Burmese

Burmese

Burmese

 

Burmese is a language spoken mainly in Burma and belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family. Although the country’s official language is English, most of the population still uses Burmese as its main language. Because of the beauty, the history and the deep-rootedness of the language, people, not only in Burma but also in other surrounding countries, still prefer to use Burmese rather than English. This demonstrates the importance and role of this language.

It is worth mentioning that although the official name of this country is Myanmar, many standardising bodies prefer to use the traditional name in unofficial texts: Burma. This country is in Asia and its capital is Naipyidó. However, the most populous city, and therefore the city with the most Burmese speakers, is the former capital, Rangoon.

Around 42 million people speak this language worldwide. Most of its speakers live in Burma, where there is a military dictatorship. This situation makes it an important foreign policy language, so translations also play an important role.

 

 LINGUISTIC ASPECTS OF BURMESE

Burmese is both a binding and an isolating language. Three-quarters of Burma’s population speak this language. However like most languages, it has dialects like Arakanese, Tavoyan, and Beik.

Burmese writes from left to right, does not use capital letters and traditionally does not separate words with spaces. It also has 43 letters: 11 vowels and 32 consonants. The syllabic writing system began in the 11th century A.D. The  Burmese alphabet is a derivative of the Pyo script, which in turn came from the Brahmi script.

It is a language in which there is no grammatical gender and whose order is usually subject, verb and object. Moreover, it is tonal, its three tones are the high, the low and the flat. The treble is marked with a lower dot, the bass with two dots, one above the other, and the flat is distinguished by having no markings at all.

Interestingly, the language has levels of politeness and honorifics. These relate to the status and age of the sender relative to the receiver. This can be marked with a particle (ပါ) to express politeness, or depending on the pronouns used, which also express different degrees of respect.

It is also worth mentioning that when speaking Burmese and choosing vocabulary, Buddhist clergy must be distinguished from lay people and Bhikkhus monks. For example, the verb “to sleep” will be different depending on whether we are referring to one or the other of the above-mentioned groups.

 

THE ECONOMY, CULTURE AND BURMESE

The main Burmese-speaking country is currently under military dictatorship. In the past, however, because of its geographical location, the country has been very important in terms of exports. This explains why the language is present not only in Burma, but also in other countries such as Malaysia and Thailand. Trade routes exported rice, teak, and more by sea.

At this time, in Burma, the state controls most exports. Despite the country’s tensions with some Western countries, it maintains good relations with neighbouring countries, such as those mentioned above. This is because they share both a common history and a common language, in this case Burmese.

In this part of Asia, the majority of the population is Buddhist. Consequently religion inspires their art and literature. However, there are also Christian and Muslim minorities. This is why this area reflects the richness of the cultural diversity of these three religions.

 

IMPORTANCE OF BURMESE

Burma’s geographical location makes its language, Burmese, vital for overland communication between Burma, China, India and the Middle East. In addition, the large amount of natural resources in this area constitute a great and important wealth. Although there are political tensions following the 2021 coup in Burma and countries such as China prefer “not to inefere in its internal affairs”, this area remains a key maritime communication zone.

 

WHERE IS BURMESE SPOKEN?

Burmese is the official language in Burma, where it coexists with dialects such as Karen, Chin, San and Kachin. It is also an unofficial language in Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Laos and Singapore.

How can LinguaTrans help you?

At LinguaTrans we are experts in this language, which is present in all the services we provide, for example:

• Burmese translation

Burmese transcription  

Burmese  subtitling

Burmese  proofreading

Burmese  voice-over

We have excellent native professionals for each translation service and speciality. Count on a highly reputed company in the market of linguistic services by contacting us. You can also consult our rates or request a free, no-obligation quote

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