Update: 2012-01-01 04:57 AM +0630


Introduction to Romabama

- a transcription-transliteration system
for BEPS (Burmese-English-Pali-Sanskrit) languages


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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Letters of Latin alphabet used
Romabama Rule 01 - ASCII characters
Romabama Rule 02 - Differentiation of capital and small letters
Romabama Rule 03 - Extended Latin alphabet and Digraphs
Romabama Rule 04 - Silent e and <e> as part of digraph <ei>
Romabama Rule 05 - Killed consonants
Romabama Rule 06 - {kn~si:} vowel-sign and repha
Romabama Rule 07 - Fossilized killed consonants
Romabama Rule 08 - Non-alphabetic characters
   Essentially ~ (tilde) is used to show the {a.t} : examples from Skt-Dev
Romabama Rule 09 - Extension of Myanmar akshara row 2 to accommodate medials
Romabama Rule 10 - Extension of Myanmar akshara vowels to accommodate Sanskrit vowels

UKT notes
Bur-Myan nasal rimes Expansion of IPA table Two-three tone problem Representing the killed-{a.} {weik-hkya.}-{mauk-hkya.} problem

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Letters of Latin Alphabet used

Romabama Rule 01 :

Use of ASCII letters

Romabama was originally designed for writing e-mails without using any special fonts and therefore only ASCII  (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) letters are used. An added problem is due to the English (sic American) language lacking in graphemes to represent the nasal sounds. We find 6+1 nasals in Myanmar which have to be represented by only 2 in English - <n> and <m>. Borrowing one, <>, from Spanish is a help but not enough.

The 6+1 nasal rimes in Myanmar are: {n}, {ing}, {i}, {N}, {n}, {m} ending in basic akshara, and another one ending in a {a.kri:} (conjunct in Pal-Myan: basic in Bur-Myan) represented by {} ({} is silent - the syllable has the sound /i/). The problem of transcribing the nasal rimes is compounded because each can be realized in 3 registers (note: there are exceptions). See my note on Bur-Myan-nasal ending rimes .

To include the labio-dental phonemes /f/ and /v/ into Romabama, I have to expand the IPA table. See my note on the expansion of the IPA table.


UKT: I am now aware of an unusual conjunct (from Bur-Myan viewpoint) in Skt-Dev : ज्ञ = ज ् ञ . This might have to be included in Romabama as {z~a.} (cannot be pronounced by Bur-Myan. and therefore not a medial) and placed in cell r2c4 together with {Za.} - UKT-110702
   Now that Romabama is to be used for BEPS (Burmese-English-Pali-Sanskrit speeches), there is a need to invent new Myanmar graphemes to handle the labio-dental, /f/ and /v/, sounds. The most natural place for them is r5. - UKT-110909




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Romabama Rule 02 

Differentiation of Capital and Small letters

English-Latin alphabet : The 26 letters of the English-Latin alphabet are expanded to 52 letters by differentiating between the 26 small letters and 26 capital letters. Use of capital letters is rare in Romabama for every day use of Burmese-to-English. However, the situation changes when Pali (used for Theravada-Buddhism), and Sanskrit (Hinduism and Mahayana-Buddhism) are involved.

An instance is the need to kill c2 consonants, such as - {hka.} --> {hk} and {Hta.} --> {Ht}.

To take a specific example, how are we to represent  for : {moaK} seems to be better than {moahk}. The rational for this is, English <k> is pronounced nearer to {hka.} (IPA /k/) than {ka.} (IPA /kʰ/). See Rule 03 for the use of capital letters of the extended Latin alphabet.

Finding ASCII characters for row 3 proves to be challenging for Romabama. Since, I have used <t> , <d> , <n> for row 4, the only option left is to use capital letters for row 3: {Ta.} , {Hta.} , {a.} , {a.} , {Na.}. This has proved satisfactory for Bur-Myan. However, for Pal-Myan (Pali-Myanmar) where r3 is used more frequently, it is not very convenient. Thus, how to represent the killed-{Hta.} (the use digraphs of in the coda position) has become a problem.

I have tried (as of 081019), using cap T underlined {T}. E.g. {paaT} , {T ning:} (Old spelling for 'king' - no longer listed in MLC dictionaries: modern form is {a.ning:} MED2010-487. - personal communication with U Tun Tint 110527. ). However, as I delved further into Pal-Myan, I am changing to using cap letters. Thus, {paaHT} & {HT-ning:}. As a rough rule, cap letters are used when r3 consonants and vowel letters are involved, e.g. {OAk~kT~HTa.} 'president', which on expansion becomes . [Remember {Ta.} and {HTa.} are r3 consonants, and, {U.} is the vowel-letter.] -- UKT111231

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Romabama Rule 03

Extended Latin alphabet and Digraphs

Diacritics and other suitable signs are introduced. Diacritics in Romabama are chosen in a way so that even if a diacritic is lost, the effect would be minimal. As for digraphs, I try not to use them, unless it is absolutely necessary.


grapheme: a

(Alt0228) (Latin small letter A with diaeresis or 'double-dot'), nasal sounds with {::ting} for :

{a.n} - voice, sound, noise - MED2010-599
{a.hin-a.ka.} - - UHS-PMD0153
{thon:} - numeral three

(Alt0225) for denoting {re:hkya. at} / ending in a killed non-nasal, as in {t} / ,

{Dt-hsi}/{Daat-hsi} - petrol, gasoline -- MED2010-218)
I have been writing <aa> for this. Though convenient, it is not always suitable for writing vowels ending in killed non-nasals, and (Alt0225) is sometimes used, but for convenience, <aa> is still used.

Here we have to face a problem which arose out of the way the Myanmar akshara is written. See my note on {r:hkya.} problem or more accurately / {weik-hkya.}-{mauk-hkya.} problem.

(Alt0230) in combination with (Alt0209) to denote {a.kri:t} as in {ky},

{ky-hsn} - cartridge, shell - MED2010-034).
 - I have always thought that the spelling is {ky hsn}
I have found that an unforeseen benefit of using Romabama is to make a person like me to be careful about the way he spells!

See my note on Representing the "killed" {a.} 

(Alt0198) in combination with (Alt0209) to denote spellings involving vowel-letter {-a.kri:t}   {} , e.g.,

{.} - guest - MED2010-625 

AI (cap a + cap i) to represent vowel-letter {I.}

The pronunciation of the name (Myanmar) and इसरमूल (Devanagari)
(Aristolochia indica Nagathain vol. 4, p.061) is always a problem because the vowel used is the vowel letter I (Myanmar) or इ (Devanagari) with the pronunciation / {i.}/. If we were to expand to show the pronunciation, we would get {ai-a.ra.mu-li}. Based on this reasoning on pronunciation, I am spelling as {AI~a.mu-li}. The name of the plant was spelled {I~a.mu-li} in Myanmar Medicinal Plants DB.


grapheme: d

(Alt0240) (Latin small letter Eth)
in row-3 akshara {a.}
(Caution: the vd-pronunciation of English-Latin <>/<th> is also given as //)

(Alt0208) (Latin cap letter Eth)
for row-3 akshara {a.}


grapheme: e

The usual Eng-Latin definitions of diacritics do not apply in Romabama. For example, (Alt0201) is given as the 'Latin small letter E with acute accent' and (Alt0232) as the 'Latin small letter E with grave accent. In Romabama they simply stand for mid-front vowels, being more 'close' than .

(Alt0201) , for vowel-letter {}, e.g.

{-ka.} - acre -- MED2010-613
{nhIk} derived from {nheik}
{rw} derived from {ru} pronounced as // /{rw.}/
{i} derived from {.} --> {i.}
{l-kaung:} derived from {l-kaung:}

(Alt0233) for {}, e.g.

{:hkyam:} - peaceful - MED2010-614 

(Alt0200) , for words such as:

{a.Daip~p} - meaning, sense - MED2010-565

: (Alt0232) for {:},

{:maung:} - n. 1. lance adorned with a long tassel used by the royal cavalry.
2. gong used in ancient times to alert soldiers at night. - MED2010-615 


grapheme: f

Labio-dental sounds, /f/ and /v/ are missing in Bur-Myan. Now that Romabama is to be used for BEPS (Burmese-English-Pali-Sanskrit speeches), there is a need to include graphemes to represent these sounds in the Myanmar script. Yet, I am very reluctant to 'invent' new written characters which will have to be crafted out of {hpa.} and {ba.} the nearest to /f/ and /v/. Instead of {hpa.}, I should have chosen the tenuis {pa.}, however, because of the absence of the tenuis in English (unless preceded by /s/), I have to use the voiceless-aspirate {hpa.}. - UKT110909


gapheme: i

(Alt0239) and ~ (Tilde) to represent {king:si:} :
the term literally means 'ridden by a centipede' and stands for a rime ending in killed {nga.}: {ng}

{n~ga.laip} - n. English - MED2010-622

(Alt0236) for denoting {re:hkya. a.t} ending in a killed nasal, as in { }

{y} - n. vehicle; craft - MED2010-386

(Alt0237) for denoting {a.w-hto: a-t} as

{hkt} - n. 1. extent; domain 2. age; period; era; times - MED2010-064
- sounds like /kʰɪt/ - UKT100615


grapheme: n

(Alt0241) (Latin small letter N with Tilde) for {a.} corresponding to <ny>

{hkyi} - adj. sour; acid. v. turn sour; acid - MED2010-072 

(Alt0209) for {a.} corresponding to <ny> in Bur-Myan, and for horizontal conjunct {~a.} in Skt-Dev:

{a.} - n. night - MED2010-156 


grapheme: o

(Alt0244) (Latin small letter O with circumflex) - alternate form for {o}

One of the principle objections MLC U Tun Tint has made against Romabama is the choice of <o> for . He points out that <o> is the accepted MLC transcription for {au:}.
To remove such objections we may use: {} (081012) . However, the spelling "Ko Tun Tint" is undoubtedly more natural and convenient than "Kou Tun Tint" or "K Tun Tint".

*OA (digraph) for use in place of {U.} for peak vowels in syllables without consonants in the onset. Be careful of the difference in grapheme shapes between vowel-letter {U.} and palatal nasal consonant {a.}. The difference in shape is in the lengths of the foot. This difference in shape could not be shown in days of the hand operated typewriters and even to the present day by most typesetters with the result that both are represented the same: (foot-length the same).

{OAc~sa} - n.  property; possession - MED2010-625

* ON (trigraph) (Alt0196) for exclusive use {ON}

- a very important syllable in Sanskrit-Myanmar but not in Pal-Myan.


grapheme: Ri ऋ  

There are two Skt-Dev vowels not present in Bur-Myan. One produces the highly lateral sounds (of Vedic Sanskrit ?) and the other the very rhotic sounds of Classical Sanskrit of Panini. The following scheme is from A Practical Sanskrit Introductory by Charles Wikner http://sanskritdocuments.org/learning_tutorial_wikner/index.html 110528

 [skt-dev-vowels.gif] [vow-all3.gif]

The Skt-Dev grapheme of the Classical Sanskrit is ऋ and is realized in words like the Rig ऋक् of Rig veda.
How to represent this sound graphically has been a problem and the following have been suggested:
- Because we have considered {ra.} to be a consonant, would get confused with {ri.}.
- On comparing with other graphemes, this is now the preferred representation. - UKT110528


grapheme: u


The English <u> has 2 sounds, /ʌ/ and /ʊ/, exemplified in <but> /bʌt/ (DJPD16-075) and <put> /pʊt/ (DJPD16-436. To differentiate them in Romabama, I am using the forms of u as, <> for /ʌ/ and <u> for /ʊ/. Thus,

{pwat} / {put}


grapheme: v

Labio-dental sounds, /f/ and /v/ are missing in Bur-Myan. Now that Romabama is to be used for BEPS (Burmese-English-Pali-Sanskrit speeches), there is a need to include graphemes to represent these sounds in the Myanmar script. Yet, I am very reluctant to 'invent' new written characters which will have to be crafted out of {hpa.} and {ba.} the nearest to /f/ and /v/. Instead of {hpa.}, I should have chosen the tenuis {pa.}, however, because of the absence of the tenuis in English (unless preceded by /s/), I have to use the voiceless-aspirate {hpa.}. - UKT110909


grapheme: y

(Alt0253) (Latin small letter Y with Acute) for "killed {ya.}" {ya.t}

{k-hs} - v.  save; rescue - MED2010-024

* I am writing this note while I am in Canada, where I have to work alone without the assistance of my secretaries who are unable to accompany me because they are Myanmar citizens and getting Canadian visas for them is next to impossible. At my age (73), my memory is not reliable. Now, I am finding that I have to come up with spellings involving {U.} in words such as <property> /[ou' sa]/ (MED2010-625; not listed in MOrtho). I am forced to use "digraphs" which might be mistaken for "diphthongs" (I maintain that Burmese has no diphthongs as commonly found in English). The tentative spelling I would have to use for <property> is {OAc~sa}, where {OA} is a digraph and not a diphthong. -- UKT, Canada, July 2007.

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Romabama Rule 04 

Silent e and <e> as part of digraph <ei>

e without diacritic (the "silent e" aka the "magic e") will be used occasionally for sounds of vowels followed by "killed" consonants. This is equivalent to split vowels in both

Bangla-Bengali ো (U09CB) and ৌ (U09CC), and
Burmese-Myanmar {au:} and {au}.
The English-Latin "silent-E" or the "magic-E" may be looked upon as a split vowel similar to those in Bangla-Bengali and Bur-Myan. Thus, into the split vowel, < i-e>, the consonant <d> is dropped to give <ide> in <tide>.

However, as the use of split vowels is not done in IPA nor in Skt-Dev (Sanskrit-Devanagari), the use of split vowels is to be avoided in Romabama.

Silent e usually obscures the end sounds. For instance that the ending in <kate> is a non-nasal <t> sound and that <kane> ends in <n> a nasal sound, is not obvious. Whether the ending is a non-nasal or a nasal is important in Bur-Myan because of the Two-three tone problem.

{kate} /keɪt/ (preferred {kait} /keɪt/ )
{kane}  /keɪn/ (preferred {kain} /keɪn/ )
{lane}  /leɪn/ (preferred {lain} /leɪn/ )

Note: Nasal endings can be realized in three registers:  {kain.}, {kain}, {kain:}
and {lain.}, {lain}, {lain:}.

however, an <e> forming part of the peak vowel is not to be confused with the silent e.

{keik} /kaɪk/ and {leik} /laɪk/
  -- the <e> present here is part of the peak vowel-digraph <ei>. It is a monophthong.
{keing} and {leing}
  -- the <e> present here is part of the peak vowel-digraph <ei>.
(Contrast with {king}. Remember {ng} stands for IPA / ŋ/ and that <g> is silent.

Note: Nasal endings can be realized in three registers:  {keing.}, {keing}, {keing:}
and {leing.}, {leing}, {leing:}.

The absence of a letter standing for the sound of /ŋ/ is one of un-surmountable problems of transliteration. 

{kauk} -- here <au> is the peak vowel-digraph. It is not a diphthong: it is a monophthongal digraph.


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Romabama Rule 05 - Killed consonants

- For specialized "killed" consonants

We find more problems with r2c5 rimes in the following:
There are theoretically 6 families involving r2c5 syllables. Only some are realised in practice, however, I have given the tentatively chosen rimes:


The rational for choosing the above is: though Romabama is meant only to show the Bur-Myan spelling, it should -- if possible -- show the pronunciation. And, therefore the peak vowel is chosen arbitrarily, and it and the following consonant (together the rime) is meant to show the pronunciation.

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Romabama Rule 06 :


{king:si:} /{kin: si:}/ - n. ortho. miniature symbol of devowelized nga superscripted on the following letter. -- MED2010-016

Compare the way in which the two words {hsing-kan:} and {thn~kan:} are written. The first is written horizontally, but the second is written with the {king:si:} (literally: "centipede-ridden") sign . There are two cues in Romabama to show that a {king:si:} is involved: use of umlaut over the peak vowel e.g. (Alt0239) and ~. The {king:si:} is actually not a conjoined sign and may be written horizontally. It is usually found in words derived from Pali and Sanskrit, e.g. Skt-Myan {kon~ku.ma.} (n. saffron -- MED2010-024) equivalent to Bur-Myan {kon-ku.mn}.

Caution: There is an {a.t} that is not exactly a {kn~si:}, yet the consonant under it, is not a conjoined (horizontal conjunct) akshara as in {a.kri:}: the glyph is . Such an {a.t} is found in {kywan-noap.} (MEDict049) and {yauk-kya:} (MED2010-384). In {kywan-noap} there is only one {na.ng} and in {yauk-kya:} there is only one {ka.kri:}. For the time being, I am treating them as similar to {a.kri:}, but without a ~ in between. I have simply hyphenated the two {na.} in {kywan-noap.}, and two {ka.} in {yauk-kya:}. I have asked my good friend U Tun Tint for an explanation. He has not responded yet! (UKT 070804)



Sanskrit repha becomes a same-letter conjunct in Pali, e.g. धर्म dharma (= ध र ् म ) becomes  धम्म dhamma (= ध म ् म ). This change will be represented as {Dar~ma.} --> {Dm~ma.}

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Romabama Rule 07 :

Fossilized killed consonants.

(Based on personal communication with U Tun Tint, formerly of MLC)

There are 4 fossilized characters dating back to the 13th century:


The derivation of {rw} is illustrating. In the Pagan period (11th century to the 13th) and a few centuries after, the vowel {tic-hkaung:nging-ya.thut} had existed, but it has given way to {a.w-hto: wa.hsw:}. The changes have been:



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Romabama Rule 08 :

non-alphabetic characters

- ASCII characters that are not considered to be part of the Latin alphabet will be used.


  {poad-hprat} (instead of 'comma') - /
{poad-ma.} (instead of 'period' or 'full-stop') - //
'period' or 'full-stop' and 'colon' are used for pitch-registers (formerly called "tones").
  They are equated to IPA suprasegmentals.
  e.g. {a.} [ă] ; {a} [a] ; {a:} [aː]

'hyphen' for separating syllables in the same word
"middle dot" (Alt0183) will be used occasionally to show that {a.} is to be pronounced as /ə/,
  e.g. {ani}.

~ (tilde) will be used to show a ligature aka conjunct, of two akshara-consonants
  vertical: {paaT.hsing.}, e.g. {k~ka.} - not pronounceable
  horizontal: {paaT.tw:}, e.g.  {~a.} - not pronounceable
  Essentially ~ (tilde) is used to show the {a.t}.
     The need to show it in Romabama is exemplified in transcription of Skt~Dev to Romabama:
      - {ak} - not fully represented
      - {ak~} - fully represented
      अक्न akna {ak~na.} - pp. of &root;ak.  [UKT: अक्न = अ क ् न  ]
      अक्र akra {ak~ra.} - 1. a. inactive, indolent. [UKT: अक्र = अ क ् र ]
      [Examples taken from A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary   by A. A. Macdonell 1929,
      http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/macdonell/ 110611 ]

parentheses ( ) will be used by Romabama since it has been adopted as part of Burmese-Myanmar.

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Romabama Rule 09 :

Extension of Myanmar akshara row 2 to accommodate medials

- Though Burmese-Myanmar (and Pali-Myanmar) akshara matrix is strictly for base consonants, Romabama has to include the medial consonants {kya.}, {hkya.} and {gya.} into row 2, to bring it in line with Pali-Latin akshara matrix.

Romabama gives only broad transcriptions which may be called phonemic transcriptions.
("It's common to distinguish between two kinds of transcription, based on how many details the transcribers decide to ignore:

Narrow transcription: marked as [...], captures as many aspects of a specific pronunciation as possible and ignores as few details as possible. Using the diacritics provided in the IPA, it is possible to make very subtle distinctions between sounds.

Broad transcription (or phonemic transcription): marked as /.../, ignores as many details as possible, capturing only enough aspects of a pronunciation to show how that word differs from other words in the language. ... one of the unspoken principles of broad transcription is that, when you're given a choice between two symbols and when all other considerations are equal (sometimes even when they aren't), you'll pick the one that's easier to type." -- University of Manitoba, Linguistics Dept. http://www.umanitoba.ca/linguistics/index.shtml). Entries in DJPD16 are broad transcriptions.


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Romabama Rule 10 :

Extension of Myanmar akshara vowels to accommodate Sanskrit vowels


Unlike Sanskrit, Burmese is non-rhotic . Thus, there is a need to "invent" new Myanmar graphemes to accommodate the so-called "vocalic" Sanskrit vowels ऋ and ऌ . Of the two, ऋ is more common than ऌ , and I propose to introduce:

(vowel-letter) {iRi.} for ऋ , ृ (short), and ॠ Ṝ , ॄ (long)
(vowel-letter) {iLi} for ऌ , ॢ (short), and ॡ , ॣ (long) - note to myself: find the relation to {La.}

We will defer the introduction of the new grapheme for ऌ until I became more familiar with the Sanskrit language. - UKT 091123

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UKT notes

Burmese-Myanmar nasal rimes

The problem of transcribing the nasal rimes is compounded because each can be realized in 3 registers (note: there are exceptions).


Go back Bur-Myan-nasal-note

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Expansion of IPA table

- by UKT

The following is my proposal to expand the IPA table to encompass the four languages of BEPS based on my understanding as of today. My position is likely to change as my work progresses. I wait for input from my peers. - UKT110909





Go back Expansion-IPA-note-b

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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.

Go back two-three-note-b

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Representing the "killed" {a.} in Romabama

-- by UKT

Representing {ky} with the peak-vowel // has never been easy for me. The fact that the peak vowel is a checked vowel does not help me either. A checked vowel is a vowel followed by a consonant, and in this case it is <> which has no equivalent in English. This means, I will have to choose the vowel used for Romabama arbitrarily. The pronunciation given by MLC is also not very helpful: {ky} is given as /[kji]/ (MED2010-034) exactly the same as {kyi} /[kji]/ (MED2010-028). Therefore, as a first approximation, I will consider the killed {a} to have no role in pronunciation other than to modify the preceding vowel in the rime {} (no equivalent in English).

According to DJPD16-009, "Pronouncing the letters AE", "The vowel digraph is a fairly low-frequency spelling. ... When not followed by <r>, the pronunciation is usually one of /i ː/, /ɪ/ or /e/, the latter being most common in American-English pronunciation..." This makes me conclude that its pronunciation would be close to Burmese-Myanmar {i}. Thus, Romabama will transcribe: {ky} /kji/. -- UKT 080317

Go back represent-killed-nya-kri-note-b

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{weik-hkya.}-{mauk-hkya.} problem

The {r:hkya.} problem or more accurately / {weik-hkya.}/{mauk-hkya.} problem

-- by UKT 110604

One of the earliest problem in formulating Romabama is the way to represent the long vowel {aa}/{a} graphically. Bur-Myan (Burmese speech written in Myanmar script - the akshara used by other languages such as Karen, Mon, Shan, etc. in the country of Myanmar) uses two vowel-signs to do this: the {weik-hkya.} and the {mauk-hkya.} . Which sign to use is a problem, particularly, to those learning to write Bur-Myan. To explain this we will have to go back at least 70 years from today. [Personal note: As an old man I always enjoy going back to my childhood memories.]

When we were young (I am now 77), we usually preferred the {mauk-hkya.} probably because it looked more grand. But there was a sort of a rule which depends on the way the akshara is written in Bur-Myan. Our akshara is based on circles, and the very first grade a child is put into is known as the {wa.lon: tn:} because the child is being trained to write a perfect circle. Incidentally the circle looks like the Myanmar 'zero'. So the child is put into the Zero-th Grade .

If I remember correctly, the rule for choosing which {r:hkya.} to use was simple: if the akshara is based on one-circle use {mauk-hkya.} - if based on more than one-circle use {weik-hkya.}. According to U Tun Tint, I must have remembered wrong. There was no such rule. There is no rule at present and you have to remember each case.

[CIRCLES.gif] [sa1da1ba1wa1ing3.gif]

It is generally believed that the way the akshara was based on circles was due to the fact that the original letters were written on palm leaves. This conjecture was (based on my memory) put forward by Taw Sein Kho (7 December 1864 29 May 1930) Burma's first recorded archaeologist. See Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taw_Sein_Ko 110605


However, my conjecture (just pure conjecture) is that the Myanmar akshara was invented by the ancients - probably pre-Asoka - maybe [a very big "maybe"] - to cast the runes known in Bur-Myan as {ing:}.

rune 1 n. 1. a. Any of the characters in several alphabets used by ancient Germanic peoples from the 3rd to the 13th century. b. A similar character in another alphabet, sometimes believed to have magic powers. 2. A poem or an incantation of mysterious significance, especially a magic charm. [Possibly Old Norse or Old English rn] - AHTD

{ing:} 2 n. cabalistic square or sign composed of mystic figures and characters in a grid. -- MED2010-623

Another meaning in Bur-Myan for the word {ing:} is 'a natural pond' whose still waters cover an unknown depth (of meanings). And if you are not careful and without a guide you are bound to get drowned!

Shown above is the Bur-Myan rune known as the {sa.ma.l:lon: ing:} aka {sa.Da.ba.wa. ing:} written in Myanmar akshara. The handwritten aksharas looks slightly differently, and can be written without lifting the stylus from the medium on which it is being written - a requirement for effective casting. The rune is a logo with a hidden meaning - only known to the master and the student, and is passed down by word of mouth not to be revealed to "unbelieving" folks like you and me.

However, the above {ing:} gives a message: the message of perfection (revealed to me by an unknown source).

"Count clockwise. {sa.} means 'the beginning' - you are an imperfection - a circle with an imperfection on the left. You must perfect yourself but will not succeed on the first try. {Da.} means the stage after the first try - an imperfection on the bottom - with regards to sexual conduct. Don't despair. Try. {ba.} means the stage after the second try - an imperfection on top. Now the imperfection is in your head - wrong ideas: attachment to material things and ideas. Try. {wa.} means the perfection - a full circle. Now you are perfect."

You may notice that the above {ing:} and the right-handed swastika has a strange resemblance. See the swastikas from the Indus-Sarawati civilization shown above.

MLC at the present has arbitrarily chosen a rule (which I always forget) how to choose between the {weik-hkya.} and the {mauk-hkya.} .

Go back weik-mauk-hkya-note-b

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