Devanagari->Burmese->Lanna->Thai

I occasionally get people telling me that it’s silly to study more than one language at at time, that I would make much more progress if I focused on only one at a time. Crazy talk.

Memory works by drawing connections between topics, which means that studying lots of languages at once can actually be productive if we search for links between them. The following chart shows similar consonants from the Sanskrit, Lanna, Burmese and Thai languages. The roman letter next to them shows the pronunciation (often the same, but differences do exist). I took a semester-long course on the Lanna language, have studied three semesters of Sanskrit at Ramkamheang and have just started two-year Burmese program. I put the chart together for myself, so that I could visually compare the languages and then figured I would throw it out here for people to check out. It’s important to note the way that some letters change in pronunciation, as this can be used to identify words which are virtually the same in different languages.

In the event that you’re missing some of the required fonts, you can download a jpeg version here.

letterevolution

(Stop) (Nasal) (Approximant) (Fricative)
Voicing อโฆษะ nonvoiced โฆษะ voiced อโฆษะ nonvoiced โฆษะ voiced
Aspiration * → Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated
ฐานกรณ์คอ

Guttural

k ɡ ɡʱ ŋ h
k ɡ ɡʱ ŋ h
က k ɡ ɡ ŋ h
ɡ ɡʱ k ŋ h
ฐานกรณ์เพดาน

Palatal

-
c,t͡ʃ cʰ,t͡ʃʰ ɟ,d͡ʒ ɟʱ,d͡ʒʱ ɲ j ɕ,ʃ
s s ɲ ɲ s
s z z ည, ဉ ɲ j
tɕʰ tɕʰ tɕʰ j s
ฐานกรณ์ปุ่มเหงือก

Cerebral

-
ʈ ʈʰ ɖ ɖʱ ɳ r ʂ
t ʈʰ d n h/l s
t d d n j
d n s
ฐานกรณ์ฟัน

Dental

-
t̪ʰ d̪ʱ n l s
t t n l s
t d d n l s
t n l s
ฐานกรณ์ริมฝีปาก

Labial

-
p b m ʋ
p p m w
p b b m w
p m w

* Column headers regarding aspiration are not 100% accurate. Only those with IPA values using a super-script h are.

* In modern Thai all three S letters (ส ษ ศ) are dental consonants

Resources:

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