Re: Burmese vowels

From: Arnd R. Strube (
Date: Fri Oct 16 1998 - 16:38:24 EDT

I am not sure who wrote what in the discussion below, so

        To whom it may concern...

>The ui vowels were omitted by specific agreement of the
>ad hoc group at WG2 that worked on the FPDAM text


1. There is NO SUCH THING as a "Burmese vowel sign ui". Speaking
of a "Burmese vowel sign ui" just reveals gross ignorance of
phonology and orthography of the Myanmar language.

2. The phonological unit that you refer to as "ui" is the vowel
"o". Omitting it will result in dirty encoding. Why do you insist
on doing this?

3. Omitting the vowel sign "o" that you call "ui" will complicate
sorting in a big way.

4. If you absolutely must to do this, why not at least do it
consistantly? Go all the way and do the same to:

1732 vowel sign aw(high tone) vowel sign o" 1730+172B
1733 vowel sign aw(unmarked) vowel sign au"

There are more candidates, I am sure. Is this really what you want
to do?

5. If you are assuming that, because the script is related to
Indic scripts, so is the phonological structure of the Myanmar
language, you are VERY MUCH MISTAKEN indeed.

6. May I ask who agreed to dropping what you call "ui", and
specifically who DIDN'T?

>This was with the input of a group of computer professionals
>from Myanmar with implementation experience.


I happen to have seen the proposal that the Myanmar delegation
submitted to the WG2. Yes, surely you got INPUT from the Myanmar
experts. Your communications give me very good reasons to believe
that you are IGNORING that input. You also fail to mention that
this group of professionals was an official delegation, sent by
and on behalf of, not only the various organisations they stand
for, but the government of the Union of Myanmar.

This is THEIR language, not yours, or anybody elses. You have no
right to manipulate their choices just because you are in a
position to do so, or because you happen not to agree with their
government politically. Even if your proposal was linguistically
or otherwise superior, which it is not, you would have no right to
do so.

>The model is still in contention. There are differences of
>and gaps have been left in the table so that if implementation
>experience demonstrates that including UI as a unit (and several
>other vowels) would be better overall, such an amendment could be

AH. Now THAT is closer to the truth. I would strongly suggest you
go along with the requests of the Myanmar delegation. They wish to
include every vowel/tone combination (rhyme) as a unit, don't
they? They also wish to include certain medial combinations as
units, for implementation reasons, the benefits of which might be
debatable. But still, they have very good reasons.

Understandibly, you may have a different approach yourself.
However, you are not taking any responsibility for implementing
this script. They are. So why not go along with their proposal?
Your exclusion of the vowel sign 'o' shows that you do not have an
adequate understanding of the Myanmar language. It also shows that
you are pushing through what you want, ignoring the input from the
Myanmar delegation, vaguely hinting that you might consider
changing at a later stage what should have been settled NOW.

Even if you chose not to go along with the proposal of the Myanmar
delegation, there is no reason why you should want to omit the
vowel sign for 'o'. And you certainly can't tell me that this
choice reflects their approach and wishes.

If the Ad Hoc WG2 meeting did indeed end with a "consensus", which
I doubt, I am afraid that the Myanmar delegation was just
bulldozed over.

If I am doing anyone an injustice in any of the above, I am
willing to stand corrected. However, nothing less than a full
transcript of the proceedings of the Ad Hoc WG2 proceedings, or
the word of one of the delegates from Myanmar, will convince me


If you thing your current encoding is so clever, implement a
sorting algorithm for it, such that any Myanmar expert would be
perfectly satisfied with the results of your sorting. Then I will
shut up and say no more. Have fun. You may ask me for hints--I
have done it. Or you might look at the proposal put in by the
Myanmar delegation. It would give you some excellent hints.

Arnd R. Strube
4x4 Systems

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