ŋ vs. ṃ

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ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:48 pm

This is probably trivial... but I wish in romanized Pāli the letter "ŋ" was used instead of the letter "ṃ." I still have hardest time trying not to read the "ṃ" as an "m," which is obviously wrong... what do you guys think? (I'm really deaf, but this bothers me for some reason.)
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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby Kenshou » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:53 pm

That would make more sense, really. ŋ is a better representation of the sound since the nasalization of the vowels is really very similar to the sound which that IPA letter represents (this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velar_nasal) the difference being that there is only partial closure.

But then ṃ kind of fits in better with the overall style since there are several other letters requiring a dot under them (the retroflex consonants).

I think that the dot should be placed over the ṃ to make it easier to distinguish from plain m. But what can you do? Trying to use the latin alphabet to transcribe languages which have sounds that the latin alphabet never was meant to deal with always ends up in lots of awkward little dots and lines and stuff.
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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby Sobeh » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:59 pm

Kenshou wrote:Trying to use the latin alphabet to transcribe languages which have sounds that the latin alphabet never was meant to deal with always ends up in lots of awkward little dots and lines and stuff.


As an aside, the phrase "lots if little dots and lines and stuff" describes all written language. :tongue:
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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:15 am

One of the things that puzzles me about the Romanization is that there seem to be two competing conventions, with some putting the dot over the m and some under. The former always seemed more logical to me, since for n the "nasal dot" has to be over since a dot under an n means something else, but the latter seems to be becoming the standard...

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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:23 am

Greetings,

I find the actual need for the various symbols confusing.

I understand they're a guide to proper pronunciation as much as anything else, but having grown up on the English language which generally manages to get by with 26 letters (albeit pronounced differently in different circumstances) my head struggles to deal with all the other little bits and bobs, and ŋ vs. ṃ is certainly a case where the way I would read it naturally in my head actually conflicts with how it probably ought to sound.

The symbols/letters we're discussing here is the one use in the word Sangha, isn't it?

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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:27 am

Hi Retro.

Yes, well that's more confusion, isn't it? As far as I know the sound is the same, but it's an "n" in typical Roman script. Here you can see the and in action...
Arahaṃ sammā-sambuddho bhagavā.
...
Supaṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho.


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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby Kenshou » Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:19 am

The problem is that in English, giving a vowel a nasally sound is not distinctive, but in Pali, that nasality can be the difference between one word and another, like French of Portuguese, so we've got to find a way to indicate it. It doesn't quite match any of the nasal sounds we are familiar with (n, m, ng) and which of those letters is used as a basis for indicating the intended sound varies.

These problems come up all the time when trying to find out the best way to romanize just about any foreign language. We should all just use the international phonetic alphabet!
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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby Sobeh » Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:47 am

Your evil plot to make me memorize technical linguistic terms is not going to work...
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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby Kenshou » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:06 am

So I've been twisting my mustache and cackling for nothing?
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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:30 am

I prefer phonetically, but since that isn't very popular, then my next preference would be:
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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:47 am

Hi David,
David N. Snyder wrote:I prefer phonetically, but since that isn't very popular, then my next preference would be:

But isn't the nasal, it's one of those tongue things... You mean.

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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:44 am

mikenz66 wrote:But isn't the nasal, it's one of those tongue things... You mean.


Okay, thanks. Then in that case maybe ŋ is better, perhaps less confusion.
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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby Kenshou » Sat Oct 02, 2010 4:03 am

I'm pretty sure N with the dot over it is used for something else, though!
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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby yuttadhammo » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:53 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:But isn't the nasal, it's one of those tongue things... You mean.


Okay, thanks. Then in that case maybe ŋ is better, perhaps less confusion.

I think the point is that a nigahita (not to be confused with nigahiga... ) a.k.a. anusvāra is generally accepted as being sounded in one of four ways, depending on which vagga the letter that follows belongs to:

ahaṃ karomi = ahaŋ karomi (or ahaṅ karomi)
ahaṃ jānāmi = ahañ jānāmi
ahaṃ ḍasāmi = ahaṇ ḍasāmi
ahaṃ tiṭṭhāmi = ahan tiṭṭhāmi
ahaṃ bhante = aham bhante

So it wouldn't do to represent it as any one of the four, I don't think. Hence, the unique character ṃ... or ṁ :)
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Re: ŋ vs. ṃ

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:11 am

yuttadhammo wrote:I think the point is that a nigahita (not to be confused with nigahiga... ) a.k.a. anusvāra is generally accepted as being sounded in one of four ways, depending on which vagga the letter that follows belongs to:

ahaṃ karomi = ahaŋ karomi (or ahaṅ karomi)
ahaṃ jānāmi = ahañ jānāmi
ahaṃ ḍasāmi = ahaṇ ḍasāmi
ahaṃ tiṭṭhāmi = ahan tiṭṭhāmi
ahaṃ bhante = aham bhante



Very interesting, thanks Ven. Yuttadhammo and everyone that replied. :anjali:
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