Welcome to BAMA Learn COLLOQUIAL Burmese for Beginners: BAMA Class. BAMA is my diary. I learn Burmese from scratch, hopefully, it can help total beginners to grasp the basic COLLOQUIAL Burmese: the alphabet (script), pronunciation & common phrase.
“The Burmese language ( မြန်မာဘာသာ, MLCTS: myanma bhasa, [mjəmà bàðà]) is the official language of Myanmar. Burmese is a tonal, pitch-register, and syllable-timed language, largely monosyllabic and analytic, with a subject–object–verb word order. It is a member of the Lolo-Burmese grouping of the Sino-Tibetan language family. The Burmese alphabet is ultimately descended from a Brahmic script, either Kadamba or Pallava.”
Unlike Chinese Pinyin, there is no official standardized romanization for Burmese script yet.
Though it is best to mimic local pronunciation rather than memorize romanization; romanization might be a good tool to know how to pronounce new vocab. There are a lot of options for Burmese Romanization. Here we use the one from John Okell.
Burmese Syllable = Head + Rhyme.
Head can be:
1) Aspirated (') versus Unaspirated: ကျက် /ceq/ vs ချက် /c’eq/
2) Breathed versus non breathed: မာ /ma/ vs မှာ /hma/
hm- = breathed m: you should have air before “m”, similar sound when you try to say “humph..”
Rhyme can be:
2) Nasal: example: end with -n
3) Glottal stop: end with -q, sounds like Br i“t”; it is not En i“t”.
The word စား /sà/ (to eat) is made up of:
1) the head = စ /s-/
2) the rhyme = ာ /-a/
3) the tone = း / `/ (plain high tone)
Find the basic Burmese pronunciation and romanization here.
3. Burmese Tones
It is strongly advised to mimic locals' pronunciation when learning new vocab.
That includes the tones!
How important is the tone? Well, similar 'sound' plus different tones might have totally different meaning.
စ /sá/ to start;
စာ /sa/ text, lesson, writing;
စား /sà/ to eat;