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Eastern Pwo language

Eastern Pwo
Southern Pwo
Eastern Phlou
Native toBurma, Thailand
EthnicityPwo Karen people
Native speakers
1 million (1998)[1]
Burmese script (various alphabets)
Leke script, Thai script
Language codes
ISO 639-3kjp
Glottologpwoe1235[2]
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Eastern Pwo or Phlou, is a Karen language spoken by over a million people in Burma and by about 50,000 in Thailand, where it has been called Southern Pwo. It is not intelligible with other varieties of Pwo.

A script called Leke was developed between 1830 and 1860 and is used by members of the millenarian Leke sect of Buddhism. Otherwise a variety of Burmese alphabets are used, and refugees in Thailand have created a Thai alphabet which is in limited use.

Distribution

Phonology

The following displays the phonological features of two of the eastern Pwo Karen dialects, Pa'an and Tavoy:

Consonants

Labial Dental Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Uvular/
Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t k ʔ
aspirated
voiced b d
implosive (ɓ) (ɗ)
Affricate voiceless
aspirated tɕʰ
Fricative voiceless ɕ x h
voiced ɣ ʁ
Nasal m n ɲ
Trill r
Approximant central w j
lateral l
  • Post-alveolar affricates /tɕ, tɕʰ/, are realized as fricatives [s, sʰ], among some formal dialects.
  • // when pronounced slowly is phonetically realized as a dental affricate [t̪θ].
  • Voiced plosives /b, d/ are pronounced as implosives [ɓ, ɗ] only in the Pa'an dialect.
  • /h/ does not exist in the Tavoy dialect.
  • /j/ may tend to be slightly fricativized [ʝ] when preceding front vowels.
  • /r/ may also be realized as a tap [ɾ].

Vowels

Front Central Back
High i ɨ ɯ u
Near-high ɪ ʊ
High-mid e ɤ o
Low-mid ɛ ɔ
Low a
  • /ɪ/ does not occur after a /w/ sound.
  • /ɪ, ʊ, ɛ, ɔ/ are merged with /i, u, e, o/ in the Tavoy dialect.[3]

Tones

Four tones are present in Eastern Pwo:

Tones
˦
˧
˨
˥˩

Dialects

  • Pa’an (Inland Eastern Pwo Karen, Moulmein)
  • Kawkareik (Eastern Border Pwo Karen)
  • Tavoy (Southern Pwo Karen)

Alphabet

History

The Eastern Pwo Karen language is heavily derived from the Mon script and the Burmese script.

က
ka(/kaˀ/)

kha(/kʰaˀ/)

ga(/gaˀ/)

gha(/kʰaˀ/)

ṅa(/ŋa̰ˀ/)

ca(/ca̰ˀ/)

cha(/cʰa̰ˀ/)

sa(/sa̰/)

sa(/sa̰ˀ/)

ña(/ñaˀ/)

ṭa(/taˀ/)

ṭha(/tʰaˀ/)

ḍa(/ɗaˀ/)

ḍha(/ɗʰaˀ/)

ṇ(/na̰/)

ta(/taˀ/)

tha(/tʰaˀ/)

da(/da̰ˀ/)

dha(/tʰa̰ˀ/)

na(/na̰ˀ/)

pa(/pa̰ˀ/)

pha(/pʰa̰ˀ/)

ba(/ba̰ˀ/)

bha(/bʰa̰ˀ/)

ma(/ma̰ˀ/)

ya(/ya̰ˀ/)

ra(/ra̰ˀ/)

la(/la̰ˀ/)

wa(/wa̰ˀ/)

sa(/sa̰ˀ/)

ha(/ha̰ˀ/)

la(/la̰ˀ/)

a(/ʔaˀ/)

ba(/ɓaˀ/)

hha(/ŋga̰ˀ/)

ghwa(/ŋghɛ̀ˀˀ/)


Numbers
Number Eastern Pwo Karen
Numeral Written Pronounce
0 ပၠဝ်ပၠေ ploh plih
1 လ်ု luh
2 ဏီ့ nee
3 သိုငၲ့ thuh
4 လီႉ lee
5 ယဲါ yeh
6 ၰူ့ hu
7 နိူဲ့ nwey
8 ၰိုဝၲ xoh
9 ခိုဲႉ khwee
10 လ်ုဆီ့(ဆီ့) luh chi/chi
11 ဆီ့လ်ု chi luh
12 ဆီ့ဏီ့ chi ne
20 ဏီ့ဆီ့ ne chi
21 ဏီ့ဆီ့လ်ု ne chi luh
22 ဏီ့ဆီ့ဏီ့ ne chi ne
100 လ်ုဖငၲႉ(ဖငၲႉ) luh pong/pong
101 လ်ုဖငၲႉလ်ု luh pong luh
1000 လ်ုမိုငၲ့(မိုငၲ့) luh muh/muh
10000 လ်ုလါ(လါ) luh lah/lah
100000 လ်ုသိငၲႉ(သိငၲႉ) luh thay/thay

The Eastern Pwo Karen numeric symbols currently does not exist in the Burmese Unicode block.

  • The number zero, ploh plih (ပၠဝ်ပၠေ), means "of no value".
  • The number zero is not used in day-to-day life and mostly exists in writing only. People are taught to use the Burmese numeric system instead, including zero.
  • Chi (ဆီ့) denotes 10, any number from 1 to 9 before chi can be interpreted as "of ten(s)", so 20 would be ne chi. Pong (ဖငၲ) denotes 100, any number from 1 to 9 before pong can be interpreted as "hundred(s)", so 200 would be ne pong. Similarly, the same rule applies to thousand, muh (မိုငၲ့); ten-thousand, lah (လါ); and hundred-thousand, thay (သိငၲႉ).
  • Numbers after the hundred-thousands (millions and above) are prefixed with thay (သိငၲႉ), hundred thousand. For example, one million would be thay luh chi (သိငၲႉလ်ုဆီ့), "hundred thousand of tens"; two million would be thay ne chi (သိငၲႉဏီ့ဆီ့), hundred thousand of two tens; ten million would be thay luh pong (သိငၲႉလ်ုဖငၲ), "hundred thousand of hundreds"; one billion would be thay luh lah (သိငၲႉလ်ုလါ), "hundred thousand of ten thousands".

Decimals

Due to the close approximation to Thailand, the Eastern Pwo Karen adopts Thai's decimal word, chut, (Karen: ကျူဒၲ, ကျူ(ဒၲ); Thai: จุด; English: and, dot). For example, 1.01 is luh chut ploh plih luh (လ်ု ပၠဝ်ပၠေလ်ု).

Fractions

Fractions are formed by saying puh (ပုံႉ) after the numerator and the denominator. For example, one-third (1/3) would be luh puh thuh puh (လ်ုပုံသိုငၲ့ပုံ) and three over one, three-"oneths" (3/1) would be thuh puh luh puh (သိုငၲ့ပုံလ်ုပုံ).

References

  1. ^ Eastern Pwo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Pwo Eastern Karen". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Kato, Atsuhiko (1995). The phonological systems of three Pwo Karen dialects. Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area 18. pp. 63–103.