Languages of Burma

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Languages of Burma
Ethnolinguistic map of Burma 1972.png
Language families of Burma
Official languagesBurmese
Sign languages(unknown)
 
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Languages of Burma
Ethnolinguistic map of Burma 1972.png
Language families of Burma
Official languagesBurmese
Sign languages(unknown)

There are approximately one hundred languages spoken in Burma.[1] Burmese, spoken by approximately 65% of the populace, is the official language.[2] However, a wide variety of languages are spoken, especially by ethnic minorities, representing four major language families: Sino-Tibetan, Austro-Asiatic, Tai–Kadai, and Indo-European.[3]

Indigenous languages[edit]

Aside from Burmese, other major languages spoken include Shan (spoken by 3,200,000), Karen dialects (spoken by 2,600,000), Kachin (spoken by 900,000), Chin dialects (spoken by 780,000), Mon (spoken by 750,000) and Rakhine (a linguistic dialect of Burmese spoken by 730,000).[1][3]

There are two living Indo-European languages spoken by ethnic minorities in Burma: Rohingya, spoken by about one million, and Bishnupriya, with a smaller number.[4][5]

Usage of minority languages is discouraged and is used at home.[6]

English as a second language[edit]

Today, Burmese is the primary language of instruction, and English is the secondary language taught.[6] 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".[7] English continues to be used by educated urbanites and the national government.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]