Update: 2018-07-10 05:01 AM -0400


Voice Quality


by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA) 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

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UKT 160218: Never forget that in BEPS we are dealing with two different writing systems:
the Abugida-Akshara, and Alphabet-Letter.
The Akshara is a syllable, whereas the Letter is mute.
The Letter, as in Georgian Letter "Tan" is mute. To give it a sound, you couple it with a "vowel-giver" "An":
   თ t (mute) + ა a. (pronounceable) -->   თა ta. (pronounceable)
The Akshara, as in Bur-Myan {ta.} is pronounceable as it already contains an inherent vowel:
   {ta.} + virama 'vowel killer' --> {t}
You'll note that the Georgian vowel-giver ა a. and Bur-Myan 'vowel killer'  are inverse of each other in shape. Is it just a coincidence? I wonder!

Ancient phoneticians
Voice quality - VQ: definition & measurement: oratory
Voice-box - the Larynx
Phonetic Description of VQ - John Laver's pioneering work
Phonation or voicing
  Supralaryngeal and muscular tension settings
Supra-glottal phonation
  Fiber-optic laryngoscopy
Graphemes & Phonemes : confusing terminologies
Tongue tip articulation : retroflex sounds
Fricative Sibilant and Thibilant consonants 
 - tongue tip-down & tip-up /s/
Aksharas with no discernable POA :
 - differentiate Abugida-Akshara & Alphabet-Letter systems

UKT 160211: I don't write unless I have reliable background info. In going over what I have written years ago, I try to get hold of the original source. One of my sources is Wikipedia, and I usually give the date on which I had read the article, and whenever I find the Wikipedia has changed its position, I also correct what I have written years ago. This is an old piece I am going through, and you will find I have left out some older material and have added new ones. In spite of my renewed efforts, I still feel that there are still many perplexing issues in my understanding and I will have to go over this file again.

Akshara means the one-to-one correspondence (mapping) between {sa} and {sa.ka:}
In case there is discrepancy take: {r:tau. a.mhn/ hpt-tau. a.n}

'What is written is permanent (correct);
What is read is just transient (prone to error)'.

English (Eng-Lat) is notoriously lacking the feature of one-to-one mapping. If they could not pronounce a consonant cluster, they just make one of the consonant mute. That is how the Celtic Gnome has lost his G, and is pronounced /nəʊm/. If we are to transcribe in Bur-Myan we would get {ngoam:} or {ngon:} 'a small bird whose egg is supposed to be very nutritious'. No wonder the diminutive gold miner is keeping all gold to himself.

Passages worthy of note:
Not all phonation types are mutually exclusive, on the contrary, some of them work together to modify phonation.
English and French are intonation languages; Chinese and Thai are tonal languages. -- Bur-Myan (Burmese-Myanmar) is a pitch-register language.
The glottal "fricatives" {ha.} are actually unaccompanied phonation states of the glottis, without any accompanying manner, fricative or otherwise. However, they are called fricatives for historical reasons.

UKT notes :
Faucalized voice : {aip-ngeik-n}
grapheme & phoneme : cf. morpheme
lexeme : {a.Daip~p aim} 'unit of meaning'
morpheme : different from word {waad}
obstruents and sonorants (sonority hierarchy)
phonation types phone
pitch (music)
pitch accent pitch-register (lingusitic)
sibilant vs. thilibant
strident consonant strident vowel
tenuis consonant
VOT (voice onset time or vibration onset time)
vowel register vowel tone
word {waad} - TIL-coined word

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Ancient Phoneticians

- UKT 160203: 

"Give me a place to stand, and I will move the Earth"

- A remark of Archimedes (287? - 218 BC) quoted by Pappus of Alexandria
Collection or Synagoge, Book VIII, c. AD 340
Greek text: Pappi Alexandrini Collectionis
Edited by Friedrich Otto Hultsch, Berlin, 1878
UKT 160204: Archimedes was probably not a phonetician, but a scientist and a thinker who engrossed in his thinking did not even notice that he had no clothes on!

I always compare the sound-producing air-stream, flowing from the lungs to the lips or nostrils, to that of water flowing along a stream (or pipe) with various obstructions such as weeds (comparable to vocal cords), weirs (comparable to soft palate), stones, and water-falls.

I imagine (scientists also daydream) that the ancient sages {ra..} 'holy persons' aka Rishis (not travelling musicians or bards) such as:
Panini पाणिनि Pāṇini, {pa-Ni.ni.} 520-460BC
  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panini - 070910 
and those before him such as
Yāska यास्कः yāska , {yaaS~ka.}
  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaska - 080620,
The line of ancient sages {ra..} had lived in the mountains with rivers flowing in the deep valleys below them - few still do in the Mon State in Myanmarpr - studying the various aspects of Nature such as the "power of human voice". A notable study that I have observed years ago right on the Shwdagoan Pagoda platform is the ability of the human eye to look unprotected directly at the Sun even at noon.

Based on the above speculation, and the theory of Rev. F. Mason, that, Magadhi-Asokan has changed into Magadhi-Myan, we can easily transform Magadhi-Myan (Tibeto-Burman of Bronze Age) to Skt-Dev (Indo-European of Iron Age).
The name of the earlier sage: {yaa~a.ka} --> {yaa-ka.}
  --> {yaaS~ka.} यास्कः yāska.

These phoneticians had lived along the great Bronze-Age Saraswati River studying the human voice, over four thousand years before the invention of IPA by the modern phoneticians and linguists.

According to the present day studies, (Saswati Pai k, GIS Development, www.gsbkerala.com/saraswati.htm),  Saraswati River had flowed for 2000 years, between 6000 and 4000 B.C., from Himalayas in the north to empty into the Arabian Sea. The river was obliterated within a short span, in the Quarternary period of the Cenozoic era, through a combination of destructive catastrophic events. The decline of the river appears to have commenced between 5000 and 3000 B.C., probably precipitated by a major tectonic event in the Siwalik Hills of Sirmur region.

As a material scientist, I neither do nor don't believe in reincarnation. Yet being brought up as a Buddhist, in a land as mysterious as the land known as Myanmarpr - can you imagine a land where 'wild pythons live freely in the precincts of many pagodas - I sometimes imagine that I must have lived many, many previous lives before. Maybe, I was one of those ancient sages, perhaps a student of Panini (who had lived along a river and Hindu by religion) or Shin Kic-si (Buddhist grammarian praised by Gautama Buddha himself). Or, how could I explain why I was always interested in the study of languages -- I had tried typing Bur-Myan (Burmese-Myanmar) on my father's English typewriter even before I was a teenager. Then from about the age 76, a retired university chemistry teacher and researcher, I have turned my attention to Linguistics.

Without a chemistry laboratory to work in, I had felt like a fish out of water. Now, my attention to Linguistics has kept my mind sharp, but "a crazy old man" as my grownup grandson Kan Tun would tease me.

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Voice quality (VQ)

- UKT 160218: From ancient times to the present, philosophers and scientists, come across questions which has us. We all seem to know what mean by Quality in the Voice of Humans, females and males, yet there is no clear cut definition and no objective instrumental analysis. The following is from a conference of surgeons - not linguists and phoneticians - on VQ.

From: DEFINING AND MEASURING VOICE QUALITY, Jody Kreiman, Diana Vanlancker-Sidtis, & Bruce Gerratt, in Sound to Sense: 040611-040613, at MIT:
- http://www.rle.mit.edu/soundtosense/conference/pdfs/fulltext/Saturday%20Posters/SB-Kreiman-STS.pdf 160218
Downloaded pdf in TIL SD-Library<> / bkp<> (link chk 160218)

Although voices provide listeners with significant information about speakers, defining and quantifying voice quality remain elusive goals. The ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard definition of quality (that attribute of auditory sensation in terms of which a listener can judge that two sounds similarly presented and having the same loudness and pitch are dissimilar) is often criticized because it specifies what quality is not, rather than what it is. ...

The most common approach is simply to create a long list of terms to describe voices, and then ask listeners to assess quality by indicating the extent to which a voice possesses each feature. This approach to measuring voice quality depends on descriptive traditions rather than theory, and has changed very little in nearly 2000 years. Many common terms have been in use for centuries. Familiar labels like "harsh", "clear", "bright", "smooth", "weak", "shrill", "deep", "dull", and "hoarse" can be found in Roman writings on oratory (Austin, 1806), as well as in modern studies of voice quality.

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Voice-box - the Larynx

- UKT 160212

Before we go into Voice Quality, we should know something about the organ that produces voice-sounds. It is the larynx. It is colloquially known as the voice-box, is an organ in the neck of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

The following is based on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larynx 070909, 160212

The larynx houses the vocal folds, and is situated just below where the tract of the pharynx splits into the trachea and the esophagus. The most important role of the larynx is its protecting function; the prevention of foreign objects from entering the lungs by coughing and other reflexive actions. Sound is generated in the larynx, and that is where pitch and volume are manipulated. The strength of expiration from the lungs also contributes to loudness, and is necessary for the vocal folds to produce speech.

Vocal folds are found only in mammals, and a few lizards. As a result, many reptiles and amphibians are essentially voiceless; frogs use ridges in the trachea to modulate sound, while birds have a separate sound-producing organ, the syrinx. [16]

The vocal folds can be held close together (by adducting the arytenoid cartilages), so that they vibrate (see phonation). The muscles attached to the arytenoid cartilages control the degree of opening. Vocal fold length and tension can be controlled by rocking the thyroid cartilage forward and backward on the cricoid cartilage, and by manipulating the tension of the muscles within the vocal folds. This causes the pitch produced during phonation to rise or fall.

Fine manipulation of the larynx is used in a great way to generate a source sound with a particular fundamental frequency, or pitch. This source sound is altered as it travels through the vocal tract, configured differently based on the position of the tongue, lips, mouth, and pharynx. The process of altering a source sound as it passes through the filter of the vocal tract creates the many different vowel and consonant sounds of the world's languages.

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Phonetic Description of VQ

- UKT 160218

See The Phonetic Description of Voice quality, John Laver, Univ. of Edinburgh. Cambridge Univ. Press, First published 1980. ISBN 0 521 231 760. The html version is in TIL library.
The pdf version is in the TIL SD-Library - JLaver-PhonDescripVQ1980<> / bkp<> (link chk 160218)
- MCoadou-LiverpoolVQ<> / bkp<>

Definition of VQ: Perceived characteristic acoustic colouring of voice, derived from a variety of laryngeal and supra-laryngeal features that are not unique to one individual but form clusters of identifiable voice types. Examples of voice types:

Whisper voice Modal voice Breathy voice Pressed voice
Creaky voice Tense voice Harsh voice Nasal voice

Abstr: from Marion Coadou - Voice Quality according to Laver's model
"Voice Quality is a concept which is quite difficult to define. This study proposes a description and a definition of it according to John Lavers model. Moreover, very few studies focused on the variation of voice quality according to accents. This pilot study aims at describing the voice quality of the accent of Liverpool thanks to a perceptual analysis called the Vocal Profile Analysis scheme.* The results show that the VPA scheme is a useful tool in order to determine some features of the voice quality of the Liverpool accent. Finally, to our knowledge, there is no study that compares voice quality across several accents of the British Isles. This is why, this study is part of a larger project that will try and identify the voice quality features of some British accents using the VPA scheme."

* From: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ ...  160219
The Vocal Profile Analysis Scheme (VPAS) (Laver et al. 1981) is the vocal perceptual scheme most often used by British speech and language therapists. ... 

UKT: From time to time, I have come across very neat sets of papers on the internet. Though I would like to give credit to the authors concerned, I am unable to do so. I can only give the source. This section is written based on two such sources. They have been downloaded, reformatted to suit TIL requirements, and are available in the TIL library for research purposes.

Introduction to VQ, http://dea.brunel.ac.uk/cmsp/Home_Emir_Turajlic/introduction.html 080109
UKT 160203: I could not access the online paper for many years.
There's no doubt I must have heard all the above voice types. Do I know which is which? No. The following online links will let you hear the voice types.

EGG and VQ, http://www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/page10.htm 080107, 101030, 160203.
The whole set of these papers have been downloaded and are in TIL library. I have gone through Chapter 1, from which the following sound files are taken.
The links to all the downloaded sound <)) have been changed into .mp3 and
link chk 160203

The little figures in blue (given below) are highly stylized drawings of the muscles of the larynx used for opening and closing the glottis.

Whisper <))
Whisper sound quality is produced through turbulences generated by the friction of the air in and above the larynx with vocal folds not vibrating. Apart from the rather seldom linguistic uses, whisper is widely used paralinquistically to signal secrecy and confidentiality.

Modal voice <))
The neutral mode of phonation is modal voiced (vd) phonation. The modal phonation of a male speaker occurs at an average of 120 Hz, while for a female speaker it is approx. 220 Hz.

It is normally regarded as a compound phonation type, voiceless (vl) +modal. Vocal fold vibration is inefficient and, because of the incomplete closure of the glottis, a constant glottal leakage occurs which causes the production of audible friction noise. The vibration frequency is just below the value of typical modal voice.

Creaky voice {ak-n} <))
Creak phonation (also called vocal fry) is also produced with vibrating vocal folds but at a very low frequency.
See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocal_fry_register 160205

UKT 160205: It sounds a person speaking or singing with a Cracking sound {ak-n}. 

Harsh voice {a-n} <))
It is due to the very strong tension of the vocal folds (especially medial compression and adductive tension), which results in an excessive approximation of the vocal folds. When the whole larynx is subjected to this extremely high tension, the upper larynx becomes highly constricted with the ventricular folds pressing on the upper surfaces of the vocal folds, making their vibration ineffective. Harsh phonation is therefore irregular in both cycle duration and amplitude. The characteristic frequency is above 100 Hz. A lighter degree of tension is sometimes described as a tense voice.

Falsetto <)) 
The frequency of vibrations in falsetto phonation is noticeably higher than in modal voice. The vocal folds are stretched longitudinally, thus becoming relatively thin. Consequently, the vibrating mass is smaller and the generated tone higher. The adduction of the folds is high and the medial compression is also strong. The glottis often remains slightly open, resulting in low subglottal pressure (due to constant glottal leakage) and the generation of the audible friction noise component.

Not all phonation types are mutually exclusive, on the contrary, some of them work together to modify phonation. Only modal and falsetto are incompatible because they use the structure of the larynx differently.

Voice quality is an effect of vocal tract anatomy, laryngeal anatomy and vocal habits.

This is illustrated in the following examples. The characteristic sound of the voice is brought about by the mode of vibration of the vocal cords and folds.

Differences in the degree and manner of glottal closure distinguish modal voice, breathy voice and whispery voice.  The quality of the voice depends on the degree of tension in the larynx and pharynx, and on the vertical displacement of the larynx: a raised larynx produces a thin tense voice, and a lowered larynx a booming voice.

Perceptual importance: In English, apart from distinguishing voiced and voiceless (vl) sounds, voice quality does not make linguistic contrasts, but conveys information about the speaker.

In some languages such as Gujerati [an Indian language that is of interest to me because of its connection to Pali, and Jainism a contemporary of the Buddhism] and Mazatec differences in voice quality or pitch trajectory  are used to convey linguistic meanings.

Languages and dialects have characteristic voice qualities; personal voice quality enables a listener to recognize a particular individual.  Furthermore, the quality of someone's voice also conveys emotions, attitudes, and health.

UKT 160203: As a side note I must add: Astrologers and Palmists in Myanmarpr are "trained" observers of the human behaviour. By noting the way the client walks, hangs her hands and positions her palm, the way her facial muscles twitch when speaking, by the slowness or rapidity of her voice, etc. he is quite aware of who you are, what your profession is, your health and so on. He can guess the purpose of your visit. He is not a trickster - he in his own way is a therapist whom you can trust. 

Bur-Myan is described as pitch-register language. It is said to have 3 pitch-registers.

{a.} (1 eye-blink), {a} (2 blk), {a:} (2 blk + emphasis)

Including Mon-Myan gives 4 pitch-registers:

{a:.} (1/2 blk), {a.} (1 blk), {a} (2 blk), {a:} (2 blk + emphasis)

It was formerly described together with Thai as a tonal language. Thai is said to have 5 tones.
Note: The term " pitch" can mean many things. The term "pitch trajectory" is no better. A similar word is pitch-register.

Anatomy of human voice: In order to understand different voice types it is beneficial to link them to the voice producing anatomy. For this purpose the author of the website refers to myoelastic aerodynamic theory of vocal fold vibrations. For a model of human voice production system, see - POA-con.htm (link chk 160203)

It is consisted of the sub-glottal area (containing diaphragm, trachea and lungs), larynx (containing vocal folds) and supra-glottal area (vocal tract).  The vocal folds are made of muscles tendon and mucous, and are of variable mass and elasticity.  In-between the fold, the glottis of variable geometric properties controls the airflow towards the vocal tract. 

For the informative purpose only: Above the vocal folds there is a pair of what is commonly referred to as fake vocal folds but they are rarely used and hence are not considered in this project. 

Vocal tract is consisted of oral and nasal cavity, pharyngeal cavity and larynx tube. The human voice is a series of puffs of air separated by (partial) closure of the vocal folds between each puff.  Voice is thereby produced by the vibrations of the vocal folds activated by the air pressure from the lungs and is characterised by the shape and the physiology of the vocal folds and larynx.

During the phonation cycle, air pressure from the lungs builds up under closed vocal folds.  Built up air pressure forces vocal folds to open and release air.  Vocal folds close due to their elasticity and a sudden drop in pressure. The air pressure builds up and the cycle is repeated.

The main factors affecting the vibrations are:

Pressure and airflow: The respiratory system
Active muscle contraction and position of arytenoid cartilages
Elastic properties of vocal folds, mass length and elasticity

So phonation can be defined as a self-sustaining quasi-periodic oscillation of vocal folds that arises from the interaction of muscular aerodynamic forces in the vocal tract. A single cycle of opening and closing is at 100Hz rate for a male speaker. As such it is too rapid for the human ear to be able to discriminate each individual cycle of oscillations.  However, we are sensitive to the change in overall rate of vibration and perceive it as changes in the pitch of the voice.

The intrinsic muscles of the larynx may be categorised by function: their effect on the shape of the glottis and on the vibratory behaviour of vocal folds. The following are the basic features of laryngeal adjustments to the different phonological settings:

a) abduction or adduction of vocal folds
b) constriction of supra-glottal structures-adjustment of length,
c) stiffness and thickness of the vocal folds,
d) elevation and lowering of larynx.

The glottal flow excites the vocal tract resonator. Vocal tract provides two paths for the excitation air flow, through nasal and/or oral cavity. This is controlled by velum. The more open it is, the more nasal the sound. Velum together with other articulators (lips, tongue and jaw) controls the spectral shape of the resonator. It is important to be aware that source excitation and the vocal tract are not linearly independent systems.  ... ...

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Phonation or Voicing

- UKT 080311, 160203

In writing on Phonation, I have to keep reminding myself what is meant by "phonation" in various fields, and I can sum up that the word can mean differently to different authors, with the result that all is confusion.

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonation 160211

The term phonation has slightly different meanings depending on the subfield of phonetics. Among some phoneticians, phonation is the process by which the vocal folds produce certain sounds through quasi-periodic vibration. This is the definition used among those who study laryngeal anatomy and physiology and speech production in general. [UKT ]

Phoneticians in other subfields, such as linguistic phonetics, call this process voicing, and use the term phonation to refer to any oscillatory state of any part of the larynx that modifies the airstream, of which voicing is just one example. Voiceless and supra-glottal phonations are included under this definition.

UKT: Voicing can mean :
In phonetics, voice (phonetics) is a characteristic of phonation. I have split up the Wikipedia article into 2 parts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonation 080311, 160203

The first part on voicing, and state of the glottis, is in my notes as phonation. The second part on supra-glottal phonation and phonation in familiar languages [what is written on English & French is more reliable than on what is written on non-European languages such as Korean], has been incorporated into the text below.
In music, voicing (music) is a representation of a chord.
In the construction of musical instruments, the process of manipulating the mechanics of an individual note in order to change or refine the timbre or volume of that note.

Read phonation types (EGG measurements), phonology in my notes.
For phonation types (EGG measurements), see
- http://www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/ 080311, 160203

As with consonants, the vocal cords may or may not be vibrating regardless of what the rest of the vocal tract is doing. Vowels are almost always voiced. (UKT )

UKT 160203: According to Peter Ledefoged Bur-Myan has voiceless vowels.
See: http://hctv.humnet.ucla.edu/departments/linguistics/VowelsandConsonants/vowels/chapter12/burmese.html

However, I must insist that the basic vowels shown below are of the same kind being produced deep down in the throat. Unlike the consonants, it is difficult to categorizHd them as voiced (vd.) and voiceless (vl.). To be consistent with the current view that Vowels are almost always voiced, I will have to insist that Burmese vowels are voiced.

What Peter Ledefoged is referring to as voiceless vowels are words and syllables beginning consonants,

semi-nasals: 1. {nga.}/{gna.}, 2. {a.} 
true nasals:  3. {na.}, 4. {ma.} 

Eng-Lat speakers speakers recognize the "true nasals" easily because they are present in their language. However the "semi-nasals" are difficult for them, e.g. the {nga.}/ {ng} is present in the coda of their syllables or words such as <sing> /sɪŋ/ (DJPD16-490). It has no "g" sound in them. The word <sing> should be pronounced as {sn} without the "g" sound.

The problem can be traced to the digraph ng they have to use. When {nga.} is in the onset, they have to change it to gn . The English word <gnome> should have been pronounced {gnom:}, but they silence g and pronounce it as /nəʊm/ (DJPD16-229).

English speakers are in a worse position with {nga.} in the onset of the syllable. They have to change ng to gn and silence the g .

As for Nya'gyi {a.}/ {}, they are totally ignorant. The Hindi speakers are also ignorant of Nya'gyi. These unfortunate circumstances complicate the transcription (pronunciation) Eng-Lat to Bur-Myan. I have found that giving the transliteration in IPA and IAST complicates the problem more, and I am using Romabama as transcription language in place of IPA and IAST whenever necessary:

1. absence of velar /ŋ/ & /ɲ/ in English. These sounds are favourite sounds in Burmese.
2. to the English and Hindi speakers, the palatals are affricates and not plosive-stops. Thus,
  Bur-Myan {sa.} is {kya.}, and {hsa.} is {hkya.} as in <church> to them.
3. absence of tenuis {kya.} (or {sa.}) in English. The English speakers pronounce it {hkya.} (or {hsa.}).
4. the tendency of Burmese speakers to end the final sound as voiced and with emphasis.
  Thus when they pronounce <sing>, they habitually emphasize the g . In order to remedy
  this situation I have to rewrite / {hsn~g}/ as {sn}

Because of these complications, when a Bur-Myan speaker attempts to pronounce English words with velar and palatal consonants in accordance with our maxim {r:tau. amhn/ hpt-tau. an//} the result is disastrous.

The r1c5 {nga.} has been touted as a nasal consonant, which is not strictly true. In the onset of syllables it has a g-like sound as has been noted by J. M. Haswell (1874),
- MonMyan-indx.htm > MV1874-indx.htm > has-conso.htm (link chk 160208)
and R. C. Temple (in 1876) in the Pegu dialect of Mon-Myan. Since at present, the inhabitants of the Irrawaddy Delta -- like myself and my relatives in Kungyangoan -- are the descendants of the Peguans, I must insist that is {gna.}. I rely on the view of native English speakers, an American and a Britisher, as representative of how Bur-Myan sounds are heard by the Westerners.

The whole situation reminds me of two English words <sing> /sɪŋ/ (DJPD16-490) and <sign> /saɪn/ (DJPD16-488) in which the positions of n and g of "digraph" has been changed.

Ladefoged has listed r1c2 {nga.} modified with Hahto {ha.hto:} into a monosyllabic medial as a voiceless vowel. His second voiceless vowel involves Nya'gyi {a.}, which I have found to be an Awag approx-palatal. Please note that my view on the position of Nya'gyi {a.} is open to question, and I may have to correct it.

The glottal {ha.}, which can form Hahto {ha.hto:}-medial marked with the Hahto-sign , is without a POA 'place of articulation' for it is articulated deep down in the glottis.

Ledefoged's examples:
- http://hctv.humnet.ucla.edu/departments/linguistics/VowelsandConsonants/vowels/chapter12/burmese.html
are from column#5 of Myanmar-akshara consonant-matrix of the Wag 'the plosive-stop' section in which the cells are numbered row-column. Application of {ha.hto:} can produce at least 3 allophones each differentiated from each other in vowel time-durations of 1 eye-blk, 2 blk, and 2 blk + emphasis:
Wag velar r1c5  -- {nga.} /ŋ/ --> {ngha.} (1 blk), {ngha} (2 blk), {ngha:} (2 blk + emphatic)
Wag palatal r2c5   {a.} /ɲ/ *    {ha} (1 blk), {ha} (2 blk)
Wag dental  r4c5   {na.} /n/ -->  {nha.} (1 blk), {nha} (2 blk)
Wag labial   r5c5   {ma.} /m/ --> {mha.} (1 blk), {mha} (2 blk), {mha:} (2 blk + emphasis)
* In the Awag 'the approximant' section, we find under the palatal column {a.}:
  approx-palatal  {a.}

At present the Palatal Nya'l {a.} is used for Pal-Myan words only, and according to U Hoke Sein PMD0420-0723, there only 3 vowels that can become its intrinsic vowels: {a.} {a} {}. The most nasalized consonant in Myanmar akshara matrix is {a.} , and it cannot be further nasalized by application of the {ha.hto:}.

Important note: In Bur-Myan none of the consonants of row#2, {sa.}, {hsa.}, {za.}, {Za.}, {a.}, can be nasalized further by {ha.hto:}.

#1 Nya'gyi {a.} can be modified with {ha.hto:} to {ha} (1 blk), {ha} (2 blk).
#2 Both Nya'gyi {a.} and Nya'l {a.} can be under Virama {a.t} to {} & {}, resptly.
#3 As codas {} and {} behave very differently:
  - {kyi:} 'narrow' - nasal ending sound
  - {kr{:} 'ground' - non-nasal ending sound

In IPA {ya.} /j/ is in Palatal column. However, in order to make room for {a.}/ {} /iː/ in the Palatal column, I have to move the {ya.}/ {y} /j/ to the Velar. Note that it can form monosyllabic Yapin {ya.pn.}-medial marked with Yapin-sign  . However, non-Bur-Myan such as Engl-Lat speakers and Hindi-Dev speakers cannot articulate this sound and ended up with a di-syllabic Hanging-consonant {ya.hsw:} with mark . For various hanging consonants, see
Mon-Myan Language: Speech and Script - MonMyan-indx.htm (link chk 160207)

Ledefoged's examples are:
Wag r1c5: plosive-stop velar: --- {nga.} --> {ngha:} 'to borrow' <))
Awag approx-palatal -              - {a.} --> {ha} 'to be considerate' <))
Wag r4c5: plosive-stop dental -- {na. } --> {nha} 'nose' <))
Wag r5c5: plosive-stop bilabial - {ma.}  --> {mha.} 'from' <))

You can have more than one medial taken together: {ma.}  --> {mhya.} 'to share'.
The examples are words or syllables ending with a voiceless sound. They are not voiceless vowels.

This failure to differentiate the basic aksharas from the monosyllabic medials by the Western phoneticians (in fact the above 4 sounds given by Ladefoged) had given me great difficulty in understanding what was meant by voiced (vd.) and voiceless (vl.). Moreover, the problem was compounded because what we could hear was only one word or syllable -- not that of the "complete" compound word.

For example, {ngha:} could be from {ngha:rm:} or {hky:nga:}. Such compound words are known as {sa.ka:hpo sa.ka:ma.} in which only one syllable has the direct meaning. Now place your finger lightly on your throat (Adam's Apple). When I pronounce {ngha:rm:} I could feel no vibration for {ngha:} part (voiceless), but when I pronounce {hky:nga:} I could feel a slight vibration (voiced). However, when my assistant U Tun Aung repeated the experiment on himself, he could not feel the difference. He reported that both are voiceless.

{sa.ka:hpo sa.ka:ma.} n. combination of words consisting of a stem, to which a mutant form which by itself is meaningless is coupled for euphonic effect. - MED-2006-101

UKT 160206: I have worked Ladefoged's collection as compound words {sa.ka:hpo sa.ka:ma.}. Male voice collections are my own:
Wag   r1c5: plosive-stop velar: {nga.} --> {ngha:} 'to borrow' <)) --> {ngha:rm:} <))
Awag approx-palatal: {a.} --> {ha} 'to be considerate' <)) --> {ha-ta} 'to be considerate' <)) 
Wag  r4c5: plosive-stop dental: {na. } --> {nha} 'nose' <)) --> {nhahkaung:} 'nose cavity' <))
  Notice the "mid-dot schwa" in {nhahkaung:}.
r5c5: plosive-stop labial: {ma.}  --> {mha.} 'from' <)) --> {a.rh.mha.} 'from east' <))
--- my addn: {ma.}  --> {mhya.} 'to share' --> {mhya.ta.} 'to share' <)) 

A few languages have contrastive voiceless vowels (that is, the word can mean something different if your vocal cords aren't vibrating during the vowel). English has a few environments where vowels may be (non-contrastively) voiceless.

Contents of this page

Supralaryngeal and muscular tension settings

From: http://www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/page11.htm 160205
UKT 160205: EGG (Electroglottographic recordings are different from EEG (Electroencephalogram).
EGG also stands for European Garden Gnome.

The phonation type is seldom limited to just one phonetic segment, but on the other hand can be changed during speaking. Thus, phonation type is primarily regarded as a laryngeal setting. The laryngeal settings constitute the main set of parameters describing voice quality . Despite the articulatory movements which produce a given speech sound, the articulators can be set in some particular positions for longer stretches of speech.

In Laver's framework (1994) the supralaryngeal settings, which describe the positions of the articulators, are divided into:

velopharyngeal settings

The supralaryngeal settings are summarized in Table 2. [page 8]

The auditory effects of supralaryngeal settings manifest themselves primarily in the modification of the frequency spectrum of a produced sound. The changes affect the vocal tract formants (frequency and bandwidth of eigenresonances) and the shape of the spectrum. The supralaryngeal settings provide extra-linguistic information, for example about a speaker's habitual and social factors, but are language-dependent (the deviations from the neutral settings that are recognized as the use of a particular setting differ between languages). The effects of supralaryngeal settings are described below.

The longitudinal modifications of the vocal tract result from vertical displacements of the larynx and from the lips' protrusion or retraction. The change of vocal tract length has auditory and acoustic correlates in voice quality (section 24).

Protruded jaw <))
 - www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/protr.wav 101030 

Retraced jaw (laterally offset jaw) <))
 - www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/retra.wav 101030 

The latitudinal adjustments involve changes in the cross-sectional area at a given location in the vocal tract. These changes strongly influence the transmission characteristics of the vocal tract (section 24), and have recognisable correlates in voice quality (e.g. "smiling" voice).

Open jaw <))
 - http://www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/openj.wav 101030

The velopharyngeal settings describe the position of the velum which in its neutral setting facilitates nasality only on certain segments. The other (open or closed) position of the velum during the production of speech segments is regarded as the specific (nasalized or denasalized) setting. The coupling of the nasal resonator dramatically changes the spectral characteristics of the vocal tract. Additional formants and antiformants are produced while the high frequency components are suppressed.

Pharyngalized voice {a-n} <))
 - www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/pharyn.wav 101030

Nasalized voice {nha-n} <))
 - www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/nasal.wav 101030

UKT 160210: We categorize singing voices as:

{yauk~kya: a / maim~ma. nha //}
'males sing with throaty voice, females with nasal'.

According to Laver (1980, 1991) the muscular settings can give rise to two types of voice: tense voce is created by increased muscular tension, whereas lax voice is caused by an overall decrease in muscular tension (compared to the neutral setting). Muscular tension influences all aspects of speech production. In respect to the voice source, tense voice (as described in section 7.5) is loud, high-pitched, with harsh phonation and higher subglottal pressure. Lax voice on the other hand is soft, with lower pitch, low subglottal pressure and breathy phonation.

Contents of this page

Supra-glottal phonation

In the last few decades it has become apparent that phonation may involve the entire larynx, with as many as six valves and muscles working either independently or together. From the glottis upward, these articulations are:

1. glottal (the vocal cords), producing the distinctions described in phonation types in my notes.
2. ventricular (the 'false vocal cords', partially covering and damping the glottis)
3. arytenoid (sphincteric compression forwards and upwards)
4. epiglotto-pharyngeal (retraction of the tongue and epiglottis, potentially closing onto the pharyngeal wall)
5. raising or lowering of the entire larynx . See larynx in my notes.
6. narrowing of the pharynx . See pharynx in my notes.

Until the development of fiber-optic laryngoscopy, the full involvement of the larynx during speech production was not observable, and the interactions among the six laryngeal articulators is still poorly understood. However, at least two supra-glottal phonations appear to be widespread in the world's languages. These are:
   harsh voice ('ventricular' or 'pressed' voice {a-Na-n) or
   {a-n} <)) (link chk 160203)
   - http://www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/harsh.wav 101102],
which involves overall constriction of the larynx, and
   faucalized voice ('hollow' or 'yawny' voice {aip-ngeik-n}),
which involves overall expansion of the larynx.

UKT 101102, 160210: I am unable to get a recording of faucalized voice: the only description is that it is contrastive to harsh voice . Based on this I suggest that:

faucalized voice - similar to a Burmese Buddhist monk reciting Paritta {pa-rait~ta.} in his spare time.
harsh voice - the same monk reciting Kammavaca {km~ma.wa-sa.} 'giving commands in the name of the Buddha'.

It makes me wonder what is it that would be called "normal" by the Western phoneticians or doctors who are also phoneticians. The following are what I take to be vowels {a} and {i} uttered by "normal" speakers. Both are front vowels.

{a} आ  <)) (link chk 160203)
 - www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/norme.wav 101102

UKT 160203: The minimum time of duration is 2 eye-blinks. But you can lengthen it as has been done above. However, {a.} 1 blk and {a:.} 1/2 blk (found in Mon-Myan) cannot be lengthened.

{i} ई   <)) (link 160203)
 - www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/behe.wav 101102

UKT 160203: The minimum time of duration is 2 eye-blinks. But you can lengthen it as has been done above. However, {i.} cannot be lengthened. Rhotic speakers can be expected to modify {i} ई  to {iRi} ॠ .


Contents of this page

Fiber-optic laryngoscopy

The advantage of this method is the direct examination, however, the disadvantage is because it is invasive. I had watched a U-tube video on the Internet (080314, 160210) how the McGrath Video Laryngoscope was used. The person was under general anaesthesia! It is definitely not a tool to see how the vowels are produced. If you would like to watch the video online
- http://www.wanderings.net/notebook/Main/McGrathVideoLaryngoscope 080314, 160210
The following is downloaded from another source
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fszreF5XTok 160210
and stored in TIL SD-Library - McGrath<>/ bkp<>

Faucalized voice, also called hollow or yawny voice {aip-ngeik-n} is the production of speech sounds with an expanded laryngeal cavity. It contrasts with harsh voice {a-Na-n}, in which the larynx is compressed. [UKT ]

UKT 160210: The word "faucalize" is derived from a part in the interior of the mouth: 
   "fauces pl.n. used with a sing. or pl. verb 1. The passage from the back of the mouth to the pharynx, bounded by the soft palate, the base of the tongue, and the palatine arches". - AHTD

Stiff voice: The term stiff voice describes the pronunciation of consonants with a glottal opening narrower, and the vocal cords stiffer, than what occurs in modal voice (or "normal" voice). Although there is no specific IPA diacritic for stiff voice, the voicing diacritic (a subscript wedge) may be used in conjunction with the symbol for a voiced consonant.

One language with stiff voice is Thai: stiff voice [b̬ː] (crazy ); tenuis [pː] (aunt ); aspirated* [pʰː] (cloth). [Notice the onsets which correspond to : {pa.} (Thai "aunt"), {hpa.} (Thai "cloth"), {ba.} (Thai "crazy").]

UKT 160210: What IPA has described as aspirated [pʰː], is not aspiration in Bur-Myan. What are taken as allophones of /p/, {pa.} & {hpa.}, are regular basic consonants. They are easy for us to articulate and we hear them clearly and separately.


From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonation 160211
with some of my additions.

In languages such as French, all obstruents occur in pairs, one modally voiced and one voiceless :

plosive-stop: [b] [d] [g] --> [p] [t] [k]* .
fricative: ----- [v] [z] [ʒ] --> [f] [s] [ʃ]

UKT 160211: A correction is called for, for plosive-stop:
*plosive-stop: [b] [d] [g] --> [pʰ] [tʰ] [kʰ] 
- tenuis [p] [t] [k] are unknown : only the ordinary voiceless [pʰ] [tʰ] [kʰ] are known in English and possibly in French.

In English, every voiced fricative corresponds to a voiceless one. [UKT ]

For the pairs of English plosive-stops, however, the distinction is better specified as VOT (voice onset time vocal-fold vibration onset time) rather than simply voice: In initial position [onset of the syllable] /b d g/ are only partially voiced (voicing vibration begins during the hold of the consonant), while /p t k/ are aspirated (voicing doesn't begin until well after its release). [UKT ]

Certain English morphemes (compare with phoneme {sa.ka:yu-nic}) have voiced and voiceless allomorphs, such as the plural, verbal, and possessive endings spelled -s (voiced in kids /kɪdz/ but voiceless in kits /kɪts/) and the past-tense ending spelled -ed (voiced in buzzed/bʌzd/ but voiceless in fished/fɪʃt/.

UKT: it should be noted that there are two allophones for each:

phoneme {sa.ka:yu-nic} /p/ - {pa.} [p] & {hpa.} [pʰ] 
phoneme {sa.ka:yu-nic} /t/ - {ta.} [t] & {hta.} [tʰ] 
phoneme {sa.ka:yu-nic} /k/ - {ka.} [k] & {hka.} [kʰ] 

The Western idea of taking [pʰ tʰ kʰ] as "aspirated forms" is contrary to the Eastern idea of taking them to be usual sounds in their own right. Thus for /p t k/ we have six, {pa. hpa.} {ta. hta.} and {ka. hka.}

Certain English morphemes have vd. and vl. allomorphs, such as the plural, verbal, and possessive endings spelled -s (voiced in <kids> /kɪdz/ but voiceless in <kits> /kɪts/ and the past-tense ending spelled -ed (voiced in <buzzed> /bʌzd/ but voiceless in <fished> /fɪʃt/.

Contents of this page

Graphemes & Phonemes

- UKT 160216

In any branch of learning, you can easily get confused because of different authors tend to use the same word with different meanings. Just keep cool and bear it, and if you are a Bur-Myan speaker think of a suitable term you would use for a specific term.

terminology n. pl. terminologies 1. The vocabulary of technical terms used in a particular field, subject, science, or art; nomenclature. 2. The study of nomenclature. -- AHTD

Each branch of learning (or discipline of knowledge), has its own terms (vocabulary), and it is a must for all new comers to learn and understand them. For one like me, who has dabbled in a number of branches, unless I keep myself informed of the meanings and understand them to the best of my ability (memorizing them is useless), I usually get into trouble with those who are really from that field (my peers). I always thank them, whenever someone pointed out how misinformed I am. I never claim myself to be an expert, and that is what I always tell my friend U Tun Tint (of MLC) that I am just an "ignorant cow-herd boy" with a catapult in hand throwing smallest of all pebbles at my patient friends and peers (with no intention of hurting them) who are experts in their fields.

Here are some words which have always confused me.:
('wordform', 'word' and 'morpheme', and 'syllable') from: http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/ComparisonAndContrastOfWordfor.htm)
http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/Index.htm 080314, 160216
The SIL (Summer Institute of Language or SIL International) glossary is handy as a "quickie". However, it hasn't been updated since 040105, and I am no longer referring to it.
At present I usually refer to Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia.

Words ending in suffix <-eme>

Definitions: - 1. a suffix used principally in linguistics to form nouns with the sense significant contrastive unit, at the level of language specified by the stem, e.g. : morpheme; tagmeme. (tentative transliteration: {aim} )
-- http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/-eme 160215

Grapheme : TIL tentative term: {sa-yu-nic) / {sa-aim}
 - A grapheme is the smallest unit used in describing the writing system {sa} of any given language. -- Wikipedia 160216.

Phoneme : TIL tentative term: {sa.ka:yu-nic} / {sa.ka:aim}
 - A phoneme /ˈfoʊniːm/ is one of the units of sound that distinguish one word from another in a particular language. -- Wikipedia 160216.

Lexeme : TIL tentative term: {a.Daip~paa-yu-nic} / {a.Daip~paa-aim}
- A lexeme is a unit of lexical meaning that exists regardless of the number of inflectional endings it may have or the number of words it may contain. It is a basic unit of meaning, and the headwords of a dictionary are all lexemes.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexeme 160216
Note: TIL tentative term is derived from the word / {a.Daip~paa} 'meaning dependent on culture'. I, as a former editorial writer of newspapers usually avoid politically sensitive terms, which means that "Lexeme" would have to be in conformity with times and politics. As an xample I avoid using the word "Aryan" because of its politically sensitive implications.

Morpheme : In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest grammatical unit in a language. In other words, it is the smallest meaningful unit of a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology.

An allomorph is a linguistics term for a variant form of a morpheme. The concept occurs when a unit of meaning can vary in sound (phonologically) without changing meaning. It is used in linguistics to explain the comprehension of variations in sound for a specific morpheme. -- Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allomorph download 070911

Wordform: the smallest unit of 'speech or writing', that has distinctive meaning and which can occur by itself. In most orthographies, it is separated from other wordforms by a white-space.

  Word: {waad}, the smallest unit of syntax, that has distinctive meaning, and which can occur by itself.

Syllable: {sa.ka:n-su.} smallest unit of pronunciation, "that has no inherent distinctive meaning", and which cannot occur by itself unless it is in monosyllabic word.

UKT 160211: If we go along with our definition of Akshara in Abugida-Akshara system, the above "that has no inherent distinctive meaning" is unacceptable. Each Akshara is a syllable by itself because each has an inherent vowel in it. Thus, {ta.} /ta/ 'to long for' as "a child longing for his mother who is not home". The akshara, {ta.} /ta/, whether as as glyph ( grapheme {sa-aim}), or sound (phoneme {sa.ka:aim), keeps its inherent vowel /a/ unless the vowel is killed by the virama {a.t}.

However, this rule is kept only in Bur-Myanmar, but not in Hindi-Dev. My Indian friends in Deep River, On., Canada, particularly Mr. Hashad Patel was shocked when I pronounce the name Asoka with an /a/ ending. They insisted that since {ka.} क is the coda, it automatically loses its inherent vowel, and I should pronounce the name as Asok. The trouble is, in Hindi a non-sense word: <tana> {ta.na.} कन

Hindi-Dev: {ta.na.} कन will be pronounced as /tan/
Bur-Myan: {ta.na.} कन will be pronounced as /ta.na./
  With a virama {a.t} : {ta.na.} कन  +    ्  -->  {tn} तन्
Bur-Myan has two words: {ta.na.} & {tn}, whereas Hindi-Dev has only one.

Because of such difficulties, I have to come up with definitions for use with my work on BEPS languages. And, because they are not recognized by MLC, and I keep on forgetting, I have to put them in pix format as shown below, and stored in PIX of the main Book-Candle index.htm .

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Tongue tip articulation

Retroflex consonants

- UKT 160217

One of my sources on Phonetics is a series of papers by Russell of Univ. of Manitoba, Canada. The following is one such paper:

The tongue tip may be curled back to perform a retroflex approximant, whatever the tongue body is doing. The "R-colouring" that this adds to the vowel is often called rhoticization. -- http://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/arts/linguistics/russell/138/sec3/morevowl.htm

The following is a paper on pronunciation involving tongue tip articulation of row#3 (retroflex), and row#4 (dental).

Identification of Hindi dental and retroflex consonants by native English and Japanese speakers (A) , by John S. Pruitt, Dept. of Psychol., Univ. of South Florida, in J. of Acoustical Soc. of America, May 1994, vol 95, issue 5, pp.3011-3012:

UKT 160217: I can no longer get the exact paper, instead of which what I could get is:
Perceptual Assimilation of Hindi Dental and Retroflex Stop-Consonants by Native English and Japanese Speakers, J. S. Pruitt , R. Akahane-Yamada, & W. Strange, ...
- www.icacommission.org/Proceedings/ICA1998Seattle/pdfs/.../2991_1.pdf.
- http://www.icacommission.org/Proceedings/ICA1998Seattle/pdfs/vol_4/2991_1.pdf
- Downloaded pdf paper in TIL SD-Library - JSPruitt-HindiRetroflexDental<> / bkp<>

"Previous research has shown that English speakers have great difficulty distinguishing dental and retroflex stop consonants of the Hindi language (which occur in five pairs of stop consonants in Hindi). [UKT ]

UKT 160217: The five pairs of plosive-stops:
 velar plosive-stop: 
 palatal plosive-stop/affricate
 retroflex plosive-stop : {Ta.} ट , {Hta.} ठ , {a.} ड , {a.} ढ , {Na.} ण
 dental plosive-stop :    {ta.} त , {hta.} थ , {da.} द , {Da.} ध , {na.} न
 bilabial plosive-stop :

"While both dental and retroflex consonants, in almost all of the manner/ voicing contexts of Hindi, occur as allophones in English, they do not occur phonemically. Unlike English, Japanese includes an alveolar-retroflex distinction (the Japanese /d/ versus the flapped /r/). However, no research has determined whether Japanese speakers can distinguish the Hindi contrast. This research compared English and Japanese speakers' ability to distinguish these Hindi stop consonants in four of the five manner/voicing contexts (breathy-voiced, prevoiced, voiceless-aspirated, and voiceless-unaspirated). Subjects were presented consonant-vowel syllables in three vowel contexts (/a/, /e/, /o/) that were produced by two native Hindi speakers. Marked differences were found between these two language groups that were dependent upon the manner/voicing context of the consonants. This research contributes to our understanding of the role of native language experience phonemic versus phonetic) in the perception of non-native speech contrasts." -- http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/... 080315

In Bur-Myan (Burmese-Myanmar), probably because we have lost the ability to "curl back" the tongue in rapid speech, the tongue-tip cannot reach the "retroflex" area of the hard palate. There is no rhoticization described by Russell, i.e. there is no R-colouring of the vowel. However, we can articulate the retroflex in slow speech. But then there is no R-colouring.

Contents of this page

Fricative Sibilant and Thibilant consonants

- UKT 160218

Note: Skt-Dev has three Fricative Sibilants: श ś [ɕ] /ʃ/ ; ष ṣ [ʂ] /s/ ; स s [s] /θ/.
However, what Skt-Dev has taken to be sibilant, given by IPA /θ/ is actually a thibilant in Bur-Myan {a.} . It is the same as <th> in English word <thin>.

Bur-Myan speakers are only used to Fricative Thibilant {a.} /θ/. This sound is present in Eng-Lat in words such as <thin>, and also in Old-English in which it is written in "Thorn" character . However, this sound is entirely absent in Hindi-Dev & Skt-Dev. The corresponding consonant for {a.} in Hindi-Dev & Skt-Dev is स sa /s/. It is the Fricative Sibilant. A very close allophone for it, is ष ṣa /ʂ/ or /s/. This sound is known as a Hisser due to its hissing ending sound. For transcription* of {a.} of Pal-Myan into Skt-Dev.

*UKT 160217: It is unfortunate that the old Brahmin-Poannar {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} religionists had claimed that Sanskrit is the Perfect Language , being the language of their Dva-god the Brahma, has preceded the Old Magadhi of Gautama Buddha. Magadhi the indigenous language is Prakrit the Imperfect. Early European Indologists being sold on this idea has even named the script of oldest inscriptions - those of Buddhist King Asoka - as Brahmi 'the script of the {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:}'. It is conveniently forgotten that when the learned {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} were ordered by the then Moslem king in the 13th century to decipher the inscriptions, none of them could do it. Because of this fact the {braah~ma.Na. poaN~Na:} has no claim to the oldest Indic script. It should be renamed Asokan - as has been done by F. Edgerton in his Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary
- BHS-indx.htm (link chk 160218).
Or, following the lead of Rev. F. Mason, A Pali grammar on the basis of Kaccayano {kic~s:}, 1868
- PEG-indx.htm (link chk 160218)
Old Magadhi should be named Magadhi-Asokan, or, Magadhi-Myanmar (Mag-Myan). What is being touted as Pali-Myan should be changed to Mag-Myan.


From: On the Production of low Tongue-tip /s/: A case report
- by Gloria J. Borden, and Thomas Gay, Journal of Communication Disorders, 11 (1978), 425-431 - www.haskins.yale.edu/Reprints/HL0244.pdf (160218),
or downloaded pdf in TIL SD-Library - GJBorden-LowTongue-TipS<> / bkp<> (link chk 160218)


(Abstract begins)
X-ray motion pictures and electromyography were combined to record tongue movement and tongue muscle activity of a normal speaker during /s/ production [UKT]

UKT 160218: The phoneme /s/ referred to above is not palatal plosive-stop {sa}/ {c} which is present in Bur-Myan and Pal-Myan. It is unknown in both, because which I have to invent the dental fricative {Sa.}/ {S} to transcribe ष ṣa [ʂ] in Skt-Myan. While going through this pdf paper, I carefully observe how I articulate the two: palatal {sa}/ {c}, and dental {Sa.}/ {S}. I found that with the dental, I could not retroflex my tongue, and [ʂ] is impossible for me. Unfortunately, the study does not mention the time-duration of vowels.

You'll note that ष ṣa [ʂ] was probably absent in Sanskrit before the speakers infiltrated into the Indian subcontinent because, the glyph looks like a borrowed one:

प pa + diagonal --> ष ṣa
Note the retroflex hook on the IPA [ʂ]

(Abstract continues)
The /s/ was in /i/, /o/, and /u/ vowel environments and in two and three consonant clusters. [UKT]

UKT 160218: "The /s/ was in /i/, /o/, and /u/ vowel environments" means the following pairs.

{Si.} (1 blk), {Si} (2 blk)

{Sau} (2 blk), {Sau:} (2 blk + emphasis)

{Su.} (1 blk), {Su} (2 blk)

You'll note that in the onset position of the syllables, both palatal plosive-stop {sa}/ {c} and dental fricative {Sa.}/ {S} behave exactly the same. I found that it is only in the coda that they behave differently, affecting the nuclear-vowel differently primarily by lengthening or shortening it. For example, if I were to pronounce <siS> or <SiS>, the nuclear vowel is lengthened and IPA transcription becomes /siːs/.

( Abstract continues)
Lead pellets attached to the tongue tip and dorsum were tracked by frame-by frame analysis of the X-ray film. Recordings from the tongue muscles were graphed and compared with the movement data. Results demonstrate that this subject produces /s/ with the tongue tip down behind the lower incisors and the blade elevated toward the alveolar ridge. [UKT ]

EMG data from the tongue shows that the tongue tip depression is not passive but is an active part of the motor strategy used by this subject to elevate the tongue body. These findings suggest that speech pathologists might well include the tip-down strategy of /s/ production in the therapeutic process as an alternative to the tip-up /s/. ( Abstract ends.)

... ... ...

Variations in the Tongue-Alveolar Ridge Construction for /s/

Phoneticians have traditionally described normal production of /s/ to involve, among other adjustments, the formation of a constriction at the alveolar ridge by elevation of the tongue tip and blade. [UKT ]

UKT 160217: In Bur-Myan, for sibilant sounds /s/ we use the palatal plosive-stop {sa.}/ {c}. However in Skt-Dev, in addition to the palatal, which they pronounce as affricate च ca, they have ष ṣa. This sound is given by IPA retroflex [ʂ]: notice the retroflex hook. See Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retroflex_consonant 160217

An alternative method for producing the constriction is usually described as a variant used by some individuals (Kantner and West, 1946; Heffner, 1949; Bronstein, 1960). Kantner and West (1946), for example, describe the variant method as follows:

"One common variation existing in many individuals and apparently unrelated to any anomaly of teeth formation might well be mentioned. These individuals place the tip of the tongue against the inner borders of the lower teeth, while the blade is rolled upward, making about the same contacts as those described above."

Anecdotal evidence suggests that this variant /s/ may be more common that is generally supposed. Subtelny et al. (1964) report that a tongue tip down /s/ was used by one-third of 30 speakers. ... In view of the difficulty many speakers have in acquiring an acceptable /s/ sound, and in view of the availability of two common methods of /s/ articulation, it is surprising that the tip-up model is so favored in speech pathology. 

[In the method used in this study,] the speaker was one of the authors (GJB), a native speaker of American English. The speech material consisted of nonsense syllables in which /s/ was in initial [onset] and final syllable [coda] positions, in /i/, /ɑ/, and /u/ contexts, and in /sp/, /st/, /sk/, [&] /spr/, /str/, and /skr/ consonant clusters. The utterances were produced at a comfortable speaking rate.

UKT 160219: Notice the vowels chosen in the study were /i/ {i.}, /ɑ/ {au:}, and /u/ {u.}. Vowel {a.} was not included. However, in the above consonant clusters I have used the {a.} to make the mute letter-cluster possess a sound.

/sp/ {Spa.}, /st/ {Sta.}, /sk/ {Ska.},
/spr/, /str/, /skr/


Figure 1 shows the usual position of the pellets during /s/ production for this subject. The tip of the tongue was behind the lower incisors and the dorsum bunched up toward the alveolar ridge. The lips were flared outward. This figure may be contrasted with that for the tip up /s/ shown by Perkell (1969, p. 80). The movement data showed remarkably little variation of the /s/ constriction across contexts. The tip of the tongue remained behind the lower teeth for /s/ in all contexts. It was further backed by approximately 3 mm for the /s/ in /stu/ than for /sti/ and was in all vowel contexts further back for /sk/ than for /sp/ and /st/. The elevation of the tip also never varied more than 3 mm. In general, the tip was lower for /sk/ than for /sp/ or /st/ and lower in the context of /u/ than /i/ or /ɑ/. The more elevated and backed tongue positions (as for /k/ and /u/) produced a more depressed and backed tongue tip position. The dorsal pellet also showed few contextual variations, with the pellet 2-3 mm higher for /i/ than for the /u/ and /ɑ/ contexts, but no difference seen in the /s/ position of the /sp/, /st/, and /sk/ clusters.

The movement data of this study showed that this subject produces /s/ with a low tongue tip position irrespective of adjacent vowel or consonant cluster environment. More interesting, however, is the question of the whether this is a passive or active gesture. Is the tip merely left behind upon blade elevation or is the tip actively depressed to facilitate the dorsal elevation? This question, of course, can be explored by reference to the EMG data. If the inferior longitudinal muscle, which is responsible for tongue tip depression, is active through /s/ production,

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Aksharas with no discernable POA

- UKT 160217
To understand the issues better, I have been studying not only BEPS languages but others as well:
  Mon-Myanmar ; Bangla-Bengali ; Hindi-Dev ; Nwari-Dev
From the presence or absence of certain aksharas in an individual language, we can get a fair notion of the pronunciation. For example, r1c5 akshara was probably absent in Sanskrit because at present Skt-Dev seems to have coined it:

case 1: ड dda + dot added --> ङ nga

Nwari was written in Asokan (Brahmi) script at one time until about 13th c. AD. when Asokan was slowly displaced by Devanagari.

case 2: the word for "fish" in Nwari is the same as "fish" in Burmese

I have been interested on the pronunciation of rows #1 & #2 involving columns #3, #4 & #5. The pronunciations (involving articulation & hearing) have become mixed up because we are dealing with two different linguistic groups - the Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) and the IE (Indo-European which was aka Indo-Aryan):

--------------------------------- c3 ----------------- c4 ------------------- c5
velar plosive-stop: - - {ga.} ग ga - {Ga.} घ gha - {nga.} ङ nga
palatal plosive-stop: - {za.} --------- - {Za.} ------------ - {a.}
palatal affricate: ---- - --------- ज ja - ---------- झ jha - --------- ञ nya 


Case of {Ga.} घ gha

The pronunciation of c4 consonants of the {wag.}-akshara, is not straight forward for the Bur-Myan speakers and they tend to pronounce them exactly as the c3. For example, {ga.} and {Ga.} are pronounced the same in rapid speech. However, according to Bur-Myan Buddhist monks (and my experience as well, when I was ordained and spent a short time as a full-fledge monk -- as mandated by our culture), there is a difference. This is confirmed by Rev. U Kaw-wi-da, the head of Toronto Burmese-Buddhist monastery. According to him, {Ga.} is pronounced with a grave h-sound . This distinction is very important when the monks are reciting {km~ma.wa-sa}.

Since, the same c4 consonants are also present in Skt-Dev, I am curious to know, how Hindi-Dev (Hindi is the modern version of Sanskrit) would speak. (Though I have heard the Hindi-Dev speakers speak, as I have said before, I am "phoneme-deaf"). The IAST transcription for  {ga.}- {Ga.} pair is: ग ga - घ gha , inferring that घ gha is just the aspirated form of ग ga . Since a "grave h-sound" is hardly aspiration, I am taking it to be glottalization not involving the tongue tip.


Case of {ga.} ग ga, {Ga.}/{hk} & {nga.}/{ng} in Peguan accent of Mon-Myan

Refer to:
Mon-Myan Language: Speech and Script - MonMyan-indx.htm > MV1874-indx.htm
  > has-conso.htm (link chk 160220)
  & Has-vocab-indx.htm (link chk 151223)
. Notes on the transliteration of Burmese alphabet into Roman characters, and vocal and consonantal sounds of the Peguan or Talaing language, by R. C. Temple, Rangoon 1876,
- RCTemple-translit-Bur<> / bkp<> (link chk 160220). 

In > has-conso.htm , on (' p004cont) / pdf 029, Rev. Haswell has stated:
" There is no <g> in the language save {ngra.} which as an initial has the sound <gn> (the <g> being fully sounded.) As a final it has the sound of <ng>."
In the above Haswell is talking about /ŋ/. There is no English syllable with /ŋ/ as the onset. Yet /ŋ/ is present as the coda, e.g. <king> /kɪŋ/. When the English speakers had to transcribe many place-names and person-names in Myanmar that starts with this sound, they usually use <gn> for this sound, e.g., Gnak'aw'san 'stream where birds sing' {nghak-au-sm:}. However, the transliteration has now been changed to <ng>.

The Mon-Myan pronunciation of row#1, and that of Bur-Myan are clearly so different that I am hesitant to assign definite POA for it in Romabama:
- row#1 {ka.} {hka.} {k}/{g} {hk} {gn} - Listen: bk-cndl-Mon1<)) (link chk 160220)


Case of {::tn} : Shin Kic'si's solution as 'dot above'

The IE languages of BEPS has no /ŋ/ (velar),  /ɲ/ (palatal) /ɳ/ (retroflex) phonemes. And when the Buddhist missionaries had to transcribe these Tib-Bur sounds into Skt-Dev, they had no choice but to follow the solution of Shin Kic'si. For sounds ending with these grapheme, use the {::tn} in effect making these aksharas lose their POAs. Thus, the Buddhist Arahat Ingulimala {n~gu.li.ma-la.} became Angulimala.

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UKT notes

Faucalized voice

- UKT 160212

In some ways the diacritics given in Extensions to the IPA are over-kills for my work in BEPS. What is not realized is that these diacritics, such as Ħ, as in [aĦ] for faucalized voice means very little to one who does not know - one who hasn't heard by his own ear - what faucalized voice is like.

Moreover these diacritics are not ASCII compatible, and are useless as far as email is concerned. To overcome these difficulties I have to devise Romabama {ro:ma.ba.ma} based on my two L1's - Burmese and English. Even before I was born - whilst in my mother's womb - I have been exposed to English because my parents spoke in English for confidential and intimate speech because the rest of the household did not know any English. Of course the home-language was Burmese, because of which I claim English to be my second L1.

From: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faucalized_voice 101102, 160212

Faucalized voice, also called hollow or yawny voice {aip-ngeik-n}, is the production of speech sounds with an expanded laryngeal cavity. It contrasts with harsh voice {a-Na-n}, in which the larynx is compressed.

A well known language with faucalized voice is Korean, with its "tense" consonants. The entire vocal tract is tense, and the occlusion (closure, contact of mouth parts) lasts longer than other consonants. For this reason they are often called fortis. There also appears to be elements of stiff voice in the Korean consonants, though faucalized voice is not yet well enough described to know how common this is.

The Bor dialect of Dinka has contrastive modal, breathy, faucalized, and harsh voice in its vowels, as well as three tones.

UKT 160212: We know where Korean is spoken, but do we know where Dinka aka Thuɔŋjŋ (Th is akin to {hta.} & {da.}), is spoken. An interesting fact is that there is a velar nasal /ŋ/ - the same sound - transliteration-wise - as Bur-Myan {nga.}/ {ng} - in their language.

The Dinka are found mainly along the River Nile, specifically the west bank of the White Nile, a major tributary flowing north from Uganda, north and south of the Sudd marsh in southwestern and south central Sudan. See Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinka_language 160212
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nile 160212

Go back faucal-note-b

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grapheme & phoneme 

- UKT 160212:

My notes on these two linguistic terms were in different sections. I am putting them together because of the following:

Grapheme is a unit of {sa} - TIL tentative term: {sa-yu-nic}
Phoneme is a unit of {sa.ka.} - TIL tentative term: {sa.ka:yu-nic}
Akshara means the one-to-one correspondence between {sa} and {sa.ka:}
In case there is discrepancy take: {r:tau. a.mhn/ hpt-tau. a.n}
  'what is written is permanent (correct); what is read is just sound (transient and is prone to error).

To my direct question, "What is the difference between graphemes and morphemes? ", the answer I got included:
- https://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20121102113842AAS8v1x 160212
  "According to the guidelines of morphology, the linguistics branch concerned with the internal structure of words, a morpheme is the very smallest meaningful linguistic unit in the grammar of a language.
  "In written language {sa} morphemes are composed of graphemes, or the smallest units of typography.
  "In oral language {sa.ka:}, however, morphemes they are composed of phonemes, or the smallest units of speech."


From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapheme 080314, 160212
UKT 160212: the following are relevant facts in the above two articles with my additions.

In typography, a grapheme is the fundamental unit in written language {sa}. Graphemes include alphabetic letters, Chinese characters, numerals, punctuation marks, and all the individual symbols of any of the world's writing systems.

Graphemes are often notated within angle brackets, as a , B , etc. [2]. This is analogous to the slash notation (/a/, /b/) used for phonemes, and the square bracket notation used for phonetic transcriptions ([a], [b]).

In a phonemic orthography, a grapheme corresponds to one phoneme. [UKT ]

UKT 160216: Indic languages, including Bur-Myan are phonemic orthographies, i.e. there is a one-to-one correspondence between script {sa} and speech {sa.ka:}. In case there is discrepancy, you are to pronounce according to spelling, because {sa} is more permanent than {sa.ka:} which is lost as soon as it is uttered. It is meaning of the word 'Akshara' - the "unchanging". Contrary to the view of Hindu religionists, 'Akshara' has nothing to do with a 'permanent god'.

In spelling systems that are non-phonemic -- such as the spellings used most widely for written English -- multiple graphemes may represent a single phoneme. These are called digraphs (2 graphemes for a single phoneme) and trigraphs (3 graphemes). For example, the word <ship> contains four graphemes (<s>, <h>, <i>, and <p>) but only three phonemes, because <sh> is a digraph.

In the same way that the surface forms of phonemes are speech sounds or phones (and different phones representing the same phoneme are called allophones), the surface forms of graphemes are glyphs (sometimes "graphs"), namely concrete written representations of symbols, and different glyphs representing the same grapheme are called allographs. Hence a grapheme can be regarded as an abstraction of a collection of glyphs that are all semantically equivalent.

For example, in written Eng-Latin, there are many different physical representations of the lowercase letter "a", such as a , ɑ, etc. But because the substitution of any of these for any other cannot change the meaning of a word, they are considered to be allographs of the same grapheme, which can be written a. Italic and bold face are also allographic.

UKT 160212: In BEPS to keep the letters in ASCII, the 26 glyphs of Latin Alphabet has to represent many more glyphs of Myanmar Akshara. Introducing , , , helps, but it is not enough. To overcome this difficulty, I have to expand the 26 glyphs x 2 = 52 by differentiating lower case letters from upper case to avoid the use of digraphs. Even then, I am stuck with {nga.}.

Different glyphs can represent the same grapheme, meaning they are allographs. For example, the lower cased letter a can be seen in two variants, with a hook at the top, and without. Not all glyphs are graphemes in the phonological sense; for example the logogram ampersand (&) represents the Latin word et (English word <and>), which contains two phonemes.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoneme download 070908

A phoneme {sa.ka:yu-nic} can include slightly different sounds or phones. For instance, the {sa.ka:yu-nic} /p/ sound in the words <pin> and <spin> is pronounced differently, but is still considered the single /p/ phoneme. [UKT ]

UKT 160216: I remember my cousin Daw Hla May (at that time Lecturer in English at Univ. of Mandalay) pointing out to me her surprise to realize that Eng-Latin speakers pronounce the English word <pin> as {hpn} 'anus or buttock'. I was Lecturer in Chemistry at that time in the same university. She was quite embarrassed to point this out to her students. If you are an English speaker, don't ask a Burmese girl for a "pin" - you might get a slap on your cheek. English speakers simply cannot pronounce the tenuis sounds. They pronounce [pa], [ta], [ka] as [pʰa], [tʰa], [kʰa]. However they can pronounce {Spa.} {Sta.} {Ska.} - which the Burmese cannot pronounce well.

Two phones that belong to the same phoneme are called allophones. A common test to determine whether two phones are allophones or separate phones relies on finding so-called minimal pairs: words that differ only by the phones in question.

Go back: grapheme-note-b | Phoneme-note-b

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- UKT 070914

The concept is pitch is subjective. And so when "intonation is described as variation in pitch", it doesn't mean much.

From: Wikpedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intonation_(linguistics) 070914

In linguistics, intonation is the variation of pitch when speaking. Intonation and stress are two main elements of linguistic prosody.

Many languages use pitch syntactically, for instance to convey surprise and irony or to change a statement to a question. Such languages are called intonation languages. English and French are well-known examples. Some languages use pitch to distinguish words; these are known as tonal languages. Chinese, Thai, and Hausa are examples. An intermediate position is occupied by languages with tonal word accent, for instance Norwegian or Japanese.

Rising intonation means the pitch of the voice increases over time; falling intonation means that the pitch decreases with time. A dipping intonation falls and then rises, whereas a peaking intonation rises and then falls.

The classic example of intonation is the question-statement distinction. For example, north-eastern American English, like very many languages (Hirst & DiCristo, eds. 1998), has a rising intonation for echo or declarative questions <He found it on the street?> , and a falling intonation for wh- questions <Where did he find it?> and statements <He found it on the street.>. Yes or no questions <Did he find it on the street?> often have a rising end, but not always. The Chickasaw language [{ a Native American language of Muskogean family. It is agglutinative and follows the pattern SOV.}] has the opposite pattern, rising for statements and falling with questions.

Dialects of British and Irish English vary substantially, with rises on many statements in urban Belfast, and falls on most questions in urban Leeds.

UKT: One observation made on the way I spoke (during my first trip to the US in 1957-59) by my American class-mates was: whenever I asked a wh-question, I always ended with a rising intonation. I have made the same observation on how other Bur-Myan speak English in Myanmarpr. We are encouraged by our English language-teachers (whose L1's are other than English), to end our written questions with a question-mark <?>, and in speaking to end our questions with a rising intonation [↗ ].

Transcription: In the IPA, "global" rising and falling intonation are marked with a diagonal arrow rising left-to-right [↗] (U2197) and falling left-to-right [↘] (U2198), respectively. These may be written as part of a syllable, or separated with a space when they have a broader scope:

He found it on the street?
[hi faʊnd ɪt | ɑn ə ↗stɹit ‖ ]

In the previous example, the global rise symbol is placed between the transcriptions for the words <the> and <street>.

Yes, he found it on the street.
[↘ jɛs ‖ hi faʊnd ɪt | ɑn ə ↘stɹit ‖ ]

In that example, the symbol for a global fall was placed before the transcription for the word <yes>, as well as between the transcriptions for the words <the> and <street>.

How did you ever escape?
[↗haʊ dɪdju | ɛvɚ | ɪ↘skeɪp ‖ ]

Here, the global rise symbol is place before the transcription for the word <how> and the global fall symbol is placed between the two syllables in <escape>, after the small capital letter < I > which represents the sound [ɪ].

More specific transcription systems for intonation have also been developed, such as ToBI (Tones and Break Indices), RaP (Rhythm and Pitch) and INTSINT (Hirst & Di Cristo, eds. 1998).

Go back intonation-note-b

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- UKT 160221

From: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexeme 080314

A lexeme is an abstract unit of morphological analysis in linguistics, that roughly corresponds to a set of words that are different forms of the same word. For example, in the English language, <run>, <runs>, <ran> and <running> are forms of the same lexeme, conventionally written as RUN. A related concept is the lemma (or citation form), which is a particular form of a lexeme that is chosen by convention to represent a canonical form of a lexeme. Lemmas are used in dictionaries as the headwords, and other forms of a lexeme are often listed later in the entry if they are unusual in some way.

A lexeme belongs to a particular syntactic category, has a particular meaning ( semantic value) [UKT ]

In inflecting languages, has a corresponding inflectional paradigm; that is, a lexeme in many languages will have many different forms. For example, the lexeme RUN has a present third person singular form <runs>, a present non-third-person-singular form <run> (which also functions as the past participle and non-finite form), a past form <ran>, and a present participle <running>. (It does not include runner, runners, runnable, etc.) The use of the forms of a lexeme is governed by rules of grammar; in the case of English verbs such as RUN, these include subject-verb agreement and compound tense rules, which determine which form of a verb can be used in a given sentence.

UKT: English is an example of inflecting language, whereas examples of agglutinative languages include many Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) languages, Malay, the Dravidian languages, many Uralic languages, Inuktitut, some Mesoamerican and North American languages, etc. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agglutinative_language 080314

A lexicon consists of lexemes.

In many formal theories of language, lexemes have subcategorization frames to account for the number and types of complements they occur with in sentences and other syntactic structures.

The notion of a lexeme is very central to morphology, and thus, many other notions can be defined in terms of it. For example, the difference between inflection and derivation can be stated in terms of lexemes:

Inflectional rules relate a lexeme to its forms.
Derivational rules relate a lexeme to another lexeme.

Go back lexeme-note-b

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UKT 160211

Read the following Wiki article carefully, for it differentiates spoken language {sa.ka:} from written language {sa}.

The concept of morpheme is not well known to us who are used to syllable CV of the Abugida-Akshara system. Moreover, it is applicable only to inflected languages like English, Pali, and Sanskrit. Since, Bur-Myan is uninflected (see Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis 1899 , by A. W. Lonsdale,
- BurMyan-indx.htm > BG1899-indx.htm > BG1899-1-indx.htm > ch00.htm (link chk 160212)
those who have been exposed only to Bur-Myan, and not even to Pal-Myan will have difficulty in grasping the concept of morpheme. The following are quotes from A. W. Lonsdale:

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.

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. The servile veneration in which they held Pali, the language they had adopted as the classic, is, no doubt, directly responsible for the composition of such works. In their endeavour to conform strictly to Pali methods, they often introduced unnecessary terms and misapplied them, ignoring those grammatical points in Burmese for which they could find no parallel in Pali. How futile their attempts were may be judged by the numerous difficulties and anomalies they created, from some of which even now teachers of the language have not quite extricated themselves - take, for instance, the case-inflexions.

Moreover, remember the Akshara-glyph such as {ka.} is pronounceable, whereas Letter is generally mute unless it is a vowel - A E I O U (5 vowels). Others, B C D F G H J K L M N P Q R S T V W X Y Z (26 - 5 = 21 consonants) are mute. They are consonants. Don't get fooled by N & M. They are nasals and consider them mute. They are also consonants.

Don't get fooled by "vocalic R": it is not a consonant - it is a rhotic vowel ऋ {iRi.} (1 eye-blink) of Skt-Dev. It has a long companion ॠ {iRi} (2 blk).

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morpheme 080314, 160211
UKT: the 2 articles are slightly different.

The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology.

In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest linguistic unit that has semantic meaning.

In {sa.ka:} (spoken language), morphemes are composed of phonemes (the smallest linguistically distinctive units of sound), and

In {sa} (written language) morphemes are composed of graphemes (the smallest units of written language).

The concept morpheme differs from the concept word {waad}, as many morphemes cannot stand as words on their own. A morpheme is free if it can stand alone, or bound if it is used exclusively alongside a free morpheme. Its actual phonetic representation is the morph, with the morphs representing the same morpheme being grouped as its allomorphs.

Allomorphs of the plural-morpheme for regular nouns:

/s/ (e.g. in cats /kts) 
/ɪz, əz/ (e.g. in dishes / ɪʃɨz/) 
/z/ (e.g. in dogs /dɒɡz/)

A word {waad}, by definition, is freestanding. When it stands by itself, it is considered a root [TIL uses the sign √ ] because it has a meaning of its own (e.g. the morpheme cat ) and when it depends on another morpheme to express an idea, it is an affix because it has a grammatical function (e.g. the s in cats to indicate that it is plural). [1] Every word comprises one or more morphemes. The more combinations a morpheme is found in, the more productive it is said to be. [2]

Examples from Eng-Lat:

"Unbreakable" comprises three morphemes: un- (a bound morpheme signifying "not"), -break- (the root √ , a free morpheme), and -able (a free morpheme signifying "can be done").

Types of morphemes

Free morphemes like <town>, and <dog> can appear with other lexemes (as in <town hall> or <dog house>) or they can stand alone, i.e. "free".

Bound morphemes (affixes) like "un-" appear only together with other morphemes to form a lexeme. Bound morphemes in general tend to be prefixes and suffixes. Unproductive, non-affix morphemes that exist only in bound form are known as "cranberry" morphemes, from the "cran" in that very word.

Derivational morphemes can be added to a word to create (derive) another word: the addition of <-ness> to <happy>, for example, to give <happiness>. They carry semantic information.

Inflectional morphemes modify a word's tense, number, aspect, and so on (as in the <dog> morpheme if written with the plural marker morpheme <-s> becomes <dogs>). They carry grammatical information.

Allomorphs are variants of a morpheme, e.g. the plural marker in English is sometimes realized as [-z], [-s] or [-ɪz].

Other variants

Null morpheme
Root morpheme
Word stem

Morphological analysis:
In natural language processing for Japanese, Chinese and other languages, morphological analysis is the process of segmenting a given sentence into a row of morphemes. It is closely related to Part-of-speech tagging [POST done in context of computational linguistics, using algorithms], but word segmentation is required for these languages because word boundaries are not indicated by blank spaces.

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obstruents and sonorants

UKT 070910, 160222:

The classification of sounds into obstruents and sonorants is very confusing for a person who is used to the Abugida-Akshara classification, where there is a one-to-one correspondence between elements of speech {sa.ka:} and script {sa}, e.g. {ka.}-sound /ka/ corresponds to to {ka.}-glyph, and {a}-sound /a/ (vowel-duration 2 eye-blink) corresponds to {a}-glyph. See Sonority hierarchy given on right. You will notice that Abugida-Akshara classification is objective, whereas classification into obstruent-sonorants is very subjective depending on how the human observer heard the sounds.

The following are how I would classify them.

obstruent n. A sound, such as a plosive-stop, e.g. {ka.} /ka/, a fricative {Ska.} /səka/, or an affricate e.g. {kya.} /kja/, that is produced with complete blockage or at least partial constriction of the airflow through the nose or mouth.

sonorant n. A vowel or a voiced consonant regarded as a syllabic sound, as the last sound in the word <sudden> /sʌd.ən/. Disyllables which can be mistaken to monosyllables such as /sʌd. ən/ are not known in Bur-Myan, but common in IE. (UKT 160222: the second observation needs further checks.)

The aksharas of r1, r3, r4 and r5 rows of the akshara matrix, the Wag or classifiable-consonants (exclusive of the nasals), are obstruents. However, the r2 consonants {sa.} {hsa.} {za.} {Za.} are problematical. In Bur-Myan they are plosive-stops. In Skt-Dev the corresponding aksharas, च छ ज झ, are affricates. Please note I am not giving IAST transliteration for Skt-Dev because IAST introduces  unnecessary phonetic implications introduced by the Western phoneticians when they came into contact with Indian sibilant pronunciations in the bygone centuries.

The case of {sa.} is illuminating. It has two pronunciations: in the coda it is a plosive-stop [c], whereas in the onset it is a fricative [s]. e.g. {ic~sa}. English <cc> is also of this type: <success> /sək'ses/ (transcription from DJPD16-515). It should be noted that since the POAs of [k] and [c] are close, I have suggested that the transcription could have been /səc'ses/ which calls for a palatal <c> in English. When I posted this possibility on a forum, almost all responses were that English does not have a palatal <c>, which is true if <c> has been an onset. I insisted that coda <c> could very well be [c], the case being similar to the case of {sa.}.

After coming to the position that {sa.} could very well be both a plosive-stop and a fricative, Romabama has to come up with a transcription for स ष श . Here we ran into another problem: Sanskrit and English are IE, whereas Burmese is Tib-Bur. IE languages such as French and German lack the thibilant [θ] sounds which is present in English as <th> in <thin>. The thibilant [θ] sounds are "heard" by the French and Germans as [s] or [ʃ]. Taking all these into consideration, Romabama has to adopt:

{a.} {Sa.} / {sha.} for normal akshara, and
{} {S} {sh} for "killed" akshara.

{S} , {sha.} / {sh} are used for transcription of IE languages in Myanmar - the red coloration is to show that it is not official in MLC. Thus,

<sister> /sɪs.t|əʳ/ (US) /-t|ɚ/  --> {siS-ta}

The case of {sa.}/ {c} and {Sa.}/ {S} can be explained by tongue-tip down and tongue-tip up pronunciations. See: On the Production of low Tongue-tip /s/: A case report
- by Gloria J. Borden, and Thomas Gay, Journal of Communication Disorders, 11 (1978), 425-431 - www.haskins.yale.edu/Reprints/HL0244.pdf (160218),
or downloaded pdf in TIL SD-Library - GJBorden-LowTongue-TipS<> / bkp<> (link chk 160222)

Experimenting on myself shows that the Palatal plosive-stop {sa.}/ {c} in Bur-Myan is tongue-tip down , and the Palatal affricate of Eng-Lat & Skt-Dev is tongue-tip up pronunciations. (UKT 160222: I still need to observe more.)

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Opening and closing the glottis

From: www.ims.uni-stuttgart.de/phonetik/EGG/page9.htm 080107

An airstream formed in the lungs passes into the trachea and finally into the larynx, which is situated on top of the trachea. The larynx is the principal structure for producing vibrations of the air stream, while the oscillating vocal folds are responsible for activating vibrations of the air. The rapid closing and opening of the vibrating vocal folds periodically interrupts the air stream and produces a glottal tone later modified in the cavities of the vocal tract. The larynx is a musculo-cartilaginous structure supported by muscles from the hyoid bone which enable it to move up and down. When swallowing, the larynx is moved upward and the epiglottis folds down over it, covering the entrance to the trachea in order to prevent food from entering into the lungs. During yawning the larynx is lowered and moves down in order to widen the airway.

The non-biological function of the larynx - the production of sound - depends on the activity of the muscles and the position of the cartilages of the larynx.

 The vocal folds are attached at the front of the larynx to the thyroid cartilage and at the back to the arytenoid cartilages. The arytenoid cartilages can be made to rotate in a swivelling movement and to slide apart along the cricoid cartilage on which they are located. The movement of the arytenoid opens a three-dimensional triangular space (tetrahedron) between the inner edges of the vocal folds, i.e the glottis. The movement of the vocal folds in the process of separation is called abduction. If the folds approximate, they are adducted. The movement of the arytenoid regulates the abduction and tension of the vocal folds.

The vocal folds are located in the narrowest portion of the airway, just below the laryngeal ventricle and the ventricular folds. The vocal folds have a layered structure. The outermost layer is a thin skin made up of stratified squamous epithelium which is 0.05 to 0.1 mm thick. Under the epithelium resides the lamina propria, usually divided into three layers: superficial, intermediate and deep. The first layer, 0.05 mm thick, consists of elastin fibres surrounded by internal fluids. Elastin fibres allow for considerable elongation. The intermediate layer is also made of elastin fibres, but they are more uniform longitudinally. The third layer is made up of collagen fibres, which in opposition to elastin fibres, are not extensible. The intermediate and deep layers together are about 1 to 2 mm thick (Titze, 1994:15-17; Hirano et al., 1981). Those layers lie on top of the thyroarytenoid muscle (and muscle vocalis ), which is a major part of the vocal folds, being approximately 7 to 8 mm thick. The muscle fibres run longitudinally along the folds, but are are shaped similar to a braid.

The different properties of the layers lead to a different labelling of the structure of the vocal folds in which the fold consists of a body (a deep layer of lamina propria and muscle) and a cover (epithelium plus superficial and intermediate layers of the lamina propria). The body-cover model of the vocal folds' structure is used for the modelling of vocal fold vibration . The vocal folds are approximately 11 to 21 mm long. The structure of the folds allows changes in shape and thickness, but also elasticity and/or stiffness.

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From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharynx download 070909

The pharynx (plural: pharynges) is the part of the neck and throat situated immediately posterior to the mouth and nasal cavity, and cranial , or superior, to the esophagus, larynx, and trachea.

UKT: Wiki's use of the term "cranial" ( cranial adj. 1. Of or relating to the skull or cranium. [From cranium ] -- AHTD) is misleading. It just means the "upper end". Go online and click on the link cranial . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cranial download 070913

It is part of the digestive system and respiratory system of many organisms. Because both food and air pass through the pharynx, a flap of connective tissue called the epiglottis closes over the trachea when food is swallowed to prevent choking or aspiration. In humans the pharynx is important in vocalization. See a video from
throat - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CigUyfSv3w0 (160215)
It shows how food is prevented from entering the wind pipe. 
See downloaded video in TIL SD-Library - throat<> / bkp<> (link chk 160222)

The human pharynx is conventionally divided into three sections:
nasopharynx -- lies behind nasal cavity; the inferior wall consists of the superior surface of the soft palate.
oropharynx -- lies behind the oral cavity.
hypopharynx or laryngopharynx

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phonation types

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonation 080312

Phonation is the process of producing vocal sound by the vibration of the vocal folds that is in turn modified by the resonance of the vocal tract. It takes place in the larynx when the vocal folds are brought together [{adduction}] and breath pressure is applied to them in such a way that vibration ensues causing an audible source of acoustic energy, i.e., sound, which can then be modified by the articulatory actions of the rest of the vocal apparatus. The vocal folds are brought together primarily by the action of the interarytenoid muscles, which pull the arytenoid cartilages together [{See Laver, Phonetic Description of Voice quality, p099, in TIL library ch3-2.htm.}]

Phonation has traditionally been seen as one dimension of phonetic voicing, the degree of glottal tension. (A second dimension of voicing is timing, called voice onset time, or "VOT".)

However, with recent advances in imaging technology, it has become apparent that in many languages phonation involves more than just the glottis.


Voiced (vd.) sound: A voiced sound is produced when air expelled from the lungs causes the vocal folds to vibrate. This produces a fundamental tone accompanied by several non-harmonic overtones. The resulting sound is modified by movements in the vocal tract, by the volume of the airflow and by the degree of constriction of the vocal cords. (During speech the flow of air is relatively small because of constrictions of the vocal cords.) Vowels are usually voiced, as are many consonants.

Voiceless (vl.) sound: If the vocal folds are lax and not sufficiently close to vibrate, then the sound (usually a consonant) is voiceless.

UKT 160206: Bur-Myan speakers, can understand the distinction between vl- and vd-sounds. The consonants of column c1 {wag}-section {ka.}-{ta.}-{pa.} are vl. The c3 {wag}-consonants {ga.}-{da.}-{ba.} are vd.

Bur-Myan basic nasals {nga.}-{a.}-{na.}-{ma.} are voiced, but when formed into medials, {ngha. ha. nha. mha.} by using "h" sound, {ha.hto:} they become voiceless. Please note that because of the ability of {ha.} to form medials (an ability considered to be those of approximants), I have to classify {ha.} as a pharyngeal approximant. In this instance Bur-Myan {ha.} is different from IPA [h]. The addition of an "h" sound, especially to <w> in words that begin with <wh> is supposed to be "aspiration", which I hold is different from the "h" sound in {ha.hto:}.

The vocal vibration is varied to produce intonation and tone. This is accomplished by varying the pressure of the air column under the glottis as well as the tension in the vocal folds themselves. These actions produce changes in the frequency of vocal-cord vibration, which generates the fundamental pitch of the voice. Tone and intonation are not conveyed well by voiceless sounds, with their lax vocal folds, but the changes in airflow are still audible.

Phonation as the state of the glottis: In classic treatments of phonation, such as those of Peter Ladefoged, phonation was considered to be a matter of points on a continuum of tension and closure of the vocal cords. More intricate mechanisms were occasionally described, but they were difficult to investigate, and until recently the state of the glottis and phonation were considered to be nearly synonymous.
   If the vocal cords are completely relaxed, with the arytenoid cartilages apart for maximum airflow, the cords do not vibrate. This is voiceless phonation, and is extremely common with obstruents. (UKT: obstruents include stops, nasals and fricatives, and affricates. The classification into obstruents and sonorants, and our classification into {wag}, nasal, and {a.wag} consonants are not comparable.)
   If the arytenoids are pressed together for glottal closure, the vocal cords block the airstream, producing stop sounds such as the glottal stop. In between there is a sweet spot of maximum vibration. This is modal voice, and is the normal state for vowels and sonorants in all the world's languages. However, the aperture of the arytenoid cartilages, and therefore the tension in the vocal cords, is one of degree between the end points of open and closed, and there are several intermediate situations utilized by various languages to make contrasting sounds.
   For example, Gujarati has vowels with a partially lax phonation called breathy voice or murmured, while Burmese has vowels with a partially tense phonation called creaky voice or laryngealized. Both of these phonations have dedicated IPA diacritics, an under-umlaut and under-tilde. The Jalapa dialect of Mazatec is unusual in contrasting both with modal voice in a three-way distinction. (Note that Mazatec is a tonal language, so the glottis is making several tonal distinctions simultaneously with the phonation distinctions.)

   Javanese does not have modal voice in its plosives, but contrasts two other points along the phonation scale, with more moderate departures from modal voice, called slack voice and stiff voice. The "muddy" consonants in Shanghainese are slack voice; they contrast with tenuis and aspirated consonants.
   Although each language may be somewhat different, it is convenient to classify these degrees of phonation into discrete categories. A series of seven alveolar plosives, with phonations ranging from an open/lax to a closed/tense glottis, are:

Open glottis: [t] voiceless (full airstream) ; [d̤] breathy voice ; [d̥] slack voice 
Sweet spot: [d] modal voice (maximum vibration) ; [d̬] stiff voice  ; [d̰] creaky voice
Closed glottis: [ʔ͡t] glottal closure (blocked airstream)

   The IPA diacritics under-rg and subscript wedge, commonly called "voiceless" and "voiced", are sometimes added to the symbol for a voiced sound to indicate more lax/open (slack) and tense/closed (stiff) states of the glottis, respectively. (Ironically, adding the 'voicing' diacritic to the symbol for a voiced consonant indicates less modal voicing, not more, because a modally voiced sound is already fully voiced, at its sweet spot, and any further tension in the vocal cords dampens their vibration.)

Unaccompanied phonation: It has long been noted that, both phonologically and historically, the glottal consonants [ʔ, ɦ, h] do not behave like other consonants. Phonetically, they have no manner or POA other than the state of the glottis: glottal closure for [ʔ], breathy voice for [ɦ], and open airstream for [h]. Some phoneticians have described these sounds as neither glottal nor consonantal, but instead as instances of pure phonation.

Register: Many languages combine phonation and tone into a single phonological system. In Mazatec, tone and phonation have separate lives, so that all possible combinations of its several tones and phonations can be utilized to distinguish words, but Burmese tones do not contrast directly in this way. Rather each Burmese tone occurs only with a specific phonation that serves to make it more distinctive or, from a different point of view, Burmese "tone" serves to make the phonations more distinct. These tone-phonation hybrids are called registers. See pitch-register (vowel register) in my notes

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From: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phone 070912

Within phonetics, a phone is:
a speech sound or gesture considered as a physical event without regard to its place in the phonology of a language
a speech segment that possesses distinct physical or perceptual properties
a particular occurrence of a speech segment
the basic unit revealed via phonetic speech analysis
Phonetic symbology is set off within brackets.

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From: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonology 070913

Phonology (Greek φωνή (phōnē), voice, sound + λόγος (lgos), word, speech, subject of discussion), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). Whereas phonetics is about the physical production and perception of the sounds of speech, phonology describes the way sounds function within a given language or across languages.

An important part of phonology is studying which sounds are distinctive units within a language. In English, for example, /p/ and /b/ are distinctive units of sound, (i.e., they are phonemes / the difference is phonemic, or phonematic). This can be seen from minimal pairs such as <pin> and <bin>, which mean different things, but differ only in one sound. On the other hand, /p/ is often pronounced differently depending on its position relative to other sounds, yet these different pronunciations are still considered by native speakers [{UKT: speakers whose L1 is English}] to be the same "sound". For example, the /p/ in <pin> is aspirated ( {hpa.}-sound) while the same phoneme in <spin> ({pa.}-sound) is not. In some other languages, for example Thai and Quechua, this same difference of aspiration or non-aspiration does differentiate phonemes.

In addition to the minimal meaningful sounds (the phonemes), phonology studies how sounds alternate, such as the /p/ in English described above, and topics such as syllable structure, stress, accent, and intonation.

The principles of phonological theory have also been applied to the analysis of sign languages, even though the phonological units are not acoustic. The principles of phonology, and for that matter, language, are independent of modality because they stem from an abstract and innate grammar.

The writing systems (UKT: Devanagari and Myanmar are of the abugida writing system) of some languages are based on the phonemic principle of having one letter (or combination of letters) per phoneme and vice-versa. Ideally, speakers can correctly write whatever they can say, and can correctly read anything that is written. (In practice, this ideal is never realized.) (UKT: In formal speaking and writing in Burmese-Myanmar, speaking and writing can be the same.) However in English, different spellings can be used for the same phoneme (e.g., <rude> and <food> have the same vowel sounds), and the same letter (or combination of letters) can represent different phonemes (e.g., the <th>/<> consonant sounds of <thin> and <this> are different). In order to avoid this confusion based on orthography, phonologists represent phonemes by writing them between two slashes: " /.../ " (but without the quotes). On the other hand, the actual sounds are enclosed by square brackets: " [...] " (again, without quotes). While the letters between slashes may be based on spelling conventions, the letters between square brackets are usually the IPA or some other phonetic transcription system. ...

Development of the field: In ancient India, the Sanskrit grammarian Pāṇini (c. 520460 BC) (UKT: period comparable to that of Mahavira the founder of Jainism, and Buddha the founder of Buddhism) lived in ca. 6th century BC) , who is considered the founder of linguistics, in his text of Sanskrit phonology, the Shiva Sutras, discovers the concepts of the phoneme, the morpheme and the root. The Shiva Sutras describe a phonemic notational system in the fourteen initial lines of the Aṣṭādhyāyī. The notational system introduces different clusters of phonemes that serve special roles in the morphology of Sanskrit, and are referred to throughout the text. Panini's grammar of Sanskrit had a significant influence on Ferdinand de Saussure, the father of modern structuralism, who was a professor of Sanskrit.

The Polish scholar Jan Baudouin de Courtenay, (together with his former student Mikołaj Kruszewski) coined the word phoneme in 1876, and his work, though often unacknowledged, is considered to be the starting point of modern phonology. He worked not only on the theory of the phoneme but also on phonetic alternations (i.e., what is now called allophony and morphophonology). His influence on Ferdinand de Saussure was also significant. ...

UKT: The whole Wikipedia article should be read. You should also study Optimality Theory , if you would like to know more of the subject.

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pitch (music)

- UKT 070914, 160210:

From Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitch_(music) 070914
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitch_%28music%29 080103
  This article includes inline links to audio files.

Pitch is the perceived fundamental frequency of a sound. While the actual fundamental frequency can be precisely determined through physical measurement, it may differ from the perceived pitch because of overtones, or partials, in the sound. [UKT ]

UKT 160210: Pitch and Fundamental frequency, f0, of the sound waves are different. Fundamental frequency, f0, can be measured precisely by instruments, whereas Pitch depends on your hearing and is subjective. Europeans heard our vowels differently from what we, the natives, hear. Don't rely on their description of our spoken language. Because of the subjective nature of perception, the little Celtic Gnome has lost his G , and has become a Nome! No wonder he keeps his Gold for himself.

The human auditory perception system may also have trouble distinguishing frequency differences between notes under certain circumstances. According to ANSI (American National Standards Institute) acoustical terminology, it is the auditory attribute of sound according to which sounds can be ordered on a scale from low to high.

UKT 160210: As a down-to-earth engineer, I would take the measurable quantity only, the frequency. Note the use of "perceived" -- which means what a person (or a supposedly group of person) hears. If we are to take a linguistic parallel, the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapir-Whorf_hypothesis 070914) into account, we will have to say that "perceived" means what is allowed by the hearer's cultural background. Chinese traditional music is "noise" to our ears, and so is Burmese traditional music to many "modern" Myanmars especially the teens. Therefore, if we are to use the qualifier "perceived", we will get into a gray area of "understanding". And, nothing will ever get done.

In spite of what I have said above, perception is still important.
Listen to Standardized pitch, the A above middle C (A440) <)).

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pitch-accent (linguistics)

Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitch_accent 080317

Pitch accent is a linguistic term of convenience for a variety of restricted tone systems that use variations in pitch to give prominence to a syllable or mora within a word. The placement of this tone or the way it is realized can give different meanings to otherwise similar words. Pitch accent is often described as being intermediate between tone and stress, but it is not a concept that is required to describe any language, nor is there a coherent definition for pitch accent.

UKT: As with most of the linguistic terms, the term mora is not well defined. I have taken from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mora_%28linguistics%29 080317, what is relevant to "pitch-accent" as applicable to Burmese-Myanmar:
   "The syllable nucleus [{the peak V in CVC}] represents one mora in the case of a short vowel, and two moras in the case of a long vowel or diphthong. Consonants serving as syllable nuclei also represent one mora if short and two if long. (Slovak language is an example of a language that has both long and short consonantal nuclei.)

Pitch accent is not a coherently defined term, but is used to describe a variety of systems that are on the simple side of tone (simpler than Yoruba or Mandarin) and on the complex side of stress (more complex than English or Spanish). The term has been used to describe the Scandinavian languages, Serbo-Croatian, and Japanese, as well as some dialects of Korean and Wu Chinese [{Wu Chinese has been called Shanghainese -- Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghainese 080317}].

UKT: My understanding as of 080317 is pitch-accent is the same as " pitch-register" described in my notes.

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pitch-register (linguistics)
vowel register (phonology)

- UKT 160221: I base my notes on the following Wikipedia articles. My position on the official language of Myanmarpr is "Burmese speech written in Myanmar akshara". I differentiate "Burmese" as speech, "Myanmar" as script, and "Myanmarpr" as the country (a geo-political unit). Boundaries of geo-political units are bones of contention between neighbours. 

From: Wikipedia:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Register_%28phonology%29 070914, 160221
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_language 070914, 160221
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Register_(phonology) 080316

In phonology, a register or pitch register is a prosodic feature* of syllables in certain languages, in which tone, vowel phonation, glottalization, or similar features depend upon each other. Burmese, Vietnamese and Wu Chinese aka Shanghai -dialect have such systems. Bur-Myan (Burmese speech in Myanmar script) was considered to be a tonal language, but now taken as a pitch-register language.

*UKT 160221: Prosodic feature means when the two syllables or words have to be pronounced in succession there is no sudden changes in pronunciation. There is no agreed number of prosodic variables. What a person hears is subjective. In auditory terms, I will list the major variables as - #1. shrillness vs. smoothness, #2. vowel-length in eye-blinks, and #3. loudness. In summing up the major prosodic feature of a speaker's voice is whether it is pleasing to your ears or not. However to describe a prosodic feature objectively you can measure with instruments. In acoustic quantities: #1. the fundamental frequency, f0 in hertz (cycles/sec), #2. vowel-duration in milliseconds, and #3. loudness in decibels. See Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosody (linguistics) 160221

From Wikipedia 080316

In linguistics, a register language, also known as a pitch-register language, is a language which combines tone and vowel phonation into a single phonological system. Burmese and the Chinese dialect Shanghainese are examples. Burmese is often considered a tonal language, but differences in relative pitch are correlated with vowel phonation, so that neither exists independently.

You may come across phrases such as in a Wikipedia article 070914 such as:
"For example, the following words are distinguished from each other only on the basis of tone":

(Note: Romabama transliteration uses IPA suprasegmentals /ă/, {a} /a/, {a:} /aː/ )
Creaky /kʰa̰/ 'fee' -- {hka.} [kʰă]/
Low /kʰ/ 'shake' -- {hka} [kʰa]
High /kʰ/ 'be bitter' -- {hka:} [kʰaː]

Checked /kʰaʔ/ 'draw off'  -- {hkp}/{hkap} [kʰʌp] (MEDict065)

UKT: Since in vocal music there are two terms using the word register , head register (head voice) and chest register (chest voice), the term pitch-register language should be adopted instead of register language.

There are three such pitch-registers  [{ I have changed from registers }] in Burmese, which have traditionally been considered three of the four 'tones'. (The fourth is not a tone at all, but a closed syllable, called "entering tone" in translations of Chinese phonetics). Jones (1986) views the differences as:

resulting from the intersection of both pitch registers and voice registers [] Clearly Burmese is not tonal in the same sense as such other languages and therefore requires a different concept, namely that of pitch register. -- Wikipedia source:  Robert Jones, 1986. Pitch register languages, pp 135-136, in John McCoy & Timothy Light eds., Contributions to Sino-Tibetan Studies

UKT: Romabama transliteration uses IPA suprasegmentals [ă], {a} [a], {a:} [aː] :

# 1. Creaky voice {la.} [lă]
# 2. Modal voice {la} [la]
# 3. (definitely not "breathy) {la:} [laː]

The so-called "checked" register with the final glottal stop does not reflect the Burmese-Myanmar orthography. Romabama transcription is {lt}/{lat} -- the first syllable of compound word {lt-hst} (MEDict453)

Every Bur-Myan child when learning to read and write has to learn the family of "tone s" or "pitch-registers":

#1  #2  #3
{a.  a  a:}
{ka.  ka  ka:}
{hka.  hka  hka:}
{ga.  ga  ga:}
{nga.  nga  nga:}

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From: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosody_(linguistics) download 070914

In linguistics, prosody describes all the acoustic properties of speech (UKT: how we hear or what a microphone picks up -- does not depend on POA or manner of articulation) that cannot be predicted from a local window on the orthographic (or similar) transcription. So, prosody is relative to a default pronunciation of a phoneme/feature bundle/segment/syllable; it does not include coarticulation because coarticulation is predictable from the immediate phonological or orthographic neighborhood. Qualitatively, one can understand prosody as the difference between a well-performed play, and one on first reading.

UKT: My understanding of the above passage on prosody and pronunciation is:
prosody -- related to the hearer
pronunciation -- related to the speaker
We should keep this in mind, when we continue reading this article.

Syntactically, the term generally covers intonation, rhythm, and focus in speech.

Acoustically, prosody describes changes in the syllable length, loudness, pitch, and formant structure of speech sounds. (UKT: all these changes can be measured precisely by instruments.) Looking at the speech articulators, it describes changes in the velocity and range of motion in articulators like the jaw and tongue, along with quantities like the air pressure in the trachea and the tensions in the laryngeal muscles.

Phonologically, prosody is described by tone, intonation, rhythm, and lexical stress.

A precise definition of prosody and its effects depends upon the language. For instance, some languages make lexical distinctions based on vowel duration. In such languages, syllable length would thus be at least partly predictable from a transcription and thus not completely prosodic. Likewise, in tone languages such as Mandarin, the pitch and/or intonation is at least partially predictable from the lexical tone of a word, and thus not completely prosodic.

Similarly, the formant structure of vowels is primarily determined by a phonological or orthographic transcription, but not entirely. Vowels are generally more completely realized in accented or focused syllables. From an acoustic point of view, it means that the formant structure is farther from the structure of a neutral vowel (typically the schwa), and closer to the vowels that one might see in the stressed syllables of a carefully spoken word. Thus, the precise formant structure of vowels normally contains a mixture of prosodic and lexical information.

The prosodic features of a unit of speech, whether a syllable, word, phrase, or clause, are typically called suprasegmental features because they typically affect all the segments of the unit.

UKT: Clause, phrase, and word are grammatical terms, whereas prosodic features are acoustic properties. We will have to keep this in mind as we go on reading this article.

Prosodic units do not always correspond to grammatical units, although both may reflect how the brain processes speech. Phrases and clauses are grammatical concepts, but they may have prosodic equivalents, commonly called prosodic units, intonation units, or declination units, which are the actual phonetic spurts or chunks of speech. These are often believed to exist as a hierarchy of levels. Such units are characterized by several phonetic cues, such as a coherent pitch contour, and the gradual decline in pitch and lengthening of vowels over the duration of the unit, until the pitch and speed are reset to begin the next unit. Breathing, both inhalation and exhalation, only seems to occur at these boundaries.

Different schools of linguistics describe somewhat different prosodic units. One common distinction is between continuing prosody, which in English orthography we might mark with a comma, and final prosody, which we might mark with a full stop (period). This is the common usage of the IPA symbols for "minor" and "major" prosodic breaks (American English pronunciation):

Jack, preparing the way, went on.
[ˈdʒk | pɹəˌpɛəɹɪŋ ə ˈweɪ | wɛnt ˈɒn ‖ ]

Jacques, prparant le sol, tomba.
[ˈʒak | pʁepaʁɑ̃ lɵ ˈsɔl | tɔ̃ˈba ‖ ]

Note that the last syllable with a full vowel in a French prosodic unit is stressed, and that the last stressed syllable in an English prosodic unit has primary stress. This shows that stress is not phonemic in French, and that the difference between primary and secondary stress is not phonemic in English; they are both elements of prosody rather than inherent in the words.

The pipe symbols the vertical bars | and ‖ used above are phonetic, and so will often disagree with English punctuation, which only partially correlates with prosody.

However, the pipes may also be used for metrical breaks -- a single pipe being used to mark metrical feet, and a double pipe to mark both continuing and final prosody, as their alternate names "foot group" and "intonation group" suggest. In such usage, each foot group would include one and only one heavy syllable. In English, this would mean one and only one stressed syllable:

Jack, preparing the way, went on.
[ˈdʒk ‖ pɹəˌpɛəɹɪŋ | ə ˈweɪ ‖ wɛnt ˈɒn ‖ ]

In many tone languages with downdrift, such as Hausa language, [ | ] is often used to represent a minor prosodic break that does not interrupt the overall decline in pitch of the utterance, while [ ‖ ] marks either continuing or final prosody that creates a pitch reset. In such cases, some linguists use only the single pipe, with continuing and final prosody marked by a comma and period, respectively.

In transcriptions of non-tonal languages, the three symbols pipe, comma, and period may also be used, with the pipe representing a break more minor than the comma, the so-called list prosody often used to separate items when reading lists, spelling words, or giving out telephone numbers.

It can be assumed that many people can communicate and interpret extensively using slight colours, tonation and rhythm in the voice to extend emotions and clever nuances in conversation. However, it should be noted that not everyone is assumed able to fully understand or even acknowledge such extensive tonal characteristics in particular speech - even in their native language. See Sociolinguistics

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- UKT 160213: One of the main difficulties in transcription from Bur-Myan & Pali-Myan (Tib-Bur languages) to Eng-Lat & Skt-Dev (IE languages) is due to the Fricatives among the Approximants, and Palatals among the Plosive-Stops. The Fricatives responsible are:


From: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sibilant 070911

A sibilant is a type of fricative or affricate consonant, made by directing a jet of air through a narrow channel in the vocal tract towards the sharp edge of the teeth.

The term sibilant is often taken to be synonymous with the term strident, though this is incorrect - there is variation in usage. The term sibilant tends to have an articulatory or aerodynamic definition involving the production of aperiodic noise at an obstacle [UKT ].

Strident refers to the perceptual quality of intensity as determined by amplitude and frequency characteristics of the resulting sound (i.e. an auditory, or possibly acoustic, definition).

Sibilants are louder than their non-sibilant counterparts, and most of their acoustic energy occurs at higher frequencies than non-sibilant fricatives. [s] has the most acoustic strength at around 8,000 Hz, but can reach as high as 10,000 Hz. [ ʃ ] has the bulk of its acoustic energy at around 4,000 Hz, but can extend up to around 8,000 Hz.

The spin-off terms shibilant, and rarely thibilant, are used to describe particular kinds of sibilant.

A thibilant is a term occasionally found for an interdental fricative. An example of a thibilant is the sound transcribed by the IPA symbol theta [θ]). -- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thibilant 070914

Of the sibilants, the following have IPA symbols of their own:
alveolar: [s], [z] (either apical or laminal)
post-alveolar: [ ʃ ], [ ʒ ] (Palato-alveolar: that is, "domed" (partially palatalized) postalveolar, either laminal or apical)
post-alveolar: [ɕ], [ʑ] (Alveolo-palatal: that is, laminal palatalized postalveolar; these are equivalent to ʃʲ, ʒʲ)
post-alveolar: [ʂ], [ʐ]: (Retroflex, which can mean one of three things: (a) non-palatalized apical postalveolar, (b) sub-apical postalveolar or pre-palatal, or (c) non-palatalized laminal ("flat") postalveolar, sometimes transcribed [s̠ z̠] or [ʂ̻ ʐ̻].

UKT 070914: We will tentatively equate:
/s , z/ to {sa.} (onset),  { za.}  (Contrast from {ca.} (coda))
/ ʃ , ʒ/ to {hya.} . (MLC transliteration {rha.} is not accepted in Romabama. /ʒ/ is not represented in Romabama.)
/ɕ , ʑ/ to {kya.} {gya.}
/ʂ , ʐ / (both are not represented in Romabama)

Diacritics can be used for finer detail. For example, apical and laminal alveolars can be specified as [s̺] vs [s̻]; a dental (or more likely denti-alveolar) sibilant as [s̪]; a palatalized alveolar as [sʲ]; and a generic postalveolar as [s̠], a transcription frequently used when none of the above apply (that is, for a laminal but non-palatalized, or "flat", postalveolar). Some of the Northwest Caucasian languages also have a closed laminal postalveolar, without IPA symbols but provisionally transcribed as [ŝ ẑ].

Only the alveolar (UKT: /s, z/) and palato-alveolar (UKT: / ʃ , ʒ/) sibilants are distinguished in English ...

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strident consonant

From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strident_consonant 080315

A sibilant is a type of fricative or affricate consonant, made by directing a jet of air through a narrow channel in the front part of the mouth [{Wikipedia used vocal tract  which is not specific.}] towards the sharp edge of the [{front}] teeth.

The term
The term sibilant is often taken to be synonymous with the term strident, though this is incorrect - there is variation in usage. The term:

sibilant tends to have an articulatory or aerodynamic definition involving the production of aperiodic noise at an obstacle.

strident refers to the perceptual quality of intensity as determined by amplitude and frequency characteristics of the resulting sound (i.e. an auditory, or possibly acoustic, definition).

Sibilants are louder than their non-sibilant counterparts, and most of their acoustic energy occurs at higher frequencies than non-sibilant fricatives. [s] has the most acoustic strength at around 8,000 Hz, but can reach as high as 10,000 Hz. [ʃ] has the bulk of its acoustic energy at around 4,000 Hz, but can extend up to around 8,000 Hz.
   The spin-off terms shibilant, and rarely thibilant [{the inclusion of "thibilant" here is misleading}], are used to describe particular kinds of sibilant.

UKT: See Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thibilant 080315, where it is stated that "Dental fricative or interdental fricative - non-sibilant coronal fricative.
<thibilant> is exemplified by /θ/ with no hissing sound, whereas <sibilant> by /s/ with hissing sound.

Of the sibilants, the following have IPA symbols of their own:

[s], [z] (either apical or laminal).

Postalveolar: (UKT note: the term "post-alveolar" is misleading. The prefix "post-" means "after", which depends on how you are preceding. The IPA way of looking at the POAs is from lips to uvula, whereas the Eastern way is from uvula to the lips. So, according the Burmese-Myanmar way of looking at the POAs, "Post-alveolar" is "Pre-alveolar")
[ʃ] [ʒ] (Palato-alveolar: that is, "domed" (partially palatalized) postalveolar, either laminal or apical)
[ɕ], [ʑ] (Alveolo-palatal: that is, laminal palatalized postalveolar; these are equivalent to ʃʲ, ʒʲ)
[ʂ], [ʐ]: (Retroflex, which can mean one of three things: (a) non-palatalized apical postalveolar, (b) sub-apical postalveolar or pre-palatal, or (c) non-palatalized laminal ("flat") postalveolar, sometimes transcribed [s̠ z̠] or [ʂ̻ ʐ̻].

Diacritics can be used for finer detail. For example, apical and laminal alveolars can be specified as [s̺] vs [s̻]; a dental (or more likely denti-alveolar) sibilant as [s̪]; a palatalized alveolar as [sʲ]; and a generic postalveolar as [s̠], a transcription frequently used when none of the above apply (that is, for a laminal but non-palatalized, or "flat", postalveolar). Some of the Northwest Caucasian languages [{group of languages spoken in Russia, Georgia and Turkey)  also have a closed laminal postalveolar, without IPA symbols but provisionally transcribed as [ŝ ẑ].

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strident vowel

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strident_vowel 080315

Strident vowels (also called sphincteric vowels) are strongly pharyngealized vowels accompanied by (ary)epiglottal trill, where the larynx is raised and the pharynx constricted, so that either the epiglottis or the arytenoid cartilages vibrate instead of the vocal cords.

Strident vowels are fairly common in Khoisan languages [{Africa}], where they contrast with simple pharyngealized vowels. Stridency may be a type of phonation called harsh voice. A similar phonation, but without the trill, is called pressed voice or ventricular voice. The Bai language of southern China has a register system with allophonic strident and pressed vowels.

UKT: See register (phonlogy) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Register_%28phonology%29 080315, where Burmese-Myanmar is described as a register language (aka) pitch-register language: the Wiki article gives the following:

Notice that Romabama uses IPA suprasegmentals.

# Creaky register, Creaky voice {la.} /lă/
# Low register, Modal voice {la} /la/
# High register, ..., {la:} /laː/
# Checked register -- must be taken as rime, i.e. checked vowel followed by consonant. The example given is: {lat} /lt/

There is no official symbol for stridency in the IPA, but in Khoisanist literature a subscript double tilde (≈) is sometimes used, as seen here on the letter <a>: .

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Tenuis consonant

UKT 101030, 160209:

Always keep in mind that the two writing systems Abugida-Akshara (e.g. Devanagari & Myanmar), and Alphabet-Letter (Latin) are entirely different. The Akshara is a syllable with an inherent vowel and is pronounceable, whereas the Letter is mute.

Myanmar Abugida-Akshara matrix is divided into 2 groups, the Wag {wag} or classifiable consonants of 5x5 subgroup, and the Awag {a.wag.} or unclassifiable consonants of 2x5 subgroup. Mon-Myan has a full compliment of 35 consonants, but in Bur-Myan 2 are missing in the Awag {a.wag.} subgroup.

By "classifiable" is meant that the consonants can be classified into 5 columns, c1 tenuis, c2 voiceless, c3 voiced, c4 deep-h , and c5 nasal c5 in Bur-Myan. In Mon-Myan, c1 & c2 consonants have inherent vowel {a.}, but c3, c4, & c5 consonants have the inherent vowel {} or {:} represented by English e .

In Bur-Myan and Mon-Myan, it is only the tenuis consonant that can be killed by the Virama {a.t}. However, in Pal-Myan and Skt-Dev, c3 can also be killed. The tenuis consonants are:

{ka.}/ {k}, {sa.}/ {c}, {Ta.}/ {T}, {ta.}/ {t}, {pa.}/ {p}

{Ska.}, {STa.}, {Sta.}, {Spa.}

Note: That the Abugida-Akshara and Alphabet-Letter systems are different is not fully recognized by most writers, e.g. those writing for Wikipedia and for MLC (Myanmar Language Commission) with the result that you have to be careful in reading their works.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenuis_consonant 101030

In linguistics, a tenuis consonant is a stop or affricate which is unvoiced, unaspirated, and unglottalized. That is, it has a "plain" phonation like [p, t, ts, tʃ, k], with a voice onset time close to zero, as in Spanish p, t, ch, k, or English p, t, k after s, as in spy, sty, sky.

Tenuis consonant are not normally marked explicitly, with voiceless IPA letters such as [p, t, ts, tʃ, k] assumed to be unaspirated unless indicated otherwise. However, there is an explicit diacritic for a lack of aspiration in the Extensions to the IPA, the superscript equal sign: [p⁼, t⁼, ts⁼, tʃ⁼, k⁼].

The term tenuis comes from Latin translations of Ancient Greek grammar, which differentiated three series of consonants, voiced β δ γ /b d ɡ/, aspirate φ θ χ /pʰ tʰ kʰ/, and tenuis π τ κ /p⁼ t⁼ k⁼/; these series have close parallels in other IE (Indo-European) languages.

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VOT - Voice Onset Time

UKT 070913, 160210

Whenever you compare consonants in languages, concentrate on PTK, the three major phonation types of plosive-stops. These three, in order of ease of articulation are {pa.} /pa/, {ta.} /ta/, {ka.} /ka/. Though a Bur-Myan or Skt-Dev speaker would say KTP, the order for BEPS is PTK. In teaching English pronunciation to a Bur-Myan speaker, always start with P {pa.} /pa/, and proceed to {Spa.} /spa/. It is very difficult for most Bur-Myan speaker to pronounce {Ska.} /ska/. You can explain the difficulty faced by the Bur-Myan speaker to pronounce {Ska.} /ska/ in terms of VOT (Voice Onset Time).

Refer to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice-onset_time 160222
before you read the following.

You can understand VOT if you think of a built-up of water behind a gate in a dam with a patch of reeds upstream. Releasing the gate suddenly releases the water and the water rushing past the reeds sets them vibrating wildly. This is comparable to the production of a voiced (vd.) consonantal sound like {ba.}. If you open the gate very gradually the stream of water flows slowly past the reeds and they hardly vibrate. This is comparable to the production of a tenuis {pa.} or voiceless {hpa.}. VOT is the time of opening the gate suddenly and the time elapsed to set the reeds vibrating wildly. I would describe VOT as Vibration Onset Time, and avoid the use of the word "Voice" which to the Bur-Myan means the "voice of a person speaking".

The three major phonation types of plosive-stops are tenuis of column c1. They are r5c1 {pa.}, r4c1 {ta.} and r1c1 {ka.}. In Bur-Myan, these are the only three that can be killed to become a coda. {p}, {t}, {k}.

The next set is of column c2 which is absent in the IPA table. They are {hpa.} {hta.} {hka.}. Note here that Skt-Dev speakers have difficulty in pronouncing {hka.} for which they substitute {kSa.} which the Bur-Myan speaker found difficulty to pronounce. The Eng-Lat speaker hear {hka.} when we pronounce {ka.}.

The pronunciation of {ka.} - the tenuis - has VOT at or near zero. The ordinary voiceless {hka.} has a longer VOT or positive VOT. Pronunciation of voiced {ga.} has a negative VOT - which means the vibration of vocal folds before the "dam" is opened.

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vowel tone

From: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_(linguistics) 070914

Tone is the use of pitch in language to distinguish words. All languages use intonation to express emphasis, contrast, emotion, or other such nuances, but not every language uses tone to distinguish lexical meaning. When this occurs, tones are phonemes (discrete speech sounds), just like consonants and vowels, and they are occasionally referred to as tonemes.

A slight majority of the languages in the world are tonal. However, most Indo-European languages, which include the majority of the most widely-spoken languages in the world today, are not tonal, with the exception of the Indo-Aryan language Punjabi.

The way in which tone is used in a particular language leads to the language being classified either as a tonal language or a pitch accent language. (UKT: Burmese was always described as a "tonal language", now it is being described as a "pitch-register language".) In a prototypical tonal language such as Chinese, the tone of each syllable can be independent of the other syllables in the word, and many words are differentiated only by the tones associated with them. In many African tone languages, since words are longer, there are fewer minimal pairs for tone, and tone may not be assigned to every syllable of a word. In a pitch accent language, there is typically only one tone-accented syllable or mora per word. For example Somali has one high tone per word. In Japanese, pitch accent refers to a drop in pitch; words contrast depending on which syllable this drop follows. Some words in Japanese contain no pitch accent at all. While many linguists maintain a difference between tone languages and pitch accent languages, the linguist Larry Hyman has argued that there is no prototypical pitch accent language and that all languages that use tone phonemically should be classified as tone languages.

UKT: Since the original Wiki passage was not clear, I have rewritten as the following:

UKT: Languages may be grouped together as:

Marginally tonal:
Some of the Sino-Tibetan languages, including the numerically most important ones. Most forms of Chinese are strongly tonal (an exception is Shanghainese, where the system has collapsed to one of pitch accent); while some of the Tibetan languages, including the standard languages of Lhasa and Bhutan and Burmese are more marginally tonal. However Nepal Bhasa aka Nwari, the original language of Kathmandu, is non-tonal, as are several Tibetan dialects and many or most of the other Tibeto-Burman languages.

In the Austro-Asiatic family, some such as Vietnamese and its closest relatives are strongly tonal.
The entire Tai-Kadai family, spoken mainly in China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos, is strongly tonal.
The entire Hmong-Mien languages family is strongly tonal.

Other languages of Austro-Asiatic family, such as Mon {mwun}, Khmer and the Munda languages, are non-tonal.
(This article suggesting that Mon is similar to Burmese?)


The vast majority of Austronesian languages are non-tonal, but a small number have developed tone. No tonal language has been reported from Australia. With other languages we simply don't know. For example, the Ket language has been described as having up to eight tones by some investigators, as having four tones by others, but by some as having no tone at all. In cases such as these, the classification of a language as tonal may depend on the researcher's interpretation of what tone is. For instance, the Burmese language has phonetic tone, but each of its three tones is accompanied by a distinctive phonation (creaky, murmured or plain vowels). It could be argued either that the tone is incidental to the phonation, in which case Burmese would not be phonemically tonal, or that the phonation is incidental to the tone, in which case it would be considered tonal. Something similar appears to be the case with Ket.

Some Indo-European languages are usually characterised as tonal, such as Lithuanian, Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, Limburgish, Swedish and Norwegian; more correctly, however, they are pitch accent languages, as only the tone on the stressed syllable can have any effect on the meaning. Ancient Greek and Vedic Sanskrit were also pitch-accent languages. (In practice, the pitch alone only rarely distinguished the meaning in these two languages. A famous example of such a case is from Aristophanes' Frogs (l. 304), where Aristophanes refers to an actual occurrence at the performance of Euripides' Orestes where an actor had pronounced galḗn' horō  "I see calm waters" with so much empathy that it came out galn horō  "I see a weasel".)

However, the Indo-European language Punjabi is clearly a tonal language, where the tones arose as a reinterpretation of different consonant series in terms of pitch, as happened in most of the Chinese languages. ...

The term 'register', when not in the phrase 'register tone', is used to indicate vowel phonation combined with tone in a single phonological system. Burmese and Khmer, for example, are register languages. Burmese is usually considered a tonal language and Khmer a vowel-phonation language, but in both cases differences in relative pitch or pitch contours are correlated with vowel phonation, so that neither exists independently.

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From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word 080314

A word is a unit of language that carries meaning and consists of one or more morphemes which are linked more or less tightly together, and has a phonetical value. Typically a word will consist of a root or stem and zero or more affixes. Words can be combined to create phrases, clauses, and sentences. A word consisting of two or more stems joined together form a compound. A word combined with another word or part of a word form a portmanteau.

UKT: Compare with Akshara (Sanskrit: akṣra ) -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akshara 080314
It may mean:
in Sanskrit grammar, "syllable", see Shiksha
a consonant grapheme, with an inherent vowel, of a script of the Asokan Brahmic family.
in philosophical terms is the opposite of the word kṣara "perishable", a name of Brahma.

Depending on the language, words can sometimes be difficult to identify or delimit. While word separators, most often spaces [{either single white spaces or double}], are commonplace in the written corpus of several languages, some languages such as Chinese and Japanese do not use these. [{Bur-Myan and Pali-Myan are also in the same situation,  but probably not as bad as in Chinese and Japanese.}]  Words may contain spaces, however, if they are compounds or proper nouns such as <ice cream> and <the United States of America>. An extreme example is Vietnamese, which always delimits monosyllabic morphemes, not words. Quite oppositely, synthetic languages often combine many lexical morphemes into single words, making it difficult to boil them down to the traditional sense of words found more easily in analytic languages; this is especially difficult for polysynthetic languages such as Inuktitut [{of northern Canada}] and Ubykh [{north-western Caucasian group}], where entire sentences may consist of single such words.

However, of all situations, the most confusing is those for languages w ithout written forms, including sign languages, which potentially only offer phonolexical clues as to where word boundaries lie.

Official words, however, would be documented in a dictionary of whichever language you are categorizing them under.

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End of TIL file.