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TIL

Burmese Grammar 1899

ch00.htm

by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA), Tun Institute of Learning (TIL).
From Burmese Grammar and Grammatical Analysis by A. W. Lonsdale, Education Department, Burma, British Burma Press, Rangoon, 1899. Start: 2008 Aug. Copied from photocopy of the ink-on-paper book by UKT and staff of 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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BG1899-1-indx

Contents of this page

Noteworthy passages selected by UKT
Preface
Original TOC (of the original book indicating original pages)

See a video on the Declaration of Independence during WWII.
  - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML5lWWCfgRM 140125
Or see the downloaded video in TIL SD-Library - Bur-Indp-1942<Ô> / bkp<Ô> (link chk 160914),
  or in Book-Candle-Index LIB - Bur-Indp-1942«Ô» (link chk 160831)
Burmese Independence ceremony under Japanese Rule 1942. General Aung San quoted this ceremony as Fake Independence. You can see Dr Ba Maw, Thakhin KoDawMhine, General AungSan (Minister of Defence in military uniform), etc. See Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Burma 160804

UKT notes

Noteworthy passages in this file:

UKT 160405: Foreigners have difficulties with the Bur-Myan language, because there are actually two 'dialects' in use: the formal and official dialect, and the colloquial which is used by man on the street. Lonsdale usually gives the official dialect. I will add the colloquial whenever necessary. Of course, the official dialect because of its being influenced by Pali from Ceylon is somewhat inflected, however, the colloquial is uninflected. It is strictly Tibeto-Burman, comparable to Néwari (now heavily influenced by Skt-Dev), the language used by the still extant relatives of Gautama Buddha. The script used by Néwari speech was Asokan upto about 12th century AD.

If Myanmar is the directly derived from Asokan as maintained by Rev. F. Mason in his A Pali grammar on the basis of Kaccayano, 1867, Néwari might even be called a Myanmar language - without any political implications. My sources on Nepali Language aka Néwari - the Tib-Bur:
#1. A Comparative and Etymological Dictionary of Nepali Language by R L Turner
- http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/turner/ (link chk 160119)
  Downloaded pages in TIL SD-Library Turner-Néwari<Ô> / bkp<Ô> (link chk 160930)
On downloaded Turner-Nepali-Lang-Dictionary, p159, there are a few words beginning with {nga.}
#2. English to Nepal Bhasa Dictionary by Sabin Bhuju सबिन भुजु , 2005
- SBhuju-NewarDict<Ô> / bkp<Ô> (link chk 160914)
Being both Tib-Bur languages Bur-Myan and Newa-Dev have words beginning with {nga.} ङ,
e.g. for <fish> न्या ; ङा

The Burmese language is constructed on scientific principles, and there is no reason why its grammar should not be dealt with also from a scientific standpoint. But it may be safely said that Burmese grammar as a science has not received that attention it deserves.

• With regard to the grammatical treatises by native writers, it is no exaggeration to say that there is not one which can be properly called a Burmese grammar. These writers, not content with merely borrowing the grammatical nomenclature of the Pali language, also attempted to assimilate the grammatical principles of the uninflected Burmese to those of the inflected Pali; so that they produced, not Burmese grammars, but modified Pali grammars in Burmese dress. The servile veneration in which they held Pali, the language they had adopted as the classic, is, no doubt, directly responsible for the composition of such works. In their endeavour to conform strictly to Pali methods, they often introduced unnecessary terms and misapplied them, ignoring those grammatical points in Burmese for which they could find no parallel in Pali. How futile their attempts were may be judged by the numerous difficulties and anomalies they created, from some of which even now teachers of the language have not quite extricated themselves - take, for instance, the case-inflexions.

 

Contents of this page
p.roman03

Preface

(p.roman03)
ALTHOUGH there are several grammars of the Burmese [Burmese speech written in Myanmar script (Bur-Myan)] language already published in English, no apology is needed for issuing another. The study of a language to be of any educational value should be conducted on scientific lines; and a treatise in which this fact is not usually recognised can hardly be said to be of practical utility to the student who aims at gaining something more than a merely superficial knowledge of the subject. [UKT¶]

The Burmese language is constructed on scientific principles [Phonetics & Phonology], and there is no reason why its grammar should not be dealt with also from a scientific standpoint. But it may be safely said that Burmese grammar as a science has not received that attention it deserves. In the present work an attempt is made to deal with it on the lines indicated. The practice usually followed in the grammatical treatment of the language is to give only certain facts which can be easily disposed of, and to pass over those which occasion difficulty. This would be well enough so far as an elementary work is concerned; but the facts presented are often so imperfectly classified and explained that the student is given the impression that the distinctions and rules of the language are purely arbitrary, and that it has, therefore, no grammar worthy of the name. It may be possibly due to this that some have even asserted that the language is but an incoherent medley of affixes and a few notional words. That Burmese is not devoid of a properly constructed grammar which admits of scientific treatment, the following pages, it is hoped, will show.

With regard to the grammatical treatises by native writers, it is no exaggeration  to say that there is not one which can be properly called a Burmese grammar. These writers, not content with merely borrowing the gramma- (p.roman03end-roman04begin) tical nomenclature of the Pali language (Pal-Myan), also attempted to assimilate the grammatical principles of the uninflected Burmese to those of the inflected Pali; so that they produced, not Burmese grammars, but modified Pali grammars in Burmese dress. The servile veneration in which they held Pali, the language they had adopted as the classic, is, no doubt, directly responsible for the composition of such works. In their endeavour to conform strictly to Pali methods, they often introduced unnecessary terms and misapplied them, ignoring those grammatical points in Burmese for which they could find no parallel in Pali. How futile their attempts were may be judged by the numerous difficulties and anomalies the created, from some of which even now teachers of the language have not quite extricated themselves - take, for instance, the case-inflexions.

UKT 160404: If only Mr. Lonsdale had viewed that the Pali-in-Myanmarpré was perhaps the Old Magadhi written in Asokan script, that had been heavily influenced by Pali-in-Lanka (which was derived from Old Magadhi and the Lankan speech), he might have been much kinder in his criticism of native writers.

To a very great extent this work is a first attempt to reduce to a system the grammatical principles of the language - an undertaking which has involved much patient labour. The author is fully conscious that it is not free from imperfections. Compelled, as he has been, to be original in dealing with the many difficult points which confronted him, and which previous writers had not touched upon, he has, no doubt, occasionally gone astray. Experience in using the work will probably disclose defects, and suggest some possible improvements.

In the preparation of the work, the author has generally followed the plan of English (Eng-Lat) grammar, since it is one with which the class of students for whom the book is designed would be most familiar. He has not, however dealt with 'Syntax' in a separate section for the reason given on page 36. It will be noticed that in the English renderings of many of the Burmese examples given, idiom has been sacrificed to literal accuracy. The author has deemed it advisable, even at the risk of writing bad English, to adopt this course so as to bring out clearly, in every case, the precise meaning and idiomatic use of words [p.roman04end-roman05begin] and phrases as well as the construction of sentences in Burmese. A section on 'Analysis of Burmese Sentences'  a subject never attempted before - has been added. A careful study of this will, the author trusts, materially help the student to a better understanding of the structure a Burmese sentence. As the typical Burmese sentence the one in which the subordinate clauses are very much involved, the author has, in Chapter VIII of Part II , dealt very fully with the connective words which are used to mark these clauses.

The author begs to acknowledge his indebtedness to Mr. J. VanSomeren Pope, M.A., Director of Public Instruction, Burma, not only for the interest he has taken in the work, but also for the kind help he has given him. His hints and suggestions have been of very great service.

The author's cordial thanks are also due to Mr. W . Wedderspoon, M.A., B.L., Senior Inspector of Schools, central Circle, Burma, whose criticisms have frequently had the author to modify and even to re-cast various portions of his grammar. Being a student of the language himself, Mr. Wedderspoon took the keenest interest in the preparation of the work, and was ever ready and willing render help.

In the course of preparation, the author has had occasion to consult the works of various writers on English grammar. Wherever these have been cited acknowledgments have been made.

The acknowledgments of the author are also due to the proprietors of the 'British Burma Press' for their courtesy in affording him every facility for the successful printing of this work.

A. W. L.

RANGOON,
March, 1899.
(p.roman05 end) (p.roman06 is a blank page.]

Contents of this page

Original TOC

(p.roman07begin)
Introduction - p001

PART I  ORTHOËPY (pronunciation) AND ORTHOGRAPHY (spelling)

UKT 160404: The reader must make a clear distinction between two writing systems: Abugida-Akshara and Alphabet-Letter. The aim of the Akshara is to give a one-to-one correspondence between script and speech, whereas in Alphabet systems there is no such correspondence. Bur-Myan is phonetic: English is chaotic. Pronounce a Bur-Myan word according to spelling and you will be understood. Never pronounce an English word as it is spelled - it is a disaster!

Chap01. The Abugida-Akshara Alphabet - p004
Chap02. Classification of the Consonants according to the Vocal organs [Points of Articulation] - p007
Chap03. The sounds of the Aksharas Letters - p010
Chapter 04. Formation of [Syllables and] Words
  Combinations of vowels with consonants [Syllables beginning with vowels and ending in killed consonants]  - p016
  Combinations of consonants with consonants [Conjuncts and Medials] - p018
Chapter 05. Phonetic changes in Consonantal sounds - p030
Chapter 06. Tones [Pitch-registers] and abbreviations - p033

PART II  ACCIDENCE AND SYNTAX

Chapter 01. The Parts of Speech - p036

Chapter 02. Nouns
   Definition - p039
   Classes of Nouns
      Proper - p039
      Common - p040
      Collective - p040
      Material - p040
      Abstract - p040
   Inflexion of Nouns
      Number - p043
      Gender - p045
      Case - p052
      The cases explained - p054  [p.roman07 end]
   Nouns in Apposition - p066
   Substitutes for nouns - p067
   Parsing of nouns - p068
   Parsing model - p068

Chapter 03. Adjectives
  Definition - p070
  Classes of Adjectives
    Adjectives of Quality - p070
    Adjectives of Quantity - p072
    Pronominal Adjectives - p088
  The Two Different uses of Adjectives - p099
  Substitute for Adjectives - p100
  Inflexion of Adjectives
    Comparison - p101
    Rules of comparison - p102
  Parsing of adjectives - p108
  Parsing model - p108

Chapter 04. Pronouns
  Definition - p110

Contents of this page

UKT notes

 

Contents of this page

End of TIL file