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A Description and Linguistic Analysis of the Tai Khuen Writing System

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Title: A Description and Linguistic Analysis of the Tai Khuen Writing System
Authors: Owen, R. Wyn
Keywords: phonology
Tai Languages
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: This article provides a description and linguistic analysis of the Tai Tham script-based orthography of Tai Khuen, a Tai-Kadai language spoken in Eastern Shan State, Myanmar. The language has a long history of writing flowing out of the literary and religious culture nurtured by the Lan Na Kingdom from the 13th Century onwards. Comparison of phoneme and grapheme inventories shows that the orthography is well able to represent the spoken language as well as ancient Pali religious texts. Apart from spelling conventions reflecting the etymology of borrowed Pali and Sanskrit morphemes, sound changes over time have also decreased the phonological transparency of the orthography, notwithstanding the need of some more conservative varieties which still preserve distinctions lost in other varieties. Despite the complexities of the script, the literacy rates in Khuen are remarkably high for a minority language not taught in the government school system.
Pages/Duration: 25 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10524/52403
ISSN: 1836-6821
Appears in Collections:A. Research Papers (Peer-Reviewed)

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