Letter to John Okell from Eugénie Henderson, dated 23rd July, 1969, School of Oriental and African Studies, London

Material Information

Letter to John Okell from Eugénie Henderson, dated 23rd July, 1969, School of Oriental and African Studies, London
Series Title:
Okell, John. Unpublished fieldwork notes and recordings on the Maru language, Mandalay, Myanmar, 1969
Henderson, Eugénie J. A. ( Author )
SOAS University of London -- Phonetics and Linguistics
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Maru language ( LCSH )
Okell, John ( LCNA )
Spatial Coverage:
Asia -- Myanmar -- Mandalay Region -- Mandalay District -- Mandalay
Europe -- United Kingdom -- England -- Greater London -- London -- Camden -- Bloomsbury
21.975 x 96.083333
51.52205 x -0.129


General Note:
Copyright John Okell, 1969. Permission granted to SOAS University of London to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
General Note:
Digitised from the personal archive of John Okell.
General Note:
Digitised for Dr. Nathan Hill, as part of "Beyond Boundaries: Religion, Region, Language and the State", an international research collaboration jointly led by SOAS, the British Museum, and the British Library, funded by the European Research Council.
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Okell, John : URI
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Henderson, Eugénie J. A. : URI

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS University of London
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Full Text
School of Oriental and African Studies
(Department of Phonetics and Linguistics),
University of London,
Malet Street,
London, W.C.I.
23rd July, 1969
I was delighted to get your letter of May 30th,
and am sorry not to have answered it sooner. All power to
your writing elbow in the recording of Mro/Mru! 1 have a
great deal of sympathy with your problems since they sound
highly reminiscent of similar ones we had in dealing with
some of the Southern Chin dialects, where all seemed, flux and
change! I think the only thing is to record everything in
as narrow a transcription as one can without trying to
systematize or phonemicize too soon the patterns often become
apparent later when one looks back upon the earlier recorded
material. I also remember the "Messiah" bit in fact, one
D.O. was quite worried about it, as he seemed to think I was going
to upset things by encouraging the minor dialect speakers to
demand schooling & reading material, etc. in their own dialects!
But the genuine gratitude of people at finding someone really
interested in them and their language for their own sake is
very touching, though one wonders if they are disillusioned
afterwards when there are no follow-up benefits! Our working
sessions were reasonably private, but I remember having an
enthralled audience of .giggling children (and adults, sometimes!).,
peering through the-uncurtained windows when I was dressing in
the mornings'!
About Mro, I have a xeroxed copy of Luce's 10C0 word
list in what he calls M*ru Tsa without asking him I don't
know where he collected it. It's a bit. difficult to pass any
of this" on- at such a distance, but at a hasty glance, here
are some points which may be of interest:-
Tones. He seems to have four, hut some of these maybe
restricted to certain syllable types. A number of his entries
have 2 tone markings i.e. wither he seems to have heard
them differently at different times. This may be the result
of overlaying sentence intonation, or perhaps there is
genuine tonal alternation or tone sandhi in certain contexts.
Syllable Structure. Both open and closed syllables. Syllable
. final consonants include -rj, -m, -n, -r, -k, -p, -t and
the glottal stop. U/fc ^uwut, ^ aUiW ^U^Cf^f^^-)
Initial consonants. The usual, plus ts (aspirated and unaspir-
ated.) ...and hr; -also clusters pr, py, k' w, kr, kl, mr
Dear John,

a 1
xxxoa -ax T

/ a-y^^ fe^ xxjc-iu ~to ioa.iao
-a (a-ia'vii x x M Mi j-3-oaa;; xx

a- ^
* ;X'XX:.
yX -M'.-sr X:,,

XX XXXX -'a "XT .. <
xXx'-x:''.,...:. ; X;; v'x',X. 'f;pxii xxxx
; Z^Jl xxxJaC
XX 0/v! r

xl;nxx3£> x ,, x X'
> i

.. v.v V. .. .. . - r

vxx Xxyfe

.- <- ; -v x-X r_:X .':. Vx X.X ..

xx x-x .
.a X -iv
Oi f, ^
/ ax
~ IXJ-X^ oa^:.;; XXXfLV, X.- . I |

- SI

' ; X.
, xxxxx.;;;



ml, my, pr.y ("before front vowels), Pi, (and possibly others
I haven't spotted). Luce notes a non-significant
variation "between what he writes ch and ts' .
Vowels. A great variety here, as you say. I note: a, a, o,
2.1 i, e, £, and two he writes and £ (in stressed
syllahlesT. (There may also "be a ra, "but I haven't
spotted one.)
Diphthongs. In closed syllables (not necessarily all phonemic) -
is, is, u, 11, au, ai.. In open syllables ua, eu, yi,
au, ui, ifyja, ai_ ,
His recordings for the number you quote are:-
2 prs
3 tst om^
h ta^li1
5 ta :Qa
6 taro"^
7 raniit
- 3
8 riyat
1 1
9 taku or tako
10 hamust
(Compounding forms of 10 seem quite different -
= halai'1 ts'omf" 20 = pir1 mi q 30 ts kom"]" ,^
- li1 kom1?^ etc.)
I don't suppose any of this is much help, but still
be interesting to compare your list and Luce's when
Meanwhile the best of luck and warmest congratulations
book, which has just appeared.' (What a price, thoughl)
Yours very sincerely,
Eugenie Henderson
e.g. 13
it will
you get
on your

Full Text


2 ml, l!Ul, lll!X (be.:rore front vowels), 121., (and possibly others I haven't spotted) Luce notes a non-significant variation between what he writes eh and !2' Vowels. A great variety here, as you say. I note: a, a, o, u, i, e, e, and two he writes 8 (in stressed syllables}. -(There may also be a -m, but I haven't spotted one.) -Diphthongs. I n closed syllables (not necessarily all phonemic) i e, i I, .ill!' ai. In open syllables 11.., i, ..' Jdl., .!.. e.g. 13 40 His recordings :for the number you quote are:-1 lek1 3 2 2 pre 3 ts'om 2..... 4 ta4li1 5 ta.413a. 1 6 "' 1 taro 7 ranirt3 8 riya.t3 9 1 tako 1 taku .21: 10 harriue t (Compounding forms of 10 seem quite different h"'l 4 ( ;t 0 ':' 1 2 t t 4 k 1,3 a _al ts om, 2 = p1r m1 s li1 etc.) = :::: I don't suppose any of this is mucti help, but still it will be interesting to compare your list nd Luce's when you get back. Meanwhile the best o:f luck -and congratulations on your book, which has just appeared! (What a price, though!) Yours very sincerely, Eugenie Henderson


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