Update: 2019-10-22 04:13 AM -0400


English Grammar in Plain Language

- the previous major update: 2000 July
- minor update: 150731

by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning).
Based on Barron’s Educational Series, Grammar In Plain English (EGPE), by Diamond, H. and Dutwin, P., Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., Woodbury, New York. Copyright 1977. 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

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TIL Motivation

UKT 160917, 191011: I've taken some textual material from EGPE (indicated by page numbers of the original book). However, since my work is for Bur-Myan speakers who could already read and write Burmese speech written in Myanmar script, I have included some grammatical terms both in English and Burmese.

For those who are already able to speak and write English written in Latin alphabet to some extent, I recommend they read the original EGPE or later editions. It certainly would improve their English reading and writing .

However, inclusion of Burmese grammar - which I have to do out of necessity - makes my work somewhat confusing. Speaking is another matter - they will need a fluent English speaker with good pronunciation to teach them.
Continue reading in TIL Motivation .

Introduction - ch001.htm / ch002.htm - update 2019Oct 
UKT 160923: New additions relating to current research on grammar. ch002.htm is a split from ch01.htm

Chapter 1. The Simplest Complete Thought - ch01.htm
     The Sentence Pattern of Performer and Action - Syntax
      {wa-kya.sæÑ:} or {wa-kya.hpwè.hkrín:}
01. What You’ve Always Known . Exercise 0101
02. Recognizing Complete and Incomplete Thoughts . Exercise 0201
03. Action Words: Special Problems: Tense
04. Subject and Predicate: Introducing Grammatical terms:

UKT 160911: Pix on the right
- the untold story of Little Peanut and his pre-teen love Daisy.

Chapter 2. Understanding Time and Number - ch02.htm
Performer and Action
01. Understanding Time : Tense - see also TAM (Tense-Aspect-Mood)
02. Understanding Number: Agreement . Exercise 0201
03. Agreement
03.01. Agreement in present time. Exercise 0301
03.02. Agreement in past time . Exercise 0302
03.03. Agreement in present and past time . Exercise 0303

Chapter 3.  Adding Descriptive Words - ch03.htm
01. Descriptive Words: Adding Meaning . Exercise 0101 , 0102
02. Descriptive Words: Special Problems . Exercise 0201

Chapter 4. Using Descriptive Words - ch04.htm
01. Using Descriptive Words: Using Comparison . Exercise 0101

UKT 160911: Pix on the right
- the little fool Peanut to impress Daisy explains what Grammar really is.

Chapter 5. Adding Descriptive Phrases - ch05.htm
01. Descriptive Phrases: Adding Meaning . Exercise 0101
02. Descriptive Phrases: Correct Placement . Exercise 0201

Chapter 6. Cumulative Review - ch06.htm
01. Review 1 , 02. Review 2

Chapter 7. Linking Words - ch07.htm
01. Linking Word or copula
01.01. Descriptive word or Adverb/Adverbial . Exercise 0101
01.02. Subject-Copula-Adverbial
02. Agreement in number between Subject and Copula
03. Verb "to be" or copula "be, is (am), are, was, wear"
04. Contraction -- copula combined with another word
05. Copula deletion -- in other languages

"Now, Daisy, my little pet",
     said little Peanut seeing Daisy going to sleep.
  "Wake up and learn your Alphabet!
  "ka.gyi: , hka.hkwé: , ga.ngè ...
  "bèý ma. lè: kwèý. Daisy rèý ?"

Daisy has run away - not to be seen for some 60 years.
Meeting after all these years
She's gone again, not even once, never !

Chapter 8. Number: Special Problems - ch08.htm
01. Special Problems of Agreement
02. Surprisingly Singular Subjects
03. Plural Subjects

Chapter 9. Time: Special Problems - ch09.htm 
01. Past action continues into present
02. Past action before another past action
03. Future action before another future action
04. Two actions occur simultaneously

Thinking that it was because of his radical methods of teaching, Daisy has run away, stupid little Peanut relearned his grammar. Traditional grammar is difficult and boring: inevitable result is failing grades.

Chapter 10. Pronouns - ch10.htm 
01. Performer pronoun, Subject pronoun, and Pronoun which receives action.
02. Pronoun Clue 1
03. Pronoun Clue 2
04. Pronoun Clue 3
05. Pronoun Clue 4 
06. Pronoun Clue 5
07. Pronoun Clue 6
08. Pronoun Clue 7
09. Pronoun Clue 8

Little Peanut chose to learn Bur-Myan Grammar the traditional way: only to find that what he is really learning is "Pali grammar in Burmese dress!" The result is what could be expected - the failing grade!

My remark is from ¤ Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis 1899 , by A. W. Lonsdale, Rangoon: British Burma Press, 1899
- BG1899-indx.htm - (link chk 191012)
• "With regard to the grammatical treatises by native writers, it is no exaggeration to say that there is not one which can be properly called a Burmese grammar. These writers, not content with merely borrowing the grammatical nomenclature of the Pali language, also attempted to assimilate the grammatical principles of  the uninflected Burmese to those of the inflected Pali; so that they produced, not Burmese grammars, but modified Pali grammars in Burmese dress ... [complete with] case-inflexions".

But wait, and see what A. Judson, 1883, has to say in his Grammar of Burmese Language. Downloaded text in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
- AJudson-GrammBurLang<Ô> / Bkp<Ô> (link chk 191013)
Downloaded text in TIL non-PDF (Webarchive) libraries
- AJudson-GrammBurLang<Ô> / Bkp<Ô>
"§2. The pure Burmese is monosyllabic, every word consisting of one syllable only; but the introduction of the Pali language, with the Boodhistic religion, has occasioned the incorporation of many polysyllabic words of Pali origin into the pure Burmese." 
On Grammatical Case: "§57. The relations of nouns expressed in most languages by prepositions or inflections, are in the Burmese language expressed by particles affixed to the noun, without any inflection of the noun itself. "

Chapter 11. Cumulative Review - ch11.htm

Chapter 12. Balanced Sentences - ch12.htm
01. Understanding Correct Sentence Structure

Chapter 13. Punctuation - ch13.htm
01. End Mark
02. Comma
03. Common Comma Errors.
04. Semicolon

Chapter 14. Cumulative Review - ch14.htm
01. Style and Clarity
02. Quotation Marks
03. Other Marks of Punctuation.
04. Capitalization


UKT Notes
Doggie's Tale - copy-paste
Noam Chomsky 
TAM (Tense-Aspect-Mood) : Bur-Myan has no Tense. It makes use of Aspect and Mood to show Time.

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TIL Motivation
What makes us human is our Innate linguistic knowledge,
and there is every reason to present the grammars of Burmese and English together.
Our Innate linguistic knowledge is our inborn knowledge
of how to communicate with another human being.

We do this by uttering sound in a sentence pattern -- not just calls
as the animals do.
Thus our study is about sentences and the rule governing
the make up of sentences.

(Based on theories of Noam Chomsky

UKT 121201, 150731: According to A. W. Lonsdale, "rules concerning the necessary relations of words in a sentence is called {ka-ra.ka.kûp~pa.}. However, because this term is too unwieldy, TIL has come up with {wa-kya.sæÑ:} - which I will use throughout my work after noting that it is not recognized by MLC (Myanmar Language Commission).

There are other coined words which I hope will help little "Peanut" explain his childhood friend "Daisy" what Grammar really is. Actually, Grammar presented in this program, whether it be Burmese or English is not difficult.

In order to incorporate the Bur-Myan grammar, I have to rely on:
¤ Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis 1899 - BG1899-indx.htm - update 2019Oct 
  by A. W. Lonsdale, Rangoon: British Burma Press, 1899 xii, 461, in two parts. 
  Part 1. Orthoepy (pronunciation) and orthography (spelling);
  Part 2. Accidence and syntax
- BG1899-indx.htm > BG1899-1-indx.htm > BG1899-2-indx.htm (link chk 191011)

¤ MLC Burmese Grammar (in Bur-Myan)
  Vol 1. For Middle school; Vol 2. For High school; Vol 3. For University
  Available online from Wordpress.com. from
  - https://whiteboylearningburmese.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/bg-mlc-1-1.pdf 191010
  See downloaded pdf files in TIL  PDF libraries:  HD-PDF-B and SD-PDF-B (link chk 191010)
  1. bg-mlc-1-1.  2. bg-mlc-1-2.  3. bg-mlc-1-3.   4. bg-mlc-1-4.  5. bg-mlc-2-5.  6. bg-mlc-2-6.
  1. bkp1. --- --- 2. bkp2. --- ---- 3. bkp3.---   ---- 4. bkp4. -- - --- 5. bkp5. --- ---- 6. bkp6.
Ink-on-paper book available in TIL Research Library in 3 volumes, 17 sections.
- First printing in 2005 June, and Second printing in 2013 March - inset shows its cover. I have made references to it giving the page numbers.

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American Heritage Talking Dictionary (AHTD) - CD. You can have it loaded on your computer hard disc, but if you would like to listen as well you will have to have the CD in your computer.

English Pronouncing Dictionary, 16th ed. (DJPD16) - by Daniel Jones, ed. P. Roach, J. Hartman, and J. Setter, Cambridge University Press, 2003

Thalun English-Myanmar Dictionary - Thalun-EMD2003-xxxx
  UKT 160922: TIL Library has not acquired a digitized copy yet, and I am still relying on the ink-on-paper copy.

Glossary of English Grammar Terms (UseE) www.usingenglish.com/glossary.html 150706

The Little Brown Handbook (LBH), 8th, Addison-Wesley-Longman  (AWL-Glossary)

• {mrûn-ma sa-loän:paung: þût-poän kyûm:} Myanmar Orthography (MOrtho)
   by MLC (Myanmar Language Commission, Ministry of Education), 1986, pp 292
Myanmar English Dictionary (MED-1993) Published in other years also.
   {mrûn-ma ïn~ga.laip a.Bi.Daan} by MLC, 1993, pp 635
• {hka.ri:hsaung mrûn-ma a.Bi.Daan} Travelling Pocket Myanmar Dictionary (MMD)
   in Bur-Myan, by MLC, 1999, pp 401.
Universal Burmese-English-Pali Dictionary (UHS-BEPD) - by U Hoke Sein, 1980

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UKT notes

Notes on individual words, usage, and culture and history of the English speaking people from Bur-Myan perspective, will accompany individual files. Previously, it was intended that they will be grouped together at the end of the lessons, but it was found that since I have to write one file at a time, and there is sometimes considerable interval between each writing, the previous plan was not practical.

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Doggie's Tale

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?

Note to digitizer: you can copy and paste the following:
Ā ā Ē ē Ī ī Ō ō Ū ū
Ḍ ḍ Ḥ ḥ Ḷ ḷ Ḹ ḹ Ṁ ṁ Ṃ ṃ Ṅ ṅ Ñ ñ Ṇ ṇ Ṛ ṛ Ṝ ṝ Ś ś Ṣ ṣ Ṭ ṭ ɕ ʂ
• Instead of Skt-Dev ः {wic~sa.} use "colon" :
• Root sign √
• Skt-Deva : श ś [ɕ] /ʃ/; ष ṣ [ʂ] /s/; स s [s] /θ/;
• Undertie in Dev transcription: ‿ U203F
• IPA symbols: ə ɪ ʌ ʊ ʧ ʤ θ ŋ ɲ ɳ ɹ

Go back Dog-tale-note-b

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Noam Chomsky

Chomsky, Noam . Born 1928 ¹. American linguist who revolutionized the study of language with his theory of generative grammar, set forth in Syntactic Structures (1957).

Go back N-Chomsky-note-b

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TAM : Tense, Aspect, Mood

-- by UKT 121121, 160922, 191011

Tense is not important in Bur-Myan. We may even say it has no Tense. It makes use of Aspect and Mood to show Time.

See what A. Judson has to say on Tense in his: Grammar of the Burmese Language, 1883.
See download text in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
- AJudson-GrammBurLang<Ô> / Bkp<Ô> (link chk 191012)
Also as downloaded single page file in TIL non-PDF HD and SD libraries:
- AJudson-GrammBurLang<Ô> / Bkp<Ô> : some words are not readable due to font failure (link chk 191012)
Read the two PDF and non-PDF versions together.

English-Latin has simple tenses, but in Skt-Dev (& probably Pali) tenses are more complex. Moreover there are two very similar terms, Aspect & Mode. The difference between these two and tense becomes very fuzzy in cross-linguistic study. Please remember, I am not a grammarian, and can only quote from what I consider to be reliable sources:

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tense%E2%80%93aspect%E2%80%93mood 191011

Tense–aspect–mood (commonly abbreviated tam) or tense–modality–aspect (abbreviated as tma) is a group of grammatical categories that covers the expression of tense (location in time), aspect (fabric of time – a single block of time, continuous flow of time, or repetitive occurrence), and mood or modality (degree of necessity, obligation, probability, ability). [1] Some authors extend this term as tense–aspect–mood–evidentiality (tame in short). [2] In some languages, evidentiality (whether evidence exists for the statement, and if so what kind) and mirativity (surprise) may also be included.

The term was coined out of convenience, for it is often difficult to untangle these features of a language. Several features (or categories) may be conveyed by a single grammatical construction (for instance, English -s is used for the third person singular present), but this system may not be complete in that not all possible combinations may have an available construction. On the other hand, the same category may be expressed with multiple constructions. In other cases, there may not be clearly delineated categories of tense and mood, or aspect and mood.

For instance, many IE (Indo-European) languages do not clearly distinguish tense from aspect. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] In some languages, such as Spanish and Modern Greek, the imperfective aspect is fused with the past tense in a form traditionally called the imperfect. Other languages with distinct past imperfectives include Latin and Persian.

In the traditional grammatical description of some languages, including English, many Romance languages, and Greek and Latin, "tense" or the equivalent term in that language refers to a set of inflected or periphrastic verb forms that express a combination of tense, aspect, and mood. In Spanish, the simple conditional (Spanish: condicional simple) is classified as one of the simple tenses (Spanish: tiempos simples), but is named for the mood (conditional) that it expresses. [UKT ¶]

In Ancient Greek, the perfect tense (Ancient Greek: χρόνος παρακείμενος, romanized:  khrónos parakeímenos) [8] is a set of forms that express both present tense and perfect aspect (finite forms), or simply perfect aspect (non-finite forms).

However, not all languages conflate tense, aspect and mood. Some analytic languages such as creole languages have separate grammatical markers for tense, aspect, and/or mood, which comes close to the theoretical distinction.

UKT 191011: From various Wikipedia articles. The number of tenses in a language may be controversial, since its verbs may indicate qualities of uncertainty, frequency, completion, duration, possibility, and even whether information derives from experience or hearsay.

UKT: More in the Wikipedia article

Go back TAM-note-b

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End of TIL file