Burmese script for English ဗဲရ္မီဇ စ္ကရိပ္တ ဖိုရ ဧိငဂ္လိဍ

Note: This blog uses Unicode Myanmar script. If your default Burmese font is the non-Unicode ‘Zawgyi’, the Burmese text may not display as intended

After creating the Thai script adaptation, I began checking out other Brahmic scripts to learn how they work, and ended up learning a few to see if I could write English with them. Burmese script had a large inventory of letters and diacritics that are arranged differently depending on context, giving it a complex appearance. And because I like complex challenges, I decided that I had to learn Burmese script next.

Adaptation process

Like Thai script, some Burmese letters had the same pronunciation, as it had a set of letters to accurately transcribe retroflex and breathy voiced consonants, common in Indian languages but not present in Burmese. In Burmese script for English, I reused some of these letters to represent common English language consonants like /f/, /ð/ and /ʃ/.

Emphasis was made on compactness: wherever possible, I picked the shortest letters to represent the most common English phonemes. For example, I had 2 choices to represent /s/: သ (historically pronounced /s/, now pronounced /θ/ in Burmese) or စ (historically pronounced /tʃ/, now pronounced /s/). For that case, I chose စ, as it was shorter in length than သ. I also wanted the letters in my adaptation to look distinctive from each other: to represent /ð/, I could use either ဓ or ဎ, but chose ဎ, as ဓ looked too similar to /m/ မ and /s/ စ.

The end result is a compact writing system that visually looks almost like actual written Burmese, especially if word spaces are omitted.

Letters လေတဲရ္စ

Consonants ကိုနစိုနဲန္တစ

/p/ (port)/b/ (born)/f/ (free)/v/ (van)/m/ (muse)
/t/ (tree)/d/ (drive)/θ/ (thank)/ð/ (the)/n/ (new)
/k/ က (call)/g/ (get)/x/ (loch)/ɣ/ /ŋ/ (sing)
/s/ (soon)/z/ (zoo)/ʃ/ (share)/ʒ/ (azure).
/tʃ/ (change)/dʒ/ (joke)...
/ɹ/ (run)/l/ (laugh)/h/ (house)/w/ (way)/j/ (yell)

Some consonants have their own special diacritics for indicating consonant clusters and glides.

/ɹ/ (tree)/w/ (swim)/j/ (nyu)

e.g. /tɪ/ = တိ, /tɹɪ/ = တြိ, /tjə/ = တျဲ

Vowels ဘါဝဲလ္စ

All examples shown use ဧ as the null placeholder letter. To represent any other consonant, replace ဧ with any other consonant, e.g. /ke/ is ကေ.

If a second form is present, it represents the alternate form it takes if no consonant precedes it, e.g. /kap/ would be written as ကါပ but /ap/ would be အပ.

/a/~/ʌ/ ဧါ, အ (sun)/æ/ ဧါး, အး (can)
/ə/~/ɜ/ ဧဲ, ဧ (sure)/ɛ/~/e/ ဧေ (red)
/ɪ/ ဧိ (bid)/i/ ဧီ (bead)
/ɔ/, /ɔː/ ဧို (pot).
/ʊ/ ဧု, ဥ (pull)/uː/ ဧူ, ဥး (pool)

Diphthongs ဒိဖ္ထိုငစ

/aɪ/ ဧါယ, အ္ယ (side)/aʊ/ ဧါဝ, အွ (now)
/ɔɪ/ ဧိုယ (toy)/oʊ/ ဧိူ (dough)
/eɪ/ ဧေး (say)/ɪə/ ဧျဲ, ယဲ (hear)
/ʊə/, /wə/ ဧွဧ, ဝဲ (tour)/ju/ ဧျု, ယု (news)

Triphthongs တြိဖ္ထိုငစ

/aɪə/ ဧါယဲ (flyer)/aʊə/ ဧါဝဲ (tower)
/jʊə/ ဧျုဧ, ယုဧ (cure).

Numerals နျုမဲရဲလ္စ

0 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9

Punctuation ပါငဆုဧေးဍဲန

  • Comma ၊
  • Full stop ။

Syllable structure စိလဲဗဲလ စ္တရါက္ဆဲရ

Unlike Thai, Burmese script allows a consonant to be placed below another consonant, a very useful feature for writing consonant clusters like ‘str’ in a compact manner.

E.g. /stɹɐkt/ = စ္တရါက္တ

Sample texts

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

ယုနိဘဲရ္စဲလ ဒိက္လါးရေးဍဲန ဧိုဖ ဟျုမဲန ရါယ္တစ

ဧိုလ ဟျုမဲန ဗီင္စ အရ ဗိုရ္န ဖြီ ဧါးန္ဒ ဧိကွဲလ ဧိန ဒိဂ္နိတိ ဧါးန္ဒ ရါယ္တစ။ ဎေး အရ ဧေန္ဒါဝ္ဒ ဝိထ ရီဇဲန ဧါးန္ဒ ကိုန္ဍဲန္စ ဧါးန္ဒ ဍုဒ ဧါးက္တ တိူဧရ္ဒစ ဝါန ဧနါဎဲရ ဧိန ဧ စ္ပိရိတ ဧိုဖ ဗြါဎဲရဟုဒ။
(အရ္တိကဲလ ၁ ဧိုဖ ဎဲ ယုနိဘဲရ္စဲလ ဒိက္လါးရေးဍဲန ဧိုဖ ဟျုမဲန ရါယ္တစ)

Excerpt from a short story I wrote a while ago

For comparison, you can view the original one here.

အ္ယ ဟါးဒ ဧ စ္တရေးန္ဈ ဒြီမ ဎါးတ နါယ္တ။

ဧိန ဎါးတ ဒြီမ၊ အ္ယ ဖါဝ္နဒ မါယ္စေလ္ဖ ဧဝေးကဲနိင၊
လါယိင ဧိုန စိုဖ္တ ဂြီန ဂြါစ၊ ဧိန ဧ ဖါးန္တဲစိ ၈-ဗိတ ဝဲရ္လဒ စဲရါဝ္နဒဲဒ ဗါယ ကိုမပျုတဲရ္စ။ ဎဲ လုမိနဲန္စ ဧိုဖ ဗ္လိင္ကိင မိူဒေမ္စ ဧါးန္ဒ ဝိုရ္မ၊ ဆျဲရဖုလ ဆိပတျုန မျုဇိက ဖိလ္ဒ ဎဲ ဧေရ။ ဧိုလ္ဎိူ ဧေဘြိထိင လုက္ဒ ဗ္လိုကီ ဧါးန္ဒ စ္ကဝေရ၊ ဧိတ ဗြိုတ မီ ဗါးက တု ဎိူဇ ဒေးစ။ ဧိုဖ ဧိုလ ဎဲ ကိုမ္ပျုတဲရ္စ အ္ယ စို၊ ၁ ဧိုဖ ဎေမ ဝဲဇ ပ္လေးဧိင မါယ ဖေးဘဲရဲတ စိုင! အ္ယ ဈါမ္ပ ဧါးန္ဒ လီပ ဧိန ဈိုယ ဧိူဘဲရ ဎဲ စါယ္တ။ အ္ယ ဎေန စို မါယ ဟါဝ္စ၊ ဧါးန္ဒ အ္ယ စေဒ “ဟါယ” တု မါယ ဗေစ္တ မေးတ္စ၊ ဟု ဝဲရ ဝေးတိင အွတ္စါယ္ဒ။ ဝီ ဝိုလ္ကဒ တုဂေဎဲရ၊ ဟါးဘိင ဧ ဆျဲရိ ဆါးတ အဗါဝ္တ ဧ ကိုမပျုတဲရ ဂေးမ အ္ယ ဝဲဇ ဝဲရ္ကိင ဧိုန ဧရလျဲရ။

“စိူ ဝါတ္စ ဎါးတ ကုလ ဂေးမ ဂိုနါ ဗိ ဧဗါဝ္တ၊ ဧေး?” ဝါန ဧိုဖ ဎေမ အစ္ကဒ။
“ဧိဖ ယု လဲဘ္ဒ မါရိဧိူ၊ ယုလ လဲဘ ဎိစ!” အ္ယ စေဒ။
“ဧိုစဲမ!!! ကါန္တ ဝေးတ တု စီ ဧိတ!” ဧိန္စါယ္ဒ မီ ဎဲ ဖါယဲရ တု ကီပ မီ ဂိူဧိင ဗိကေးမ စ္တရိုင္ဂဲရ။

ဝီ ဝိုလ္ကဒ ဧိန္တု ဧ ဘိဘိဒ စါန္စေတ။ အ္ယ ရေမိနိစ္ဒ ဎဲ မေမိုရိစ ဧိုဖ ပါစ္တ စါမဲရ္စ၊ ပ္လေးဧိင ရေတြိူ ဘိဒိဧိူ ဂေးမ္စ ဧိန ဎဲ ကုလ ဍေးဒ၊ ဧိဘဲန ဎိူ ဎဲ စါန အွတ္စါယ္ဒ ပီက္ဒ ဧါးတ ၄၂ ဒိဂြီစ ဧါးန္ဒ မေလ္တဲဒ ဧေဘြိထိင ဧေလ္စ။

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.