Update: 2012-11-29 05:25 PM +0630


Romabama on Typewriter


U Kyaw Tun, M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), Deep River, Ontario, Canada. Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students of TIL Computing and Language Center, Yangon, MYANMAR .

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Contents of this page

Myanmar consonants
Devanagari consonants
Devanagari virama & Myanmar {a.t}
Devanagari conjuncts -- The problem of Burmese-Myanmar horizontal ligatures.
Syllable formation in Devanagari
Devanagari hand-written script
UKT notes

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Myanmar consonants - the traditional two-dimensional array

Myanmars always have a deep interest in matrixes which probably came from their love arranging everything orderly. They believe some matrixes such as the traditional magic squares have magical powers. These magic squares and their derivatives are the runes {ing:}, for writing of which the Myanmar consonants and the days of the week are given numerical values.

UKT: The various authors name the akshara characters slightly differently. However since I am using the Windows XP character map, I will use the XP name, and change the Unicode name to that of XP. The XP name will be placed between [...] at least for this file. Please remember {...} stands for Romabama, and <...> for regular English words and letters.

Myanmar consonants Devanagari consonants Name of Devanagari consonants given in Windows XP character map
  c1 c2 c3 c4 c5
r1 Ka Kha Ga Gha Nga
r2 Ca Cha Ja Jha Nya
r3 Tta Ttha Dda Ddha Nna
r4 Ta Tha Da Dha Na
r5 Pa Pha Ba Bha Ma
r6 Ya Ra La Va Sa
k7   Ha Lla A  

Though Devanagari akshara A अ [A] U0905 is a vowel, I have included it in the above table for comparison to Myanmar {a.} which is considered to be both a consonant and a vowel.

Notice how the Devanagari letters (r1c2, r2c2, r3c2, r4c2, r5c2) have been named such as [Kha] (r1c2). The English "h" is in the second place. Since this second place has been reserved for {ha.hto:} in Romabama, "h" (the aspirate "h") will be placed before the regular consonant "k". e.g. {hka.}
Consonants -- Continued

Myanmar script is written left to right on a "line" with three levels. For example, in the syllable , the consonant {ka.} is in the middle level or the main level (coloured yellow). The vowel /o/ with the vowel sign is a two-part vowel written on the upper and the bottom levels (coloured blue). The vowel length sign {wus~sa.} (Devanagari: visarga) comes after the consonant and is on the main level.

Myanmar script is based on circles and one of the first things a Myanmar child has to learn in school is to draw perfectly round circles and that is the reason why the very first kindergarten is called the Zero-grade.

You will notice that some consonants in the table are formed from one circle, r1c2 {hka.}, and some from two adjacent circles, r1c1 {ka.}. It has been suggested that the reason why Myanmar script is based on circles is to prevent the palm leaves -- the writing pages of old -- from tearing while characters are written using a sharp iron stylus. However, this explanation seems to be pure conjecture by those who have never written Myanmar script with a stylus {kais} on a specially prepared palm leaf page {p-rwak} -- a style of writing an astrological horoscope still being practiced in Myanmar. This style of writing -- stylus on palm leaf -- was also used in India where the aksharas were not in circular form. Even now when an Indian pundit (I am thinking of my friend Malay Pundit who I met in Deep River, Ontario, Canada) took out his religious text to read and chant in Sanskrit, the "book" is in the form of a palm-leaf book but made of paper --  the same shape and size as a Myanmar palm-leaf horoscope.

Myanmar script is one of the easiest to write by hand. As an example see how easy it is to write the Myanmar first character {ka.} compared to writing क [Ka] of Devanagri by hand.

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Devanagari consonants

Since Hindi-Devanagari or Hindi is internationally more well-known than Burmese-Myanmar, and it is fitting that I should say something about Hindi-Devanagari to compare it with Burmese-Myanmar language and script. The comparison to be made is strictly structural and you should forget about the wide phonetic dissimilarity. See: 
Unicode Standard, Version 4.0, chapter 9 
     http://www.unicode.org/versions/Unicode4.0.0/ch9.pdf , and
Unicode Standard, Version 4.0, chapter10,
     http://www.unicode.org/versions/Unicode4.0.0/ch10.pdf .
I have based most of the materials on Devanagari on these chapters.

A number of files from Unicode Consortium on Unicode Standard Version 4.0 in HTML format are in the TIL archives, and you may look into them without going on-line. The materials in this paper are from TIL archives: The Unicode Standard, Version 4.0, chapter 9.

UKT: The material from the Unicode Standard ver. 4, had led me astray because of its terms: "dependent vowels" and "independent vowels". In the following I am using the terms "vowel-signs" and "vowel-letters".

Each consonant letter represents a single consonantal sound but also has the peculiarity of having an inherent vowel, generally the short vowel /a/ in Devanagari and the other Indic scripts. Thus क U0915 [ka]  represents /ka/ and not just /k/.  क [ka] is a syllable and not just a letter. Being a syllable क [ka] can be pronounced, however the English-Latin letter <k> can not be pronounced. In the presence of a vowel-sign, however, the inherent vowel of the consonant is overridden by the vowel-sign.

UKT: This is the equivalent of: {ka.} + {i} --> {ki}

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UKT: IPA transcriptions are my additions from DJPD16.

The inherent vowel (in fact most of the vowels) can be nasalised by placing a {th:th:ting}, with the sign , above a consonant. In Pali-Myanmar, this sign is known as {naig~ga.hait}. This sign corresponds to chandrabindu of the Devanagari.

UKT: I was not sure to what Myanmar diacritic  Anusvara do correspond until I came across an unequivocal statement in Wikipedia:
" In the Burmese alphabet, the anusvara is represented as a dot underneath a nasalised final to indicate a creaky tone (with a shortened vowel)." -- Wikipedia

Anunaasika (anunāsika), also called 'chandrabindu' ("moon and dot"), is a dot on top of a breve above a letter (मँ) [UKT: {mn}],used as a diacritic in Sanskrit and other Indo-Aryan languages written in Devanagari script to represent vowel nasalization. When transliterated, it is represented with a tilde above the letter ( ~ ). -- Wikipedia

UKT: Don't be led astray by the word 'chandrabindu'. It can be transliterated to {san~da bain~du.}, which can be split up:

{sn~da} /|san da|/  - n. moon. (Pali: {san~da.}) -- MEDict124
{bain~du.} /|bein du.|/ - n. 3. dot superposed on vowels to give the /|am| |eim| |oum|/ sounds. (Pali: {bain~du.})  -- MEDict315

[cando] - the moon. (R. C. Childers, Dictionary of the Pali Language, Regan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., London,  1909, p.099)
UKT: Childers gave the word in Pali-Devanagari, and the first akshara is च (U091A).

The difference the sounds of word for <moon> is simply because the r2c1 in Burmese-Myanmar is {sa.} and in Hindi-Myanmar {kya.} or च (U091A). Since, English pronunciation of {kya.} sounds more like <ch> as in English <church>, the word {san~da} eventually becomes "chandra". (Point to be checked with my peers.)

The following is from: www.garretwilson.com/education/languages/hindi/devanagari/lesson5/candrabindu.html
IPA transcription is from DJPD16.

Candrabindu (the first letter makes the same sound as, "champion") is a sign written above a vowel to indicate that the vowel is nasalized (Snell, 11).

UKT: Snell, R. and Weightman, S., Teach Yourself Hindi, NTC Publishing Group, Lincolnwood, Illinois, USA, 1992.

When discussing the consonants , "ma," and , "na," I [G. Wilson] stressed the fact that these letters are always nasal  to pronounce these two letters, you must force air up through the nose.

Most of the Devanagari vowels can either be nasalized or unnasalized. To see the difference, first say the English word, <hawk> /hɔːk (US) hɑːk/. Now, say the English word, <honk> /hɒŋk (US) hɑːŋk/. Say them together: "hawk honk." The difference is that in the first word, <hawk>, virtually no air is forced up through the nose. However, with <honk>, you instinctively allow much of the breath to pass through your nasal cavities. Thus, the "aa" sound in <honk> is nasalized, while it is not in <hawk>.

Don't think that nasalization simply means the presence of the letter <n>, because the vowel in <honk> /hɒŋk (US) hɑːŋk/ is nasalized without pronouncing the <n> at all. I simply provide the word for you to practice making a nasalized, "aa" sound. In fact, you should be able to pronounce the first part of <honk> without pronouncing <nk> at all (that is, without your tongue ever touching the top of your mouth) and still be able to hear the difference between the sounds of the nasalized and unnasalized vowel sound. A nasalized vowel does not mean that you end it by making the English, <n> sound with your tongue.

A nasalized vowel, then, sounds exactly like the normal vowel except that air is forced through the nose. To indicate a nasalized vowel, the sign , or candrabindu is placed above the horizontal line from which the vowel "hangs." Thus, if the vowel of our two English words were to be transliterated into Hindi, the words would appear as "h k" and "hnk," which means that the maatraa , "aa," has been nasalized by adding a candrabindu, making .

<hawk> /hɔːk (US) hɑːk/ -- rendition into Devanagari: हा
<honk> /hɒŋk (US) hɑːŋk/ -- rendition into Devanagari: हाँ

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Devanagari virama (Halant)
Myanmar {at}

Devanagari virama - adapted from: Unicode Standard, Version 4.0, chapter 9 

Devanagari employs a sign known in Sanskrit as the virama [UKT: which I usually shorten to "viram"] or vowel omission sign to "kill" the inherent vowel. In Hindi it is called hal or halant, (Tamil pulli), and that term is used in referring to the virama or to a consonant with its vowel suppressed by the virama; the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

The virama sign, ् U094D  [Sign Virama], nominally serves to cancel (or kill) the inherent vowel of the consonant to which it is applied. When a consonant has lost its inherent vowel by the application of virama, it is known as a dead consonant; in contrast, a live consonant is one that retains its inherent vowel or is written with an explicit vowel-sign. In the Unicode Standard, a dead consonant is defined as a sequence consisting of a consonant letter followed by a virama. The default rendering for a dead consonant is to position the virama as a combining mark bound to the consonant letterform.

Myanmar, like Devanagari employs the virama sign. It is known as {a.t}. The sign itself is likened to a flag or streamer {tn-hkwun}. In the examples below, I will be showing the equivalents in Myanmar. Both Burmese and Pali use the same Myanmar akshara-matrix, and the function of {a.t} is the same. However the difference came in, in the choice of which akshara is to be killed. Since the two languages are not the same, the words and their pronunciations are different. This is similar to (but not quite) the difference found between English and French. Thus the name of the U.S. city <Chicago> which itself is derived from Amerindian (or that of the First Nations of America) is pronounced differently by the Canadians with a /ʃ/ (as in "ship"), and by the Americans with a /ʧ/ (as in "chip"). The Bur-Myan should have pronounce it with a /{hkya.}/ as in {hkyic} if they were to follow the American way. However they opt to do it differently and pronounce it with a {hkyi.ka-go}.

The difference in pronunciation between Bur-Myan and Pal-Myan is reflected in which akshara are allowed to be killed. The number of allowable in Bur-Myan is 10 which is far less than that in Pal-Myan where 26 are allowed to be killed. See  Myanmar Thuddar {mrn-ma d~da}, Vol. 2-5, by MLC, publ. ca. 1986.


Unicode used the following convention in examples for encoding.

For a consonant C
 Cn , denotes "normal" the normal akshara-character with the inherent vowel,
 Cl , denotes "live", the same as "normal", and
 Cd , denotes "dead" consonant form with the inherent vowel killed.

Encoding sequence: U0924 + U094D . Type in U0924 and without putting in the white-space, type in U094D.

Tan + viram --> Td  -- Unicode

UKT: Unicode subscripts "n" for "normal" in "Tan", and "d" for "dead" in "Td" are redundant. "Ta" itself suggests it is normal (with the inherent vowel "a"), and "T" without the "a" shows that it is "dead".

त [Ta]   + ् (viram)  -->  त् [T]
 {ta.} +   (viram) --> {t}
Note: {ta.} is pronounceable , whereas {t} is mute. Notice the presence of {tn-hkun}]

Using the same line of construction, we have:

Encoding sequence: U0915 + U094D

Kan + viram --> Kd  -- Unicode

क [Ka] +  ् (viram) -->  क् [K]
{ka.} + (viram) -->  {k} [mute] -- Note the presence of {tn-hkwun}

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Devanagari conjuncts
The problem of Burmese-Myanmar horizontal ligatures.

UKT: We need to redefine: conjunct, consonant-cluster, ligature (ligate), and medial.
You will see two kinds of conjuncts in Burmese-Myanmar:
1. horizontal conjuncts, e.g. {~a.} [mute].
   {a.kri:} /|tha. gji:|/ - n. name of the symbol of double {a.}. -- MEDict484
2. vertical conjuncts, e.g. {kka.} [mute].
   {pHt-hsing.} /|pa' hsin.|/ - n. subscripted letters in Pali. -- MEDict272
Though vertical conjuncts are easily identified in Bur-Myan, horizontal conjuncts such as {~a.}, are generally mistaken to be just simple aksharas. I, at a time when I was beginning to study the Bur-Myan akshara-system of writing, happened to ask a Bur-Myan monk (in Canada) how to pronounce {a.kri:}, and his reply was that it was similar to that of {a.}, only with a heavier tone. He did not know it was mute!

Adapted from: Unicode Standard, Version 4.0, chapter 9 

The Indic scripts are noted for a large number of consonant conjunct forms that serve as orthographic abbreviations (ligatures) of two or more adjacent letterforms. This abbreviation takes place only in the context of a consonant cluster. An "orthographic consonant cluster" is defined as a sequence of characters that represents one or more dead consonants (denoted Cd ) followed by a normal, live consonant letter (denoted Cl ).

UKT: Unicode subscript "n" for "normal" is enough to indicate that it is "live", and so the use of subscript "l" is confusing. That is Cn = Cl .

In the Unicode Standard, under normal circumstances, a consonant cluster is depicted with a conjunct glyph if such a glyph is available in the current font(s). In the absence of a conjunct glyph, the one or more dead consonants that form part of the cluster are depicted using half-form glyphs. In the absence of half-form glyphs, the dead consonants are depicted using the nominal consonant forms combined with visible virama signs:

Encoding sequence: U0915 + U094D + U0915

Kad + Kal  --> K.Kan -- Uncode

क् [K] + क [Ka]  --> क्क [KKa]
{k} + {ka.} --> {k~ka.} [mute - notice the absence of {tn-hkwun}]

The following is from: D. Vujastyk, 25 June 1996 http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucgadkw/members/transliteration/translit.pdf. See downloaded file.

{pa.} + {pa.} --> {pa.pa.}
{pa.} + viram --> {p} [mute]
{pa.} + {p} --> {pp} sounds similar to <pup>
{p} + {pa.} --> {p~pa.} [mute]
   {p~pa.} is a horizontal ligature, not allowed in Bur-Myan: it is written as a vertical ligature, {p~pa.} [mute].

However, a horizontal ligature is allowed in Devanagari:
प [Pa] + ् viram --> प् [P]
प् [P] + प [Pa] --> प्प [PPa]

A similar situation is met in Myanmar ligates or consonant clusters. For example:

{ka.} + viram --> {k} [mute]
{k} + {ka.}  --> {k~ka.} [mute] -- vertical ligature

This ligate is found in the Bur-Myan word for "university" {tak~ka. thol}. Note that in {k~ka.} {tn-hkwun} or the {aut}-sign, , is hidden. Bur-Myan ligates are generally vertical.

However, there are some horizontal ligates: 

{pyi~a} (meaning 'education') --  derived from:
   Note: {pyi~a} does not have a <y> after <p>. This <y> is the sound of {ya.ping.}
  - the palatalization sound which is very difficult for IE speakers. I suspect it is due to
  the highly nasal sound of {a.}. This is only a tentative conclusion: it must be further
  checked. -- UKT121126
{pai~a} (a unit of weight, approx. = 1.6 kg) -- derived from:

Apology: I have been writing as {pyi~a}, however, I am finding that it is not satisfactory and would have to change it. But how?

{pyi~a} would be pronounced as {pa.a} if it were not a ligate. So also, without the ligature, {pai~a} might be pronounced as {pi.a}.

The correct spelling in Burmese-Myanmar for in Romabama is {pyi~a}, NOT {pa.a}. Similarly, the correct spelling for is {pai~a}, NOT {pi.a}. Because of the unique shape of {ha.kri:}, it can be easily identified as a ligature. However, the shape of , seems to be made up of ordinary {pa.} and {a}, and we have no way of telling that it is ligature. To indicate that it is a ligature, would a ~ would do? But what about the sound /j/ -- the {ya.ut} sound? Moreover, whatever that I am going to write must be in ASCII. To solve this problem tentatively, I am changing the spelling to  {pa.a}, noting that when r2 consonants are involved, there is the {ya.ping.} sound.

Some Devanagari consonant letters have alternative presentation forms whose choice depends upon neighbouring consonants. This variability is especially notable for र U0930 [Ra], which has numerous different forms, both as the initial element and as the final element of a consonant cluster.

A similar change in shape or form is found in Bur-Myan. The consonant {ra.} changes to when conjoined with {wa.} to form {rwa.}; and, with {ha.} to form {rha.}. {rha.} is pronounced as /ʃ/ as in <ship> /ʃɪp/. From {ra.} , {ha.} and {wa.}, we can have {rhwa.}.

By Myanmar "medials", we usually mean those formed from a consonant, with {ya.}, {ra.}, {wa.} or/and {ha.}, singly, doubly or triply. Through such a process, formation of a large number of medials is possible on paper. These we will refer to as orthographic medials. However, your vocal apparatus may not be able to articulate them. Thus the number of medials allowed is restricted. This is not the case in Devanagari medials -- at least for those who were not born into a Sanskrit or Hindi speaking family.

त [Ta] + ् viram --> त् [T]
त् [T] + र [Ra] --> त्र [TRa] (notice that त [Ta] has lost its inherent vowel "a")

The above example from D. Vujastyk, 25 June 1996 http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucgadkw/members/transliteration/translit.pdf shows the formation of {ra.ris}.

{ta.} + {ra.} --> {ta.} + {ra.} --> {tra.} (notice that {ta.} has lost its inherent vowel "a".)

For formation of the medial (or conjunct) {ra.} changes its shape to {ra.}, and then forms the conjunct. Here, you see the "wider" {ra.ric}. This is to take care of the double-circular shape of {ta.}. However, if the character to be happened to have single-circular shape, as in {pa.}, the {ra.ric} used is the "narrow" one.

{pa.} + {ra.} --> {pa.} + {ra.} -- {pra.}

Though Bur-Myan allows medial-formation with {ya.}, {ra.}, {wa.} and {ha.} only, Skt-Dev allows more to be formed. I must admit that at the present my knowledge of Pali is very limited, I cannot make any comments on Pali-Myan. The following example is from: D. Vujastyk, 25 June 1996 http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucgadkw/members/transliteration/translit.pdf.

ज [Ja] + ् viram --> ज् [J]
ज् [J] + ञ [Nya] --> ज्ञ [JNya]
If we are to use the names given by D. Vujastyk, i.e. " for <nya>, we get:
ज [ja] + ् viram --> ज् [j]
ज् [j] + ञ [a] --> ज्ञ [ja] (not allowed in Bur-Myan)

क [ka] + ् viram --> क् [k]
 क् [k] + ष [ṣa] --> क्ष [kṣa]    note: ष U0937 is [Ssa] in XP
   (UKT 121126: क्ष kṣa is not present in Bur-Myan because of the absence of the highly hissing sound in Bur-Myan. Romabama has to incorporate it to facilitate transcription of English. I have used the same glyph {Sa.} in the onset of syllables with {SS} in the coda.  क्ष kṣa is used in place of {hka.} in many Skt-Dev words. Because of this usage, I have termed it as the Pseudo-Kha in my review of A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary by A. A. Macdonell. --
http://www.tuninst.net/SED-MC/MC-indx.htm  121126)

It is noteworthy that the traditional Sanskrit-Devanagari alphabetic encoding order for consonants follows articulatory phonetic principles, starting with velar consonants and moving forward to bilabial consonants, followed by liquids and then fricatives. ISCII and the Unicode Standard both observe this traditional order.

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Syllable formation in Devanagari

based on Writing Systems followed in Indian languages http://acharya.iitm.ac.in/linguistics/wrisys.php

The basic quantum for a syllable is a combination of one or more consonants and a vowel. A vowel or consonant by itself is also treated as a syllable. A syllable may be logically viewed as


Here V represents a vowel and C a consonant. When a consonant by itself constitutes a syllable, it is assumed that it has 'a' as the vowel as part of the syllable. This representation corresponds to the phonetic description of the syllable in terms of the more basic sounds of the language.


Examples from Devanagari and Myanmar

U0915 + U0909 (vowel letter)
क  +  उ 
Ka + U

For syllable formation, we use the vowel-sign ु (U0941) instead of the vowel-letter उ (U0909) without insertion of + sign or white-space.

Ka + U -->  कु Ku

       +     --> 
{ka.} + {U.} --> {ku.}

ड  +  ्  +  ड  --> ड्ड
Dda + viram + Dda --> DdDda

+ + -->
{a.} + + {a.} --> {a.} [found only in Pali-Myanmar]

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Devanagari hand-written script

Writing sequence from:

The first consonant character क U0915 [Ka] of Devanagari hand-written script:

Note that the overhead horizontal line is written last of all. This akshara-character corresponds to Myanmar {ka.} and has the same sound. In fact, all the Myanmar akshara-characters have the corresponding Devanagari akshara-characters except in a very cases. And one-to-one transliteration is a reality.

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UKT notes

adj. 1. Joined together; united. 2. Acting in association; combined: the conjunct . . . influences of fire and strong drink Thomas Love Peacock 3. Music Of or relating to successive tones of the scale.
n. 1. One that is in conjunction or association with another. 2. Logic One of the components of a conjunction. [Middle English from Latin coninctus,past participle of coniungere to join together; See conjoin ] -- AHTD

UKT: I came across the word consonant conjunct on this page. See consonant-cluster in my notes. I am concluding that the three words " conjunct", "consonant-conjunct" and "consonant-cluster" are the same. A conjunct need not be pronounceable. There is another word, "medial" which is a conjunct but which is pronounceable.
Go back conjunct-b

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"The Indic scripts are noted for a large number of consonant conjunct forms that serve as orthographic abbreviations (ligatures) of two or more adjacent letterforms. This abbreviation takes place only in the context of a consonant cluster. An "orthographic consonant cluster" is defined as a sequence of characters that represents one or more dead consonants (denoted Cd ) followed by a normal, live consonant letter (denoted Cl )." -- The Unicode Standard, Version 4.0, Unicode Consortium, http://www.unicode.org/versions/Unicode4.0.0/

UKT: Unicode subscript "n" for "normal" is enough to indicate that it is "live", and so the use of subscript "l" is confusing. That is Cn = Cl .
Go back conso-cluster-b1  conso-cluster-b2

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inherent vowel -- UKT
Most of my sources would just say that every consonant or consonantal akshara-character contains an inherent vowel "similar" to English 'short a'. Of course, none knows what a Burmese-Myanmar "inherent vowel" sounds like, and so I have been at a loss for so many years. My quest to pin the inherent vowel down has been my "holy grail" all along. The problem also lies in the nature of the English vowels which are pronounced slightly different from country to country, from ethnic group to ethnic group, and also from age-group to age-group. Up to this moment, the most I can come up is to refer to the vowel quadrilateral shown on the right and say that the Burmese-Myanmar inherent vowel seems to have the sound of any of the three English vowels: /a/ // or /ə/.

What about the Sanskrit-Devanagari "inherent vowel"? According to Omniglot www.omniglot.com/writing/sanskrit.htm, the inherent vowel is  /ʌ/ and क [ka] has the sound /kʌ/. See the downloaded file Sanskrit-Omniglot.htm in accompanying library.

UKT: Note the IPA vowel for the "inherent vowel" in
  अ (U0905) [a] /ʌ/  -- {a.}
  आ (U0906) [ā] /aː/  -- {a}
Omniglot-author seems to take the inherent vowel to be /ʌ/ (a back-vowel) and then for the next  vowel to be /aː/ (a front-vowel). If you are to refer to the vowel-trapezoid given above, it does not seem to be exactly right. However, since I know next to nothing of Sanskrit, I could be dead wrong.

Go back in-vow-b

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The word "ligate" is a verb. (ligate v. tr. ligated ligating ligates 1. To tie or bind with a ligature. -- AHTD)
Though "ligate" has no noun form I will be using it as a noun -- the product of tying together. -- UKT
Go back ligate-b1 ligate-b2

n. 1. The act of tying or binding. 2. A cord, wire, or bandage used for tying or binding. 3. A thread, wire, or cord used in surgery to close vessels or tie off ducts. 4. Something that unites; a bond. 5. A character, letter, or type, such as , combining two or more letters. 6. Music a. A group of notes intended to be played or sung as one phrase. b. A curved line indicating such a phrase; a slur.
v. tr. ligatured ligaturing ligatures 1. To ligate. [Middle English from Old French from Late Latin ligātūra from Latin ligātus,past participle of ligāreto bind; See leig- in Indo-European Roots.] -- AHTD
Go back ligature-b

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Magic square
1. A square that contains numbers arranged in equal rows and columns in such a way that the sum of each row or column, taken vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, is the same. -- AHTD
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Magical powers: Cult of the Runes

"The cult of magic and witchcraft originally included also the cult of the runes. The runes consisted of magical squares containing either letters of the Burmese alphabet or arithmetical figures, and it is believed that every potent rune is guarded by a guardian (god, goddess, demons, etc.). For reasons which are not known, the cult of the runes suddenly regained its popularity in the fifteenth century, when it took over many ideas from the cult of alchemy. Instead of experimenting in either iron or mercury, the follower of the cult of the runes experiments in casting square after square until he discovers the right squares. When he has discovered them he has to go through a final process; either, like the alchemist, he is buried underground for seven days, or he is burnt in a fire for three nights. Then he emerges as a Zawgyi or 'a successful alchemist'. When the cult regained its popularity in the fifteenth century it had disassociated itself entirely from the cult of black-magic and witchcraft ( {auk lam:} -- literally: the Lower Path) and, in addition, it had hidden its origin under the cloak of devotion to Buddhism. It portrays itself as white-magic ( {ahtak lam:). This explains why a follower of this cult has now to keep the Eight or Ten Precepts and abstain from eating any meat while he is casting the runes. Usually he goes into retreat for a period of forty-nine days before casting a rune or a series of runes." Adapted from: Folk Elements in Burmese Buddhism by Maung Htin Aung, Religious Affairs Department Press, Yegu, Kaba Aye P.O., Rangoon, Burma, 1981.
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adj. 2. Linguistics Being a sound, syllable, or letter occurring between the initial and final positions in a word or morpheme. 
n. Linguistics
1. A voiced stop, such as (b), (d), or (g). Also Called media. 2. A sound, letter, or form of a letter that is neither initial nor final. [Late Latin mediāis from Latin medius middle; See medhyo- in Indo-European Roots.] -- AHTD
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1. a. Any of the characters in several alphabets used by ancient Germanic peoples from the 3rd to the 13th century. b. A similar character in another alphabet, sometimes believed to have magic powers. 2. A poem or an incantation of mysterious significance, especially a magic charm. [Possibly Old Norse or Old English rn] - AHTD
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Virama or vowel-killer
The consonants in languages derived from Brahmi have an inherent vowel resembling a short English <a>. Under certain circumstances, this inherent vowel has to be removed or "killed". The sign used is known as a. {athut} in Burmese-Myanmar or virama in Sanskrit-Devanagari. In this text (e.g. CV) the LATIN CAPITAL LETTER C WITH CEDILLA stands for a killed consonant.
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Velar consonants.
Derived from the word "velar" adjective for velum or soft palate. Velar consonants are formed by articulation with the back of the tongue touching or near the soft palate, as /g/ in <good> and /k/ in <cup> (AHTD). These consonants are usually described by Pali scholars as "gutturals". See Bama or Burmese language.
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