East-Asian Abugida problem. Any advice?

asked 2017-02-23 12:01:44 -0400

天宝 gravatar image

Hello Linguists, I'd like to ask a question regarding the abugida writing system that we Burmese, Tibetan and Thai use.

It's (almost)reasonable that all 3 of the scripts were designed so that they can read the old Pali buddhist scripts. But it seems to me that the abugidas were designed for indo-european languages(correct me if I'm wrong).

I'm Burmese, but I had to learn a bit of chinese and japanese in my younger days for family heritage reasons. I spent my entire childhood in Burma, I speak fluent Burmese, with a little bit of Chinese and a little bit of Japanese.

But I was, spoken wise, stronger in Burmese than any other languages(that i know), But one thing that bothered me, is that, I was able to memorize and retain both Chinese Han Zi and Japanese Kana/Kanji, despite 5 years of not being in contact with the 2 languages at all.

But as for Burmese, all it took, was 1 year, to completely forget everything about Burmese writing. I could read some, but I completely forgot the combinations of the words. I was ashamed. It's shocking, very very unreal. Just 1 year?

Fast forward to this day, I became (sort of) a newbie language nerd. I realized how Burmese was actually Sino-Tibetan language family, which explains why words and meaning between tibet, chinese(dialects), and burmese sound so similar.

And the more I read, the more I become really ambitious to re-invent the Burmese writing system. And it was met with tons of criticism, both good and bad, some were really supportive, but all of those that are unsupportive of my ambition all claimed that it would "kill our cultural heritage".

So I considered, I read through tons of Burmese history books, engaged in discussions, and the main thing that the brahmic script did, was bring buddhism to Burma... That's it, the rest were insignificant.

But I didn't stop there, I tried to prove the negative criticisms right. I began surveying Thai and Tibetan people, who both share similar writing system history with us. They all hate it as well, I thought I was the only stupid one to forget everything in a short period of time, but turns out there were tons more like me. But they were afraid to complain because of the backlash they will receive.

I continued, and I realize, our proverbs, our real cultural heritages, are slowly dying. As a Burmese, we often speak using proverbs, and not just us, the Japanese do, the chinese do. But theirs were still strong and growing, while ours(Burmese) were dying out. Is it because of calligraphy? They had a form of literature art to preserve their proverbs, and being native Burmese, I have not yet found any form of literature art, except writing(novels/poems). Maybe I didn't search hard enough?

I was so tired of proving those negative criticisms right, that I decided, I ... (more)

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