 BC). (UKT )

UKT: Gaudama Buddha and Pāṇini had lived in the same period, the so-called Iron Age of India. It has been recorded that Buddha was against "standardization" of his sermons in Sanskrit particularly because of Sanskrit's preoccupation of "accent" or vocalization and allowed that his teachings be passed on to the audience in the local language which in all probability would be a Tibeto-Burman language. I contend that the Buddha himself had used a Tib-Bur pronunciation because his audience had been Tib-Bur speakers who spoke with a non-rhotic thibilant accent similar to the present day mainland Burmese-Myanmar.
   What Pāṇini
had described as a retroflex approximant [ɻ] (retroflex) would probably be similar to Burmese-Myanmar {ra.} /ɹ/ (alveolar). It should be noted that Burmese-Myanmar {ya.} is described as /j/ (palatal).
   I admit that my logic on Buddha's pronunciation is very fuzzy at this point.-- UKT 100118

Earlier grammarians classified its sound in the Vedic period [preceding Pāṇini] as velar.[3] In Middle Indo-Aryan languages, the sound developed into a short vowel, usually /i/, but sometimes /a/ or /u/ (the latter sound especially when adjacent to a labial consonant).

However, when Sanskrit words containing this sound are borrowed into modern Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindi or Nepali its pronunciation changes to /ɾɪ/ (short form) or /ɾiː/ (long form),[4] leading to forms such as "Krishna" for Kṛṣṇa and "Rigveda" for ṛgveda, a pronunciation that is also prevalent among contemporary pandits.[5] In the Southern Indo-Aryan language Sinhala [UKT: Sinhala is Dravidian, i.e. Austro-Asiatic, not IE], vocalic r in Sanskrit words is pronounced as /ur/ or /ru/, depending on the phonological context.

UKT: More in Wikipedia article.

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repha रेफ

From: Sanskrita: http://www.sanskrita.org/wiki/index.php/repha 100117
UKT: Searching the internet for this word is not easy. I still have to solve what all the 'meanings' below mean.

repa रेप

mfn. low, vile, wicked, cruel, savage cf. L.

repha रेफ

m. a burring guttural sound, the letter r ( as so pronounced ) cf. Prāt. cf. ŚrS. ; a word cf. BhP. ; ( in prosody ) a cretic ( ? ) cf. Piṅg ; passion, affection of the mind cf. L. ; mfn. low, vile, contemptible cf. L. ( cf. repa)

From: Devanagari eyelash Ra , Indic Working Group, Nov. 7, 2004 : http://unicode.org/~emuller/iwg/p8/utcdoc.html 100101

1. Eylash ra in Marathi and Nepali:
Eyelash-ra refers to the written sign which represents some kind of /r/ sound [i.e. a rhotic sound].

All sources agree that when a /r/ sound follows another consonant (in pronunciation), it is written either as a stroke attached to that other consonant (e.g. प्र = प ् र ) or a circumflex-like sign below it (e.g. ट्र = ट ् र ). In the remaining cases, the /r/ sound is written in one of following ways: using र , using a repha over the next consonant, or using an eyelash-ra . The description of those cases differs across the sources.

UKT: More in the original article.

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The two-three tone problem

by UKT

Our task of comparing English to Burmese is not easy because English have only two "tones" for vowels the short and the long, whereas Burmese has three - the creak, the modal, and the emphatic. The one way to reconcile them is to think in terms of 5 registers:

creak, short, modal, long, emphatic

The English short vowel is sometimes close to creak and sometimes to modal. Similarly the English long vowel is between modal and emphatic. For the vowel /a/, we have

{aa.}, {a}, {/ə/}, {aa}, {aa:}
-- the short-a and the long-a are transcribed as a and ā in Pali-Latin. I am citing Pali because it can serve as the bridge between Burmese and English. Since both Burmese and English do not have dedicated graphemes to represent the central vowel, schwa /ə/, I have to use {/ə/} for the modal. The Burmese schwa is found in words like {a.ni} meaning the "color red" in which schwa is represented by {a.}. In most Burmese-Myanmar words {a.} stands for the sound of {aa.} of the series {aa. aa  aa:} . Note that in Romabama, for simplicity sake, this series is usually represented as {a. a a:}.

This problem (as far as I know) lacks a concise name, because of which I will refer to it as the two-three tone problem.

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vocalic R (German) : pronounced as vowel

From: Paul Joyce, German Course, Univ. of Portsmouth. http://userweb.port.ac.uk/~joyce1/abinitio/pronounce/consonr3.html 100102

The German vocalic 'r' is so-called because it is pronounced as a vowel, not a consonant. Sometimes referred to as a 'dark schwa', vocalic 'r' is articulated with the tongue slightly lower and further back in the vowel area than the 'schwa' sound heard at the end of such German words as 'Liebe', 'Katze' and 'Ratte'.

Vocalic 'r' can only be used in certain specific situations which are outlined below. Its most common usage is in unstressed "-er" syllables at the end of German words.

Sounds 1: Vocalic 'r' in final position: 83.mp3 <))
Bruder <brother> ; Schwester <sister>; Mutter <mother>; Vater <father>

The vocalic 'r' is also used in the final position in a word when the 'r'  follows a long vowel. Listen to the following six words, all of which end with a vocalic 'r' after a long vowel.

Sounds 2: Vocalic 'r' after a long vowel: 82.mp3 <))
Tor <gate; goal> ; Uhr <clock> ;
mehr <more> ; vier <four> ;
Bier <beer> ; Chor <chorus>

Vocalic 'r' is also heard when the letter 'r' follows a long vowel but precedes another consonant. Listen to the following four words in which vocalic 'r' occurs before a following consonant.

Sounds 3: Vocalic 'r' after long vowel + before another consonant: 81.mp3 <))
Pferd <horse> ; Herd <cooker> ;
sprte <felt> ; fhrte <led>

You will also hear vocalic 'r' in the unstressed German prefixes er-, ver-, zer- and her-. Listen to the vocalic 'r' in four words containing these prefixes.

Sounds 4: Vocalic 'r' in unstressed prefixes: 84.mp3 <))
erlauben <to allow> ; vergessen <to forget> ;
zertren <to destroy) ; hereinkommen <to come in>

Distinguishing between vocalic 'r' and consonantal 'r' 

In the following pairs of words, the first word contains a vocalic 'r' in final position. The second word in each pair however contains a consonantal 'r'. Listen and note the distinction between the sounds that are made in each pair of words.

Sounds 5: Vocalic 'r' or consonantal 'r' ? : jnger.wav <))
jnger <younger> ; die jngere <the younger one>
Meer <sea> ; Meere <seas>
clever <clever> ; der clevere <the clever one>

Finally, listen to these words in which vocalic 'r' and consonantal 'r' occur within the same word. Note in particular how adding an '-in' suffix can change the articulation of what was previously a vocalic 'r' sound.

Sounds 6: Vocalic and consonantal 'r' within the same word: bruder.wav <))
Frankfurter (Frankfurter sausage) ; Bruder <brother>
Lehrer (male teacher) ; Lehrerin (female teacher)
Reporter (male reporter) ; Reporterin (female reporter)

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