Update: 2015-12-25 12:16 PM -0500


Language and thought


A collection 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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Comparison of Myanmar vowels to IPA in vowel quadrilateral

Language and thought - lang-thought.htm - update 151231
  Plato's Cratylus and Socrates' etymology - crat.htm
  An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, by George Boole, 1853
  in TIL SD-Library GBoole-Laws-of-Thought<> (link chk 151211)
Bhartṛhari's Syntax, Meaning, Sphoṭa - spho-bartri-matilal.htm - update 151231
Sphoṭa theory of language : a philosophical analysis - spho-cwrd-indx.htm
 - by H. G. Coward in 2 parts:
  Metaphysical background of the Sphota theory.
  The Spota theory of Language as Revelation
Speech vs. Writing in Derrida and Bhartṛhari - by H. G. Coward - sp-writ.htm

UKT 151219: In these pages I will have to mention two major religions that are of interest to BEPS: Buddhism and Hinduism. To understand my analysis further, you should remember that by Buddhism it can be any of the following three:
  1. Theravada (formerly known as Hinayana)
  2. Mahayana including Tibetan Lamaism
  3. Vajrayana including Tantric
By Hinduism it can be any of the following:
  1. Vaishnavism - god of importance: Vishnu
  2. Shaivism - god of importance: Siva
  3. Shaktism - goddess of importance: Shakti or Devi
At one time or another, the first two Hindu sects are killing each other. The most virulent towards Buddhism is Shaivism.

UKT notes
Doggie's Tale 
 - copy and paste
The thibilant-sibilant controversy (Is Myanmar script more ancient than is now accepted? If so, where is the epigraphical evidence?)


UKT 151211: The reader should note that Skt-Dev speech has rhotic, hissing and hushing sounds, whereas Bur-Myan speak with non-rhotic thibilant sounds. Skt-Dev speech is r-coloured, whereas Bur-Myan is l-coloured. Unless you take note of the phonetic nature of the Myanmar Abugida-Akshara matrix, which is very unlike the non-phonetic Alphabet-Letter layout, you are bound to get into trouble studying the language. Moreover, Bur-Myan is almost free of the usual Grammatical monsters, the gender, the tense, and the number, and attempts by linguists to study it using these grammatical cues have come to a dead-end. Bur-Myan is almost free of inflections. I stand by this argument on the basis of Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis 1899 by A. W. Lonsdale, Rangoon: British Burma Press, 1899 xii, 461, in two parts: Part 1. Orthoepy and orthography; Part 2. Accidence and syntax. - BG1899-indx.htm (link chk 151211)

To answer my own question: "Is Myanmar script more ancient than is now accepted? If so, where is the epigraphical evidence?", I must admit that there is no epigraphical evidence. But we have one that is better. I present the case of Bur-Myan Akashara {ta.} which has become the Georgian Alphabet თ (U+10D7 Georgian Letter Tan). So far I haven't found anyone to give me a satisfactory answer.

The reader should note that the so-called transcriptions (sound) depends not only on how a speaker articulate the sounds, but also on how the listener "hears" the sound. Both "speaking" and "hearing" depends on the first languages (L1) of the people involved, and since here we are dealing with four languages, Burmese, English, Pali and Sanskrit, the transcriptions given by a particular person is bound to be different from that given by another. Maybe, I might get some help, and of course plenty of trouble, by studying and using the Sign-Language(s). Then I can set aside those who claim they can "hear" the message of God or Brahma - the Creator, by performing yajnas. 
See LANGUAGE AND SIGN - lang-sign.htm (link chk 151211)

Look for Aggaa Sutta {ag~gi~a. oat~tn} in . {ma.ha-wag~ga.}. The sutta describes a discourse imparted by the Buddha to two Buddhist monks who were Brahmin-Poannas {braah~m.Na. poaN~Na:}, Bharadvaja and Vasettha {wa-T~HTa. Ba-ra.dwa-za}.
Note: My Pal-Myan entries are from the Sixth Synod version.

From Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agga%C3%B1%C3%B1a_Sutta 151211

"Aggaa Sutta is the 27th Sutta of the Digha Nikaya collection. The sutta describes a discourse imparted by the Buddha to two brahmins, Bharadvaja and Vasettha, who left their family and caste to become monks. The two brahmins are insulted and maligned by their own caste for their intention to become members of the [Buddhist] Sangha. The Buddha explains that caste and lineage cannot be compared to the achievement of morality practice and the Dhamma, as anyone from the four castes can become a monk and reach the state of Arahant. Then, he explains about the beginning of the Earth and the birth of social order and its structure, including the castes. The Buddha emphasizes the message of universality in the Dhamma and how the Dhamma is the best of all things."

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Comparison of Myanmar vowels to IPA

UKT: In comparing Myanmar vowels to IPA, we usually rely on the following three diagrams:
(1) The vowel quadrilateral of Daniel Jones and (2) the tongue positions shown sideways, and 3. sometimes on the lip openings.

However, these diagrams lead us to forget that pronouncing the vowels depend on the idiolect (person to person), the dialect (group of persons), the language, particularly the first language, L1 (living languages such as Burmese, English, Hindi, Mon, etc.), and the language group (such as Indo-European, Tibeto-Burman, Austro-Asiatic). We must also not forget that what a person articulate can be judged differently by foreign phoneticians. However, this last piece of uncertainty can now be taken care of by measuring the acoustic signals, the so-called formants F1 and F2 and giving a statistical model in three dimensions as shown below.


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UKT notes

Doggie's Tale

-- UKT 130613

Mnemonic The Doggie Tale:  
Little doggie cringe in fear -- ŋ (velar),
  Seeing Ella's flapping ears -- ɲ (palatal)
  And, the Shepard's hanging rear -- ɳ (retroflex).
Doggie so sad he can't get it out
  What's that Kasha क्ष when there's a Kha ख ?
  And when there's Jana ज्ञ what I am to do with Jha झ?
On top of all there're hissers, Sha श /ʃ/ and Ssa ष /s/,
  when I am stuck with Theta स /θ/ !" 

Note to digitizer: you can copy and paste the following:
Ā ā ă  Ē ē ĕ  Ī ī ĭ  Ō ō ŏ  Ū ū ŭ ː
Ḍ ḍ Ḥ ḥ Ḷ ḷ Ḹ ḹ Ṁ ṁ Ṃ ṃ
Ṅ ṅ Ṇ ṇ Ṛ ṛ Ṝ ṝ Ś ś Ṣ ṣ Ṭ ṭ ɕ ʂ
Instead of Skt-Dev ः {wic~sa.} use "colon" :
Avagraha ऽ use apostrophe
Root sign √ ; approx ≅
IAST Dev: भ आ इ ई उ ऊ
  ऋ ऌ ऍ ऎ ए ऐ ऑ ऒ ओ औ
  च ca छ cha  श ś [ɕ] /ʃ/ ; ष ṣ [ʂ] /s/; स s [s] /θ/ ; ऋ {iRi.} & ॠ {iRi},
  viram ् , rhotic ऋ ृ
Skt-Dev Row #3: ट ठ ड ढ ण ; conjunct ट ् ठ = ट्ठ
Skt-Dev special phonemes: Ksa क ् ष = क्ष
Undertie in Dev transcription: ‿ U203F
Using ZWNJ (ZeroWidthNonJoiner), e.g. , क्‌ष (code: क्&zwnj;ष)
  See Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-width_non-joiner 150630
IPA-, Pali- & Sanskrit nasals: ŋ ṅ ṅ ,  ɲ , ɳ ṇ ṇ, n n n , m m m
  Pali- & Skt {::ting}: aṁ , aṃ 
IPA symbols:
 ɑ ɒ ə ɛ ɪ ɯ ʌ ʊ ʃ ʧ ʤ θ ŋ ɲ ɳ ɴ ɔ ɹ ʔ /ʰ/ /ʳ/ /ː/
  <king> /kɪŋ/ (DJPD16-300) 
  <church> /ʧɜːʧ/ (DJPD16-097)
  <success> /sək'ses/ (DJPD16-515)
  <thin> /θɪn/ (DJPD16-535), <thorn> /θɔːn/ (DJPD16-535)
  circumflex-acute :
  ấ U+1EA5 , ế U+1EBF
  upsilon-vrachy  ῠ 
  small-u-breve  ῠ ŭ

Go back Dog-tale-note-b

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Thibilant-sibilant controversy

UKT 101107, 151211:

My assumption on writing the following notes is: the shape (based on circles) and the way in which the Myanmar glyphs are traced is of extreme importance to Bur-Myan because the script was and is still used for casting the runes - an ancient magico-religious discipline which clearly predates Buddhism.
Casting a rune has to follow 3 steps:
1. Using prescribed formula - Tantra
2. Concentrating on the hand-stroke reciting a prescribed formula - Mantra
3. Consecrating the rune, when it becomes an instrument for the owner to gather the magical power - Yantra. In Thailand the Yantra is known as Yan.
See Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yantra_tattooing 151211

SaDaBaWa Rune signifies the "imperfect" becoming "perfect". The starting akshara {sa.} is an imperfect circle because it is dented on the left side. As an individual struggles to become perfect, he goes through another imperfection - a circle dented in the bottom, then through another circle dented on top. Finally, he comes to "perfection" - a full circle. This way of counting, the clockwise is the "right-hand" way. You can also go through the reverse process. Start from being "perfect", and go through the "left-hand" way, and become the most "imperfect". This rune in all probability is connected to the well known Swastika of the Nazis which is left-handed. The Swastika is well-known in Myanmar: it is the "disc-weapon" of the "Universal Monarch".

Now coming to the "Figure-Rune", on the right, can you guess the person or deity depicted? It is {i.kra:mn:} to the Buddhists, who can be equated to Indra of the Hindus. In his right hand, he is holding his staff, the capital of which itself is a rune. Can you see the {na.} signifying the Nag-dragon that makes up the length of the staff?

I have come to know a rune master who had casted this rune 49 times ("seven times seven"), each time going through all the prescribed "austerities", and each time burning the rune (not to destroy it but to come to the "essence") and swallowing the "ash" (essence). Has he come to be protected by the attributes of {i.kra:mn:}? He's isn't telling! - note of 101107

Remember the Indian th is {hta.} /tʰ/ , and Myanmar {tha.} is /θ/ . Bur-Myan {tha.} is a thibilant equal to the Indian s /s/ a sibilant. -- note of 091117

Because of my deepest respect for the Ancients - both Indians and Myanmars, I compare the shapes of the graphemes in the two systems of aksharas and have noticed some striking aspects which probably reflect the way how the Ancients pronounced the phonemes bearing in mind the modern POAs (Points of Articulation). Compare:
Bur-Myan pair - {hta.}-{ya.} to Skt-Dev pair थ-य tha-ya
   Observation: Why is the shape of {hta.} so similar to {ya.}? This intra-similarity is also observed in थ-य .
Bur-Myan pair - {ba.}-{wa.} and Skt-Dev ब-व ba-wa 
Myanmar triplet -- {pa.}-{Sa.}-{a.} to Skt-Dev triplet प-ष-स  pa-ṣa-sa 
   Observation: Note the intra-similarity in - {pa.}-{Sa.} and in प-ष . Yet there is great intra-difference in - {Sa.}-{a.} and ष-स . Remember the individuals of the triplet -- {pa.}-{Sa.}-{a.} have very close POAs . And keep in mind their IPA transcriptions (which hopefully reflect the pronunciations): /p/-/s/-/θ/ for Bur-Myan, and /p/-/ʂ/-/s/ for Skt-Dev according to IAST (International Alphabet for Sanskrit Transcription - valid for Hindi) . I have come to a tentative conclusion: the Myanmar phoneticians who developed the script could clearly differentiate the difference in thibilant-sibilant whereas the Indian phoneticians had failed to "hear" the difference. Please note I am not paying attention to the present-day geo-political and national boundaries. -- note of 091117

Go back thib-vs-sib-note-b

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