Updated : August 4, 2019
Per request of Sayagyi U Pe Maung Tin, the Burmese Department was formed as a Sub-department of the Department of Oriental Studies (Ah Shay Taing Pyinnya).
A few years later, it became a separate Department.
- Saya U E (pronounced “Aye”) Maung served as its first Professor.
- Saya’s spouse is Daw Khin Mya Mu (Kyauksar), aunt of Dr. Thane Oke Kyaw Myint.
- Saya’s compilation “Garland of Kabyars (Poems)” was a prescribed text for my elder siblings.
Sayas from the Burmese Department include
- U Chan Mya (Mya Ketu)
- U Toe Aung (Kutha)
- U Hla Maung (Abhiddhama saya and member of Myanmar Sar Ah Phwe)
- U Sunn Tun (Mandalay, “Shay Tho” series)
- U Tein Kyi (RIT Burmese)
- U Soe Myint (RIT Burmese)
- U Kyaw Hlaing (RIT Burmese, taught at NIU)
- U Saw Tun (RIT Burmese, current Head at NIU)
Saya U Wun (Minthuwun), U Tin Aye (Shan Pyay), and U Kyaw Aung served as Compilers & Editors of the Translation Department.
For a short period, Saya U Wun served as a Professor. Saya’s selection (with annotations) of “U Pon Nya Wutthu Paung Kyote” was a prescribed text for us.
In our middle school, we had to study “Myanmar Thadda” (Burmese Grammar) by Saya U Pe Maung Tin.
In our SPHS days, we also had to study
- U Kyin U
- Zat Taw Gyi (e.g. Mahosadha)
- Pyazat (e.g. Deva Gomban)
- Theikpan Maung Wa (co-founder of Khit San Sar Pay with Zawgyi and Minthuwun)
- Texts that include “Kabyar” (poems) and “Sagar Pye” (prose).
- Like most languages, Burmese comprises of the spoken language (Myanmar Sagar) and the written language (Myanmar Sar).
- The spoken language predates the written language, which first appeared as the fourth and final language of the Mya Zedi Kyauksar (stone inscription).
- An early Indo-Tibetan script was used to write Burmese.
- The BSPP Government formed the Myanmar Sar Commission. Bohmu Ba Thaung, Head of Burmese Department at DSA, served as one of the early Head of Commission.
- “Myanmar Sar Ah Phwe” was forced to revise the Burmese spelling twice. Authors and publishers were fined ten pyas for each violation of the revised spelling rules. Many classic texts were ruined when every occurrence of TA had to be replaced with TIT to please the whims of the higher authorities. The rhyme and rhythm of the beloved texts were lost.
- The rise of the Internet was sadly accompanied by the decline of Burmese usage and the adoption of slangs and abbreviations in messages, blogs and even articles.