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BURMESE SCRIPT IN EIGHT DAYS Reference sheets DAY BY DAY PLAN The 82 most frequently used characters and combinations

Day 1

Initial consonants

Vowel signs


- -a -a;
- -a -

Other characters and combinations


(- -;) s-S-z-v
s-s'-z-ny Day 2


-i -^ -^;
- -i -

2 syllables:


p-p'-b-m Day 3

bma = b-ma or bma, mn^ = m-ni or mni -u - -;

- -u -


; ed

(-o - -;)

th-h- Day 4 Final cons no vowel

n + -u Nu r + -u > Ruu - - r
-w- h- sh10

Daw >


e-. e- e-;
- -e -

-k\ -t\=-p\ -s\

-eq Day 5 -aq -iq

-c\ -n\=-m\=-M -v\

-in -an -i (-e, -eh)

-ui -ui -ui;

- -o -

-=-- -c\. -c\-c\; - -u/- -o/- k=k etc c=v

c- etc ny-y+ -n -in -n etc >


Day 6

Final cons + vowel

(-oi) e-a. e-a\ e-a

-w -aw -w


-it\=-ip\ -in\=-im\
-eiq Day 7 -ein

(e- e- e-) -. -y\ -

-h -eh -h 8

-ut\=-up\ -un\=-um\=-uM
-ouq -oun

Day 8

e-ak\ e-ac\ -uik\ -uic\

-auq -aun -aiq -ain

-t\=-p\ -n\=-m\=-M
-uq -un

Total elements: For a guide to the roman transcription see p 5


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1 Initial consonants

k s ! t p y q

K S @ T P r h
k s t t p y- or rh-

g z d b l L

G Z $ D B w A
gzddbw -

c v % n m


2. Medial consonants






The following combinations of initial consonant and medial consonant have modified pronunciations:

k k

c -

g g


r y

qY lY
sh- or hly-

y l
y- or ly-


3 Attached vowel symbols

creaky tone low tone high tone creaky tone low tone high tone

-a1 -a;1
-a -a -a

-i -^ -^;
- -i -

-u2 -2 -;2
-u -u -u

e-. ee-;
-e -e -e

-. -y\ -
-e h -eh -e h

e-a.3 e-a\3 e-a3

-a w -aw -a w

-ui4 -ui4 -ui;4

-o -o -o

-V\. -v\ -v\;

- /e /e h -i/e/eh - /e /e h


2 variant form -o' -' -; -' -;5 3 variant form e-' e-' e-5 4 variant form -oi>' -oi' -oi; 5 this shape used after K-g-c-d-p-w

variant form

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D (Dat\/Dt\)' P (Pa;/P;)' p (pupa;/pup;) see heated complaint in Pt\sragany\ 34 (2005-10-6) sa-17

4 Final consonants

and by some after



-t\ -p\

-n\ -m\/-M



-it\ -ip\

-in\ -im\/-



-ut\ -up\

-un\ -um\/-uM



-t\ -p\

-n\ -m\/-M

5 Figures












6 Independent vowel symbols

A Aa Aa;

I i

U ;

[E] E e

q eqa\ aw

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------a u e aw
u a -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Attached vowel equivalents

A Aa Aa;

Ai A^ -

Au A A;

eA; eA -

eAa eAa\ -

Irregularities and less common combinations

7 Stacked consonants

-k-), the upper consonant is equivalent to a consonant written with the killer stroke (-k\), and the lower consonant (K-) begins a new syllable. Example: nkt\ = nk\ + Kt\" The following list
includes all the stacked pairs in use.

In any pair of stacked consonants (such as

BS8D reference sheets p 4

k s t p

k s * t p

g z # d b

g z* * d b l

k K g G * * * N N N N m m m m *

v N~ m

* Note modified shapes

Unstacked equivalents of the above

-k\k- -k\K-s\s- -s\S-!\!- -!\@-t\t- -t\T-p\p- -p\P-


-g\G- -c\k- -c\K-z\Z- -\s- -\S-@\$- -%\!- -%\@-d\D- -n\t- -n\T-b\B- -m\p- -m\P-l\l-q\q-

-c\G-\Z- -\-%\$- -%\%-n\D- -n\n-m\B- -m\m-

8 Abbreviated syllables


------------------------------------------------------------------ ywe hnaiq l gau n

9 The Voicing Rule

The sounds that are affected by the Voicing Rule are:

/k /K
They are changed by the Voicing Rule to: Transcription equivalents: before voicing:

s S z
s s z

t T d
t t d

p P B
p p b

k K g
c c j

q/ -/ q/
th dh


k k

-------------------------------------------------after voicing:

10 Non-standard rhymes Non-standard rhymes are rhymes that are either (a) written with a combination of vowel and final consonant that is not included in the standard set above (as in words like lic\ and eKt\), or (b) written with a final consonant that is not used as a final at all in the standard set (as in ld\ or muK\). There are rules governing the pronunciation of these combinations, but the simplest way to learn them is one by one as they appear in new words. You will find the rules in Burmese an intro to the script, Sections 26 to 33.

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Brief guide to the roman transcription for a complete list of conventions see BBE app 1 The letters of the transcription are to be pronounced mostly as in Englsh. Those that differ are: or e eh o aw -q -n ou ei a k', t', p', s' k, t, p, s like a in English about like in French lve, or ay in Scottish today like in French lve, or e in English sell like eau in French peau, or o in Scottish no like aw in British awful, not American aw final glottal stop, as in Cockney Woq is iq? nasalized vowel, as in French un bon vin in ouq, oun: like English oat, own in eiq, ein: like English eight, vein (or any vowel without an accent) low tone (or any vowel with the accent ) high tone (or any vowel with the accent -) high creaky tone aspirated consonants, as used by most native English speakers unaspirated consonants, as used by many foreign speakers of English

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The names of the characters and symbols 1. The consonants letter name pronunciation

k K g G c s S z Z v ! @ $ % t T d D n p P b B m y r l w q h L A

kk^; KeK; or Kek; gcy\ Gk^; c sluM; Slim\ zk Zm\;S vk^; kel; !qMl\;Kit\ @wm\;p rc\ekak\ $ermOt\ %k^; twm\;p TSc\T; deT; DeAak\Koik\ ncy\ pesak\ P;Tup\ bTk\Koik\ Bkun\; m ypk\lk\ rekak\ l sts lcy\ w q h Lk^; A

ka.-g^; K.-eg; g-cy\ g.-g^; c sa.-lun\; Sa.-lin\ za.-g za.-mc\;z va.-g^; va.-gel; ta.-tlc\;git\ Ta.-wm\;B d.-yc\egk\ d.-eymOt\ na.-g^; ta.-wn\;b Ta.-Sc\d; d.-ed; d.-eAak\Koik\ na.-cy\

k-j k'-gw g-ngeh g-j ng s-lon s'-lein z-gwh z-myn-zwh ny-j ny-gl t-tln-jeiq t'-wn-zwh d-yin-gauq d-ye-hmouq n-j t-wn-bu t'-sin-d d-dw d-auq-c'aiq n-ngeh

meaning of name big k curved k little g big g

round s twisty s split z z with a line attached below big ny little ny bier-hook t duck t d with a curved chest water-ladle d big n pot-bellied t elephant fetter t little d d with a dent below little n steep p p with a hat b with a dent on top humpback b

p.-ezak\ p-zauq Pa.-Aut\Tut\ p'-ouq-t'ouq ba.-dKoik\/-lKoik\ b-dc'aiq Ba.-gun\; b-gon ma. ya.-pk\lk\ ya.-egk\ la. (\) w qa. ha. la.-g^; Aa.
y-peq-leq y-auq l (l-ngeh) w th h l-j

y on its back curved y - (little l)

big l

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2. The vowels and other attached symbols letter name pronunciation thwe-t' y-c' lon-j-tin lon-j-tin s'an-k'aq

e-a/- -i -^

qewTui; as written er;K (1) as written luM;k^;tc\ luM;g^;tc\ luM;k^;tc\ Sn\Kt\ luM;g^;tc\ Sn\Kt\
as written

-u - - -M - -\ (2) - - - -. -;
or: or:

teKac\;cc\ Ns\eKac\;cc\ enak\ps\ eq;eq;tc\ kc\;s^; Aqt\ ypc\. rrs\ wS hTui; eAak\(k)ms\ er>kepk\ er>S^; wsNs\luM;epk\ er;Ker>Tui;

NeKac\;cc\ enak\ps\
as written

as written

tc'an-ngin hnc'an-ngin nauq-pyiq th-th-tin kn-z thaq y-pn y-yiq w-s'wh h-t' auq-(k-)myiq sh-g-bauq sh-z wiq-s-hnlon-bauq y-c'-sh-t'

meaning of name draw a spiral? a line set down big round on top big round on top with a kernel set inside one line drawn two lines drawn back-throw tiny thing on top forehead-rider killer propping up y wound round y w attached below h thrust in stop underneath dots in front front block two dots a line set down and a forward thrust set down a curve set down an upright

ya.pc\. ya.ys\ wS haTui; eAak\(ka.)ms\ ey>gebk\ ey>z^; ws\sa.Nlun\;ebak\ ey;Ka. eyTui;


(1) The two forms of er;K can be differentiated as follows: -a wuik\K as written waiq-c' - emak\K as written mauq-c'

(2) A consonant together with the killer stroke (-\) is called consonant-qt\; for example: -k\ is called kqt\" -s\ is called sqt\ and so on. 3. Other characters The free-standing vowel syllables I U E q eqa\ are called: AkraI' Akra and so on. The abbreviated syllables f j are called: Akraf' Akraj and Akra" Two consonants written one above the other are called Ns\luM;Sc\." (two-rounds-stacked) or p@\Sc\." (text-stacked); for example: -k- is called kk^;-KeK; Ns\luM;Sc\. -m- is called m-Bkun\; Ns\luM;Sc\. Other pairs of stacked consonants follow the same pattern. When the two stacked consonants are the same, its name is only mentioned once; for example: -k- is called kk^; Ns\luM;Sc\. -t- is called twm\;p Ns\luM;Sc\. and so on.

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Alphabetical order in Burmese 1. First find the initial consonant. Initials consonants are listed in this order (read from left to right):

k s ! t p y

K S @ T P r h

g z d b l L

G Z $ D B w A

c v % n m q

2. A consonant with no medial precedes a consonant with a medial (i.e. all words beginning with k come before words beginning with k or k ). Consonants with a medial are listed in this order:

-k\ -t\ -n\ -c\ etc) precedes a

3. Rhymes. A syllable with no final consonant (i.e. no syllable with a final consonant.

4. Syllables with no final consonant are ordered by vowel, in the following order (read left to right):

-a -^ - e-. -. e-a. -ui To learn the vowel order use left had column: A

-i -u e- e-a -ui

-a; -^; -; e-; e-a\ -ui; Ai Au eA A eAa Aui

5. Syllables with a final consonant are ordered by final (same order as for initials). Within groups sharing the same final, syllables are ordered by vowel. The following is the list of standard final-consonant rhymes in dictionary order (read top to bottom):

-k\ e-ak\ -uik\ -c\ -c\. -c\; e-ac\ e-ac\. e-ac\;

-uic\ -uic\. -uic\; -s\ -v\ -v.\ -v\; -\ -.\

-\; -t\ -it\ -ut\ -n\ -n\ -n\; -in\ -in\

-in\; -un\ -un\ -un\; -p\ -ip\ -up\ -M -.M

-m\; -im\ -im.\ -im\; -uM -Mu -uM;

6. Some dictionaries adopt minor variations from this scheme (e.g. e-a. of e-a e-a. e-a\).

e-a\ e-a in place