Languages of Burma
|Languages of Burma|
Language families of Burma
|Part of a series on the|
There are approximately a hundred languages spoken in Burma. Burmese, spoken by two thirds of the populace, is the official language. However, languages spoken by ethnic minorities represent five language families: Sino-Tibetan, Austro-Asiatic, Tai–Kadai, Indo-European, and Austronesian, as well as an incipient national standard for sign language.
Aside from Burmese and its dialects, the hundred or so languages of Burma include Shan (Tai, spoken by 3.2 million), Karen languages (spoken by 2.6 million), Rohingya (Indic, spoken by about one million), Kachin (spoken by 900,000), various Chin languages (spoken by 780,000), and Mon (Mon–Khmer, spoken by 750,000).
Usage of minority languages is discouraged.
It's not clear if there are one or two Burmese sign languages.
English as a second language
Today, Burmese is the primary language of instruction, and English is the secondary language taught. English was the primary language of instruction in higher education from late 19th century to 1964, when Gen. Ne Win mandated educational reforms to "Burmanize". English continues to be used by educated urbanites and the national government.
- Goddard, Cliff (2005), The Languages Of East And Southeast Asia: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-924860-5
- Lewis, M. Paul, ed. (2009), Ethnologue: Languages of the World (sixteenth ed.), SIL International, retrieved 2012-02-29
- Lintner, Bertil (2003), "Myanmar/Burma", in MacKerras, Colin, Ethnicity in Asia, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-25816-2
- Thein, Myat (2004), Economic Development of Myanmar, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, ISBN 981-230-211-5