Times have changed

For archive (Updated on January 29, 2019)

Students from overseas

In the early days, Rangoon University had students from overseas (India, Nepal, Japan, and Russia) and some majored in Burmese/Myanmar.


Several British scholars and/or teachers helped set up the Burma Research Society and published transliteration of old Burmese/Myanmar inscriptions (kyauk sar). For example, use three English letters KOL => Ka gyi, Lone gyi tin, Ta chaung gin to transliterate the Burmese word “Ko”. Used before the advent of Olympia Burmese keyboard/typewriter (around Burma’s Independence).

Burmese Language Studies in Japan

There were informal and formal exchange programs between the Burmese Department and [some] Universities (e.g. in Osaka, Japan; School of Oriental Studies, UK; Northern Illinois University, US). Minthuwun served as Visiting Professor at Osaka University.

Professor Harada (“Chit Mann Nwe”, born in Mandalay) won the National Literary Prize for translating the novel THWAY into Japanese

Burmese Language Studies in the UK

Saya Dr. Hla Pe taught and researched at SOAS in UK. He is author of “Burmese Proverbs”. He and his staff (including John O’Kell) advoacted the need for Burmese word processing on Apple Mac. The team used Transliteration to input Burmese text. The processed output is ggiven in Burmese. They published “Learning Burmese/Myanmar”. Sayagyi Dr. Hla Pe is a close friend of Sayagyi U Wun (Min Thu Wun) and Sayagyi U Thein Han (Zaw Gyi).

Burmese Language Studies in the US

U Hla Nyunt (father of Mary Nicely) taught Burmese at the precursor of Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Northern California.

A few years back, the National Language Center at the University of Maryland (College Park) had a project to develop listening and reading comprehension courses for Burmese and have it available on its network. I was selected as a Language Expert for the Burmese project.

U Nu helped during the initial opening of the Burmese Center at Northern Illinois University (NIU).

  • U Saw Tun is teaching and researching Burmese.
  • Daw May Kyi Win (GBNF) served as Head of the Burmese Collection.
  • Ko Wunna Ko Ko helped with project(s) at NIU to leverage Myanmar Unicode for compiling/processing the Burmese Dictionary.
  • U Kyaw Hlaing taught Burmese in the early days. He also taught Burmese at the Summer School in Hawaii.

Cornell University, New York also provide Burmese language, and literature course for Bachelor degree. The Burmese Sayama at Cornell also works for the French Department.

The Library of Congress has Burmese books, but the query system uses an “old” phonetic system. According to Maung Swan Yi, there are improved interfaces to the query. U Thaw Kaung’s son and his friends provided Burmese books for use at libraries and Book Clubs in New York.

Some monasteries and/or organizations in US have offered Burmese classes and “Sagar Waings”. But, there are some who do not want to invest their time to learn Burmese without a hefty ROI (Return on Investment).


I heard one Burmese parent [back in Myanmar] saying proudly that her daughter [attending a prestigious “international school” to study abroad] does not know Burmese.

How times have changed!

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