RE: Oriya: mba / mwa ?

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Sun Nov 30 2003 - 03:38:33 EST

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "RE: Oriya: mba / mwa ?"


    From: on behalf of Michael Everson

    > Peter, I would take those TDIL publications with a very large grain
    > of salt...
    I didn't say that I accepted that doc unquestioned. But when they say conjuncts are made with WA and you come along and say, "It's BA, not WA," I need more than the word of Michael Everson to convince I should simply disregard them. Just as it would take more than the word of Peter Constable for you to believe lots of assertions I might make.
    What would be convincing might be a specialist in the Oriya language explaining that the morphological processes or historical derivations that have led to sequences of C + "wa" are such that the character underlying the rhyme must be BA. Or a range of sources that are in agreement on BA. Or, perhaps more than anything, would be an agreement amongst key parties that all of these things are going to get encoded as BA; since that is ultimately what will provide interoperability.

    >Be thou not deceived by the glyph shapes. The etymology is O + BA =>
    >WA, not NYA + BA.

    (Or NYA + something else...) It would be just sooooo cool if you would provide references to accessible sources that present evidence and analysis to support that statement. :-)
    Regardless of the etymology of that thing, though, what matters is whether all of these should be encoded with BA, and I wouldn't find it hard to go along with that: I've got a couple of sources ("Oriya Self-Taught" and an Oriya booklet, "Caattassaalli Paattha") that show a nominal form underlying this conjunct that looks like BA.
    But there's some confusion thrown into the mix, though, by the fact that they list the shape twice in their "alphabet" (their ordered list of consonants), one being where you'd expect to find a wa; and then there're sources like that have the dotted ba form (0B35) as the second of these letters of the "alphabet"; and then there's Mahapatra 1996 (in Bright & Daniels) and the various other sources I have, including recent learning books used for children, and the TDIL doc, that have the WA (U+0B71) in that second place in the "alphabet". All of these things point to something in addition to BA that several describe as "wa" and seem to use as the component in these conjuncts. Yet because the first two of these use the same shape as BA and because M.E. tells me it's BA, perhaps that's enough to convince me that's the right thing to do...
    On the other hand, maybe it seems less than completely settled to me.
    What concerns me most is the teaching materials aimed at schoolchildren. However recent an innovation it might be, one gets the impression that kids are learning WA as part of their 'alphabet'. And if Oriya speakers grow up with the idea that this is the thing that forms their conjuncts, then I need to ask whether that's how they're going to expect to be able to encode their documents.

    >I have just ordered two large Oriya dictionaries which should arrive
    >in a fortnight.

    I'd be interested in knowing what you found and where you found them.
    Peter Constable

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