Burmese Language *

Department of Oriental Studies

  • The Department of Oriental Studies taught Pali.
  • Per request of Sayagyi U Pe Maung Tin, the Burmese Department was formed as a Sub-department of the Department of Oriental Studies.
  • A few years later, Burmese became a separate Department.

Sayas from the Burmese Department

U E Maung

  • Saya U E (pronounced “Aye”) Maung served as its first Professor
  • His compilation “Garland of Kabyars (Poems)” was a prescribed text for my elder siblings.
  • Spouse : Daw Khin Mya Mu
    Expert in reading and transcribing Kyauk Sar (Inscription).

Distinguished Sayas

The list is not exhaustive.

  • U Chan Mya (Mya Ketu)
  • U Toe Aung (Kutha)
  • U Hla Maung
    Taught Abhiddhama
    Member of Myanmar Sar Ah Phwe
  • U Sunn Tun (Mandalay, “Shay Tho” series)
  • U Kyaw Yin

Outstanding Alumni

Sayagyi U Pe Maung Tin was proud of his students — Theikpan Maung Wa, Zawgyi and Minthuwun — for founding the “Khit San Sar Pay”.
He would express Mudita (Altruistic Joy) for their talents and achievements.

  • ICS U Sein Tin (Theikpan Maung Wa)
    Sad victim of a botched robbery
    We had to study his “Wut Htu Saung Par”
  • U Thein Han (Zawgyi)
    Laureate Poet
    Chief Librarian, Rangoon University Central Library
  • U Wun (Minthuwun)
    Head of the Translation Department of Rangoon University
    Compiler of “Myanamr Abhidan”
    For a short period, served as Professor
    Visiting Professor at Osaka University for four years
    Son : U Htin Kyaw (Former President)
  • Daw Khin Saw Mu
    Spouse : ICS U Ba Tint
    Children : Daw Khin Saw Tint (Bilingual writer), U Nay Oke
  • U Tin Aye (Shan Pyay)
    Succeeded U Wun as Head of Translation Department
  • U Kyaw Aung
    Editor of the Translation Department

Burmese Texts

They include

  • “Kabyar Pan Kone” (Garland of Flowers) compiled by Saya U E Maung (which was prescribed for High School before our days)
  • “Myanmar Thadda” (Burmese Grammar) by Saya U Pe Maung Tin (which we studied in Middle School)
  • “U Pon Nya Wutthu Paung Kyote” compiled and annotated by Saya U Wun (which we studied in High School)
  • Poems by U Kyin U
  • Selections from Zat Taw Gyi Hse Bwe (e.g. Mahosadha)
  • Pyazat (e.g. Deva Gomban)

Burmese Language

  • 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.

Burmese Language Commission

  • The BSPP Government formed the Myanmar Sar Ah Phwe (Burmese Language Commission)
  • Bohmu Ba Thaung, Head of Burmese Department at DSA, served as early Head of the Commission
  • In the 1980s, several History Commission members were assigned to the Myanma Sar Ah Phwe.

Decline of Formal Burmese

  • The Commission revised the Burmese spelling twice.
    Some revisions were ill-advised.
  • Authors and publishers were fined ten pyas for each violation of the spelling rules dictated by the Commission.
  • 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.

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