Burmese language

Burmese language

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The Burmese language is the official language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 of Burma. Although the constitution
Constitution of Burma
The Constitution of Burma ) has changed several times since the country became independent from the United Kingdom. Burma's third and current constitution was published in September 2008 after a referendum.-1947 Constitution:...

 officially recognizes it as the Myanmar language, most English speakers continue to refer to the language as Burmese. Burmese is the native language of the Bamar
Bamar
The Bamar are the dominant ethnic group of Burma , constituting approximately two-thirds of the population. The Bamar live primarily in the Irrawaddy basin, and speak the Burmese language, which is also the official language of Burma. Bamar customs and identity are closely intertwined with general...

 and related sub-ethnic groups of the Bamar, as well as that of some ethnic minorities in Burma like the Mon
Mon people
The Mon are an ethnic group from Burma , living mostly in Mon State, Bago Division, the Irrawaddy Delta, and along the southern Thai–Burmese border. One of the earliest peoples to reside in Southeast Asia, the Mon were responsible for the spread of Theravada Buddhism in Burma and Thailand...

. Burmese is spoken by 32 million as a first language and as a second language by 10 million, particularly ethnic minorities in Burma and those in neighboring countries.

Burmese is a tonal, pitch-register
Register (phonology)
In linguistics, a register language, also known as a pitch-register language, is a language which combines tone and vowel phonation into a single phonological system. Burmese and the Chinese dialect Shanghainese are examples...

, and syllable-timed language, largely monosyllabic
Syllable
A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins .Syllables are often considered the phonological "building...

 and analytic language, with a subject–object–verb word order. It is a member of the Tibeto-Burman language family, which is a subfamily of the Sino-Tibetan
Sino-Tibetan languages
The Sino-Tibetan languages are a language family comprising, at least, the Chinese and the Tibeto-Burman languages, including some 250 languages of East Asia, Southeast Asia and parts of South Asia. They are second only to the Indo-European languages in terms of the number of native speakers...

 family of languages. The language uses the Burmese script, derived from the Old Mon script
Mon language
The Mon language is an Austroasiatic language spoken by the Mon, who live in Burma and Thailand. Mon, like the related language Cambodian—but unlike most languages in Mainland Southeast Asia—is not tonal. Mon is spoken by more than a million people today. In recent years, usage of Mon has...

 and ultimately from the Brāhmī script
Brāhmī script
Brāhmī is the modern name given to the oldest members of the Brahmic family of scripts. The best-known Brāhmī inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dated to the 3rd century BCE. These are traditionally considered to be early known examples of Brāhmī writing...

.

Literary language and spoken language


Burmese language, literary and spoken, is called (mranma bhasa mjəmà bàðà), with (from Pali
Páli
- External links :* *...

 bhasa, "language"). The language is classified into two categories. One is formal, used in literary works, official publications, radio broadcasts, and formal speeches. The other is colloquial, used in daily conversation and spoken. This is reflected in the Burmese words for "language": (ca sà) refers to written, literary language, and (ca.ka: zəɡá) refers to spoken language. Burmese therefore can mean either mranma ca (written Burmese), or mranma ca.ka: (spoken Burmese). The (mranma) portion of these names may be pronounced mjəmà or, more colloquially, (bəmà).

Diglossia


Diglossia
Diglossia
In linguistics, diglossia refers to a situation in which two dialects or languages are used by a single language community. In addition to the community's everyday or vernacular language variety , a second, highly codified variety is used in certain situations such as literature, formal...

 occurs to a large extent in Burmese and is fairly noticeable in writing and speech. The written/literary form of Burmese has undergone only a few changes and tends not to accommodate the spoken/colloquial phonology of standard Burmese today. The Burmese saying "the pronunciation is merely the sound, whilst the orthography is correct" ( jé dɔ̰ ʔəm̥àɴ pʰaʔ tɔ̰ ʔəθàɴ) reflects the differences between spoken and written Burmese, as spelling is often not an accurate reflection of pronunciation.

In addition, different particles (to modify nouns and verbs) are used in the literary form from those used in the spoken form. Due to innate pronunciation rules, literate Burmese speakers are able to intuitively interpret ancient Burmese despite the potentially ancient nature of the inscriptions. For example, the postposition after nouns is (hnai. n̥aiʔ in formal Burmese, and (hma m̥à) in colloquial Burmese.

A newer system of orthography
Orthography
The orthography of a language specifies a standardized way of using a specific writing system to write the language. Where more than one writing system is used for a language, for example Kurdish, Uyghur, Serbian or Inuktitut, there can be more than one orthography...

 for Burmese (one based on phonology
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

) has been proposed to accommodate such differences, but an obstacle in reforming Burmese orthography lies in the existence of conservative Burmese dialects that retain older pronunciations more similar to formal Burmese, which primarily come from coastal areas like Rakhine State
Rakhine State
Rakhine State is a Burmese state. Situated on the western coast, it is bordered by Chin State in the north, Magway Region, Bago Region and Ayeyarwady Region in the east, the Bay of Bengal to the west, and the Chittagong Division of Bangladesh to the northwest. It is located approximately between...

. Moreover, some Burmese linguists such as Minn Latt, a Czech academic, have proposed shifting away from formal Burmese, as seen in television broadcasts, which use the colloquial form. However, formal Burmese remains well-established in Burmese society.

Since the mid-1960s, there has been a reform movement by some Burmese writers (in particular, leftist writers who believe that laymen's language ought to be used) to abandon the formal style in favour of the vernacular style in writing, but the formal style remains the preferred form of Burmese writing, because "the spoken style lacks gravity, authority, dignity". The formal written style is used in Burmese literature, radio news broadcasts, formal letters, novels, journalism and scholarly works.

A sample sentence below reveals that much of the differences between formal and colloquial Burmese occurs in grammatical particles and lexical items:
Formal
(Written)
Colloquial
(Spoken)
Gloss noun verb part. noun part. adj. part. verb part. part. part.
(The four eight Uprising) (happen) (when it occurred) (people) (counter word) (three thousand) (approx.) (die) (past tense) (plural marker) (sentence final)
Translation When the 8888 Uprising
8888 Uprising
The 8888 Nationwide Popular Pro-Democracy Protests was a series of marches, demonstrations, protests, and riots in the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma...

 occurred, approximately three thousand people died.


Colloquial Burmese has various politeness levels that take status and age of the speaker in relation to the audience into consideration. For instance, the first and second person pronouns (nga ŋà; "I; me") and (nang nɪ̀ɴ; "you") are used with only close people of the same or younger age. The use of these two pronouns with the elders and strangers is considered extremely rude or vulgar. To address elders, teachers and strangers, polite speech employs feudal-era third person pronouns in lieu of first and second person pronouns.

Furthermore, some vocabulary are reserved for Buddhist monks, such as "to sleep," which is (kyin: tɕéiɴ) for monks and (ip eiʔ) for laypersons and "to die," which is (pyam tau mu pjàɴ dɔ̀ mù) for monks and (se θè) for laypersons.

Despite the large differences, Burmese speakers rarely distinguish formal and colloquial Burmese as separate languages, but rather as two registers of the same language.

Upper Burmese and Lower Burmese


Despite its Upper Burmese origins, the standard dialect
Standard language
A standard language is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works...

 of Burmese today comes from Yangon
Yangon
Yangon is a former capital of Burma and the capital of Yangon Region . Although the military government has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw since March 2006, Yangon, with a population of over four million, continues to be the country's largest city and the most important commercial...

, because of the largest city's media influence. It used to be that the speech from Mandalay
Mandalay
Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Located north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of one million, and is the capital of Mandalay Region ....

 represented standard Burmese. Most differences between Yangon (Lower Burma
Lower Burma
Lower Burma is a geographic region of Burma and includes the low-lying Irrawaddy delta , as well as coastal regions of the country ....

) and Mandalay (Upper Burma
Upper Burma
Upper Burma refers to a geographic region of Burma , traditionally encompassing Mandalay and its periphery , or more broadly speaking, Kachin and Shan States....

) are in vocabulary usage, not in the accent or pronunciation. The most noticeable feature of the Mandalay
Mandalay
Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Located north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of one million, and is the capital of Mandalay Region ....

 dialect is its use of the first person pronoun (kya.nau tɕənɔ) for both males and females, whereas in Yangon, (kya.ma. tɕəma̰) is used by females. Moreover, Upper Burmese speech still differentiates maternal and paternal sides of relatives whereas Lower Burmese speech does not:
Term Upper Burmese Lower Burmese Myeik dialect
  • Paternal aunt (older)
  • Paternal aunt (younger)
(ʔəjí dʑí) (or jí dʑí) (ʔəjí lé) (or jí lé) (dɔ̀ dʑí) (or tɕí tɕí) (dɔ̀ lé) (mḭ dʑí) (mḭ ŋɛ̀)
  • Maternal aunt (older)
  • Maternal aunt (younger)
  • (dɔ̀ dʑí) (or tɕí tɕí) (dɔ̀ lé)
  • Paternal uncle (older)
  • Paternal uncle (younger)
  • (ba̰ dʑí) (ba̰ lé) (ba̰ dʑí) (ʔú lé) (pʰa̰ dʑí) (pʰa̰ ŋɛ̀)
  • Maternal uncle (older)
  • Maternal uncle (younger)
  • (ʔú dʑí) (ʔú lé)


    In a testament to the power of media, the Yangon-based speech is gaining currency even in Upper Burma. Upper Burmese-specific usage, while historically and technically accurate, is increasingly viewed as countrified speech, or at best regional speech. In fact, some usages are already considered strictly regional Upper Burmese speech, and are likely dying out. For example:
    Term Upper Burmese Standard Burmese
    • Elder brother (to a male)
    • Elder brother (to a female)
    (nàuɴ) (kò) (kò)
  • Younger brother (to a male)
  • Younger brother (to a female)
  • (ɲì) (màuɴ)
  • Elder sister (to a male)
  • Elder sister (to a female)
  • (ma̰)
  • Younger sister (to a male)
  • Younger sister (to a female)
  • (ɲəma̰) (ɲì ma̰) (ɲì ma̰)

    In general, the male-centric names of old Burmese for familial terms have been replaced in standard Burmese with formerly female-centric terms, which are now used by both sexes. One holdover is the use of (younger brother to a male) and (younger brother to a female). Terms like (elder brother to a male) and (younger sister to a male) now are used in standard Burmese only as part of compound words like (brothers) or (brother and sister).

    Outside the Ayeyarwady basin


    More distinctive non-standard dialects emerge as one moves farther away from the Ayeyarwady River valley
    Ayeyarwady River
    The Irrawaddy River or Ayeyarwady River is a river that flows from north to south through Burma . It is the country's largest river and most important commercial waterway. Originating from the confluence of the N'mai and Mali rivers, it flows relatively straight North-South before emptying through...

     toward peripheral areas of the country. These dialects include Yaw, Palaw, Beik/Myeik (Merguese), Dawei (Tavoyan), Intha
    Intha people
    The Intha are members of a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group living around Inle Lake. They speak an archaic dialect of Burmese, and are believed to have come from the Dawei area. They often live on Inle Lake, and support themselves through the tending of vegetable farms on floating gardens...

    , Danu
    Danu people
    The Danu people are a sub-ethnic group of the Bamar, predominantly populating the areas near Pindaya Caves, in Shan State of Burma. They speak an archaic dialect of Burmese.-External links:*...

    , Rakhine (Arakanese) and Marma. Despite vocabulary and pronunciation differences, there is mutual intelligibility among most Burmese dialects.

    The Rakhine dialect (Arakanese) is has retained the ɹ sound, which has become a j sound in standard Burmese. Also, sound changes from standard Burmese to the Rakhine dialect include the vowel merging of (e) to (i). Hence, a word like "blood" is (θwé) in standard Burmese while it is (θwí) in Rakhine.

    Dialects in Tanintharyi Division
    Tanintharyi Division
    Tanintharyi Region , is an administrative region of Myanmar, covering the long narrow southern part of the country on the Kra Isthmus. It borders with the Andaman Sea to the west and with the Tenasserim Hills, beyond which lies Thailand, to the east. To the north is the Mon State. The capital of...

    , like Beik and Dawei dialects, often reduce the intensity of the glottal stop. The Dawei dialect has preserved the [-l-] medial, which is only found in Old Burmese inscriptions.

    Vocabulary


    The majority of Burmese vocabulary is monosyllabic and is of Tibeto-Burman stock, although many words, especially those loaned from other languages, are polysyllabic. Burmese has been influenced greatly by Pali, English, and Mon, and to a lesser extent, by Chinese, Sanskrit and Hindi.
    • Pali
      Páli
      - External links :* *...

       loan words are often related to religion, government, arts, and science.
    • English
      English language
      English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

       loan words are often related to technology, measurements and modern institutions.
    • Mon
      Mon language
      The Mon language is an Austroasiatic language spoken by the Mon, who live in Burma and Thailand. Mon, like the related language Cambodian—but unlike most languages in Mainland Southeast Asia—is not tonal. Mon is spoken by more than a million people today. In recent years, usage of Mon has...

       has heavily influenced Burmese. Many Mon loan words have become so well incorporated in the Burmese language that they are not distinguished as loan words. Mon loans are often related to flora, fauna, administration, textiles, foods, boats, crafts, architecture, and music.
    • Sanskrit
      Sanskrit
      Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

       (religion), Chinese
      Chinese language
      The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

       (games and food), and Hindi
      Hindi
      Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

       (food, administration, and shipping) loan words are also found (albeit to a much lesser degree) in Burmese.
    • Various other languages have also contributed vocabulary


    Here is a sample of loan words found in Burmese:
    • suffering: (douʔkʰa̰), from Pāli
      Páli
      - External links :* *...

       dukkha
    • radio: (ɹèdìjò), from English
      English language
      English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

       "radio"
    • method: (sənɪʔ), from Mon
      Mon language
      The Mon language is an Austroasiatic language spoken by the Mon, who live in Burma and Thailand. Mon, like the related language Cambodian—but unlike most languages in Mainland Southeast Asia—is not tonal. Mon is spoken by more than a million people today. In recent years, usage of Mon has...

    • eggroll: (kɔ̀pja̰ɴ), from Hokkien
      Min Nan
      The Southern Min languages, or Min Nan , are a family of Chinese languages spoken in southern Fujian, eastern Guangdong, Hainan, Taiwan, and southern Zhejiang provinces of China, and by descendants of emigrants from these areas in diaspora....

       潤餅 (jūn-piáⁿ)
    • wife: (zəní), from Hindi
      Hindi
      Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

       jani
    • noodle: (kʰauʔ sʰwɛ́), from Shan
      Shan language
      The Shan language is the native language of Shan people and spoken mostly in Shan State, Burma. It is also used in pockets of Kachin State in Burma, in northern Thailand, and in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China. Shan is a member of the Tai–Kadai language family, and...

        (kʰāw sʰēn)
    • foot (unit of measurement): (pè), from Portuguese
      Portuguese language
      Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

       pé
    • flag: (əlàɴ), from Arabic
      Arabic language
      Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

       علم ʕalam
    • storeroom: (ɡòdàuɴ), from Malay
      Malay language
      Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

       gudang


    Some words in Burmese may have many synonyms, each having certain usages, such as formal, literary, colloquial, and poetic. One example is the word "moon", which can be (la̰; Tibeto-Burman), (sàɴdà]/[sáɴ); Pali derivatives of chanda), or (θɔ̀ dà (Sanskrit).

    Burmese also has a tendency to 'double-loan' from Pali, where it adopts two different terms based on the same Pali root. An example is the Pali word mana, which has two derivatives in Burmese: (màna̰ "arrogance") and (màɴ "pride").

    Furthermore, Burmese loan words, especially from Pali, combine native Burmese words to Pali roots. An example is "airplane" (lè jɪ̀ɴ bjàɴ, lit. "air machine fly"), made up of (native Burmese word, "air"), (Pali loan from yana, "vehicle") and (native Burmese word, "fly"). A similar trend is seen in English, where native Burmese words are attached to English loans, such as the verb "to sign" (sʰáiɴ tʰó, lit. "sign inscribe"), with (English loan "sign") and (native Burmese word, "inscribe"). In the case of Mon loans, they are indistinguishable in most cases because they were more often borrowed from speech rather than writing, since Burmese and Mon were used interchangeably for several centuries in modern-day Burma.

    At times, the Burmese government has attempted to limit usage of Western loans, especially from English. For example, in Burma, publications containing the word (directly transliterated from English "television") must be replaced with a Burmese substitute , literally "see picture, hear sound." Another example is the Burmese word for vehicle, which is officially (jɪ̀ɴ Pali derivative, "vehicle") but (ká English loan, "car") in spoken Burmese. Some common English word loans have fallen out of usage, like (jùnìbàsətì), which has been replaced with a recent Pali loan (teʔkəðò), created by the Burmese government and derived from (takkasila) the Pali spelling of Taxila
    Taxila
    Taxila is a Tehsil in the Rawalpindi District of Punjab province of Pakistan. It is an important archaeological site.Taxila is situated about northwest of Islamabad Capital Territory and Rawalpindi in Panjab; just off the Grand Trunk Road...

    , an ancient university town in modern-day Pakistan.

    Script



    The Burmese language is generally divided into Old Burmese, Middle Burmese and modern Burmese. Old Burmese dates from 11th to 16th century (Pagan
    Pagan Kingdom
    The Pagan Kingdom or Pagan Dynasty was the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute the modern-day Burma...

     (Bagan) and Ava
    Ava
    Innwa is a city in the Mandalay Division of Burma , situated just to the south of Amarapura on the Ayeyarwady River. Its formal title is Ratanapura , which means City of Gems in Pali. The name Innwa means mouth of the lake, which comes from in , meaning lake, and wa , which means mouth...

     (Innwa) dynasties); Middle Burmese from 16th to 18th century (Taungoo to Konbaung
    Konbaung dynasty
    The Konbaung Dynasty was the last dynasty that ruled Burma from 1752 to 1885. The dynasty created the second largest empire in Burmese history, and continued the administrative reforms begun by the Toungoo dynasty, laying the foundations of modern state of Burma...

     dynasties); modern Burmese from the mid-18th century (Konbaung dynasty) to the present. These divisions are largely because on orthography changes, which followed shifts in phonology (such as the merging of the [-l-] and [-ɹ-] medials) rather than transformations in Burmese grammatical structure and phonology, which has not changed much from Old Burmese to modern Burmese.

    Written Burmese dates to the early Pagan period. The Old Mon script, which ultimately descended from the Brāhmī
    Brāhmī script
    Brāhmī is the modern name given to the oldest members of the Brahmic family of scripts. The best-known Brāhmī inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dated to the 3rd century BCE. These are traditionally considered to be early known examples of Brāhmī writing...

     script, was adapted with many changes to suit the phonology of Burmese for transcribing spoken Burmese. The earliest writing in Burmese is dated 1058, though the crude and variable spelling indicates that the scribes were still experimenting. The earliest evidence of more settled written Burmese is the Myazedi stone inscription
    Myazedi inscription
    Myazedi inscription , inscribed in 1113, is the oldest surviving stone inscription of the Burmese. "Myazedi" means "jade stupa" , and the name of the inscription comes from a pagoda located nearby...

     (written in 1113), which was a story about King Kyanzittha as told by his son Prince Yazakumar in the Pyu
    Pyu
    Pyu city states were a group of city-states that existed from c. 2nd century BCE to late 9th century CE in present-day Upper Burma . The city-states were founded as part of the southward migration by the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu, the earliest inhabitants of Burma of whom records are extant...

    , Mon
    Mon language
    The Mon language is an Austroasiatic language spoken by the Mon, who live in Burma and Thailand. Mon, like the related language Cambodian—but unlike most languages in Mainland Southeast Asia—is not tonal. Mon is spoken by more than a million people today. In recent years, usage of Mon has...

    , Pali
    Páli
    - External links :* *...

    , and Burmese scripts. During the Pagan era, the medial [-l-] was transcribed in writing, which has been replaced by medials [-j-] and [-ɹ-] in modern Burmese (e.g. "school" in old Burmese (klɔŋ → (tɕáuɴ in modern Burmese).

    The Burmese script is characterized by its circular letters and diacritics. It is an abugida
    Abugida
    An abugida , also called an alphasyllabary, is a segmental writing system in which consonant–vowel sequences are written as a unit: each unit is based on a consonant letter, and vowel notation is obligatory but secondary...

    , with all letters having an inherent vowel (a. a̰ or ə). The Burmese script consists of 33 letters and 12 vowels. The consonants are arranged into six consonant groups (called ) based on articulation, like other Brahmi scripts.

    Tone markings and vowel modifications are written as diacritics placed to the left, right, top, and bottom of letters. Likewise, written Burmese has preserved all nasalized finals ([-n, -m, -ŋ]), which have merged to [-ɴ] in spoken Burmese. The exception is [-ɲ], which, in spoken Burmese, can be one of many open vowels ([i, e, ɛ]). Likewise, other consonantal finals ([-s, -p, -t, -k]) have been reduced to [-ʔ]. Similar mergers are seen in other Sino-Tibetan languages like Shanghainese, and to a lesser extent, Cantonese.

    Much of the orthography in written Burmese today can be traced back to Middle Burmese, which had a wider range of spoken finals. Standardized tone marking was not achieved until the 18th century. From the 19th century onward, orthographers created spellers to reform Burmese spelling, because ambiguities arose over spelling sounds that had been merged. During colonial rule under the British, Burmese spelling was standardized through dictionaries and spellers. The latest spelling authority, named the Myanma Salonpaung Thatpon Kyan , was compiled in 1978 at the request of the Burmese government.

    Consonants


    The consonants of Burmese are as follows:
    Bilabial
    Bilabial consonant
    In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a consonant articulated with both lips. The bilabial consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

    Dental Alveolar
    Alveolar consonant
    Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

    Postalveolar
    Postalveolar consonant
    Postalveolar consonants are consonants articulated with the tongue near or touching the back of the alveolar ridge, further back in the mouth than the alveolar consonants, which are at the ridge itself, but not as far back as the hard palate...


    and palatal
    Palatal consonant
    Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...

    Velar
    Velar consonant
    Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

     and
    labiovelar
    Glottal
    Glottal consonant
    Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

    Placeless
    Plosive and Affricate
    Affricate consonant
    Affricates are consonants that begin as stops but release as a fricative rather than directly into the following vowel.- Samples :...

    pʰ p b tʰ t d tɕʰ tɕ dʑ kʰ k ɡ ʔ  
    Nasal
    Nasal consonant
    A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

    m̥ m n̥ n ɲ̥ ɲ ŋ̊ ŋ   ɴ
    Fricative
    Fricative consonant
    Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

      θ (ð) sʰ s z ʃ   h  
    Approximant
    Approximant consonant
    Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough or with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no...

      (ɹ) j (w̥) w  
    Lateral
    Lateral consonant
    A lateral is an el-like consonant, in which airstream proceeds along the sides of the tongue, but is blocked by the tongue from going through the middle of the mouth....

      l̥ l  

    The approximant /ɹ/ is rare, and is only used in place names that have preserved Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

     or Pali
    Páli
    - External links :* *...

     pronunciations (e.g. Amarapura
    Amarapura
    Amarapura is a former capital of Myanmar, and now a township of Mandalay. Amarapura is bounded by the Ayeyarwady river in the west, Chanmyathazi township in the north, and the city of Innwa in the south...

    , which is pronounced àməɹa̰pùɹa̰) and in English-derived words. Historically, /ɹ/ became /j/ in Burmese, and is usually replaced by /j/ in Pāli loanwords, e.g. (ra.hanta) /jəhàɴdà/ "monk", (raja.) /jàza̰/ "king". Occasionally it is replaced with /l/, as in the case of the Pali-derived word for "animal" (ti.rac hcan), which can be pronounced təɹeiʔ sʰàɴ or təleiʔ sʰàɴ. Likewise, /w̥/ is rare, having disappeared from modern Burmese, except in transcriptions of foreign names and a handful of native words. ð is also uncommon, except as a voiced allophone
    Allophone
    In phonology, an allophone is one of a set of multiple possible spoken sounds used to pronounce a single phoneme. For example, and are allophones for the phoneme in the English language...

     of /θ/.

    Furthermore, there is a voicing rule found in Burmese. When two syllables are joined to form a compound word
    Compound (linguistics)
    In linguistics, a compound is a lexeme that consists of more than one stem. Compounding or composition is the word formation that creates compound lexemes...

    , the initial consonant of the second syllable becomes voiced. This shift occurs in the following phones: → /ɡ/ → /dʑ/ → /z/ → /d/ → /b/

    The phoneme /dʑ/, when following the nasalized final /ɴ/, can become a /j/ sound in compound words. For example, "blouse" ( angkyi) can be pronounced /èiɴdʑí/ or /èiɴjí/.

    The phonemes /p, pʰ, b, t, tʰ, d/, when following the nasalized final /ɴ/, can become /m/ in compound words. Examples include ("to consult" tàiɴ pɪ̀ɴ, commonly pronounced tàiɴ mɪ̀ɴ), ("to apologize" táuɴ bàɴ, commonly pronounced táuɴ màɴ), ("airplane" lèi jɪ̀ɴ pjàɴ, commonly pronounced lèiɴ mjàɴ).

    The placeless nasal /ɴ/ is realized as nasalization
    Nasalization
    In phonetics, nasalization is the production of a sound while the velum is lowered, so that some air escapes through the nose during the production of the sound by the mouth...

     of the preceding vowel or as a nasal homorganic to the following consonant; thus /mòuɴdáiɴ/ "storm" is pronounced mõ̀ũndã́ĩ.

    In many Burmese words, aspirated
    Aspiration (phonetics)
    In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say pin ...

     consonants indicate active voice
    Active voice
    Active voice is a grammatical voice common in many of the world's languages. It is the unmarked voice for clauses featuring a transitive verb in nominative–accusative languages, including English and most other Indo-European languages....

     or a transitive verb
    Transitive verb
    In syntax, a transitive verb is a verb that requires both a direct subject and one or more objects. The term is used to contrast intransitive verbs, which do not have objects.-Examples:Some examples of sentences with transitive verbs:...

    , while unaspirated consonants indicate passive voice or an intransitive verb
    Intransitive verb
    In grammar, an intransitive verb is a verb that has no object. This differs from a transitive verb, which takes one or more objects. Both classes of verb are related to the concept of the transitivity of a verb....

    . Examples include the verb "cook," where the aspirated version (tɕʰɛʔ) means "cook", while the unaspirated (tɕɛʔ) means "to be cooked." Another example is "lessen," where the aspirated version (pʰjè) means "lessen" (transitive) while the unaspirated version (pjè) means "lessen" (intransitive).

    Vowels


    The vowel
    Vowel
    In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

    s of Burmese are:
    Monophthong
    Monophthong
    A monophthong is a pure vowel sound, one whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation....

    s
    Diphthong
    Diphthong
    A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

    s
    Front
    Front vowel
    A front vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far in front as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Front vowels are sometimes also...

    Back
    Back vowel
    A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Back vowels are sometimes also called dark...

    Front
    Front vowel
    A front vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a front vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far in front as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Front vowels are sometimes also...

     offglide
    Back
    Back vowel
    A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Back vowels are sometimes also called dark...

     offglide
    Close
    Close vowel
    A close vowel is a type of vowel sound used in many spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a close vowel is that the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant.This term is prescribed by the...

    i u
    Close-mid
    Close-mid vowel
    A close-mid vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a close-mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned two-thirds of the way from a close vowel to a mid vowel...

    e o ei ou
    Mid
    Mid vowel
    A mid vowel is a vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned mid-way between an open vowel and a close vowel...

    ə
    Open-mid
    Open-mid vowel
    An open-mid vowel is a type of vowel sound used in some spoken languages. The defining characteristic of an open-mid vowel is that the tongue is positioned two-thirds of the way from an open vowel to a mid vowel...

    ɛ ɔ
    Open
    Open vowel
    An open vowel is defined as a vowel sound in which the tongue is positioned as far as possible from the roof of the mouth. Open vowels are sometimes also called low vowels in reference to the low position of the tongue...

    a ai au


    The monophthongs /e/, /o/, /ə/, and /ɔ/ occur only in open syllables (those without a syllable coda
    Syllable coda
    In phonology, a syllable coda comprises the consonant sounds of a syllable that follow the nucleus, which is usually a vowel. The combination of a nucleus and a coda is called a rime. Some syllables consist only of a nucleus with no coda...

    ); the diphthongs /ei/, /ou/, /ai/, and /au/ occur only in closed syllables (those with a syllable coda).

    The close vowels /i/ and /u/ and the close portions of the diphthongs are slightly centered to [ɪ] and [ʊ] in closed syllables, i.e. before /ɴ/ and /ʔ/. Thus /n̥iʔ/ "two" is phonetically [n̥ɪʔ] and /tɕàuɴ/ "cat" is phonetically [tɕàʊɴ].

    Tones


    Burmese is a tonal language, which means phonemic
    Phoneme
    In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

     contrasts can be made on the basis of the tone
    Tone (linguistics)
    Tone is the use of pitch in language to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning—that is, to distinguish or inflect words. All verbal languages use pitch to express emotional and other paralinguistic information, and to convey emphasis, contrast, and other such features in what is called...

     of a vowel. In Burmese, these contrasts involve not only pitch
    Pitch (music)
    Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

    , but also phonation
    Phonation
    Phonation has slightly different meanings depending on the subfield of phonetics. Among some phoneticians, phonation is the process by which the vocal folds produce certain sounds through quasi-periodic vibration. This is the definition used among those who study laryngeal anatomy and physiology...

    , intensity (loudness), duration, and vowel quality. However, some linguists consider Burmese a pitch-register language
    Register (phonology)
    In linguistics, a register language, also known as a pitch-register language, is a language which combines tone and vowel phonation into a single phonological system. Burmese and the Chinese dialect Shanghainese are examples...

     like Shanghainese.

    There are four contrastive tones in Burmese. In the following table the tones are shown marked on the vowel /a/ as an example; the phonetic descriptions are from Wheatley (1987).
    Tone Burmese Symbol
    (shown on a)
    Description
    Low à Normal phonation
    Phonation
    Phonation has slightly different meanings depending on the subfield of phonetics. Among some phoneticians, phonation is the process by which the vocal folds produce certain sounds through quasi-periodic vibration. This is the definition used among those who study laryngeal anatomy and physiology...

    , medium duration, low intensity, low (often slightly rising) pitch
    High á Sometimes slightly breathy
    Breathy voice
    Breathy voice is a phonation in which the vocal cords vibrate, as they do in normal voicing, but are held further apart, so that a larger volume of air escapes between them. This produces an audible noise...

    , relatively long, high intensity, high pitch; often with a fall before a pause
    Creaky tense
    Tenseness
    In phonology, tenseness is a particular vowel quality that is phonemically contrastive in many languages, including English. It has also occasionally been used to describe contrasts in consonants. Unlike most distinctive features, the feature [tense] can be interpreted only relatively, that is, in...

     or creaky
    Creaky voice
    In linguistics, creaky voice , is a special kind of phonation in which the arytenoid cartilages in the larynx are drawn together; as a result, the vocal folds are compressed rather tightly, becoming relatively slack and compact...

     phonation (sometimes with lax glottal stop
    Glottal stop
    The glottal stop, or more fully, the voiceless glottal plosive, is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. In English, the feature is represented, for example, by the hyphen in uh-oh! and by the apostrophe or [[ʻokina]] in Hawaii among those using a preservative pronunciation of...

    ), medium duration, high intensity, high (often slightly falling) pitch
    Checked Centralized vowel quality, final glottal stop, short duration, high pitch (in citation
    Citation form
    In linguistics the citation form of a word can mean:* its canonical form or lemma: the form of an inflected word given in dictionaries or glossaries, thus also called the dictionary form....

    ; can vary in context)


    For example, the following words are distinguished from each other only on the basis of tone:
    • Low /kʰà/ "shake"
    • High /kʰá/ "be bitter"
    • Creaky /kʰa̰/ "fee"
    • Checked /kʰaʔ/ "draw off"


    In syllables ending with /ɴ/, the checked tone is excluded:
    • Low /kʰàɴ/ "undergo"
    • High /kʰáɴ/ "dry up"
    • Creaky /kʰa̰ɴ/ "appoint"


    In present-day spoken Burmese, some linguists classify two real tones (there are four nominal tones transcribed in written Burmese), "high" (applied to words that terminate with a stop or check, high-rising pitch) and "ordinary" (unchecked and non-glottal words, with falling or lower pitch), with those tones encompassing a variety of pitches. The "ordinary" tone consists of a range of pitches. Linguist L. F. Taylor has concluded that "conversational rhythm and euphonic intonation possess importance" not found in related tonal languages and that "its tonal system is now in an advanced state of decay."

    Syllable structure


    The syllable
    Syllable
    A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins .Syllables are often considered the phonological "building...

     structure of Burmese is C(G)V((V)C), which is to say the onset consists of a consonant optionally followed by a glide
    Semivowel
    In phonetics and phonology, a semivowel is a sound, such as English or , that is phonetically similar to a vowel sound but functions as the syllable boundary rather than as the nucleus of a syllable.-Classification:...

    , and the rime
    Syllable rime
    In the study of phonology in linguistics, the rime or rhyme of a syllable consists of a nucleus and an optional coda. It is the part of the syllable used in poetic rhyme, and the part that is lengthened or stressed when a person elongates or stresses a word in speech.The rime is usually the...

     consists of a monophthong alone, a monophthong with a consonant, or a diphthong with a consonant. The only consonants that can stand in the coda
    Syllable coda
    In phonology, a syllable coda comprises the consonant sounds of a syllable that follow the nucleus, which is usually a vowel. The combination of a nucleus and a coda is called a rime. Some syllables consist only of a nucleus with no coda...

     are /ʔ/ and /ɴ/. Some representative words are:
    • CV /mè/ 'girl'
    • CVC /mɛʔ/ 'crave'
    • CGV /mjè/ 'earth'
    • CGVC /mjɛʔ/ 'eye'
    • CVVC /màuɴ/ (term of address for young men)
    • CGVVC /mjáuɴ/ 'ditch'


    A minor syllable
    Minor syllable
    Minor syllable is a term used primarily in the description of Mon-Khmer languages, where a word typically consists of a reduced syllable followed by a full tonic or stressed syllable...

     has some restrictions:
    • It contains /ə/ as its only vowel
    • It must be an open syllable (no coda consonant)
    • It cannot bear tone
    • It has only a simple (C) onset (no glide after the consonant)
    • It must not be the final syllable of the word


    Some examples of words containing minor syllables: 'knob' 'flute' 'mock' 'be wanton' 'rice-water'

    Grammar


    The basic word order
    Word order
    In linguistics, word order typology refers to the study of the order of the syntactic constituents of a language, and how different languages can employ different orders. Correlations between orders found in different syntactic subdomains are also of interest...

     of the Burmese language is subject
    Subject (grammar)
    The subject is one of the two main constituents of a clause, according to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle and that is associated with phrase structure grammars; the other constituent is the predicate. According to another tradition, i.e...

    -object
    Object (grammar)
    An object in grammar is part of a sentence, and often part of the predicate. It denotes somebody or something involved in the subject's "performance" of the verb. Basically, it is what or whom the verb is acting upon...

    -verb
    Verb
    A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

    . Pronouns in Burmese vary according to the gender and status of the audience. Burmese is monosyllabic (i.e., every word is a root to which a particle but not another word may be prefixed). Sentence structure determines syntactical relations and verbs are not conjugated. Instead they have particles suffixed to them. For example, the verb "to eat," (ca: sà) is itself unchanged when modified.

    Adjectives


    Burmese does not have adjective
    Adjective
    In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

    s per se. Rather, it has verbs that carry the meaning "to be X", where X is an English adjective. These verbs can modify a noun by means of the grammatical particle (tai. dɛ̰) in colloquial Burmese (literary form: sau: θɔ́), which is suffixed as follows:
    Colloquial: hkyau: tai. lu tɕʰɔ́ dɛ̰ lù
    Formal: hkyau: so: lu
    Gloss: "beautiful" + adjective particle + "person"


    Adjectives may also form a compound
    Compound (linguistics)
    In linguistics, a compound is a lexeme that consists of more than one stem. Compounding or composition is the word formation that creates compound lexemes...

     with the noun (e.g. lu hkyau: lù tɕʰɔ́ "person" + "be beautiful").

    Comparative
    Comparative
    In grammar, the comparative is the form of an adjective or adverb which denotes the degree or grade by which a person, thing, or other entity has a property or quality greater or less in extent than that of another, and is used in this context with a subordinating conjunction, such as than,...

    s are usually ordered: X + (htak pui tʰeʔ pò) + adjective, where X is the object being compared to. Superlative
    Superlative
    In grammar, the superlative is the form of an adjective that indicates that the person or thing modified has the quality of the adjective to a degree greater than that of anything it is being compared to in a given context. English superlatives are typically formed with the suffix -est In...

    s are indicated with the prefix (a. ʔə) + adjective + (hcum: zóuɴ).

    Numerals follow the nouns they modify. Moreover, numerals follow several pronunciation rules that involve tone changes (low tone → creaky tone) and voicing shifts depending on the pronunciation of surrounding words. A more thorough explanation is found on Burmese numerals
    Burmese numerals
    Burmese numerals are a set of numerals traditionally used in the Burmese language, although the Arabic numerals are also used. Burmese numerals follow the Hindu-Arabic numeral system commonly used in the rest of the world.-Main numbers:-Zero to nine:...

    .

    Verbs


    The roots of Burmese verbs are almost always suffixed with at least one particle which conveys such information as tense, intention, politeness, mood, etc. Many of these particles also have formal/literary and colloquial equivalents. In fact, the only time in which no particle is attached to a verb is in imperative commands. However, Burmese verbs are not conjugated in the same way as most European languages; the root of the Burmese verb always remains unchanged and does not have to agree with the subject in person, number or gender.

    The most commonly used verb particles and their usage are shown below with an example verb root (ca: sá "to eat"). Alone, the statement is imperative.

    The suffix tai dɛ̀ (literary form: sany ðì) can be viewed as a particle marking the present tense and/or a factual statement:
    (ca: tai sá dɛ̀) - I eat


    The suffix (hkai. ɡɛ̰) denotes that the action took place in the past. However, this particle is not always necessary to indicate the past tense such that it can convey the same information without it. But to emphasize that the action happened before another event that is also currently being discussed, the particle becomes imperative. Note that the suffix (tai dɛ̀) in this case denotes a factual statement rather than the present tense:
    (ca: hkai. tai sá ɡɛ̰ dɛ̀) - I ate


    The particle (ne nè) is used to denote an action in progression. It is equivalent to the English '-ing'"
    (ca: ne tai sá nè dɛ̀) - I am eating


    This particle (pri bjì), which is used when an action that had been expected to be performed by the subject is now finally being performed, has no equivalent in English. So in the above example, if someone had been expecting you to eat and you have finally started eating, the particle is used as follows:
    ((ca.) ca: pri (sə) sá bjì) - I am (now) eating


    The particle mai sá mɛ̀ (literary form: many mjì) is used to indicate the future tense or an action which is yet to be performed:
    (ca: mai sá mɛ̀) - I will eat


    The particle (tau. dɔ̰) is used when the action is about to be performed immediately when used in conjunction with . Therefore it could be termed as the "immediate future tense particle".
    (ca: tau. mai sá dɔ̰ mɛ̀) - I will eat (straight-away)


    When is used alone, however, it is imperative: (ca: tau. sá dɔ̰) - Eat (now)

    Verbs are negated by the particle (ma. mə), which is prefixed to the verb. Generally speaking, other particles are suffixed to that verb, along with .

    The verb suffix particle nai. nɛ̰ (literary form: hnang. n̥ɪ̰ɴ) indicates a command:
    (ma.ca: nai. məsá nɛ̰ Don't eat


    The verb suffix particle (bhu: bú) indicates a statement:
    (ma.ca: bhu: məsá bú) - [I] don't eat

    Nouns


    Noun
    Noun
    In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

    s in Burmese are pluralized by suffixing the particle (twe dè or tè if the word ends in a glottal stop) in colloquial Burmese or (mya: mjà) in formal Burmese. The particle (tou. to̰), which indicates a group of persons or things, is also suffixed to the modified noun. An example is below: (mrac mjɪʔ) - river (mrac twe mjɪʔ tè) - rivers (colloquial) (mrac mya: mjɪʔ mjá) - rivers (formal) (mrac tou: mjɪʔ to̰) - rivers

    Plural suffixes are not used when the noun is quantified with a number.
    (hka.le: nga: yauk kʰəlé ŋá jauʔ)
    Gloss: child + five classifier
    "Five children"


    Although Burmese does not have grammatical gender (e.g. masculine or feminine nouns), a distinction is made between the sexes, especially in animals and plants, by means of suffix particles. Nouns are masculinized with the following particles: (hti: tʰí), (hpa pʰa̰), or (hpui pʰò), depending on the noun, and feminized with the particle (ma. ma̰). Examples of usage are below: (kraung hti: tɕàuɴ tʰí) - male cat (kraung ma. tɕàuɴ ma̰) - female cat (krak hpa. tɕɛʔ pʰa̰) - rooster/cock (htan: hpui tʰáɴ pʰò) - male toddy palm
    Toddy palm
    Toddy palm is a common name for several species of palms used to produce palm wine. Species so used and named include:*Borassus*Caryota*Cocos nucifera...

     plant

    Numerical classifiers



    Like its neighboring languages such as Thai
    Thai language
    Thai , also known as Central Thai and Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Historical linguists have been unable to definitively...

    , Bengali
    Bengali language
    Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

    , and Chinese
    Chinese language
    The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

    , Burmese uses numerical classifiers (also called measure words) when nouns are counted or quantified. This approximately equates to English expressions such as "two slices of bread" or "a cup of coffee". Classifiers are required when counting nouns, so (hka.le: nga: kʰəlé ŋà, lit. "child five") is ungrammatical, because the measure word for people (yauk jauʔ) needs to suffix the numeral.

    The standard word order of quantified words is: quantified noun + numeral adjective + classifier, except in round number
    Round number
    A round number is mathematically defined as the product of a considerable number of comparatively small factors as compared to its neighbouring numbers, such as 24 = 2*2*2*3 .However, a round number is informally considered to be an integer that ends with one or more zeroes , such...

    s (numbers that end in zero), in which the word order is flipped, where the quantified noun precedes the classifier: quantified noun + classifier + numeral adjective. The only exception to this rule is the number 10, which follows the standard word order.

    Measurements of time, such as "hour," "day," or "month," do not require classifiers.

    Below are some of the most commonly used classifiers in Burmese.
    Burmese MLC
    MLC Transcription System
    The Myanma Language Commission Transcription System, also known as the MLC Transcription System , is a transliteration system for rendering Burmese in the Latin alphabet. It is loosely based on the Pali romanisation system, has some similarities to the ALA-LC Romanization, and was devised by the...

     
    IPA  Usage Remarks
    yauk jauʔ for people Used in informal context
    u: ʔú for people Used in formal context and also used for monks and nuns
    pa: for people Used exclusively for monks and nuns of the Buddhist order
    kaung kàuɴ for animals
    hku. kʰṵ general classifier Used with almost all nouns except for animate objects
    lum: lóuɴ for round objects
    pra: pjá for flat objects
    cu. sṵ for groups Can be zṵ.

    Particles


    The Burmese language makes prominent usage of particles
    Grammatical particle
    In grammar, a particle is a function word that does not belong to any of the inflected grammatical word classes . It is a catch-all term for a heterogeneous set of words and terms that lack a precise lexical definition...

     (called in Burmese), which are untranslatable words that are suffixed or prefixed to words to indicate level of respect, grammatical tense, or mood. According to the Myanmar–English Dictionary (1993), there are 449 particles in the Burmese language. For example, (sáɴ) is a grammatical particle used to indicate the imperative mood. While ("work" + particle indicating politeness) does not indicate the imperative, ("work" + particle indicating imperative mood + particle indicating politeness) does. Particles may be combined in some cases, especially those modifying verbs.

    Some particles modify the word's part of speech. Among the most prominent of these is the particle (ə), which is prefixed to verbs and adjectives to form nouns or adverbs. For instance, the word means "to enter," but combined with , it means "entrance" . Also, in colloquial Burmese, there is a tendency to omit the second in words that follow the pattern + noun/adverb + + noun/adverb, like , which is pronounced əsʰauʔ ú and formally pronounced əsʰauʔ əòuɴ.

    Pronouns


    Subject pronoun
    Pronoun
    In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun , such as, in English, the words it and he...

    s begin sentences, though the subject is generally omitted in the imperative forms and in conversation. Grammatically speaking, subject marker particles ( (ɡa̰ in colloquial, θì in formal) must be attached to the subject pronoun, although they are also generally omitted in conversation. Object pronouns must have an object marker particle ( ɡò in colloquial, á in formal) attached immediately after the pronoun. Proper nouns are often substituted for pronouns. One's status in relation to the audience determines the pronouns used, with certain pronouns used for different audiences.

    Polite pronouns are used to address elders, teachers and strangers, through the use of feudal-era third person pronouns in lieu of first and second person pronouns. In such situations, one refers to oneself in third person: (kya. nau tɕənɔ̀) for males, and (kya. ma. tɕəma̰) for females, both meaning "your servant") and refer to the addressee as (min mɪ́ɴ; "your highness") , (khang bya: kʰəmjá; "master lord") or (hrang ʃɪ̀ɴ; "ruler/master"). So ingrained are these terms in the daily polite speech that people use them as the first and second person pronouns without giving a second thought to the root meaning of these pronouns.

    When speaking to a person of the same status or of younger age, (nga ŋà; "I/me") and (nang nɪ̀ɴ; "you") may be used, although most speakers choose to use third person pronouns. For example, an older person may use (dau le: dɔ̀ lé; "aunt") or (u: lei: ʔú lé; "uncle") to refer to himself, while a younger person may use either သား (sa: θá; son) or (sa.mi: θəmí; daughter).

    The basic pronouns are:
    Person Singular Plural*
    Informal Formal Informal Formal
    First person
    nga
    (ŋà)

    kywan to
    (tɕənɔ̀)


    kywan ma.
    (tɕəma̰)

    nga tui.
    (ŋà do̰)

    kywan to tui.
    (tɕənɔ̀ do̰)


    kywan ma. tui.
    (tɕəma̰ do̰)
    Second person
    nang
    (nɪ̀ɴ)


    mang:
    (mɪ́ɴ)

    khang bya:
    (kʰəmjá)


    hrang
    (ʃɪ̀ɴ)

    nang tui.
    (nɪ̀ɴ do̰)

    khang bya: tui.
    (kʰəmjá)


    hrang tui.
    (ʃɪ̀ɴ)
    Third person
    su
    (θù)

    (a.) sang
    ((ə)θìɴ)

    su tui.
    (θù do̰)

    sang tui.
    (θìɴ)
    * The basic particle to indicate plurality is တို့ (tui.), colloquial ဒို့ (dui.).
    Used by males.
    Used by females.


    Other pronouns are reserved for speaking with Buddhist monks
    Bhikkhu
    A Bhikkhu or Bhikṣu is an ordained male Buddhist monastic. A female monastic is called a Bhikkhuni Nepali: ). The life of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis is governed by a set of rules called the patimokkha within the vinaya's framework of monastic discipline...

    . When speaking to a monk, pronouns like bhun: bhun: (from phun: kri:, "monk"), (chara dau sʰəjàdɔ̀; "royal teacher"), and (a.hrang bhu.ra:; ʔəʃɪ̀ɴ pʰəjá; "your lordship") are used depending on their status ; when referring to oneself, terms like (ta. pany. tau ; "royal disciple") or (da. ka dəɡà, "donor") are used. When speaking to a monk, the following pronouns are used:
    Person Singular
    Informal Formal
    First person
    ta.pany. do

    da. ka
    dəɡà
    Second person
    bhun: bhun:
    (pʰóuɴ pʰóuɴ)


    (u:) pasang:
    ((ú) bəzín)

    a.hrang bhu.ra:
    (ʔəʃɪ̀ɴ pʰəjá)


    chara dau
    (sʰəjàdɔ̀)
    The particle ma. is suffixed for females.
    Typically reserved for the chief monk of a monastery.


    In colloquial Burmese, possessive pronouns are contracted when the root pronoun itself is low toned. This does not occur in literary Burmese, which uses ၏ (ḭ) as postpositional marker for possessive case instead of (jɛ̰). Examples include the following: (ŋà "I") + (postpositional marker for possessive case) = (ŋa̰ "my") (nɪ̀ɴ "you") + (postpositional marker for possessive case) = (nɪ̰ɴ "your") (θù "he, she") + (postpositional marker for possessive case) = (θṵ "his, her")
    The contraction also occurs in some low toned nouns, making them possessive nouns (e.g. or , "mother's" and "Burma's" respectively).

    Reduplication


    Reduplication
    Reduplication
    Reduplication in linguistics is a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word is repeated exactly or with a slight change....

     is prevalent in Burmese and is used to intensify or weaken adjectives' meanings. For example, (tɕʰɔ́ "beautiful") is reduplicated, the intensity of the adjective's meaning increases. Many Burmese words, especially adjectives with two syllables, such as (l̥a̰pa̰ "beautiful"), when reduplicated ( → l̥a̰l̥a̰ pa̰pa̰) become adverb
    Adverb
    An adverb is a part of speech that modifies verbs or any part of speech other than a noun . Adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives , clauses, sentences, and other adverbs....

    s. This is also true of some Burmese verbs and nouns (e.g. "a moment" → "frequently"), which become adverbs when reduplicated.

    Some nouns are also reduplicated to indicate plurality. For instance, (pjì "country"), but when reduplicated to (əpjì pjì "country"), means "many countries," as in (əpjì pjì sʰàiɴ jà "international"). Another example is , which means "a kind," but the reduplicated form means "multiple kinds."

    A few measure words can also be reduplicated to indicate "one or the other": (measure word for people) → (someone) (measure word for things) → (something)

    Romanization and transcription


    There is no official romanization
    Romanization
    In linguistics, romanization or latinization is the representation of a written word or spoken speech with the Roman script, or a system for doing so, where the original word or language uses a different writing system . Methods of romanization include transliteration, for representing written...

     system for Burmese. There have been attempts to make one, but none have been successful. Replicating Burmese sounds in the Latin script is complicated. There is a Pāli
    Páli
    - External links :* *...

    -based transcription system in existence, which was devised by the Myanmar Language Commission (MLC). However, it only transcribes sounds in formal Burmese and is based on the orthography rather than the phonology.

    Several colloquial transcription systems have been proposed, but none is overwhelmingly preferred over others.

    Transcription of Burmese is not standardized, as seen in the varying English transcriptions of Burmese names. For instance, a Burmese personal name like (wɪ́ɴ) may be variously romanized as Win, Winn, Wyn, or Wynn, while (kʰàiɴ) may be romanized as Khaing, Khine, or Khain.

    Computer fonts and standard keyboard layout


    The Burmese script can be entered from the standard QWERTY keyboard. The most popular Burmese font, Zawgyi, is not Unicode-compliant though a number of Unicode-compliant fonts are available. The national standard keyboard layout for Unicode-compliant font shown here. It is known as the Myanmar3 layout as it was published along with the Myanmar3 Unicode font. The layout, developed by the Myanmar NLP Research Center, has a smart input system to cover the complex structures of Burmese and related scripts.

    External links