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  1. #1
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    Who can suggest what Myanmar ethnic language I saw?

    I'm just back from a weekend trip from Naypyidaw to Inle Lake, in Shan state. I have made this trip many times, and always follow the same route eastwards, over the hills to the small town of Pinlaung, then head north and skirt around Inle Lake to reach Nyaung Shwe.

    I have seen the same road signs on each occasion. The first sign is maybe 50 Km east of Naypyidaw, and then several similar signs until I reach Pin Laung.

    The sign has 2 languages. The first is in Burmese (Myanmar-sa) script. I had naturally assumed that this was indeed Myanmar-sa.

    The second language on the sign is in Roman (ie English letter) script, with some accent or tone marks similar to French acute accents.

    In my ignorance, I assumed that this second language was Shan. But I have just discovered that Shan language is written using the Burmese or Mon script!

    That means that the first language on the signpost could be either Myanmar-sa or Shan (probably Myanmar-sa), and the second language is ???

    No, stupid me didn't snap a photo of the sign - I'll do that on my next trip.

    The second language looked a little like Hmong language. But are there any Hmong communities in that region?

    Just curious... maybe it was Karen language since I seem to be just skirting the region where Karen is spoken

    Update -
    No! Karen also uses the Burmese script....
    Groping women when you're old is fine - everyone thinks you're senile

  2. #2
    ไม่อยู่ใต้กะลามะพร้า ว HuangLao's Avatar
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    Perhaps an old geographical off-shoot of regional Lanna....
    The script of Lanna varies in similarity with old Burman script.

    The centuries old Lanna Kingdom spilled over into the large Shan State - interweaving cultural, social, and linguistic custom.
    A tradition of intermarriage between the old princely states and royals was also recognized, incorporating the two somewhat.

    Just a thought.

  3. #3
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    Pics would help

  4. #4
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    Vietnamese.. Maybe a bit like the below...

    Simon, tôi tự hỏi nếu nó có thể là ngôn ngữ tôi đăng lên?

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    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    This is Lanna script.
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    ^ Which is a rounder script than Thai and closer to Burmese. The Lanna states directly border Burma.

  7. #7
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    I know Vietnamese script - not that.

    Not Lanna script - English letters.

    I will ride that route again in a couple of weeks...

    Romanized Hmong script is shown here:

    https://www.omniglot.com/writing/hmong.htm

    But Hmong doesn't seem to have accent or tone marks as I described previously.

    Perhaps I have discovered a little-known community of nymphomaniac Amazon women who got lost when canoeing to the 7/11?

  8. #8
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    Pin Yin- Romanized Chinese?

  9. #9
    ไม่อยู่ใต้กะลามะพร้า ว HuangLao's Avatar
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    Tai Yai....?

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat
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    Not Pin Yin - I know that.

    Tai Yai? Don't know

    While waiting to ride that road again and snap a photo of the sign, I found a useful pdf map of languages spoken in Myanmar:

    http://themimu.info/sites/themimu.in...Jun2016_A1.pdf

    I zoomed in on the map and can see that my route to Inle Lake takes me through language regions of:

    Burmese
    Karen, Geko
    Lahta
    Kayan
    Zayein
    Pa'O
    Taungyo
    Intha

    !!!!! - WTF - It's like each neighbouring village speaks a different language..

    But alas, no Amazon language

    and my Googling seems to suggest that all of those languages use either the Burmese script or some other similar 'squiggle'.

    I'm still thinking about Hmong language, but no Hmong community is shown on that languages map.

  11. #11
    ไม่อยู่ใต้กะลามะพร้า ว HuangLao's Avatar
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    Possibly what's referred to as the "new" Hmong script.
    We'll never know unless you're willing to post a current photo of suspected language.



    Side note.
    Bit of a shame that the cultural superior Burman and the contemporary state of Myanmar/Burma can't find it in their hearts to celebrate, cherish and champion the ancient and rich cultural diversity that makes up the broader region, instead of attempting systematic acts of extermination - which have been ongoing for decades.
    Last edited by HuangLao; 15-11-2017 at 10:44 PM.

  12. #12
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    er right. Tai Yai is Shan by the way.

  13. #13
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    Maybe just the Roman script equivalent of the Burmese on the road sign.
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  14. #14
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    Maybe just the Roman script equivalent of the Burmese on the road sign.
    Perhaps true if it were a road-sign.

    But this is a sign on the road. It doesn't look like a government sign, nor the name of the village.

    I can only (maybe) clear this up around 18th December when I ride that road again and take a photo - which of course, I should have done last time!

    My ethnic language research hasn't found any Myanmar ethnic languages that use English letters. So right now, my hunch is still on a lost Amazon tribe.

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat

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    Put up a pic. Pointless thread without one.

  16. #16
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    Are there any Lisu Lenten or Kachin up there, sometimes missionaries grabled or changed the words?
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    Last edited by david44; 19-11-2017 at 02:53 PM.

  17. #17
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    Whisperanto, go quietly but carry a big schtick.

    Seriosly keep 'em coming Simon an interesting insight into off piste Burma, I hope you survive, how long is your sentance?


  18. #18
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    Lahu


    Lisu
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  19. #19
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    Jingpho spoken by about a million people in Myanmar. It’s written in Latin script with tone marks.

  20. #20
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    OK - I rode my bike in the Shan hills again this weekend and took a photo of the sign.



    I'm at work now and I asked my Myanmar friends about the sign.

    The lower text uses Burmese script and it is indeed, Myanmar-sa (so not Shan language). The sign says 'Welcome to Le Swe Ta Ma Pin village'.

    In the upper text, (which is the language that I want to identify), you can see the same village name. But the other words are not phonetic transliterations of the Myanmar-sa words below. I asked my friend to speak that text, and it sounds nothing like the text above, except of course, for the village name.

    There are 2 villages with these blue signs (so not official government signs), and both villages lie on the western side of the high Shan hills, about 30 miles east of Naypyidaw, and in the Shan foothills.

    My guess is that these 2 villages are inhabited by an ethnic group that is unique to this area. They are not Pa'O (which is the main ethnic group here), and which is easily identified by the orange tea towels that the women wear on their heads.

    Unless someone can identify that language, I'll have to accost one of the locals and try to ask them what their ethnic group is.

    Interesting (for me, anyway...). I'm riding back that way in a week or so.
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  21. #21
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    Interesting that Leswe Tamapin is phonetic English script.
    I would suggest the rest is phonetic English script too as well, and that this script is at the top means it's the
    main language of the village.

    Leswe Tamapinese. Joking. My guess would be a minority that never had an alphabet and missionaries have taught them, probably with invented tone marks.

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat
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    Well it's not Lahu (as suggested above). A Lahu speaker coincidentally contacted my Facebook page and I sent him the photo. He says that it is not Lahu (and gave me the Lahu text for 'welcome to.... village')

    Simon an interesting insight into off piste Burma, I hope you survive, how long is your sentance?
    David, my sentence is as long as I want. The school pay is good, the job is easy and fun (teaching mostly KG kids), it is dirt cheap for me to live in Naypyidaw, the environment (lack of entertainment) encourages a healthy diet and clean living. Last but not least, my two ex-wives are in Thailand, which is a good reason not to hurry to return.

  23. #23
    Valve Master
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    But what about rumpy-pumpy ? Do you have an "arrangement" with a local lass ?

  24. #24
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    Well, the mystery is solved!

    I travelled the same road yesterday and stopped in the village where the blue sign is located. I spotted some local serf and accosted him (in typical colonial manner).

    'Hey you! My man, what language is this?'

    'It's fcuking Kayin mate' replies the yokel.

    'You mean Sgaw Karen language, the common parlance of the peoples of Kayin State?. But surely that is written using Burmese script?'

    'Are you fcuking stupid or what? We is usin' the Lixromeij romanised script on this here sign, like what Father Joseph Seguinotte thought up in 1954, ain't it?. Now bugger off 'cos dem opium poppies ain't pickin' themselves like and we is busy as n*ggers'.

    So there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. This village are Karen folk from Kayin State, which is located further to the south. Sgaw Karen is one of the family of Karen languages that is spoken in that region, and it is usually written using a Burmese script. But this ignorant bunch of itinerant Karens are versed in the romanised writing system for their language, and that 'fooled me'.

    (Back to reality, the village folks were very friendly and the man whom I asked about the sign spoke a little English and explained that they came from Kayin State and spoke 'Kayin', which I deduced was Sgaw Karen, because that is the language spoken in that region. Further Googling revealed that a romanised script exists for Sgaw Karen.)

  25. #25
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