Burmese alphabet

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Script type
Time period
c. 984 or 1035–present
DirectionLeft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesBurmese, Rakhine, Pali and Sanskrit
Related scripts
Parent systems
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Mymr (350), ​Myanmar (Burmese)
Unicode alias
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

The Burmese alphabet (Burmese: မြန်မာအက္ခရာ myanma akkha.ya, pronounced [mjəmà ʔɛʔkʰəjà]) is an abugida used for writing Burmese. It is ultimately adapted from a Brahmic script, either the Kadamba or Pallava alphabet of South India. The Burmese alphabet is also used for the liturgical languages of Pali and Sanskrit. In recent decades, other, related alphabets, such as Shan and modern Mon, have been restructured according to the standard of the Burmese alphabet (see Mon–Burmese script.)

Burmese is written from left to right and requires no spaces between words, although modern writing usually contains spaces after each clause to enhance readability and to avoid grammar complications. There are several systems of transliteration into the Latin alphabet; for this article, the MLC Transcription System is used.



A Pali manuscript of the Buddhist text Mahaniddesa showing three different styles of the Burmese alphabet, (top) medium square, (centre) round and (bottom) outline round in red lacquer from the inside of one of the gilded covers

The Burmese alphabet was derived from the Pyu script, the Old Mon script, or directly from a South Indian script,[3] either the Kadamba or Pallava alphabet.[1] The earliest evidence of the Burmese alphabet is dated to 1035, while a casting made in the 18th century of an old stone inscription points to 984.[1] Burmese calligraphy originally followed a square format but the cursive format took hold from the 17th century when popular writing led to the wider use of palm leaves and folded paper known as parabaiks.[4] A stylus would rip these leaves when making straight lines.[4] The alphabet has undergone considerable modification to suit the evolving phonology of the Burmese language.


As with other Brahmic scripts, the Burmese alphabet is arranged into groups of five letters for stop consonants called wek (ဝဂ်, from Pali vagga) based on articulation. Within each group, the first letter is tenuis ("plain"), the second is the aspirated homologue, the third and fourth are the voiced homologues and the fifth is the nasal homologue. This is true of the first twenty-five letters in the Burmese alphabet, which are called grouped together as wek byi (ဝဂ်ဗျည်း, from Pali vagga byañjana). The remaining eight letters (⟨ယ⟩, ⟨ရ⟩, ⟨လ⟩, ⟨ဝ⟩, ⟨သ⟩, ⟨ဟ⟩, ⟨ဠ⟩, ⟨အ⟩) are grouped together as a wek (အဝဂ်, lit.'without group'), as they are not arranged in any particular pattern.


A letter is a consonant or consonant cluster that occurs before the vowel of a syllable. The Burmese alphabet has 33 letters to indicate the initial consonant of a syllable and four diacritics to indicate additional consonants in the onset. Like other abugidas, including the other members of the Brahmic family, vowels are indicated in Burmese alphabet by diacritics, which are placed above, below, before or after the consonant character. A consonant character with no vowel diacritic has the inherent vowel [a̰] (often reduced to [ə] when another syllable follows in the same word).

The following table provides the letter, the syllable onset in IPA and the way the letter is referred to in Burmese, which may be either a descriptive name or just the sound of the letter, arranged in the traditional order:

Group name Grouped consonants
Unaspirated (သိထိလ) Aspirated (ဓနိတ) Voiced (လဟု) Nasal (နိဂ္ဂဟိတ)
က k /k/ hk /kʰ/ g /ɡ/ gh /ɡ/ ng /ŋ/
ကကြီး [ka̰ dʑí] ခကွေး [kʰa̰ ɡwé] ဂငယ် [ɡa̰ ŋɛ̀] ဃကြီး [ɡa̰ dʑí] [ŋa̰]
c /s/ hc /sʰ/ j /z/ jh /z/ ဉ / ည ny /ɲ/
စလုံး [sa̰ lóʊɰ̃] ဆလိမ် [sʰa̰ lèɪɰ̃] ဇကွဲ [za̰ ɡwɛ́] ဈမျဉ်းဆွဲ [za̰ mjɪ̀ɰ̃ zwɛ́] ညကလေး/ ညကြီး [ɲa̰ dʑí]
t /t/ ht /tʰ/ d /d/ dh /d/ n /n/
ဋသန်လျင်းချိတ် [ta̰ təlɪ́ɰ̃ dʑeɪʔ] ဌဝမ်းဘဲ [tʰa̰ wʊ́ɰ̃ bɛ́] ဍရင်ကောက် [da̰ jɪ̀ɰ̃ ɡaʊʔ] ဎရေမှုတ် [da̰ m̥oʊʔ] ဏကြီး [na̰ dʑí]
t /t/ ht /tʰ/ d /d/ dh /d/ n /n/
တဝမ်းပူ [ta̰ wʊ́ɰ̃ bù] ထဆင်ထူး [tʰa̰ sʰɪ̀ɰ̃ dú] ဒထွေး [da̰ dwé] ဓအောက်ခြိုက် [da̰ ʔaʊʔ tɕʰaɪʔ] နငယ် [na̰ ŋɛ̀]
p /p/ hp /pʰ/ b /b/ bh /b/ m /m/
ပစောက် ([pa̰ zaʊʔ]) ဖဦးထုပ် ([pʰa̰ ʔóʊʔ tʰoʊʔ]) ဗထက်ခြိုက် ([ba̰ tɛʔ tɕʰaɪʔ]) ဘကုန်း ([ba̰ ɡóʊɰ̃]) [ma̰]
Miscellaneous consonants
Without group
y /j/ r /j/ l /l/ w /w/ s /θ/
ယပက်လက် [ja̰ pɛʔ lɛʔ] ရကောက်‌ [ja̰ ɡaʊʔ] လငယ် [la̰ ŋɛ̀] ဝ‌ [wa̰] သ‌ [θa̰]
h /h/ l /l/ a /ʔ/
ဟ‌ [ha̰] ဠကြီး [la̰ dʑí] [ʔa̰]
Independent vowels
i. /ʔḭ/ i /ʔì/ u. /ʔṵ/ u /ʔù/
e /ʔè/ au: /ʔɔ́/ au /ʔɔ̀/
  • ဃ (gh), ဈ (jh), ဋ (), ဌ (ṭh), ဍ (), ဎ (ḍh), ဏ (), ဓ (dh), ဘ (bh), and ဠ () are primarily used in words of Pali origin.
  • ၐ (ś) and ၑ () are exclusively used in Sanskrit words, as they have merged to သ in Pali.
  • ည has an alternate form ဉ, used with the vowel diacritic ာ as a syllable onset and alone as a final.
  • With regard to pronunciation, the corresponding letters of the dentals and alveolars are phonetically equivalent.
  • In formal speech, ရ is often pronounced [ɹ] in words of Pali or foreign origin.
  • အ is nominally treated as a consonant in the Burmese alphabet; it represents an initial glottal stop in syllables with no other consonant.
  • The letter န (n) uses a different form when there is a diacritic under it like in နု (nu.)

Consonant letters may be modified by one or more medial diacritics (three at most), indicating an additional consonant before the vowel. These diacritics are:

  • Ya pin (ယပင့်) – Written (MLCTS -y-, indicating /j/ medial or palatalization of a velar consonant (/c/, /cʱ/, /ɟ/, /ɲ/))
  • Ya yit (ရရစ်) – Written (MLCTS -r-, indicating /j/ medial or palatalization of a velar consonant)
  • Wa hswe (ဝဆွဲ) – Written (MLCTS -w-, usually indicating /w/ medial)
  • Ha hto (ဟထိုး) – (MLCTS h-, indicating that a sonorant consonant is voiceless)

A few Burmese dialects use an extra diacritic to indicate the /l/ medial, which has merged to /j/ in standard Burmese:

  • La hswe (လဆွဲ) – Written ္လ (MLCTS -l, indicating /l/ medial

All the possible diacritic combinations are listed below:

Diacritics for medial consonants, used with [m] as a sample letter
Base Letter IPA MLCTS Remarks

ya pin
မျ [mj] my Generally only used on bilabial and velar consonants (က ခ ဂ ဃ င ပ ဖ ဗ မ လ သ).
Palatalizes velar consonants: ကျ (ky), ချ (hky), ဂျ (gy) are pronounced [tɕ], [tɕʰ], [dʑ].
မျှ [m̥j] hmy သျှ (hsy) and လျှ (hly) are pronounced [ʃ].
မျွ [mw] myw
မျွှ [m̥w] hmyw

ya yit
မြ [mj] mr Generally only used on bilabial and velar consonants (က ခ ဂ ဃ င ပ ဖ ဗ မ). (but in Pali and Sanskrit loanwords, can be used for other consonants as well e.g. ဣန္ဒြေ )
Palatalizes velar consonants: ကြ (kr), ခြ (hkr), ဂြ (gr), ငြ (ngr) are pronounced [tɕ], [tɕʰ], [dʑ], [ɲ].
မြှ [m̥j] hmr
မြွ [mw] mrw
မြွှ [m̥w] hmrw

wa hswe
မွ [mw] mw
မွှ [m̥w] hmw

ha hto
မှ [m̥] hm Used only in ငှ (hng) [ŋ̊], ညှ/ဉှ (hny) [ɲ̥], နှ (hn) [n̥], မှ (hm) [m̥], လှ (hl) [ɬ], ဝှ (hw) [ʍ]. ယှ (hy) and ရှ (hr) are pronounced [ʃ].

Stroke order[edit]

Letters in the Burmese alphabet are written with a specific stroke order. The letter forms of the Burmese script are based on circles. Typically, one circle should be done with one stroke, and all circles are written clockwise. Exceptions are mostly letters with an opening on top. The circle of these letters is written with two strokes coming from opposite directions.

The ten following letters are exceptions to the clockwise rule: ပ, ဖ, ဗ, မ, ယ, လ, ဟ, ဃ, ဎ, ဏ. Some versions of stroke order may be slightly different.

The Burmese stroke order can be learned from ပထမတန်း မြန်မာဖတ်စာ ၂၀၁၇-၂၀၁၈ (Burmese Grade 1, 2017-2018), a textbook published by the Burmese Ministry of Education. The book is available under the LearnBig project of UNESCO.[5] Other resources include the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University[6] and an online learning resource published by the Ministry of Education, Taiwan.[7]

Stroke order and direction of Burmese consonants

Syllable rhymes[edit]

Syllable rhymes (i.e. vowels and any consonants that may follow them within the same syllable) are indicated in Burmese by a combination of diacritic marks and consonant letters marked with the virama character which suppresses the inherent vowel of the consonant letter. This mark is called asat in Burmese (Burmese: အသတ်; MLCTS: a.sat, [ʔa̰θaʔ]), which means "nonexistence" (see Sat (Sanskrit)).

Syllable rhymes of Burmese, used with the letter က [k] as a sample
Grapheme IPA MLCTS Remarks
က [ka̰], [kə] ka. [a̰] is the inherent vowel, and is not indicated by any diacritic. In theory, virtually any written syllable that is not the final syllable of a word can be pronounced with the vowel [ə] (with no tone and no syllable-final [-ʔ] or [-ɰ̃]) as its rhyme. In practice, the bare consonant letter alone is the most common way of spelling syllables whose rhyme is [ə].
ကာ [kà] ka Takes the alternative form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂါ ga [ɡà].[* 1]
ကား [ká] ka: Takes the alternative form ါး with certain consonants, e.g. ဂါး ga: [ɡá].[* 1]
ကက် [kɛʔ] kak
ကင် [kɪ̀ɰ̃] kang
ကင့် [kɪ̰ɰ̃] kang.
ကင်း [kɪ́ɰ̃] kang:
ကစ် [kɪʔ] kac
ကည် [kì], [kè], [kɛ̀] kany
ကဉ် [kɪ̀ɰ̃]
ကည့် [kḭ], [kḛ], [kɛ̰] kany.
ကဉ့် [kɪ̰ɰ̃]
ကည်း [kí], [ké], [kɛ́] kany:
ကဉ်း [kɪ́ɰ̃]
ကတ် [kaʔ] kat
ကန် [kàɰ̃] kan
ကန့် [ka̰] kan.
ကန်း [káɰ̃] kan:
ကပ် [kaʔ] kap
ကမ် [kàɰ̃] kam
ကမ့် [ka̰ɰ̃] kam.
ကမ်း [káɰ̃] kam:
ကယ် [kɛ̀] kai
ကံ [kàɰ̃] kam
ကံ့ [ka̰ɰ̃] kam.
ကံး [káɰ̃] kam:
ကိ [kḭ] ki. As an open vowel, [ʔḭ] is represented by .
ကိတ် [keɪʔ] kit
ကိန် [kèɪɰ̃] kin
ကိန့် [kḛɪɰ̃] kin.
ကိန်း [kéɪɰ̃] kin:
ကိပ် [keɪʔ] kip
ကိမ် [kèɪɰ̃] kim
ကိမ့် [kḛɪɰ̃] kim.
ကိမ်း [kéɪɰ̃] kim:
ကိံ [kèɪɰ̃] kim
ကိံ့ [kḛɪɰ̃] kim.
ကိံး [kéɪɰ̃] kim:
ကီ [kì] ki As an open vowel, [ʔì] is represented by .
ကီး [kí] ki:
ကု [kṵ] ku. As an open vowel, [ʔṵ] is represented by .
ကုတ် [koʊʔ] kut
ကုန် [kòʊɰ̃] kun
ကုန့် [ko̰ʊɰ̃] kun.
ကုန်း [kóʊɰ̃] kun:
ကုပ် [koʊʔ] kup
ကုမ် [kòʊɰ̃] kum
ကုမ့် [ko̰ʊɰ̃] kum.
ကုမ်း [kóʊɰ̃] kum:
ကုံ [kòʊɰ̃] kum
ကုံ့ [ko̰ʊɰ̃] kum.
ကုံး [kóʊɰ̃] kum:
ကူ [kù] ku As an open vowel, [ʔù] is represented by .
ကူး [kú] ku: As an open vowel, [ʔú] is represented by ဦး.
ကေ [kè] ke As an open vowel, [ʔè] is represented by .
ကေ့ [kḛ] ke.
ကေး [ké] ke: As an open vowel, [ʔé] is represented by ဧး.
ကဲ [kɛ́] kai:
ကဲ့ [kɛ̰] kai.
ကော [kɔ́] kau: Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါ gau: [ɡɔ́].[* 1] As an open vowel, [ʔɔ́] is represented by .
ကောက် [kaʊʔ] kauk Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါက် gauk [ɡaʊʔ].[* 1]
ကောင် [kàʊɰ̃] kaung Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါင် gaung [ɡàʊɰ̃].[* 1]
ကောင့် [ka̰ʊɰ̃] kaung. Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါင့် gaung. [ɡa̰ʊɰ̃].[* 1]
ကောင်း [káʊɰ̃] kaung: Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါင်း gaung: [ɡáʊɰ̃].[* 1]
ကော့ [kɔ̰] kau. Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါ့ gau. [ɡɔ̰].[* 1]
ကော် [kɔ̀] kau Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါ် gau [ɡɔ̀].[* 1] As an open vowel, [ʔɔ̀] is represented by .
ကို [kò] kui
ကိုက် [kaɪʔ] kuik
ကိုင် [kàɪɰ̃] kuing
ကိုင့် [ka̰ɪɰ̃] kuing.
ကိုင်း [káɪɰ̃] kuing:
ကို့ [ko̰] kui.
ကိုး [kó] kui:
ကွတ် [kʊʔ] kwat
ကွန် [kʊ̀ɰ̃] kwan
ကွန့် [kʊ̰ɰ̃] kwan.
ကွန်း [kʊ́ɰ̃] kwan:
ကွပ် [kʊʔ] kwap
ကွမ် [kʊ̀ɰ̃] kwam
ကွမ့် [kʊ̰ɰ̃] kwam.
ကွမ်း [kʊ́ɰ̃] kwam:
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i The consonant letters that take the long form are , , , , , and .

Diacritics and symbols[edit]

Symbol Burmese name Notes
အသတ်, တံခွန် ရှေ့ထိုး Virama; deletes the inherent vowel, thereby making a syllable final consonant, most often with က င စ ည (ဉ) ဏ တ န ပ မ and occasionally other consonants in loan words.

It is also used as a marginal tone marker, creating low-tone variants of the two inherently high-tone vowel symbols: ယ် which is the low tone variant /ɛ̀/ of ဲ (by default /ɛ́/), and ော် and ေါ် both of which are the low tone variants /ɔ̀/ of ော and ေါ (by default /ɔ́/). In this context the ် symbol is called ရှေ့ထိုး /ʃḛtʰó/.[8]

င်္ ◌င် ကင်းစီး Superscripted miniature version of င်; phonetic equivalent of nasalized င် ([ìɰ̃]) final.
Found mainly in Pali and Sanskrit loans (e.g. "Tuesday," spelled အင်္ဂါ and not အင်ဂါ).[8]
အောက်မြစ် Creates creaky tone. Only used with nasal finals or vowels which inherently indicate a low or high tone.[8]
◌း ဝစ္စပေါက်, ဝိသဇ္ဇနီ, ရှေ့ကပေါက်, ရှေ့ဆီး Visarga; creates high tone. Can follow a nasal final marked with virama, or a vowel which inherently implies creaky tone or low tone.[8]
ာ or ါ ရေးချ, မောက်ချ, ဝိုက်ချ when used alone, it Indicates /à/.[8]

Generically referred to as ရေးချ /jéːtʃʰa̰/ this diacritic takes two distinct forms. By default it is written ာ which is called ဝိုက်ချ /waɪʔtʃʰa̰/ for specificity, but to avoid ambiguity when following the consonants ခ ဂ င ဒ ပ ဝ, it is written tall as ါ and called မောက်ချ /maʊʔtʃʰa̰/.[8]

Although typically not permissible in closed syllables, solitary ာ or ါ can be found in some words of Pali origin such as ဓာတ် (essence, element) or မာန် (pride).

သဝေထိုး Indicates /è/
It can be combined with the vowel mark ာ or ါ to form ော or ေါ which indicate /ɔ́/ in open syllables or /àʊ/ before က or င. The low-tone variant of this vowel in open syllables is written ော် or ေါ်.[8]

Generally only permissible in open syllables, but occasionally found in closed syllables in loan words such as မေတ္တာ (metta)

ော ေါ a combination of ေ and ာ or ါ (see above). Indicates /ɔ́/ in open syllables or /aʊ/ before က or င. The low-tone variant of this vowel in open syllables is written ော် or ေါ်.[8]
နောက်ပစ် Indicates /ɛ́/. Only found in open syllables.[8]
တစ်ချောင်းငင် When used alone, indicates /ṵ/ in open syllables or /ɔ̀ʊ/ in closed syllables.[8]
နှစ်ချောင်းငင် Indicates /ù/. Only found in open syllables.[8]
လုံးကြီးတင် Indicates /ḭ/ in open syllables, or /èɪ/ in closed syllables.[8]
လုံးကြီးတင်ဆံခတ် Indicates /ì/. Only found in open syllables.[8]
ို Indicates /ò/ in open syllables, or /aɪ/ before က or င. A combination of the ိ and ု vowel diacritics.
ဝဆွဲ used alone, indicates /wa̰/ in open syllables or, variously, /ʊ̀/ or /wà/ in closed syllables. In open syllables it may also be combined with the vowel marks ေ ဲ ာ ါ ယ် and the tone markers to add a medial /w/ between the initial and vowel.[8]

Rarely found in the combinations ွိုင် and ွိုက် to transcribe the /ɔɪ/ vowel of English.

သေးသေးတင် Anusvara, within multisyllabic words it functions as a homorganic nasal. Word finally it functions like a final -m, changing the vowel and implying a low tone by default, although it may be combined with tone markers to create high or creaky tone syllables. It is most commonly used alone or combined with the vowel ု; however, it may also be combined with ွ or ိ.

Combined to form ုံ့ ုံ ုံး, which changes rhyme to /o̰ʊɰ̃ òʊɰ̃ óʊɰ̃/

used exclusively for Sanskrit
used exclusively for Sanskrit r̥̄
ေါ် သဝေထိုးရေးချရှေ့ထိုး used to denote "ော်" in some letters to avoid confusion for က, တ, ဘ, ဟ, အ.[9]

One or more of these accents can be added to a consonant to change its sound. In addition, other modifying symbols are used to differentiate tone and sound, but are not considered diacritics.


La hswe (လဆွဲ) was used in old Burmese from the Bagan to Innwa periods (12th century – 16th century), and could be combined with other diacritics (ya pin, ha hto and wa hswe) to form ္လျ ္လွ ္လှ.[10][11] Similarly, until the Innwa period, ya pin was also combined with ya yit to form ျြ. From the early Bagan period to the 19th century, ဝ် was used instead of ော် for the rhyme /ɔ̀/ Early Burmese writing also used ဟ်, not the high tone marker း, which came into being in the 16th century. Moreover, အ်, which disappeared by the 16th century, was subscripted to represent creaky tone (now indicated with ့). During the early Bagan period, the rhyme /ɛ́/ (now represented with the diacritic ဲ) was represented with ါယ်). The diacritic combination ိုဝ် disappeared in the mid-1750s (typically designated as Middle Burmese), having been replaced with the ို combination, introduced in 1638. The standard tone markings found in modern Burmese can be traced to the 19th century.[11]

Stacked consonants[edit]

Certain sequences of consonants are written one atop the other, or stacked. A pair of stacked consonants indicates that no vowel is pronounced between them.

For example, the word ကမ္ဘာ (kambha), which means "world", contains the stacked consonant မ္ဘ (m-bh). The first consonant is မ (m) and the second consonant is ဘ (bh). No vowel is pronounced between m and bh.

When stacked, the first consonant is written normally (i.e., not super- or subscripted). It has an implied virama ် and is the final of the preceding syllable. In the case of ကမ္ဘာ, an implied virama is applied to the first consonant (မ်), which is the final of the preceding syllable က, producing ကမ် (kam).

The second consonant is subscripted beneath the first consonant and is the onset of the following syllable. In the case of ကမ္ဘာ, ဘ is the second consonant and is the onset of ာ (the following syllable), producing ဘာ (bha).

The equivalent form of ကမ္ဘာ is thus read *ကမ်ဘာ (kambha). If the မ (m) and ဘ (bh) were not stacked (i.e., ကမဘာ), the pronunciation would be different as the inherent vowel "a" would apply to the မ (i.e., *ကဘာ kamabha).

Stacked consonants are always homorganic (pronounced in the same place in the mouth), which is indicated by the traditional arrangement of the Burmese alphabet into the seven five-letter rows of letters (called ဝဂ်). Consonants not found in the rows beginning with က, စ, ဋ, တ, or ပ can only be doubled – that is, stacked with themselves.

Group Possible combinations Transcriptions Example
K က္က, က္ခ, ဂ္ဂ, ဂ္ဃ kk, kkh, gg, ggh [also ng?] dukkha (ဒုက္ခ), meaning "suffering"
C စ္စ, စ္ဆ, ဇ္ဇ, ဇ္ဈ, ဉ္စ, ဉ္ဆ, ဉ္ဇ, ဉ္ဈ cc, cch, jj, jjh, nyc, nych, nyj, nyjh wijja (ဝိဇ္ဇာ), meaning "knowledge"
T ဋ္ဋ, ဋ္ဌ, ဍ္ဍ, ဍ္ဎ, ဏ္ဋ, ဏ္ဍ tt, tth, dd, ddh, nt, nd kanda (ကဏ္ဍ), meaning "section"
T တ္တ, တ္ထ, ဒ္ဒ, ဒ္ဓ, န္တ, န္ထ, န္ဒ, န္ဓ, န္န tt, tth, dd, ddh, nt, nth, nd, ndh, nn manta. le: (မန္တလေး), Mandalay, a city in Myanmar
P ပ္ပ, ပ္ဖ, ဗ္ဗ, ဗ္ဘ, မ္ပ, မ္ဗ, မ္ဘ, မ္မ, pp, pph, bb, bbh, mp, mb, mbh, mm kambha (ကမ္ဘာ), meaning "world"
(other) ဿ, လ္လ, ဠ္ဠ ss, ll, ll pissa (ပိဿာ), meaning viss, a traditional Burmese unit of weight measurement

Stacked consonants are largely confined to loan words from languages like Pali, Sanskrit, and occasionally English. For instance, the Burmese word for "self" (via Pali atta) is spelt အတ္တ, not *အတ်တ, although both would be read the same.

Stacked consonants are generally not found in native Burmese words, with a major exception being abbreviations. For example, the Burmese word သမီး "daughter" is sometimes abbreviated to သ္မီး, even though the stacked consonants do not belong to the same row in the ဝဂ် and a vowel is pronounced between. Similarly, လက်ဖက် "tea" is commonly abbreviated to လ္ဘက်. Also, ss is written ဿ, not သ္သ.


A decimal numbering system is used, and numbers are written in the same order as Hindu–Arabic numerals.

The digits from zero to nine are: ၀၁၂၃၄၅၆၇၈၉ (Unicode 1040 to 1049). The number 1945 would be written as ၁၉၄၅. Separators, such as commas, are not used to group numbers.


There are two primary break characters in Burmese, drawn as one or two downward strokes: ၊ (called ပုဒ်ဖြတ်, ပုဒ်ကလေး, ပုဒ်ထီး, or တစ်ချောင်းပုဒ်) and ။ (called ပုဒ်ကြီး, ပုဒ်မ, or နှစ်ချောင်းပုဒ်), which respectively act as a comma and a full stop. There is a Shan exclamation mark ႟. Other abbreviations used in literary Burmese are:

  • ၏ – used as a full stop if the sentence immediately ends with a verb.

-possessive particle( 's, of)

  • ၍ – used as a conjunction.
  • ၌ – locative ('at').
  • ၎င်း – ditto (used in columns and lists)


Myanmar script was added to the Unicode Standard in September 1999 with the release of version 3.0.

The Unicode block for Myanmar is U+1000–U+109F:

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+100x က
1.^ As of Unicode version 15.1

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Aung-Thwin (2005): 167–178, 197–200
  2. ^ a b Diringer, David (1948). Alphabet a key to the history of mankind. p. 411.
  3. ^ Lieberman 2003: 114
  4. ^ a b Lieberman (2003): 136
  5. ^ Myanmar Grade 1 Textbook. Ministry of Education, Myanmar. Retrieved 9 March 2020 from https://www.learnbig.net/books/myanmar-grade-1-textbook-2/ Archived 11 March 2021 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Burmese script lessons. SEASite. Retrieved 9 March 2020 from http://seasite.niu.edu/Burmese/script/script_index.htm
  7. ^ 緬甸語25子音筆順動畫. 新住民語文數位學習教材計畫, Ministry of Education, Taiwan. Retrieved 9 March 2020 from https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHG5O5tNcuTL9VsxDe5hd0JBVJnzdlNHD
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Mesher, Gene (2006) Burmese for Beginners, Paiboon Publishing ISBN 1-887521-51-8
  9. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20101019120141/http://shop.lonelyplanet.com/myanmar-burma/burmese-phrasebook-4. Archived from the original on 19 October 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2010. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Herbert et al (1989): 5–2
  11. ^ a b MLC (1993)


External links[edit]

Fonts supporting Burmese characters[edit]

Font сonverters[edit]