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The Language(s) of Myanmar Burma

Burmese, the mother tongue of the Bamar and official language of Myanmar, is linguistically related to Tibetan and to the Chinese languages.

It is written in a script consisting of circular and semi-circular letters, which comes from the Mon script.  The Burmese alphabet adapted the Mon script, which in turn was developed from a southern Indian script in the 700s.

The earliest known inscriptions in the Burmese script date from the 1000s.  The script is also used to write Pali, the sacred language of Theravada Buddhism.  The Burmese script is also used to write several ethnic minority languages, including Shan, several Karen dialects, and Kayah (Karenni), with the addition of specialised characters and diacritics for each language.

The Burmese language incorporates widespread usage of honorifics and is age-oriented.  Burmese society has traditionally stressed the importance of education.  In villages, secular schooling often takes place in monasteries.  Secondary and tertiary education take place at government schools.

People who want to learn to speak the Myanmar language - often called Burmese can go to this website at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University:

Learn Simple Myanmar Burmese Phrases and Language

The language looks difficult but simple greetings and requests can be learned with not too much effort.  There is audio on the site to help you listen and repeat the language.



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