Talk:Burmese language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Languages (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Languages, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of standardized, informative and easy-to-use resources about languages on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Myanmar (Burma) (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon Burmese language is within the scope of WikiProject Myanmar (Burma), a project to improve all Myanmar related articles on Wikipedia. The WikiProject is also a part of the Counteracting systemic bias group on Wikipedia aiming to provide a wider and more detailed coverage on countries and areas of the encyclopedia which are notably less developed than the rest. If you would like to help improve this and other Myanmar-related articles, please join the project. All interested editors are welcome.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Southeast Asia (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Southeast Asia, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Southeast Asia-related subjects on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

Displaying Burmese script in Firefox v3.6.13 on Windows XP[edit]

I spent significant time trying to get Burmese script to display, and finally seem to have it working as per my comment on - Hopefully this might save at least one other person the hours I spent trying to get it working. A quick check shows that it seems to now also display in IE8 and Opera 10, which it didn't before. I'm using XP Pro SP3. UnRheal (talk) 13:32, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

IPA transcriptions[edit]

Is there any reason that [N] has been systematically changed to [ɴ] in the page? Also why is voiceless [l] written [ɬ]? The benevolent dictator (talk) 11:14, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

I had a misunderstanding about [N] versus [ɴ] 2 years ago (discussion here). Then last year Kwami and Angr came to a different conclusion in a fuller discussion on the latter’s talk page. (This issue seems to come up once a year, always in May.) As for [ɬ], I don’t find any occurrences in the current article. But is the sound not lateral in Burmese? Were you expecting [l̥] as I’ve seen for Tibetan? MJ (tc) 15:50, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
I was wondering about that as well. So, apparently there are reasons to not simply transcribe this phonetically as [ã] etc; regardless, the numerous instances of [aɴ] that appear even before the phonology section seem confusing. If it were /aɴ/ I would expect a placeless nasal, but explicit phonetic brackets certainly suggest an uvular nasal. So: is there any particular reason why the article uses phonetic rather than phonemic transcription thruout?
(Moreover: is there any particular reason why /ɴ/ has been analyzed as an independant segment, rather than as an archiphoneme or vowel nasalization?) --Trɔpʏliʊmblah 16:16, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
/ɴ/ is analyzed as an independent segment rather than as an archiphoneme or vowel nasalization because it behaves phonologically like an independent segment. There are at least two ways in which syllables ending in /ʔ/ and syllables ending in /ɴ/ pattern together: (1) diphthongs may occur only in syllables ending in /ʔ/ or /ɴ/; (2) high vowels are laxed in syllables ending in /ʔ/ or /ɴ/. These facts can only be captured as generalizations if /ʔ/ and /ɴ/ are treated as consonant segments that form a syllable coda, entailing that syllables ending in either of these sounds are closed syllables. If [ã] were treated as /ã/ etc., nasal syllables would have to be considered open syllables, and the generalization would be lost. And even at the phonetic level, there does seem to be some sort of tongue movement at the end of nasal syllables: after the monophthongs, the tongue tip approaches (but does not touch) the alveolar ridge, while after the diphthongs the tongue back approaches (but does not touch) the velum. In the latter case, the sound could be transcribed [ɰ̃]. Moreover, before a buccal consonant, /ɴ/ is realized as a real, full nasal consonant (in addition to the nasalization on the preceding vowel). In this article, [ɴ] is used in broad phonetic transcriptions to make the relationship between the surface phonetics and the phonemics more transparent (unless the precise realization of /ɴ/ happens to be the topic of discussion) and to make the transcriptions easier to read (since all nasal syllables carry tone, the vowel sign would have to carry two diacritics, one for nasalization and one for tone: writing [ɴ] makes reading and writing the transcriptions that much easier). Angr (talk) 11:24, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Initial vowels?[edit]

Our description does not permit word-initial vowels in Burmese, but some words written with an initial vowel were transcribed with a glottal stop, and some were not. Just wanted to check that they should all have the stop. — kwami (talk) 02:42, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Yes, all apparently vowel-initial words in Burmese are actually glottal stop-initial, even if not transcribed that way. Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:59, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Adoniram Judson's Burmese English Learning materials[edit]

Most of these works are by Adoniram Judson.

English Burmese dictionaries (to help Burmese speaking people learn English)

Burmese english Dictionaries (to help English speaking people learn Burmese)

Grammars of Burmese

A burmese reader

Vocabulary and phrase book in English and Burmese

Elementary hand-book of the Burmese language (1898)

Burmese self-taught (in Burmese and Roman characters) with phonetic pronunciation. (Thimm's system.) (1911)

The Anglo-Burmese student's assistant. Consisting of grammatical notes with numerous examples and analysis of sentences (1877)


A catalogue of the Burmese books in the British Museum (1913)

History of Western Studies of the Burmese language[edit]

Rajmaan (talk) 05:26, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

There are also a couple at Wikisource, see s:Portal:Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia#Burmese. Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:00, 27 February 2014 (UTC)


How can I change □□□□ this letter? Although I downloaded padauk font and other letters are seen properly. But many letters still have square figures only. Is there any option users like me can do? ㅠㅠ --Mar del Este (talk) 09:34, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

Those are supposed to be white squares. You've written the Unicode point U+25A1 WHITE SQUARE every time. Angr (talk) 07:34, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
(See the most recent section on his talk page for our discussion of this in April.) MJ (tc) 01:18, 20 June 2014 (UTC)


Mon was incorrectly stated to be an Austronesian language. Changed it to Austroasiatic. Goderich (talk) 07:15, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Good catch! Angr (talk) 07:31, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Clearing up about register[edit]

In § Registers, ¶3 begins

In the mid-1960s, some Burmese writers, who asserted that the vernacular, spoken form ought to be used, spearheaded efforts to abandon the literary form, which was historically the preferred form of written Burmese, as "the spoken style lacks gravity, authority, dignity."

It's easy to misread this long ramble as saying that the quoted sentence was the writers' assertion, rather than the position they were arguing against. I'm splitting it into two sentences in chronological order:

Historically the literary register was preferred for written Burmese on the grounds that "the spoken style lacks gravity, authority, dignity". In the mid-1960s some Burmese writers spearheaded efforts to abandon the literary form, asserting that the spoken vernacular ought to be used for writing as well.

To discuss this, please {{Ping}} me. --Thnidu (talk) 02:45, 4 March 2015 (UTC)


WilliamThweatt Given recent scholarship has challenged the Mon origin of the Burmese script, let's just leave origins out of the lede, which is a summary. We can talk about different scholarly stances elsewhere. Ogress smash! 06:33, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

If you're going to say "recent scholarship", you're going to need to provide a source so we can determine weight. Do a quick google scholar search and you'll see the consensus is that Burmese writing is derived from Mon. It will take multiple reliable sources to overturn the existing consensus.--William Thweatt TalkContribs 06:51, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
WilliamThweatt Actually, the alphabet page says in the lede, "It is an adaptation of the Old Mon script[2] or the Pyu script." The cite for Pyu is missing here but present in the side panel: Aung-Thwin (2005) The Mists of Ramañña: 167–178, 197–200. Google brings me as its first two hits that Burmese and Mon are cousins, once thought to be Mon > Burmese but disputed in recent scholarship in Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World. Elsevier. 6 April 2010. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-08-087775-4. , an even more strong version of that with a note that Burmese scripts samples have been found before any attested Mon forms in Bernard Comrie (13 January 2009). The World's Major Languages. Routledge. p. 725. ISBN 978-1-134-26156-7. .
All we can say for sure right now is that they are closely related and derived from a Pallava script, so perhaps in the lede we don't need undue weight. It's about the Burmese language, it's hardly going to cause harm to just skip immediate origin and given that it's the lede and not the alphabet page, I think it'd be distracting to talk in any detail - like "some scholars think it is derived from Mon" or w/e seems unnecessary. As for the alphabet page, it already lists two possible origins. That cite in the alphabet lede should go elsewhere, as cites in lead are not ideal. I'll take a look at where both cites should go, because I'm sure there's a section in the article where they already belong (cites in the side board like that are also not ideal and are usually just for census info and things like that).
I don't have a strong feeling that one side is right, although admittedly the "new" evidence is always interesting because it's new. Despite the fact that many sources still state "Mon > Burmese", I think three scholarly sources is enough to show that it's no longer lede material to state a clear origin. And anyway what's really useful is that it's a Pallava descendant. Ogress smash! 07:19, 16 June 2015 (UTC)