Burmese language

Spoken in

  • Sino Tibetan languages Tibeto- Burmese languages lolo- Burmese languages burmese



Burmese, and Burmese, is the official language in Myanmar and is spoken by about 35 million people. In addition, the Burmese from many ethnic and linguistic minorities in Burma is used as a second language besides the native language. Burmese has its own script, which has evolved from the Indian Brahmi script.

The proper name of the language is ( mranma ca, [ mja ˨ ɴma ˨ sa ˨ ] or [ bəma ˨ sa ˨ ]) for the written language and ( mranma ca.ka: [ mja ˨ ɴma ˨ səga ˦ ] or [ bəma ˨ səga ˦ ]) for the spoken language.

  • 5.1 Scientific research
  • 5.2 Textbooks
  • 5.3 dictionaries


The verbs and nouns are mostly monosyllabic and are not conjugated or declined. The verb is followed by a final marker usually at the end of the sentence. There are a large number of loan words from Pali, a Central Indian language, which are mostly polysyllabic towards the monosyllabic Burmese words.


The transcriptions in this section, follow the International Phonetic Alphabet.


The consonants of Burmese are as follows:

The approximant / r / and / ʍ / are rare, [ ð ] exists only as voiced allophone of / θ /.

The placeless nasal / ɴ / is as nasalization of the preceding vowel or consonant to the following homorganischer nasal, / mòuɴdáiɴ / "Storm" is so [ mõũndãĩ ] pronounced.


The vowels of Burmese are:

The monophthongs / e /, / o /, / ə / and / ɔ / are available only in open syllables (ie those with no coda ), the diphthongs / ei /, / ou /, / ai / and / au / in closed syllables ( those with coda ).


Burmese is a tonal language, that is, by the sound of a vowel phonemic contrasts can be created. In Burmese, these contrasts reflect not only the pitch with one, but also phonation, intensity ( loudness), duration and vowel quality. The Burmese has four contrastive tones. The following table lists the tones on the vowel / a / in an example, the phonetic descriptions come from Wheatley (1987).

The following words, for example, differ only in tone:

  • Low / k ʰ à / " shake "
  • High / k ʰ á / " be bitter "
  • Creaked / k ʰ a / 'fee'
  • Inhibited / k ʰ aʔ / " pull "

Add to / ɴ / ending syllables of inhibited sound does not happen:

  • Low / k ʰ àɴ / " learn "
  • High / k ʰ áɴ / " dry up"
  • Creaked / k ʰ a̰ɴ / " appoint "

Syllable structure

The syllable structure of Burmese is C (G ) V ( (V ) C), where C = consonant, G = semi-vowel, V = vowel. The syllable approach thus consists of a consonant, the optional followed by a glide, and the syllable rhyme consists of a monophthong alone, a monophthong with a consonant, or a diphthong with a consonant. The only consonants that can be left in the syllable coda are / ʔ / and / N /. Serve as an example words:

  • CV / mè / ( diminutive for woman)
  • CVC / mɛʔ / " covet "
  • CGV / MJE / "Earth"
  • CGVC / mjɛʔ / "eye"
  • CVVC / màuɴ / ( form of address for young men )
  • CGVVC / mjáuɴ / " ditch "

A syllable in the / ə / is the nucleus, has some limitations:

  • You must be an open syllable ( there must be no consonant in the coda are )
  • You must not wear any sound
  • It has only one simple (C ) approach ( there must be no semi-vowel consonant follow )
  • It may not be the last syllable of the word

Examples of words with / ə / - syllables:

  • / k ʰ ə.louʔ / " key"
  • / pə.lwè / " flute "
  • / θə.jɔ / " mock "
  • / kə.lɛʔ / " be lush "
  • / t ʰ ə.mə.jè / " rice water "


Burmese is spoken in the central Irrawaddy valley since at least the 9th century. Its distribution was from the northeast, where related languages ​​are spoken or were. Under King Anawrahta (r. 1044-1077 ) in Bagan, the distribution area of ​​the Burmese extended westward as far as Arakan from, which remained an independent kingdom until the 18th century, as well as in the southern Irrawaddy valley. There supplanted the Pyu language and stepped up to the Mth Today, the few remaining speakers of the Mon and the Burmese powerful. But this was also influenced by that. The Burmese script, the vocabulary of Buddhism, politics and the phonetics are taken from the Mon.

As a result of the spread of Burmese rule spaces of Bagan, Ava, Amarapura and Mandalay to the west, south and east of the Burmese became the language of the rulers and the diplomats. The Burmese language is the official language of Burma today and is used for government administration and the army as a lingua franca. Elementary education is, however, still often held in one of the minority languages.

The oldest written testimony of the Burmese is in four languages ​​Myazedi inscription in Bagan from the year 1112. Besides royal inscriptions and Buddhist texts were soon free literature, for example, based on the Jatakas, but also secular poetry and prose. In certain periods, the influence of the Thai literature was very large. Historical texts include the Glass Palace Chronicle ( hmanman yasazwindawgyi ), which was compiled from 1829 to 1832 from earlier sources.

The pressure with letters of the Burmese script began 1816/17 on a printing press of the American Baptist Mission. First newspapers of non-Christian organizations published 1868 in Rangoon.