• Total units 24 Units
  • Areas of interest Asian Languages, Language Studies
  • Specialisation code BURM-SPEC
  • Academic career Postgraduate
Burmese Language and Culture Specialisation

Burmese is the official language of Myanmar, which has a population of 54 million, where around 70% are mother-tongue speakers of the language. Burmese is also the main lingua-franca in the country as well as in Burmese communities worldwide. It has a long history of use in traditional literary works and music. Despite the country’s censorship system, which lasted half a century, Myanmar saw vigorous publishing activities, covering genres from novels to cartoons. Since the Burmese government lifted censorship in 2012, Burmese publications have constantly expanded. The language is widely used on the internet as well. 

The University’s Burmese courses equip students with a solid foundational knowledge of the Burmese language and an awareness of Myanmar’s culture and history. Students will gain knowledge of colloquial style Burmese language skills essential to everyday life at home, in universities, and in the work place. Students will also learn the basics of literary style Burmese, which will give them a solid basis in reading skills to approach a wider range of authentic Burmese publications, as well as develop their conversational ability. This specialisation helps students to understand more deeply Burmese culture, the challenges presented by historical legacies, and political and economic issues facing contemporary Myanmar.

A student may not take a course if that course is a prerequisite for another course which they have already passed, or a course that is a lower level than a course they have already passed. Students with prior knowledge of the language will be required to take a placement test and may be exempted from the compulsory course.

Learning Outcomes

On satisfying the requirements of this specialisation, students will have the knowledge and skills at an Intermediate level of Burmese to:

1. Recognise and pronounce the basic Burmese consonants, vowels, and tones, as well as other distinctive features of Burmese pronunciation.

2. Reproduce Burmese pronunciation in Burmese script, including words drawn from both the colloquial and literary styles.

3. Use an active vocabulary of around 1,600 items, including both colloquial style words and literary style words drawn from Pali.

4. Use sophisticated grammatical patterns in colloquial Burmese conversation and writing on matters encountered in everyday life, the university, the work place, and at leisure; demonstrate basic knowledge of and analyse the grammar of literary Burmese and appropriate vocabulary for the style, largely drawn from Pali.

5. Demonstrate a solid knowledge of colloquial style Burmese by engaging in short conversations and reading and writing texts on a range of general topics and some academic themes, with an awareness of formal and informal registers; comprehend basic, longer passages and short essays written in the literary style.

6. Appraise in an academic manner the cultural and social practices of Burmese societies, with awareness of the history of the country.

Other Information

Proficiency equivalent to CEFR A2-B1; Myanmar Language Test M2-3

A student may not take a course that is a prerequisite or a lower level than a course which they have already passed.

Students that commencing language studies who have prior knowledge of the language will be required to take a placement test before enrolling for the first time, and it may be the case that students with prior knowledge are not able to complete the unit load needed to fulfil the requirements of minor. Students will not be permitted to enrol in a course at a lower than the level they achieve in the placement test, and may be exempted from compulsory courses.

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This specialisation requires the completion of 24 units, which must consist of:

24 units from completion of the following compulsory courses:

BURM6002 Burmese 1

BURM6003 Burmese 2

BURM6101 Burmese 3

BURM6102 Burmese 4

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