Update: 2012-11-26 04:03 PM +0630


Burmese-Myanmar Orthography
in Romabama


by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning, http://www.tuninst.net ). Start: 2007 July
Based on:
Myanmar Orthography (MOrtho)
by (MLC) Myanmar Language Commission (MLC), Ministry of Education, 1986, pp 292. Editor U Tun Tint.
Myanmar English Dictionary (MEDict)
by MLC, 1993, pp 635. MEDict gives a pronunciation guide in non-IPA script which I have marked /[...]/ to differentiate from Romabama /{...}/

index.htm | Top

Contents of this page


UKT: This project is being undertaken to test the efficacy of Romabama. If I can transliterate every entry in MOrtho, then I can claim that my Romabama is good enough to write emails, and is suitable for the internet web-pages. The next project would be to transliterate Pali-Myanmar.
   Please note that my aim in formulating Romabama is not to replace the long established Burmese-Myanmar writing system of {ka.kri:} {hka.hkw:} with the Latin alphabet <a b c d>, but to write emails and for internet publication for researchers outside Myanmar.

The following is my interpretation (not exact translation) from {ni.daan:}, p.{ka.} of the printed book (first printing: 1986 June, 200,000 copies, copyright by MLC):

4. A country wide request was sent out, in 1978, to the public for submission to MLC, of words and terms used in various parts of the country. A guide for the collection of the vocabulary was also given together with the request. During the three year-period given, MLC received from the public about 20,000 responses, together with comments and explanations.

5. In 1981 July, a second request was sent out, published in four leading newspapers, to submit more. MLC received 17,879 possible entries from 124 individuals.

UKT: I was not included in the respondents, because of my research interest in chemistry, and my transfer together with my wife, Daw Than Than, to Taunggyi College (now Taunggyi University) in the Shan State. There, I came across, Burmese-speaking ethnic groups, the Inn-tha and the Da-nu, who are speaking "archaic" Burmese. What they are speaking are dialects, because they are of the same ethnic group as the Irrawaddy Burmese. That shamed me enough to change my view that the only "correct" pronunciation of Burmese is that of the Irrawaddy Delta. There are other "Burmese" groups, the Rakhine, the Tavoyan, the Yaw, and the remnants of the ancient "Pyu" (now located in Mindon area) with whom I have associated without paying any regard to their "dialects". Incidentally, the editor of MOrtho, U Tun Tint, is from the Yaw area, and from him I am learning many ways of pronouncing the Burmese-Myanmar words. The reader is reminded that what is given by MLC in MEDict is just a pronunciation guide, which should not be taken as the pronunciation of the colloquial Burmese. I am directing this remark to non-Burmese doing research into the phonetics of the Burmese language, in Britain, in Germany, in Japan and in the USA, and in other countries. What they should keep in mind is that Burmese-Myanmar writing system is a "phonetic" system based on sound phonemic principle long known in the East for thousand of years, whereas IPA has come into existence just a few centuries ago.

MOrtho is the pain-taking (and boring) work to pick out what is considered to be the most relevant list of words. MEDict, published  later in 1993 is based on MOrtho.

Contents of this page

End of TIL page