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Burmese / Myanmar Resources

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502 posts - 1093 votes 
Studies: German

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06 May 2020 at 2:15am | IP Logged 
During the period from February 2020 through May 2020, I conducted a complete revision to the twenty-eight (28) lists of resources which I had posted on the LLORG during the previous three-year period. As revising these types of documents directly on the LLORG in the “Edit Mode” is fraught with difficulties, I removed their contents from the LLORG, stored them on my computer, and completed the revisions. During the revision process an event occurred which prevented me from reposting the contents to their original files and, as a contingency measure, I have posted them here on the HTLAL in the anticipation that either the Administrator or the Moderators of the LLORG will copy/paste them to the LLORG. - Speakeasy


Myanmar, or Burma, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos and Thailand to its east and southeast, and the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal to its south and southwest. With a size of 676,578 square kilometres, Myanmar is the largest of the Mainland Southeast Asian states by area. As of 2017, the population is about 54 million. Its capital city is Naypyidaw, and its largest city is Yangon (Rangoon).
Early civilisations in Myanmar included the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu city-states in Upper Burma and the Mon kingdoms in Lower Burma. In the 9th century, the Bamar people entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and, following the establishment of the Pagan Kingdom in the 1050s, the Burmese language, culture and Theravada Buddhism slowly became dominant in the country. The Pagan Kingdom fell due to the Mongol invasions and several warring states emerged. In the 16th century, reunified by the Taungoo dynasty, the country was for a brief period the largest empire in the history of Mainland Southeast Asia. The early 19th century Konbaung dynasty ruled over an area that included modern Myanmar and briefly controlled Manipur and Assam as well … Source: Wikipedia

Languages of Myanmar
There are approximately a hundred languages spoken in Myanmar (also known as Burma). Burmese, spoken by two thirds of the population, is the official language. Languages spoken by ethnic minorities represent six language families: Sino-Tibetan, Austro-Asiatic, Tai–Kadai, Indo-European, Austronesian, and Hmong–Mien, as well as an incipient national standard for Burmese sign language. – Source: Wikipedia

Burmese / Myanmar Language
The Burmese language is the Sino-Tibetan language spoken in Myanmar where it is an official language and the language of the Bamar people, the country's principal ethnic group. Although the Constitution of Myanmar officially recognizes the English name of the language as the Myanmar language, most English speakers continue to refer to the language as Burmese, after Burma, the older name for Myanmar. In 2007, it was spoken as a first language by 33 million, primarily the Bamar (Burman) people and related ethnic groups, and as a second language by 10 million, particularly ethnic minorities in Myanmar and neighboring countries. 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. – Source: Wikipedia

Selected Discussions

burmese - HTLAL - April 2006

Burmese grammar - HTLAL - February 2012

Learning a rare language with no courses - HTLAL - October 2013
Typing Burmese on a Windows PC - HTLAL - June 2014

Burmese Resources? - LLORG - March 2016
Burmese resources - LLORG - June 2016

Publicly-accessible university archives of recorded language-learning audio (including Burmese!) - LLORG – July 2017

Has anyone learned Burmese? - LLORG - March 2018

Vietnamese & Burmese audio files for free - LLORG - July 2018


Burmese Courses, Supplements, etc.

DLI Burmese Basic (1964), 1,071 pages
Audio-lingual method. Sources indicate that the course initially used Romanized script which was supplanted by Burmese script in later lessons. PDFs of the DLI Burmese Basic course hosted on the ERIC website are pending restoration, which may indicate that they are available on micro-film only. In August 2009, there was a discussion on the HTLAL of the possibility of recovering the complete set of materials for the “DLI Burmese” course. Apparently, the materials were never located, they do not appear on either of the Yojik or Live Lingua websites.
FSI Burmese Basic (1960’s - 1970’s) -- NONE

Lessons in Spoken Burmese Books 1 & 2 (1961), 442 pages, by Emilie M. Ballard; Baptist Board of Publications
Copies of this two-volume course can still be found on the internet. No other information available. For collectors only.
Spoken Burmese, Books I, II (1945, 1946) by William S. Cornyn; Linguistic Society of America
Developed to meet the needs of U.S. Armed Forces personnel during WWII. Employed the nascent audio-lingual method.   Sets of 78 rpm vinyl records accompanied the half-sized course books. Reprinted circa 1970 by Spoken Language Services.   Copies of the course manuals are becoming rare. Copies of the audio cassettes are becoming even rarer.

U.S. Peace Corps Burmese (1960’s - 1970’s) -- NONE


Burmese Courses, Supplements, etc.

Beginning Burmese; Northern Illinois University
Beginning Script Lessons; Northern Illinois University
Intermediate Burmese; Northern Illinois University
The website of the Northern Illinois University hosts three freely-available online language courses (texts and MP3 AUDIO files) for Burmese. Although the university describes the second of the two courses as “intermediate”, I have some difficulty believing that the materials would be sufficient to bringing the independent user to such a level.

Burmese: A Gateway to an Intriguing Language (2015) by Thuzar Winn, Detlef Eckert -- CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Written by a Burmese-German couple, this 212-page book, which employs Burmese script, “uses common phrases to combine the script and the pronunciation with the assistance of international phonetic symbols and audio lessons” which I would understand to be CEFR A0. As there is no evidence of a CD included with the book, I assume that the audio files are freely-downloadable from the authors’ website.

Burmese (Myanmar): An Introduction to the Spoken Language, by John Okell et al.; Northern Illinois University
Burmese (Myanmar): Book 1 (2010), 302 pages.
Burmese (Myanmar): Book 2 (2010), 300 pages.
Burmese (Myanmar): Script (2010), 454 pages.
Burmese (Myanmar): Literary Style (2010), 264 pages.
Although designed primarily for presentation in a classroom setting, the above materials have been used successfully by independent learners. CEFR B1-B2 is feasible The AUDIO files are now freely-available for downloading from the publisher’s website. Reviews on Amazon, on the LLORG, and on the internet have been very positive.

Burmese for Beginners (2007), 320 pages, by Gene Mesher; Paiboon Publishing
For self-instruction. CEFR A1-A2. AUDIO recordings: 3 CDs (sold either as book+CD package, or separately). Amazon customer reviews have been quite positive.

Burmese Lesson Co. – Online Burmese Course
It is not clear to me whether all of the materials on this website are freely-available or only some of them are.

Colloquial Burmese (2015), 312 pages, by San San Hnin Tun, Patrick McCormick; Routledge
Colloquial Burmese (2015) AUDIO recordings; Routlege website
Staple CEFR A0-A1. Well-received by Amazon customers.

Complete Burmese – Teach Yourself Books -- NONE
DLI Burmese Headstart2 – NONE


Glossika Burmese files – NOT YET RELEASED
Circa 2018: announcement of prospective expansion of languages. Burmese materials not yet available.

National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) Burmese – University of Maryland
Collection of graded exercise sets for supplemental practice (reading, aural, occasionally videos). Similar to DLI GLOSS. Access: US$ 5.00 monthly subscription.

Parlons birman: Langue de myanmar (1993), by Marie-Hélène Cardinaud; Editions L'Harmattan
Manuel de birman, volume 2 : Grammaire birmane (2001), by Marie-Hélène Cardinaud; Editions L'Harmattan
Available in FRENCH only. CEFR A2 for both listings. A few years ago, the publisher ceased distribution of the audio recordings for the “Parlons” series. The very few reviews on Amazon.FR contradict one another.

SOAS University of London: Burmese Resources
The website of the SOAS University of London hosts a large number of freely-available courses and supplemental materials for the study and practice of Burmese.

Burmese Phrasebooks, Language Guides, etc.
The phrasebooks and language guides below are but a small selection of those that are available.

Berlitz Phrase Book & Dictionary (2nd ed., 2019), 224 pages; Berlitz staff; Berlitz Language

Burmese by Ear or Essential Myanmar: An introductory language course (2002), 109 pages, by John Okell; University of London
A Beginners’ course in PDF format with downloadable MP3 AUDIO files, teaching a CEFR A0 “survival” level spoken Burmese & grammatical patterns for everyday life.

DLI Burmese Language Survival Kit
Easy Burmese: A Complete Language Course and Pocket Dictionary in One (2019), 224 pages, by Kenneth Wong; Tuttle Publishing
The Amazon “Look Inside” feature suggests CEFR A0. Uses a Romanized script; stresses the spoken language. Free, downloadable AUDIO recordings.

Karen Language Phrasebook: Basics of Sgaw Dialect (2015), 126 pages, by T. F. Rhoden; White Lotus Press

Kauderwelsch Sprachführer Birmanisch, by Maung Phone Myint et al.; Reise Know-How
Kauderwelsch Sprachführer Birmanisch - Wort für Wort (3rd ed., 2016), 192 pages
Kauderwelsch AusspracheTrainer Burmesisch AUDIO recordings
Available in German only. Phrasebook and AUDIO recordings (extracts only). Sold separately.

Learn Myanmar – Asian Pearl Travels – Free Online Materials
Lonely Planet Burmese Phrasebook & Dictionary (5th ed., 2014), 224 pages, by Vicky Bowman; Lonely Planet

Myanmar Phrase Book: A Quick and Effective Way to Learn Myanmar Conversation (2011), 197 pages, by Ma Tin Cho Mar et al.; Pelanduk Publications

Survival Burmese Phrasebook & Dictionary (2008), 192 pages, by Kenneth Wong; Tuttle Publishing

U.S. Army Special Forces 200-Hour Burmese Familiarization Course (2007) -- U.S. Armed Forces JBLM
Emphasis on basic communication needs. The “200 hours” refers to contact time in the classroom. Materials themselves evoke a language guide. In self-study, CEFR A0 upon completion.

Burmese Grammars, etc.

Aspect in Burmese: Meaning and function (96th ed., 2008), 289 pages, by Nicoletta Romeo; John Benjamins Publishing

Burmese: A Comprehensive Grammar (2017), 526 pages, by Mathias Jenny et al.; Routledge
From the editors: “presents a fresh and thorough description of the language, concentrating on the real patterns of use in modern Burmese.” The sole Amazon Customer Review is very positive.

Burmese (Myanmar) Dictionary of Grammatical Forms (2001), 336 pages, by Anna Allott et al.; Routledge

Burmese Dictionaries, etc.
The dictionaries below are but a small selection of those that are available.

Burmese-English / English-Burmese Compact Dictionary (2009); Paiboon Publishing

Burmese/Karen Medical Glossary (2011), 234 pages, by The Cross Cultural Health Care Program; CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Burmese Vocabulary for English speakers: 9000 words (2019), 274 pages, by Andrey Taranov; T&P Books

Free Online Burmese-English Dictionary

Myanmar-English Dictionary (1997); Dunwoody Press

Pocket Burmese Dictionary (2008), 96 pages, by Stephen Nolan et al.; Periplus Editions

Burmese Readers, Literature, etc.

Bones Will Crow: An Anthology of Burmese Poetry (2013), 172 pages, by ko ko thett, James Byrne - Northern Illinois University Press
This anthology of current Burmese poetry, accompanied by English translations, would be of interest primarily to advanced students of the language.

Burmese Chrestomathy, Stories 1-9, Daw Tin Tin; Indiana University CeLT Recorded Sound Archives
The CeLT website hosts the freely-available AUDIO files identified above. Googling “Burmese Chrestomathy, Stories 1-9, Daw Tin Tin” yields a number of references, including PDFs, videos, and the like.

Burmese Reader: Annotated Selections from the Sudhammacari (reprinted 2013), 68 pages, by Rev. Andrew St.John; JiaHu Books
I strongly suspect that this abridged (reprinted) edition dates from another era.
Free Online Bible in Burmese

Burmese Culture, Society, History, etc.

Area Handbook for Burma (1971) 344 pages, by John Henderson et al -- American University, Washington, DC
Intended as a reference tool for military and other personnel requiring an objective, comprehensive, and balanced description of Burma's modern society. An analytical appraisal of social, economic, and political aspects was provided with emphasis on the interaction of these societal elements in an attempt to convey to the reader an understanding of people and country. Freely-available via the ERIC website. Dated: for historians only.

Burmese Media

BBC Burmese Radio

Burmese News NHK World Radio Japan
China Radio International in Burmese

Mizzima Online News

Myanmar Times [

Radio-Free Asia in Burmese

SBS Radio in Burmese

Voice of America (VOA) in Burmese

Burmese Miscellany

Computer Keyboard for Windows - Burmese and English

Journal of Burma Studies - Northern Illinois University
The Journal of Burma Studies is jointly sponsored by the Burma Studies Group and the Center for Burma Studies at Northern Illinois University.

4. RESOURCES: PREVIOUS List (June 2016)
reineke wrote:
Interactive learning resources for Southeast Asian languages, literatures and cultures


Google Books (plenty of public domain books)

Burmese Reader (1894)

A Burmese by Ear (a free course)

Burmese Script Animations

This omniglot chart shows the vowels and tones.

Asia Pearl Travels - Free online colloquial Burmese lessons.

Free Online Colloquial Burmese


Learn Burmese Online

Some of the above resources are discussed here:


Rhoden, T. F.     Making Out in Burmese     2010   & nbsp; 
Nolan , Stephen; Lwin, Nyi Nyi; Lwin, Nyi Nyi     Pocket Burmese Dictionary     2008
Ager, Simon     Omniglot: A Guide to Writing Systems     2006   & nbsp; 
Okell, John; Allott, Anna     Burmese/Myanmar Dictionary of Grammatical Forms     2001   &nb sp; 
English-Myanmar Dictionary / Angalip-Mran Maabhidhan [1-2]      2001    &n bsp;
Bradley, David; Roberts, Jason; Cummings, Joe     South-East Asia Phrasebook     1997  &nbs p;  
Roop, D. Haigh     An Introduction to the Burmese Writing System     1997   &n bsp; 
Bradley, David     Burmese Phrasebook     1997  &nbs p;  
Dollar, Saya; Lwin, Mi Mi     Enjoy Visiting Myanmar by Speaking Myanmar     1997   & nbsp; 
Myanmar Language Commission     Myanmar-English Dictionary     1996  &nbs p;  
Daniels, Peter T.; Bright, William     The World's Writing Systems     1996   & nbsp; 
May, Than Nwe     Conversational Myanmar: With Simplified Phonetics Phrases for Each Pronunciation     1996  & nbsp;  
Luzoe     Myanmar Newspaper Reader     1996   &n bsp; 
Han, Ba     The University English-Myanmar Dictionary [2]      1996    &n bsp;
Han, Ba     The University English-Myanmar Dictionary [3]      1996    &n bsp;
Lvan, Son     Phonetic Pronouncing New Method English-Myanmar Dictionary [1]      1995    &n bsp;
Lvan, Son     Phonetic Pronouncing New Method English-Myanmar Dictionary [2]      1995    &n bsp;
Han, Ba     The University English-Myanmar Dictionary [1]      1995    &n bsp;
Okell, John; Tun, Saw; Swe, Khin Mya     Burmese: An Introduction to the Spoken Language [1]      1994    &n bsp;
Okell, John; Tun, Saw; Swe, Khin Mya     Burmese: An Introduction to the Literary Style      1994    &n bsp;
Okell, John; Tun, Saw; Swe, Khin Mya     Burmese: An Introduction to the Script      1994    &n bsp;
Okell, John; Tun, Saw; Swe, Khin Mya     Burmese: An Introduction to the Spoken Language [2]      1994    &n bsp;
Judson, A.     English and Burmese Dictionary     1992  &nbs p;  
St. John, A.     Burmese Self-Taught (in Burmese and Roman Characters) with Phonetic Pronunciation     1991  & nbsp;  
Okell, John     First Steps in Burmese     1989   & nbsp; 
The Thalun Burmese-English Pocket Dictionary     1989  &nbs p;  
The Thalun English-Burmese Pocket Dictionary     1989  &nbs p;  
Cornyn, William S.; Roop, D. Haigh     Beginning Burmese     1987   & nbsp; 
Tak Tui     The Tet Toe English-Burmese Dictionary [1]      1984    &n bsp;
Tak Tui     The Tet Toe English-Burmese Dictionary [2]      1984    &n bsp;
Judson, A.     Learn Burmese for English Speakers     1982      
Cornyn, William S.     Spoken Burmese [1-2]      1979    &n bsp;
Aung, Mya     Thesaurus of English and Burmese Words and Phrases     1978   & nbsp; 
Khin     Spoken Burmese     1976   & nbsp; 
Okell, John     A Guide to the Romanization of Burmese     1971   & nbsp; 
Okell, John     A Reference Grammar of Colloquial Burmese [2]      1969    &n bsp;
Cooke, Joseph R.     Pronominal Reference in Thai, Burmese, and Vietnamese     1968  &nbs p;  
Cornyn, William S.; Roop, D. Haigh     Beginning Burmese     1968   & nbsp; 
Judson, Adoniran; Stevens, E.O.; Macon, Francis     Judson's English and Burmese Dictionary     1966  &nbs p;  
Hammer, John H.; Rice, Frank A.     A Bibliography of Contrastive Linguistics     1965  &nb sp;  
Bradley, David     Burmese Phrase Book     1963   &nbs p; 
Ballard, Emilie M.     Lessons in Spoken Burmese     1961   & nbsp; 
Cornyn, William S.; Musgrave, John K.     Burmese Glossary     1958      
Cornyn, William S.     Burmese Chrestomathy     1957  &n bsp;  
Stewart, J.A.     Manual of Colloquial Burmese     1955   & nbsp; 
Sein, K. Ba     "Everyday" Burmese Idioms and Axioms: with Explanations in Burmese and English Equivalents     1952  &nb sp;  
Judson, Saya     Say it in Burmese!     1950
Jones, Robert B.     The Burmese Writing System

Further links ese

Please feel at liberty to post your own recommendations and/or comments and I’ll see what I can do about incorporating them into the lists above.

Visitors to this file are encouraged to review the subsequent comments, posted below, as they include members’ suggestions concerning materials and forms a running commentary on resources for the study of Burmese.

Completely revised: April 2020

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 6784 days ago

752 posts - 1661 votes 
Studies: Uzbek

 Message 2 of 2
07 September 2020 at 10:47pm | IP Logged 
For anyone interested, the old DLI Burmese course (text only, no audio) cited above can be downloaded here: DLI Burmese course
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