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Full text of "Linguistic Survey Of India Vol V Part I Indo Aryan Family Eastern Group"

INTRODUCl'IOX.                                                         399
of Standard Bengali, is fairly uniform, and admits of a system of transliteration which
represents the sounds of the language with some approach to accuracy.
The Assamese alphabet is the same as that of Bengali, except that Auameae lias a
separate sign for the sound of w, which, when it occurs in Bengali, has to be represented
by a clumsy composition of two separate letters* I here give the .issamese letters,
together with their corresponding Roman equivalents. In old Assamese manuscripts the
shape of some of the characters (especially those for ma and M) are much more like those
of the Deva-nagari alphabet.
VOWELS.
^                         ^ u                       ^ o                      <$ a*
> Ifi                         g'Zri
^s ang                    *%l ah
CONSONANTS.
^ Jea               < kha               sf ga              *f gha                S na       Gutturals.
5 M               I ?a                w za              *$ %a                <&na      Palatals.
^ ta               $ tha              ^S da^S ra      u dha F f ha     l na       Cerebrals,
^ ta              $ tha              f da             3 dha              ^ na       Dentals.
*\ pa             7 pha             ^ba              <5 bha             ^ ma      Labials.
?f ya ^ za       if ^ ra              ^ la               ^r toa                  ...          Semi*vowels.
*T sa9 sha9 faa  ^ sa, sha, fea    *\sa,shayha    ...                   ...         Sibilants,
? ha                ..*                 ...                  ...                 ft.         Aspirates.
The non^iuitial forms of the vowels, and the compound consonants, are the same as
in Bengali, and need not be repeated here.
The letter r a has two sounds, a short and a long.   The first is that of the o ia
. .            ' hot/ and the second that of the o in * glory.'   The vowel will
Pronunciation.                ^                                 ,  %           ,           /     .    .     i        ,
usually be transliterated by a, but, when it is desired to
Vow&ls
draw prominent attention to the fact that it has tbe long
sound, it will be transliterated d. As a rule it has the long sound when the next syllable
contains the vowel ^ as in kdri, having done, or w, as in gdru, a cow, r&mwa> a soldier.
It is also found in the past and future tenses of verbs of the first conjugation. Thus
Ml, he was; Mm, I shall say. Sometimes the meaning of a word depends oil the proper
utterance of this vowel. Thus, Mid means1 black/ but kald, a leaf, a plantain. So
mdh, a mosquito, but mah, a buffalo. In such cases natives often denote the long sound
in the vernacular character by a short stroke above the syllable. Thus, Spfl, black, ?%
a leaf. ^?, a buffalo, *R* a mosquito. The long sound lias sometimes nearly the effect
of the first o in * promote' which would be written Sfcaflfc in the AjBsamese character.
Bronson represents it by an apostrophe. Thus 7*vit.
The vowel ^ # has the long sound of the a in * father.1
The vowels  i and ^ I are used indiscriminately to express both the long and
short sounds which we hear in ' pique * and in 'pin/ respectively. The question of
which sound is to be used depends entirely on accent, and has nothing whatever to do