RE: Dai Lanna Script (was: New property for reordrant dependent vowels reordering?)

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Tue Sep 06 2005 - 13:32:48 CDT

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    > From: [] On Behalf
    > Of Richard Wordingham

    > I can
    > see arguments that it isn't the Burmese script. I don't know whether the
    > Tham script of Laos is also the same script.

    There's little question that Lanna should be distinguished from Burmese. It very likely can be unified with Lao Tham, though there may be a few issues to resolve.

    > There's proliferation enough
    > given the decision not to unify the New Tai Lue and Dai Lanna scripts.
    > (Might that decision be reversed? Both are apparently now in use, the old
    > script leaks into the the new script, and the new low class consonants -
    > formed by adding a circumflex - could easily be borrowed by the old script.)

    This would not be a good idea. The two are quite distinct. The nominal consonants in New Tai Lue script may not be all that different except for the creation of new low class consonants, but the conjoining behaviour of consonants does not exist in New Tai Lue script, the vowels are quite different, and the additional marks used are entirely different.

    > I can always justify the name Dai Lanna by noting that the ethnonym probably
    > was Dai when the script was adopted, and it avoids the dilemma of choosing
    > between Siamese 'Lanna Thai' and Kam Mueang 'Lanna Tai'. Also, the pinyin
    > 'Dai Lanna' makes the connection between Lanna Tai and the Sipsongpanna Tai.

    The reconstructed Proto-Tai consonant may be /*d/, but nobody in practice uses names that adopt spelling based on proto-consonants. So, "Lanna Dai" will be seen by everyone else you interact with as odd. As for the supposed dilemma between Siamese "Lanna Thai" and Kam Mueang "Lanna Tai", neither Siamese nor Kam Mueang speakers refer to the script using this form; rather, they say "tua lanna" (ตัวล้านนา) or "aksorn lanna" (อกษรล้านนา) or "nangsue lanna (หนังสือล้านนา). Finally, we are speaking English, not Siamese or Kam Mueang. In English, "Lanna" is the best choice. "Dai Lanna" is decidedly not an English name since "Dai" is not used in English, being a Pinyin representation of Chinese; the corresponding English form used universally by linguists, including no less that Fang Kuei Li when writing in English, is "Tai". But again, that is generally used in references to languages, not the script. For the script, "Lanna" or "Northern Thai" are used in English; "Lanna" clearly is the better choice. And "Lanna" a
    lone avoids all the dilemmas you've raised.

    > Finally, it's Dai Lanna on the road map.

    Um, no... it's "Lanna".


    Peter Constable

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