Burmese alphabet

Last updated

Burmese
Burmese script sample.svg
Type
Languages Burmese, Pali and Sanskrit
Time period
c. 984 or 1035–present
Parent systems
DirectionLeft-to-right
ISO 15924 Mymr, 350
Unicode alias
Myanmar
U+1000–U+104F

The Burmese alphabet (Burmese : မြန်မာအက္ခရာ, pronounced  [mjəmà ʔɛʔkʰəjà] ) is an abugida used for writing Burmese. It is ultimately a Brahmic script adapted from either the Kadamba or Pallava alphabet of South India and more immediately an adaptation of Old Mon or Pyu script. The Burmese alphabet is also used for the liturgical languages of Pali and Sanskrit.

Contents

In recent decades, other, related alphabets, such as Shan and modern Mon, have been restructured according to the standard of the now-dominant Burmese alphabet. (See Burmese script.)

Burmese is written from left to right and requires no spaces between words, although modern writing usually contains spaces after each clause to enhance readability.

The earliest evidence of the Burmese alphabet is dated to 1035, while a casting made in the 18th century of an old stone inscription points to 984. [2] Burmese calligraphy originally followed a square format but the cursive format took hold from the 17th century when popular writing led to the wider use of palm leaves and folded paper known as parabaiks. [3] A stylus would rip these leaves when making straight lines. [3] The alphabet has undergone considerable modification to suit the evolving phonology of the Burmese language.

There are several systems of transliteration into the Latin alphabet; for this article, the MLC Transcription System is used.

Alphabet

History

A Pali manuscript of the Buddhist text Mahaniddesa showing three different styles of the Burmese script, (top) medium square, (centre) round and (bottom) outline round in red lacquer from the inside of one of the gilded covers Burmese-Pali Manuscript. Wellcome L0026547.jpg
A Pali manuscript of the Buddhist text Mahaniddesa showing three different styles of the Burmese script, (top) medium square, (centre) round and (bottom) outline round in red lacquer from the inside of one of the gilded covers

The Burmese alphabet is an adaptation of the Old Mon script [4] or the Pyu script, [2] and it is ultimately of South Indian origin, from either the Kadamba [2] or Pallava alphabet. The scholar Aung-Thwin has argued that the Burmese script most likely descended from the Pyu script and not from the Old Mon script, as there is no historical record of Mon migration from Dvaravati to Lower Burma, no inscription found in the Dvaravati script in Lower Burma, no proven relationship between the writing systems of Dvaravati and Pagan, and there are no dated Old Mon inscriptions except for those written in the Burmese script, in the entire country of Myanmar. There is however a paleographic link between the Burmese script and Pyu script, and there were close cultural, linguistic, historic and political ties between Pyu and Burmese speakers for at least two to three centuries before the first contact between Burmese speakers and Mon speakers. Aung-Thwin therefore argues that Mon script descended from Burmese script and not vice versa. [5]

Arrangement

As with other Brahmic scripts, the Burmese alphabet is arranged into groups of five letters for stop consonants called wek (ဝဂ်, from Pali vagga) based on articulation. Within each group, the first letter is tenuis ("plain"), the second is the aspirated homologue, the third and fourth are the voiced homologues and the fifth is the nasal homologue. This is true of the first twenty-five letters in the Burmese alphabet, which are called grouped together as wek byi (ဝဂ်ဗျည်း, from Pali vagga byañjana). The remaining eight letters (, , , , , , , ) are grouped together as a wek (အဝဂ်, lit. "without group"), as they are not arranged in any particular pattern.

Letters

A letter is a consonant or consonant cluster that occurs before the vowel of a syllable. The Burmese script has 33 letters to indicate the initial consonant of a syllable and four diacritics to indicate additional consonants in the onset. Like other abugidas, including the other members of the Brahmic family, vowels are indicated in Burmese script by diacritics, which are placed above, below, before or after the consonant character. A consonant character with no vowel diacritic has the inherent vowel [a̰] (often reduced to [ə] when another syllable follows in the same word).

The following table provides the letter, the syllable onset in IPA and the way the letter is referred to in Burmese, which may be either a descriptive name or just the sound of the letter, arranged in the traditional order:

Group nameGrouped consonants
Unaspirated (သိထိလ)Aspirated (ဓနိတ)Voiced (လဟု)Nasal (နိဂ္ဂဟိတ)
Velars
(ကဏ္ဍဇ)
ကဝဂ်
က/k//kʰ//ɡ//ɡˀ//ŋ/
ကကြီး[ka̰ dʑí]ခကွေး[kʰa̰ ɡwé]ဂငယ်[ɡa̰ ŋɛ̀]ဃကြီး[ɡˀa̰ dʑí][ŋa̰]
Palatals
(တာလုဇ)
စဝဂ်
/s//sʰ//z//zˀ/ဉ / ည/ɲ/
စလုံး[sa̰ lóʊɰ̃]ဆလိမ်[sʰa̰ lèɪɰ̃]ဇကွဲ[za̰ ɡwɛ́]ဈမျဉ်းဆွဲ[zˀa̰ mjɪ̀ɰ̃ zwɛ́]ညကလေး/ ညကြီး[ɲa̰ dʑí]
Alveolars
(မုဒ္ဓဇ)
ဋဝဂ်
/t//tʰ//d//dˀ//n/
ဋသန်လျင်းချိတ်[ta̰ təlɪ́ɰ̃ dʑeɪʔ]ဌဝမ်းဘဲ[tʰa̰ wʊ́ɰ̃ bɛ́]ဍရင်ကောက်[da̰ jɪ̀ɰ̃ ɡaʊʔ]ဎရေမှုတ်[dˀa̰ jè m̥oʊʔ]ဏကြီး[na̰ dʑí]
Dentals
(ဒန္တဇ)
တဝဂ်
/t//tʰ//d//dˀ//n/
တဝမ်းပူ[ta̰ wʊ́ɰ̃ bù]ထဆင်ထူး[tʰa̰ sʰɪ̀ɰ̃ dú]ဒထွေး[da̰ dwé]ဓအောက်ခြိုက်[dˀa̰ ʔaʊʔ tɕʰaɪʔ]နငယ်[na̰ ŋɛ̀]
Labials
(ဩဌဇ)
ပဝဂ်
/p//pʰ//b//bˀ//m/
ပစောက် ([pa̰ zaʊʔ])ဖဦးထုပ် ([pʰa̰ ʔóʊʔ tʰoʊʔ])ဗထက်ခြိုက်‌ ([ba̰ lɛʔ tɕʰaɪʔ])ဘကုန်း ([bˀa̰ ɡóʊɰ̃])[ma̰]
Miscellaneous consonants
Without group
(အဝဂ်)
/j//j//l//w//θ/
ယပက်လက်[ja̰ pɛʔ lɛʔ]ရကောက်‌[ja̰ ɡaʊʔ]လငယ်[la̰ ŋɛ̀]ဝ‌[wa̰]သ‌[θa̰]
/h//l//ʔ/
ဟ‌[ha̰]ဠကြီး[la̰ dʑí][ʔa̰]
Independent vowels
/ʔḭ//ʔì//ʔṵ//ʔù/
/ʔè//ʔɔ́//ʔɔ̀/

Consonant letters may be modified by one or more medial diacritics (three at most), indicating an additional consonant before the vowel. These diacritics are:

A few Burmese dialects use an extra diacritic to indicate the /l/ medial, which has merged to /j/ in standard Burmese:

All the possible diacritic combinations are listed below:

Diacritics for medial consonants, used with [m] as a sample letter
BaseLetterIPAMLCTSRemarks

ya pin
မျ[mj]myGenerally only used on bilabial and velar consonants (က ခ ဂ ဃ င ပ ဖ ဗ မ လ သ).
Palatalizes velar consonants: ကျ (ky), ချ (hky), ဂျ (gy) are pronounced [tɕ], [tɕʰ], [dʑ].
မျှ[m̥j]hmyသျှ (hsy) and လျှ (hly) are pronounced [ʃ].
မျွ[mw]myw
မျွှ[m̥w]hmyw

ya yit
မြ[mj]mrGenerally only used on bilabial and velar consonants (က ခ ဂ ဃ င ပ ဖ ဗ မ). (but in Pali and Sanskrit loanwords, can be used for other consonants as well e.g. ဣန္ဒြေ )
Palatalizes velar consonants: ကြ (kr), ခြ (hkr), ဂြ (gr), ငြ (ngr) are pronounced [tɕ], [tɕʰ], [dʑ], [ɲ].
မြှ[m̥j]hmr
မြွ[mw]mrw
မြွှ[m̥w]hmrw

wa hswe
မွ[mw]mw
မွှ[m̥w]hmw

ha hto
မှ[m̥]hmUsed only in ငှ (hng) [ŋ̊], ညှ/ဉှ (hny) [ɲ̥], နှ (hn) [n̥], မှ (hm) [m̥], လှ (hl) [ɬ], ဝှ (hw) [ʍ]. ယှ (hy) and ရှ (hr) are pronounced [ʃ].

Stroke order

Letters in the Burmese alphabet are written with a specific stroke order. The Burmese script is based on circles. Typically, one circle should be done with one stroke, and all circles are written clockwise. Exceptions are mostly letters with an opening on top. The circle of these letters is written with two strokes coming from opposite directions.

The 10 letters below are exceptions to the clockwise rule: ပ, ဖ, ဗ, မ, ယ, လ, ဟ, ဃ, ဎ, ဏ. Some versions of stroke order may be slightly different.

The Burmese stroke order can be learned from ပထမတန်း မြန်မာဖတ်စာ ၂၀၁၇-၂၀၁၈ (Burmese Grade 1, 2017-2018), a textbook published by the Burmese Ministry of Education. The book is available under the LearnBig project of UNESCO. [6] Other resources include the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University [7] and an online learning resource published by the Ministry of Education, Taiwan. [8]

Stroke order and direction of Burmese consonants Burmese Consonant Stroke.jpg
Stroke order and direction of Burmese consonants

Syllable rhymes

Syllable rhymes (i.e. vowels and any consonants that may follow them within the same syllable) are indicated in Burmese by a combination of diacritic marks and consonant letters marked with the virama character which suppresses the inherent vowel of the consonant letter. This mark is called asat in Burmese (Burmese : အသတ်; MLCTS : a.sat, [ʔa̰θaʔ]), which means "nonexistence" (see Sat (Sanskrit)).

Syllable rhymes of Burmese, used with the letter က[k] as a sample
GraphemeIPAMLCTSRemarks
က[ka̰], [kə]ka.[a̰] is the inherent vowel, and is not indicated by any diacritic. In theory, virtually any written syllable that is not the final syllable of a word can be pronounced with the vowel [ə] (with no tone and no syllable-final [-ʔ] or [-ɰ̃]) as its rhyme. In practice, the bare consonant letter alone is the most common way of spelling syllables whose rhyme is [ə].
ကာ[kà]kaTakes the alternative form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂါga[ɡà]. [* 1]
ကား[ká]ka:Takes the alternative form ါး with certain consonants, e.g. ဂါးga:[ɡá]. [* 1]
ကက်[kɛʔ]kak
ကင်[kɪ̀ɰ̃]kang
ကင့်[kɪ̰ɰ̃]kang.
ကင်း[kɪ́ɰ̃]kang:
ကစ်[kɪʔ]kac
ကည်[kì], [kè], [kɛ̀]kany
ကဉ်[kɪ̀ɰ̃]
ကည့်[kḭ], [kḛ], [kɛ̰]kany.
ကဉ့်[kɪ̰ɰ̃]
ကည်း[kí], [ké], [kɛ́]kany:
ကဉ်း[kɪ́ɰ̃]
ကတ်[kaʔ]kat
ကန်[kàɰ̃]kan
ကန့်[ka̰]kan.
ကန်း[káɰ̃]kan:
ကပ်[kaʔ]kap
ကမ်[kàɰ̃]kam
ကမ့်[ka̰ɰ̃]kam.
ကမ်း[káɰ̃]kam:
ကယ်[kɛ̀]kai
ကံ[kàɰ̃]kam
ကံ့[ka̰ɰ̃]kam.
ကံး[káɰ̃]kam:
ကိ[kḭ]ki.As an open vowel, [ʔḭ] is represented by .
ကိတ်[keɪʔ]kit
ကိန်[kèɪɰ̃]kin
ကိန့်[kḛɪɰ̃]kin.
ကိန်း[kéɪɰ̃]kin:
ကိပ်[keɪʔ]kip
ကိမ်[kèɪɰ̃]kim
ကိမ့်[kḛɪɰ̃]kim.
ကိမ်း[kéɪɰ̃]kim:
ကိံ[kèɪɰ̃]kim
ကိံ့[kḛɪɰ̃]kim.
ကိံး[kéɪɰ̃]kim:
ကီ[kì]kiAs an open vowel, [ʔì] is represented by .
ကီး[kí]ki:
ကု[kṵ]ku.As an open vowel, [ʔṵ] is represented by .
ကုတ်[koʊʔ]kut
ကုန်[kòʊɰ̃]kun
ကုန့်[ko̰ʊɰ̃]kun.
ကုန်း[kóʊɰ̃]kun:
ကုပ်[koʊʔ]kup
ကုမ်[kòʊɰ̃]kum
ကုမ့်[ko̰ʊɰ̃]kum.
ကုမ်း[kóʊɰ̃]kum:
ကုံ[kòʊɰ̃]kum
ကုံ့[ko̰ʊɰ̃]kum.
ကုံး[kóʊɰ̃]kum:
ကူ[kù]kuAs an open vowel, [ʔù] is represented by .
ကူး[kú]ku:As an open vowel, [ʔú] is represented by ဦး.
ကေ[kè]keAs an open vowel, [ʔè] is represented by .
ကေ့[kḛ]ke.
ကေး[ké]ke:As an open vowel, [ʔé] is represented by ဧး.
ကဲ[kɛ́]kai:
ကဲ့[kɛ̰]kai.
ကော[kɔ́]kau:Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါgau:[ɡɔ́]. [* 1] As an open vowel, [ʔɔ́] is represented by .
ကောက်[kaʊʔ]kaukTakes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါက်gauk[ɡaʊʔ]. [* 1]
ကောင်[kàʊɰ̃]kaungTakes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါင်gaung[ɡàʊɰ̃]. [* 1]
ကောင့်[ka̰ʊɰ̃]kaung.Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါင့်gaung.[ɡa̰ʊɰ̃]. [* 1]
ကောင်း[káʊɰ̃]kaung:Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါင်းgaung:[ɡáʊɰ̃]. [* 1]
ကော့[kɔ̰]kau.Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါ့gau.[ɡɔ̰]. [* 1]
ကော်[kɔ̀]kauTakes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါ်gau[ɡɔ̀]. [* 1] As an open vowel, [ʔɔ̀] is represented by .
ကို[kò]kui
ကိုက်[kaɪʔ]kuik
ကိုင်[kàɪɰ̃]kuing
ကိုင့်[ka̰ɪɰ̃]kuing.
ကိုင်း[káɪɰ̃]kuing:
ကို့[ko̰]kui.
ကိုး[kó]kui:
ကွတ်[kʊʔ]kwat
ကွန်[kʊ̀ɰ̃]kwan
ကွန့်[kʊ̰ɰ̃]kwan.
ကွန်း[kʊ́ɰ̃]kwan:
ကွပ်[kʊʔ]kwap
ကွမ်[kʊ̀ɰ̃]kwam
ကွမ့်[kʊ̰ɰ̃]kwam.
ကွမ်း[kʊ́ɰ̃]kwam:
  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 The consonant letters that take the long form are , , , , , and .

Diacritics and symbols

SymbolBurmese nameNotes
အသတ်, တံခွန် Virama; Combined to form ော်, which changes inherent vowel to /ɔ̰ ɔ̀ ɔ́/ respectively
Creates a consonant final when used with က င စ ည (ဉ) ဏ တ န ပ မ ယ ဝ
င်္ကင်းစီးSuperscripted miniature version of င်; phonetic equivalent of nasalized င် ([ìɰ̃]) final.
Found mainly in Pali and Sanskrit loans (e.g. "Tuesday," spelt အင်္ဂါ and not အင်ဂါ)
အောက်မြစ် Anusvara, creates creaky tone, but only used with a consonant final (open vowels have an inherent creaky tone)
ရေးချ, မောက်ချ, ဝိုက်ချCreates low tone; called ဝိုက်ချ if used with ခ ဂ င ဒ ပ ဝ
Combined to form ော့ ော် ော, which changes inherent vowel to /ɔ̰ ɔ̀ ɔ́/ respectively
◌းဝစ္စပေါက်, ရှေ့ကပေါက်, ရှေ့ဆီး Visarga; creates high tone, but cannot be used alone
သဝေထိုးChanges inherent vowel to /e/
Combined to form ော့ ော် ော, which changes inherent vowel to /ɔ̰ ɔ̀ ɔ́/ respectively
နောက်ပစ်Changes inherent vowel to /ɛ/ and creates high tone
တစ်ချောင်းငင်did cho ngin, changes inherent vowel to /u/ and creates creaky tone
Combined to form ို, which changes inherent vowel to /o/
နှစ်ချောင်းငင်Changes inherent vowel to /u/
လုံးကြီးတင်lung ji din, changes inherent vowel to /i/ and creates creaky tone
Combined to form ို, which changes inherent vowel to /o/
လုံးကြီးတင်ဆန်ခတ်Changes inherent vowel to /i/
ွဲအဆွဲအငင်Changes inherent vowel to /ɛ/ and adds /-w-/ medial
သေးသေးတင် Anunaasika, creates nasalised /-n/ final
Combined to form ုံ့ ုံ ုံး, which changes rhyme to /o̰ʊɰ̃ òʊɰ̃ óʊɰ̃/
used exclusively for Sanskrit
used exclusively for Sanskrit r̥̄
မောက်ချ"tall a", used to denote "" in some letters to avoid confusion with က, တ, ဘ, ဟ, အ. [9]
ေါ်used to denote "ော်" in some letters to avoid confusion for က, တ, ဘ, ဟ, အ. [9]

One or more of these accents can be added to a consonant to change its sound. In addition, other modifying symbols are used to differentiate tone and sound, but are not considered diacritics.

History

La hswe (လဆွဲ) used in old Burmese from the Bagan to Innwa periods (12th century - 16th century), and could be combined with other diacritics (ya pin, ha hto and wa hswe) to form ္လျ ္လွ ္လှ. [10] [11] Similarly, until the Innwa period, ya pin was also combined with ya yit. From the early Bagan period to the 19th century, ဝ် was used instead of ော် for the rhyme /ɔ̀/ Early Burmese writing also used ဟ်, not the high tone marker , which came into being in the 16th century. Moreover, အ်, which disappeared by the 16th century, was subscripted to represent creaky tone (now indicated with ). During the early Bagan period, the rhyme /ɛ́/ (now represented with the diacritic ) was represented with ါယ်). The diacritic combination ိုဝ် disappeared in the mid-1750s (typically designated as Middle Burmese), having been replaced with the ို combination, introduced in 1638. The standard tone markings found in modern Burmese can be traced to the 19th century. [11]

Stacked consonants

Certain sequences of consonants are written one atop the other, or stacked. A pair of stacked consonants indicates that no vowel is pronounced between them, as for example the m-bh in ကမ္ဘာkambha "world". This is equivalent to using a virama on the first consonant (in this case, the m); if the m and bh were not stacked, the inherent vowel a would be assumed (*ကမဘာkamabha). Stacked consonants are always homorganic (pronounced in the same place in the mouth), which is indicated by the traditional arrangement of the Burmese alphabet into five-letter rows of letters called ဝဂ်. Consonants not found in a row beginning with k, c, t, or p can only be doubled – that is, stacked with themselves.

When stacked, the first consonant (the final of the preceding syllable, in this case m) is written as usual, while the second consonant (the onset of the following syllable, in this case bh) is subscripted beneath it.

GroupPossible combinationsTranscriptionsExample
Kက္က, က္ခ, ဂ္ဂ, ဂ္ဃkk, kkh, gg, ggh [also ng?]dukkha (ဒုက္ခ), meaning "suffering"
Cစ္စ, စ္ဆ, ဇ္ဇ, ဇ္ဈ, ဉ္စ, ဉ္ဆ, ဉ္ဇ, ဉ္ဈcc, cch, jj, jjh, nyc, nych, nyj, nyjhwijja (ဝိဇ္ဇာ), meaning "knowledge"
Tဋ္ဋ, ဋ္ဌ, ဍ္ဍ, ဍ္ဎ, ဏ္ဋ, ဏ္ဍtt, tth, dd, ddh, nt, ndkanda (ကဏ္ဍ), meaning "section"
Tတ္တ, တ္ထ, ဒ္ဒ, ဒ္ဓ, န္တ, န္ထ, န္ဒ, န္ဓ, န္နtt, tth, dd, ddh, nt, nth, nd, ndh, nnmanta. le: (မန္တလေး), Mandalay, a city in Burma
Pပ္ပ, ပ္ဖ, ဗ္ဗ, ဗ္ဘ, မ္ပ, မ္ဗ, မ္ဘ, မ္မ,pp, pph, bb, bbh, mp, mb, mbh, mmkambha (ကမ္ဘာ), meaning "world"
(other), လ္လ, ဠ္ဠss, ll, llpissa (ပိဿာ), meaning viss, a traditional Burmese unit of weight measurement

Stacked consonants are mostly confined to loan words from languages like Pali, Sanskrit, and occasionally English. For instance, the Burmese word for "paper" (a Pali loan) is spelt စက္ကူ, not *စက်ကူ, although both would be read the same. They are not found in native Burmese words except for the purpose of abbreviation. For example, the Burmese word သမီး "daughter" is sometimes abbreviated to သ္မီး, even though the stacked consonants do not belong to the same row and a vowel is pronounced between. Similarly, လက်ဖက် "tea" is commonly abbreviated to လ္ဘက်. Also, ss is written ဿ, not သ္သ.

Digits

A decimal numbering system is used, and numbers are written in the same order as Hindu-Arabic numerals.

The digits from zero to nine are: ၀၁၂၃၄၅၆၇၈၉ (Unicode 1040 to 1049). The number 1945 would be written as ၁၉၄၅. Separators, such as commas, are not used to group numbers.

Punctuation

There are two primary break characters in Burmese, drawn as one or two downward strokes: (called ပုဒ်ဖြတ်, ပုဒ်ကလေး, ပုဒ်ထီး, or တစ်ချောင်းပုဒ်) and (called ပုဒ်ကြီး, ပုဒ်မ, or နှစ်ချောင်းပုဒ်), which respectively act as a comma and a full stop. There is a Shan exclamation mark . Other abbreviations used in literary Burmese are:

See also

Related Research Articles

Abugida Writing system

An abugida, or neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental writing system in which consonant–vowel sequences are written as a unit; each unit is based on a consonant letter, and vowel notation is secondary. This contrasts with a full alphabet, in which vowels have status equal to consonants, and with an abjad, in which vowel marking is absent, partial, or optional. The terms also contrast them with a syllabary, in which the symbols cannot be split into separate consonants and vowels.

Arabic alphabet Alphabet for Arabic and other languages

The Arabic alphabet, or Arabic abjad, is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing Arabic. It is written from right to left in a cursive style and includes 28 letters. Most letters have contextual letterforms.

Sinhala script Abugida

Sinhala script, also known as Sinhalese script, is a writing system used by the Sinhalese people and most Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka and elsewhere to write the Sinhala language, as well as the liturgical languages, Pali and Sanskrit. The Sinhalese Akṣara Mālāva, one of the Brahmic scripts, is a descendant of the Ancient Indian Brahmi script.

The Mon language is an Austroasiatic language spoken by the Mon people. Mon, like the related Khmer language, but unlike most languages in mainland Southeast Asia, is not tonal. The Mon language is a recognised indigenous language in Myanmar as well as a recognised indigenous language of Thailand.

Kannada script abugida

The Kannada script is an abugida of the Brahmic family, used primarily to write the Kannada language, one of the Dravidian languages of South India especially in the state of Karnataka, Kannada script is widely used for writing Sanskrit texts in Karnataka. Several minor languages, such as Tulu, Konkani, Kodava, Havyaka, Sanketi and Beary, also use alphabets based on the Kannada script. The Kannada and Telugu scripts share high mutual intellegibility with each other, and are often considered to be regional variants of single script. Other scripts similar to Kannada script are Sinhala script, and Old Peguan script (used in Burma).

The Thai script is the abugida used to write Thai, Southern Thai and many other languages spoken in Thailand. The Thai alphabet itself has 44 consonant symbols, 16 vowel symbols that combine into at least 32 vowel forms and four tone diacritics to create characters mostly representing syllables.

Soyombo script Mongolian Abugida

The Soyombo script is an abugida developed by the monk and scholar Zanabazar in 1686 to write Mongolian. It can also be used to write Tibetan and Sanskrit.

Burmese language Language spoken in Myanmar

Burmese is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken in Myanmar where it is an official language and the language of the Bamar people, the country's principal ethnic group. Although the Constitution of Myanmar officially recognizes the English name of the language as the Myanmar language, most English speakers continue to refer to the language as Burmese, after Burma, the previous name for Myanmar. In 2007, it was spoken as a first language by 33 million, primarily the Bamar (Burman) people and related ethnic groups, and as a second language by 10 million, particularly ethnic minorities in Myanmar and neighboring countries. In 2014 the Burmese population was 36.39 million, and has been estimated at 38.2 million as of April 2020.

Lao script or Akson Lao is the primary script used to write the Lao language and other minority languages in Laos. It was also used to write the Isan language, but was replaced by the Thai script. It has 27 consonants, 7 consonantal ligatures, 33 vowels, and 4 tone marks.

Khmer script Abugida script for the Cambodian (Khmer) language

The Khmer script is an abugida (alphasyllabary) script used to write the Khmer language. It is also used to write Pali in the Buddhist liturgy of Cambodia and Thailand.

The Shan language is the native language of the Shan people and is mostly spoken in Shan State, Burma. It is also spoken in pockets of Kachin State in Burma, in Northern Thailand and decreasingly in Assam. Shan is a member of the Tai–Kadai language family and is related to Thai. It has five tones, which do not correspond exactly to Thai tones, plus a "sixth tone" used for emphasis. It is called Tai Yai or Tai Long in the Tai languages.

The Myanmar Language Commission Transcription System (1980), also known as the MLC Transcription System (MLCTS), is a transliteration system for rendering Burmese in the Latin alphabet. It is loosely based on the common system for romanization of Pali, has some similarities to the ALA-LC romanization and was devised by the Myanmar Language Commission. The system is used in many linguistic publications regarding Burmese and is used in MLC publications as the primary form of romanization of Burmese.

Lepcha script

The Lepcha script, or Róng script, is an abugida used by the Lepcha people to write the Lepcha language. Unusually for an abugida, syllable-final consonants are written as diacritics.

The Kayah Li alphabet is used to write the Kayah languages Eastern Kayah Li and Western Kayah Li, which are members of Karenic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. They are also known as Red Karen and Karenni. Eastern Kayah Li is spoken by about 26,000 people, and Western Kayah Li by about 100,000 people, mostly in the Kayah and Karen states of Myanmar, but also by people living in Thailand.

Sgaw Karen language language

Sgaw Karen or Sgaw Kayin, commonly known as Karen is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken by the Sgaw Karen people of Myanmar and Thailand. A Karenic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family, Sgaw Karen is spoken by over a million people in Tanintharyi Region, Ayeyarwady Region, Yangon Region, and Bago Region in Myanmar, and about 200,000 in northern and western Thailand along the border near Kayin State. It is written using the S'gaw Karen alphabet, derived from the Burmese script although a Latin-based script is also in use among the Sgaw Karen in northwestern Thailand.

The phonology of Burmese is fairly typical of a Southeast Asian language, involving phonemic tone or register, a contrast between major and minor syllables, and strict limitations on consonant clusters.

The Old Mon script was a script used to write Mon, and may also be the source script of the Burmese alphabet.

Old Burmese early form of the Burmese language

Old Burmese was an early form of the Burmese language, as attested in the stone inscriptions of Pagan, and is the oldest phase of Burmese linguistic history. The transition to Middle Burmese occurred in the 16th century. The transition to Middle Burmese included phonological changes as well as accompanying changes in the underlying orthography. Word order, grammatical structure and vocabulary have remained markedly comparable, well into Modern Burmese, with the exception of lexical content.

The Burmese script is the basis of the alphabets used for modern Burmese, Mon, Shan and Karen.

Burmese Braille

Burmese Braille is the braille alphabet of languages of Burma written in the Burmese script, including Burmese and Karen. Letters that may not seem at first glance to correspond to international norms are more recognizable when traditional romanization is considered. For example, သ s is rendered th, which is how it was romanized when Burmese Braille was developed ; similarly စ c and ဇ j as s and z.

References

  1. 1 2 Diringer, David (1948). Alphabet a key to the history of mankind. p. 411.
  2. 1 2 3 Aung-Thwin (2005): 167–178, 197–200
  3. 1 2 Lieberman (2003): 136
  4. Harvey (1925): 307
  5. Aung-Thwin, Michael A. (2005). The Mon Paradigm and the Origins of the Burma Script. University of Hawai'i Press. pp. 154–178. ISBN   9780824828868. JSTOR   j.ctt1wn0qs1.10.
  6. Myanmar Grade 1 Textbook. Ministry of Education, Myanmar. Retrieved 9 March 2020 from https://www.learnbig.net/books/myanmar-grade-1-textbook-2/
  7. Burmese script lessons. SEASite. Retrieved 9 March 2020 from http://seasite.niu.edu/Burmese/script/script_index.htm
  8. 緬甸語25子音筆順動畫. 新住民語文數位學習教材計畫, Ministry of Education, Taiwan. Retrieved 9 March 2020 from https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHG5O5tNcuTL9VsxDe5hd0JBVJnzdlNHD
  9. 1 2 "retrieved 2010-11-17". Archived from the original on 19 October 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  10. Herbert et al (1989): 5–2
  11. 1 2 MLC (1993)

Bibliography

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