A language of Myanmar

Alternate Names
Bama, Bamachaka, Myamasa, Myanma, Myanmar, Myen

42,000,000 in Myanmar, all users. L1 users: 32,000,000 in Myanmar (Bradley 2007a), increasing. 250,000 Beik, 20,000 Yaw. L2 users: 10,000,000. Total users in all countries: 42,912,350 (as L1: 32,912,350; as L2: 10,000,000).


Widespread in central Myanmar.

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (1974, Constitution, Articles 102, 152(b), 198).


Beik (Merguese, Mergui), Yaw, Mandalay Burmese, Yangon Burmese. Diglossic high and low varieties.


SOV; noun head final; tense and aspect; 31 consonants, 8 vowels, 4 diphthongs; tonal (3 tones).

Language Use

Many Mon, some Shan, some Karen are monolingual in Burmese. All domains. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use English [eng], Mandarin Chinese [cmn].

Language Development

Taught in primary and secondary schools. Fully developed. Bible: 1835–2014.


Braille script [Brai]. Myanmar (Burmese) script [Mymr], primary usage.

Other Comments

The official language name is Myanmar. Educated speech has many Pali borrowings. Buddhist.

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