မြန်မာဘာသာ (mranma bhasa) ‘Myanmar language’

Sino-Tibetan > Tibeto-Burman > Lolo-Burmese > Burmish > Southern Burmish

Spoken by: 33 millions according to ne.se, 2007

Official in: Myanmar

Spoken primarily in: Myanmar

Burmese script is an adaption of the Mon script which derives from the Indian Brahmi scripts. Burmese has been written for at least 1000 years. Since the written language has been rather conservative in its nature, whereas the spoken language has developed naturally, a diglossia has developed (cfr. the situation for Tamil, Persian or Arabic). This means that the written form of Burmese don’t always mirror the pronunciation of the spoken form, also some particles of written Burmese are no longer used in the spoken standard. Proposals to modernize the script and adapt it to the spoken standard have not been popular, though, possibly because many dialects of Burmese exhibit conservative traits that are closer to the written standard. The majority of Burmese words are native monosyllabic words, but the language also exhibits a number of loanwords, especially from Pali, English and Mon. Similar to neighboring languages, like Tibetan, Mandarin and Thai, Burmese is a tonal language. It differs between high tone, low tone, creaky voice and stop tone. One problem that might occur when writing Burmese in the digital age is that several popular fonts used to write Burmese are not Unicode-compliant, and a text might look different depending on the font used. The original text of the fable below is downloadable as a pdf with the correct output.