Contrast in vowel quality in Burmese and Thai Mon varieties: Phonetic indicators towards a restructured language

  • Narinthorn Sombatnan Behr Faculty of Humanities, Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Keywords: Burmese Mon, Mon language, on-gliding phase of vowels, phonetics, Thai Mon


The Mon language, a register language, has a number of vowels with on-gliding phases that could eventually develop into diphthongs. These haveneverbeen acousticallystudied. The objective of this study was to clarify the vowel characteristics in order to assess the possibility forchangetoward a restructured language. The results showed that some F1,F2, and F3 values in Burmese Mon (BM) could be used to differentiate clear from breathy vowels, especially in the on-gliding phase. F3 values as well as a tendency to diphthongization could be crucial factors in how BM vowels differ from Thai Mon (TM) vowels. Nonetheless, it is likely to take some time to justify whether the Mon language will change and whether BM will ultimately become a different language type from TM. These Mon varieties seem to be on the continuum of language change.


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