Help talk:IPA/Burmese

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Great work[edit]

Angr, this is great. You've done a great service. Thank you!

Couple of questions:

  • Not sure about tʃʰ to represent the ကြ sound. It's much closer to IPA-Mandarin's "tɕ"... as in Jilin (tɕǐlǐn). E.g., Suu Kyi isn't Suu Chee. It's more like tɕì. Could you double-check?
  • The table should also include how to represent sounds like Tun (ထွန်း) or Htut (ထွဋ်). Would you write tʰúɴ or tʰʊ̃ɴ for (ထွန်း) and tʰʊʔ for (ထွဋ်)?

Thanks, Hybernator (talk) 04:28, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

To your first point, I used /tʃ/ etc. because that's what's at Burmese language#Phonology. But of course both this page and that one could use /tɕ/ etc. instead. To your second point, I'd write /tʰúɴ/ and /tʰuʔ/; see footnote 9. +Angr 09:11, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Just read Burmese language#Phonology more carefully. It says tʃʰ for the aspirated ချ sound, which I agree with. As for tʃ representing the unaspirated ကြ sound, I think we can do better. If the IPA-Mandarin translation on the Jilin article is correct, "tɕ" is exactly the sound. Thanks again. Hybernator (talk) 14:28, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Keep in mind, I'm the one who primarily wrote Burmese language#Phonology! But do you really think unaspirated ကြ and aspirated ချ have different places of articulation? I've never heard that, and it seems very unlikely. And then what about the voiced one, is it dʒ or dʑ? +Angr 14:36, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, I went by what was on Burmese language#Phonology, which says "Examples include the verb "cook," where the aspirated version ချက် ([tʃʰɛʔ]) means "cook", while the unaspirated ကျက်([tʃɛʔ]) means "to be cooked"." I agree with that statement, as far as aspiration/non-aspiration goes. I think you had them flipped here; that's why I changed it. My only point is that tɕ (on the Jilin page) sounds much closer than tʃ in representing ကြ. But I (not a linguist) am not sure whether that IPA translation is accurate (though I have a high degree of confidence that it is). Hybernator (talk) 14:55, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I looked it up and the affricates are indeed /tɕ tɕʰ dʑ/, but the fricative is still /ʃ/. +Angr 20:44, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks very much! Hybernator (talk) 21:03, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Transclusions have been adjusted to match. — kwami (talk) 13:58, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Tun, Htut, etc.[edit]

I still think it's /tʰʊ̃ɴ/ and tʰʊʔ. The "u" in Htut rhymes with "put" or like "oo" in book or cook. The same vowel applies to Tun/Htun as well. Please check it out. Thanks. Hybernator (talk) 21:03, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Please see footnote 9. Phonetically, yes it's [ʊ] in those contexts, but it's just an allophone (a positional variant) of /u/, so in a broad transcription there's no need to use a separate symbol for it. +Angr 21:15, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Hybernator (talk) 21:18, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Is there a reason we wouldn't want to indicate this allophony for Burmese but we do for languages like Russian? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 16:17, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I've never understood why we show so much allophony for Russian. It frankly makes the transcriptions impenetrable. —Angr (talk) 16:29, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I see two reasons, the first is that vowel reduction is a fairly notable feature of Russian as it is studied by linguists and ignoring it would be akin to ignoring obstruent spirantization of Spanish. The second is that many of the vowels are phonemes in English, meaning English speakers (our target audience) can hear that distinction. I'd imagine the latter applies to Burmese but I'm not sure about the former. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 16:33, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I personally find the allophony helpful. If all I want is the phonemics, I can just go by the Russian orthography. I'm not familiar enough with Burmese to have a definite opinion, but we could always note in the key that these are not phonemic distinctions, as we do for WP:IPA for Spanish. — kwami (talk) 18:31, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I hear a clear distinction between "ʊ" and "u" in Burmese. Likewise with 'i' and "ɪ". But I'll leave it to the experts. Hybernator (talk) 18:40, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) At the moment, we note the allophony in a footnote here, and discuss it at Burmese phonology. I think that's enough, but Hybernator and Hintha (who are both native speakers, I believe) apparently think the allophony should be shown, so maybe this (like ach vs. ich-Laute in German) is a case of an allophony that native speakers themselves genuinely notice. And now I come to think about it, we do show the allophony in the case of [e] ~ [ei], [o] ~ [ou], and [ɔ] ~ [au] in Burmese (monophthongs in open syllables, diphthongs in closed syllables), so showing the [i] ~ [ɪ] and [u] ~ [ʊ] allophonies wouldn't be completely unprecedented. —Angr (talk) 18:46, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, I'm convinced. Both of our native speakers feel that the difference between the "tense" and "lax" high vowels is salient enough to note in transcription, so I'm adding lines for /ɪ/ and /ʊ/. I'll need help going through Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:IPA-my and updating all the transcriptions, though. Kwami, is that something you can do quickly with AWB? —Angr (talk) 05:40, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Sure, if you give me the exact conditioning environments. — kwami (talk) 08:46, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Within {{IPA-my}} change:
  • iʔ → ɪʔ
  • uʔ → ʊʔ
  • ìɴ → ɪ̀ɴ
  • ùɴ → ʊ̀ɴ
  • íɴ → ɪ́ɴ
  • úɴ → ʊ́ɴ
  • ḭɴ → ɪ̰ɴ
  • ṵɴ → ʊ̰ɴ
Thanks! —Angr (talk) 09:47, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Other than eiʔ, auʔ, ouʔ. Working on it. (If there are trans. w/o tone marking, I won't catch them.) — kwami (talk) 10:58, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Hmm. Why does Five Precepts have a /y/ in it? Is that s.t. else that should be corrected for? — kwami (talk) 11:10, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes. /y/ should be /j/ in that case, and probably anywhere else you find it. —Angr (talk) 11:16, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Also seeing the wrong r.
I'm also converting oʊʔ back to ouʔ - I assume you want that? — kwami (talk) 11:22, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, r should be upside down. I don't know whether the diphthongs should end in tense or lax vowels. Diphthongs in Burmese only occur in closed syllables anyway (the same context in which the lax high vowels occur), so maybe they should be aɪ, eɪ, aʊ, oʊ. Hybernator and Hintha, do you guys have any intuitions about this? —Angr (talk) 11:29, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Burmese script gives the /r/ as [j] anyway. — kwami (talk) 11:30, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, historical /r/ has become /j/ in most cases, but in some words, especially loanwords from English and Pali, it's [ɹ]. —Angr (talk) 11:41, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Nasal vowel in Kommyunit Nezin is not listed here. And what is the ogonek for in Pinya Kingdom? — kwami (talk) 11:46, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Nasal vowels should always be vowel + ɴ. I'm at work now and don't have a Burmese font on my computer, so I'll have to double-check Pinya Kingdom when I get home, but I suspect the ogonek is supposed to be a subscript tilde indicating creaky voice. —Angr (talk) 12:00, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Okay, I'll start a search for tilde. Yup, ogonek = creaky. You might want to check my changes at Burmese script; there were lots. (As you can see there, aɪʔ and oʊʔ have nothing to do with ɪʔ and ʊʔ. I suspect they're from English IPA.) — kwami (talk) 12:09, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
True, but they could still be right anyway. —Angr (talk) 12:32, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
At least now they're consistent w the key. First pass done. Discovered toward the end that some diphthongs had tone on the 2nd element, so I'm making a 2nd pass. — kwami (talk) 13:57, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
These are really tedious. Needed to be done manually when a vowel-tone combo had a precomposed character in Unicode, which took me a day to figure out. (I think it's because WP makes changes to the document that AWB tried uploading, and that confuses it.) I'll change the rules and get some of it done faster. — kwami (talk) 08:36, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Needs fixin' (mostly tone): agar, arhat (Buddhism), Computer University, Monywa, University of Computer Studies, Mandalay, University of Computer Studies, Yangon

I've added tones for the IPA missing vowels.--Hintha(t) 22:21, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Only [r] left is at Yangon & Bamar, cuz it's Rakhine dialect, and I didn't know which was correct. — kwami (talk) 15:32, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Okay, made a third pass. All looks in order for the things I was checking. (Apart from the short lists just above.) There might be a few spurious changes to Polish or Latvian iw links that slipped through, but the bots should take care of them if there were. — kwami (talk) 09:18, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

aɪ, eɪ, aʊ, oʊ, and e, ei, eɪ[edit]

Angr, to your question about aɪ, eɪ, aʊ, oʊ, I'm not sure. Now that I think about it, isn't "e" as used here a diphthong anyway? If anything, shouldn't it be "ɛi"? I don't see the need for "ei" since e already serves the purpose!? Hybernator (talk) 06:16, 2 October 2010 (UTC)


Angr, wouldn't tɕʰɔ̀ be pronounced "Chaw"? Shouldn't it be tɕɔ̀ for Kyaw? It's the same base sound as "Kyi", except it ends with an "aw". Hybernator (talk) 21:18, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes, it should be unaspirated tɕ for anything transliterated "ky" (i.e. anything spelled ကျ or ကြ). +Angr 21:24, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks again! Hybernator (talk) 21:30, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Burmese Phonetics to IPA Converter[edit]

I've compiled a list and scripted a converter here. Please see if this helps. @=={Lionslayer> 06:12, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Unnecessary notes[edit]

I am taking attention to reducing the number of footnotes in some of these IPA for X pages. These pronunciation keys are designed primarily for readers wanting to understand the language-specific IPA transcriptions they encounter in Wikipedia articles. We shouldn't swamp them with irrelevant details. Because this information may still be pertinent to the project, I have duplicated the notes below rather than try to find a place for them. This is irrespective of whether I think these claims are true or whether they are sourced. I will leave it to other editors to move the information to the appropriate article space or check that it already is. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 22:35, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

  • [ð] is an allophone of /θ/, not a distinct phoneme.
  • [ts] is much shorter than the English /s/ in Sue.
  • The glottal stop may also be heard instead of /t/ in some varieties of English in words like button [ˈbʌʔn̩].


In IPA transcription, it is common to indicate diphthongs with a non-syllable diacritic marker such as [aʊ̯]. Wikipedia uses this marker also in the IPA transcription of other languages; see Examples in the “Diphthong” article, or Diphthongs in “International Phonetic Alphabet”. I’ve taken the liberty to just make an edit for this change, hope you don’t mind. --Sascha Brawer (talk) 07:50, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Help talk:IPA which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 16:16, 15 July 2017 (UTC)