Burmese language

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Burmese
ျမန္မာစကား (written Burmese)
ျမန္မာစကား (spoken Burmese)
PronunciationIPA: [mjəmàzà] or IPA: [mjəmà zəɡá]
Native to Myanmar
 Bangladesh
 India
 China
 Laos
 Thailand
 Singapore
EthnicityBamar people
Native speakers
33 million (2007)[1]
Second language: 10 million
Early form
Burmese script
Official status
Official language in
 Myanmar
 ASEAN
Regulated byMyanmar Language Commission
Language codes
ISO 639-1my
ISO 639-2bur (B)
mya (T)
ISO 639-3mya
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Burmese (in Burmese ba-ma-sa, pronounced /baa-MAA-saa/) is a language spoken in Myanmar (also known as Burma). Burmese is a Sino-Tibetan language, meaning that is close to Chinese and Tibetan.

Writing system[change | change source]

Burmese is written in Burmese script.

Tones[change | change source]

Burmese is a tonal language. Burmese has three tones (high, medium, low: plus two 'stops or abbreviated additional, qualifying 'tones)

Burmese has no gender. For instance, the word သူ (pronounced "thew") could mean "he" or "she". However, some words have natural gender e.g. ဆရာ saya (male teacher) and ဆရာမ sayama (female teacher).

Unlike in English, verbs in Burmese do not change based on tense. Instead, other words are added after to show tense.

Loan words[change | change source]

Burmese has many English and Indian words (loan words) due to colonization by the British and interaction with the neighboring country of India. However, is a very distinct and full language itself with a long history and many different dialects.

Examples[change | change source]

Here are some examples of words and sentences in Burmese.

Hello = min-ga-la-ba

How are you? = Nei kaun la?

I am (name) = Cha-naw yè nan-bè ga _______

(Kya-naw is replaced with kya-ma for females.

What is your name? = Ka-mya na mei be' lo khal le' (OR) na mei be' lo khal le' (You can omit "Ka-mya=You")

Are you from Burma? = Nae ba-ma pyi ga la da la?

(Note: To ask if someone is from other countries, just replace ba-ma pyi with any of the countries below.)

References[change | change source]

  1. Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007