Burmese (nucl1310-1)

Wheatley, Julian K.. Burmese. 2003. hh:s:Wheatley:Burmese

Consonants (34)

p b t d k g ʔ
θ (ð) s z ʃ
m n ȵ̥ ȵ ŋ̥ ŋ
j (ʍ) w h

Vowels (35)

i u
ɪˀ ɪ̃ ɪ̤̃ ɪ̰̃ ʊˀ ʊ̃ ʊ̤̃ ʊ̰̃
e ə o
ɛ ɛ̤ ɛ̰ ɛˀ ɔ ɔ̤ ɔ̰
a ã̤ ã̰

Diphthongs (16)

eɪˀ ẽɪ ẽ̤ɪ ḛ̃ɪ oʊˀ õʊ õ̤ʊ õ̰ʊ
aɪˀ aʊˀ ãɪ ã̤ɪ ã̰ɪ ãʊ ã̤ʊ ã̰ʊ


/ai au/ don't occur in 'open' (i.e. neither checked nor nasal) syllables. The writing system identifies closed-syllable /au/ with open-syllable /ɔ/.

A phonemic analysis of Burmese suited to a crosslinguistic database is difficult: tone, phonation, vowel length, vowel quality, and syllable closure are all related. The analysis used here does not strictly follow the source - it takes phonation (rather than tone) to be primary, since this seems to be the simplest rendering of the inventory, and to require the least coding of rules and restrictions.

Creaky phonation correlates with high falling tone.

Modal phonation correlates with low (or low rising phrase-finally) tone and length.

Breathy (actually "clear, sometimes slightly lax") voicing correlates with high (or high falling phrase-finally) tone and length.

Checked phonation correlates with mid-high tone "with slight fall" and very short timing.

/ə/ only appears in minor syllables.

'Juncture' is phonologically relevant: "In citation form, or before a syllable in open juncture, the two Cfs are realized as nasalization on the vowel and final glottal stop (plus associated tonal features) respectively. With following close juncture, however, the final nasal tends to assimilate to the position of the following Ci ... while the final stop is realized as a consonant from the plain series homorganic in both manner and place with the following Ci."