3. Vowels

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Since every consonant sign implies, like its Sanscrit prototype, a following a, unless some other vowel sign is attached to it, no particular sign is wanted to denote this vowel, except in some cases specified in the following &&. The special vowel signs are character omitted, character omitted, character omitted, pronounced respectively as e, i, o, u are in German, Italian and most other European languages, viz. character omitted like ay is say, or e in ten, like character omitted i in machine, tin; character omitted like o in so, on; character omitted like u in rule, pull. It ought to be specially remarked that all vowels, including e and o (unlike the Sanscrit vowels from whom they have taken their signs) are short, since no long vowels at all occur in the Tibetan language, except particular circumstances, mentioned below (s. 9.5, 6).


When the vowels are initial, a is used as their base, as is character omitted in Urdu, e.g. a ma ,mother'.


'a is originally different from a, as the latter denotes the opening of the previously closed throat for pronouncing a vowel with that slight explosive sound which the Arabs mean by character omitted (character omitted), as the a in the words: the lily, an endogen, which would be in Tibetan characters li li an; 'a on the contrary is the mere vowel without that audible opening of the throat (as Arabic character omitted without character omitted), as in Lilian, li li 'an. In Eastern Tibet this difference is strictly observed; and ifthe vowelis o or u the intentional exercion for avoiding the sound of a which makes it resemble to wo and wu: 'o ma ,the milk' almost like wo-ma, 'ug pa ,the owl' = wug-pa. In Western Tibet this has been obliterated, and 'a is there spoken just like a.

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