Sunday , 29 March 2020
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Language – Words & Phrases

 The National Language of Myanmar


The official or the national language of Myanmar is Burmese. It is the language spoken by majority of the natives and also the second language for people speaking other languages in the country. The diversity of Myanmar is reflected in the languages people speak. Individual languages listed for Myanmar is 117 out of which 1 is extinct. Shan, Karen and Kachin are other languages that are spoken by secondary groups. Karen is a language spoken by people in Burma and Thailand.

Burmese belongs to the Sino-Tibetian language family. With the passage of time the language has undergone sea change and that is why modern Burmese differs in many ways from the traditional form. However, old Burmese is not as conservative as old Tibetian, though they belong to the same family. Burmese has similarities with Lolo, Kachinish and Kukish languages spoken in Myanmar and its neighboring countries.

Burmese script was adopted from the Mon script which in turn was adapted from south Indian script in the early 8th century. Burmese script has similarities with south Indian script. The letters are rounded which means ‘ca lonh’ in Burmese. Rounded letters were easy to write in palm leaves rather than straight ones as there was a chance of the leaves getting torn. The Burmese language is written left to right and no spaces are required between words. It is also tonal and largely a monosyllabic language with a subject-object-verb word order.

For tourists visiting Myanmar, it is a good idea to have some idea about the language. Here are some commonly used words or phrases in Burmese that would come handy while moving around the city.


English Words & Phrases Burmese Translation
Hello Min ga lar par
How are you? Nei kaon la?
Fine, Thank You Ne kaon ba de
Yes Ho de
No Ma ho bu
Nice to meet you. Twe ya da wanta ba de
Please Kyeizu pyu yue
Thank You Kyeizu tin ba de.
I am sorry taung pan par tal
Excuse me Ka mya?
What is your name? na mal bal loe kall lal?
My name is __________ Kya nau na mee _____ ba
Where is the toilet? ein thar ka bal mhar lal
Do you speak English? in glei za ga go pyaw thet de la?
You’re Welcome ya ba deh
Is there anyone who speaks English? In glei za-ga pyaw thet de lu di ma shi la?
Help keh ba



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