Burmese script: Wikis


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This article contains Burmese script. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Burmese characters.
Type Abugida
Spoken languages Burmese
Time period c. 1050 to present
Parent systems
Unicode range U+1000–U+109F
ISO 15924 Mymr
Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.

The Burmese script (Burmese: မြန်မာအက္ခရာ; MLCTS: mranma akkha.ra; IPA: [mjàNmà ɛʔkʰəjà]) is an abugida in the Brahmic family used in Burma for writing Burmese. In addition, various other scripts share some aspect and letters of the Burmese script, though they should not be considered strictly Burmese, including Mon, Shan, S'gaw Karen, Eastern and Western Pwo Karen dialects, Geba Karen, Rumai Palaung, Kayah, as well as being used as scripts for Pali and Sanskrit. The characters are rounded in appearance, because the traditional palm leaves used for writing on with a stylus would have been ripped by straight lines.[citation needed] It is written from left to right. It requires no spaces between words although modern writing usually contains spaces after each clause to enhance readability.

The Burmese script, adapted from the Mon script, has undergone considerable modifications to suit the phonology of Burmese, and to fit its word order of Subject Object Verb. This script has been altered from language to language, including Shan and Karen. One major difference is the existence of tone markers in the Shan and Karen scripts which do not exist in the Burmese script. The unicode font designated for Myanmar language includes Shan and Karen as well as modern Mon script support.

The Burmese script may be transliterated into the Latin alphabet with the MLC Transcription System.


Syllable onsets

A syllable onset is the consonant or consonant cluster that appears before the vowel of a syllable. The Burmese script has 33 letters to indicate the initial consonant of a syllable, and four diacritics to indicate additional consonants in the onset. Like other abugidas, including the other members of the Brahmic family, vowels are indicated in Burmese script by diacritics placed above, below or beside the consonant character. A consonant letter with no vowel diacritic has the inherent vowel [a̰] (often reduced to [ə] when another syllable follows in the same word).

The thirty-three consonants of the Burmese abugida, without diacritics.

The following names are transliterated in contemporary Burmese.

Letter IPA MLCTS Name Remarks
က /k/ k ကကြီး ([ka̰ dʒí])
/kʰ/ hk ခခွေး ([kʰa̰ ɡwɛ́])
/ɡ/ g ဂငယ် ([ɡa̰ ŋɛ̀])
/ɡ/ gh ဃကြီး ([ɡa̰ dʒí]) Used primarily in words of Pāli origin.
/ŋ/ ng
/s/ c စလုံး ([sa̰ lóʊn])
/sʰ/ hc ဆလိမ် ([sʰa̰ lèɪn])
/z/ j ဇခွဲ ([za̰ ɡwɛ́])
/z/ jh ဈမြင်ဆွဲ ([za̰ mjín zwɛ́]) Used primarily in words of Pāli origin.
, /ɲ/ ny The form is used with the vowel diacritic and in certain syllable rhymes.
/t/ t ဋတံလင်းချိတ် ([ta̰ tə lín dʒeɪʔ]) Used primarily for ट () in words of Pāli origin.
/tʰ/ ht ဌဝမ်ပဲ ([tʰa̰ wàn bɛ́]) Used primarily for ठ (ṭh) in words of Pāli origin.
/d/ d ဍရင်ကောက် ([da̰ jìn ɡaʊʔ]) Used primarily for ड () in words of Pāli origin.
/d/ dh ဎရေမှုပ် ([da̰ jè m̥oʊʔ]) Used primarily for ढ (ḍh) in words of Pāli origin.
/n/ n ဏကြီး ([na̰ dʒí]) Used primarily for ण () in words of Pāli origin.
/t/ t တဝမ်းပူ ([ta̰ wàn bu])
/tʰ/ ht ထဆင်ထူး ([tʰa̰ sʰìn dú])
/d/ d ဒထွေး ([da̰ dwé])
/d/ dh ဓအောက်ခြိုက် ([da̰ oʊʔ tʃʰaɪʔ]) Used primarily in words of Pāli origin.
/n/ n နငယ် ([na̰ ŋɛ̀])
/p/ p ပစောက် ([pa̰ zaʊʔ])
/pʰ/ hp ဖဦးထုပ် ([pʰa̰ óʊ tʰoʊʔ])
/b/ b ဗထက်ခြိုက်‌ ([ba̰ là tʰaɪʔ])
/b/ bh ဘကုန်း ([ba̰ ɡóʊn])
/m/ m
/j/ y ယပက်လက် ([ja̰ pəlɛʔ])
/j/ r ရကောက်‌ ([ja̰ ɡaʊʔ]) Represents /r/ in Rakhine dialect and in a few loanwords from English and occasionally Pāli.
/l/ l
/w/ w
/θ/ s
/h/ h
/l/ l ဠကြီး ([la̰ dʒí]) Used primarily for ळ () in words of Pāli origin.
/ʔ/ (none)

Consonant letters may be modified by one or more diacritics indicating an additional consonant before the vowel. These diacritics are (MLCTS h-, indicating that a sonorant consonant is voiceless), (MLCTS -y-, indicating [j] or palatalization of a velar consonant), (MLCTS -r-, which has the same value as ), and (MLCTS -w-, usually indicating [w]).

Diacritics for medial consonants, shown on [m]
Letter IPA MLCTS Remarks
မှ [m̥] hm ယှ (hy) and ရှ (hr) are pronounced [ʃ]. Otherwise used only in ငှ (hng) [ŋ̊], ညှ/ဉှ (hny) [ɲ̥], နှ (hn) [n̥], မှ (hm) [m̥], လှ (hl) [ɬ], ဝှ (hw) [ʍ]
မျ [mj] my Palatalizes velar consonants: ကျ (ky), ချ (hky), ဂျ (gy) are pronounced [tʃ], [tʃʰ], [dʒ].
မျှ [m̥j] hmy
မျွ [mw] myw
မျွှ [m̥w] hmyw
မြ [mj] mr Palatalizes velar consonants: ကြ (kr), ခြ (hkr), ဂြ (gr), ငြ (ngr) are pronounced [tʃ], [tʃʰ], [dʒ], [ɲ].
မြှ [m̥j] hmr
မြွ [mw] mrw
မြွှ [m̥w] hmrw
မွ [mw] mw
မွှ [m̥w] hmw

Syllable rhymes

Syllable rhymes (i.e. vowels and any consonants that may follow them within the same syllable) are indicated in Burmese by a combination of diacritic marks and consonant letters marked with the virama character (called အသတ် a.sat [ʔa̰θaʔ] in Burmese), which suppresses the inherent vowel of the consonant letter.

Syllable rhymes of Burmese, using the letter က [k] as a basis
Symbol IPA MLCTS Remarks
က [ka̰], [kə] ka. [a̰] is the inherent vowel and so is not indicated by any diacritic. In theory, virtually any written syllable that is not the final syllable of a word can be pronounced with the vowel [ə] (with no tone and no syllable-final [ʔ] or [N]) as its rhyme, but in practice, the bare consonant letter alone is the most common way of spelling syllables whose rhyme is [ə].
ကက် [kɛʔ] kak
ကင် [kìN] kang
ကင့် [kḭN] kang.
ကင်း [kíN] kang:
ကစ် [kiʔ] kac
ကည် [kì], [kè], [kɛ̀] kany
ကဉ် [kìN]
ကည့် [kḭ], [kḛ], [kɛ̰] kany.
ကဉ့် [kḭN]
ကည်း [kí], [ké], [kɛ́] kany:
ကဉ်း [kíN]
ကတ် [kaʔ] kat
ကန် [kàN] kan
ကန့် [ka̰N] kan.
ကန်း [káN] kan:
ကပ် [kaʔ] kap
ကမ် [kàN] kam
ကမ့် [ka̰N] kam.
ကမ်း [káN] kam:
ကယ် [kɛ̀] kai
ကံ [kàN] kam
ကံ့ [ka̰N] kam.
ကံး [káN] kam:
ကာ [kà] ka Takes the alternative form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂါ ga [ɡà].[* 1]
ကား [ká] ka: Takes the alternative form ါး with certain consonants, e.g. ဂါး ga: [ɡá].[* 1]
ကိ [kḭ] ki. In some words, [ʔḭ] is represented by .
ကိတ် [keiʔ] kit
ကိန် [kèiN] kin
ကိန့် [kḛiN] kin.
ကိန်း [kéiN] kin:
ကိပ် [keiʔ] kip
ကိမ် [kèiN] kim
ကိမ့် [kḛiN] kim.
ကိမ်း [kéiN] kim:
ကိံ [kèiN] kim
ကိံ့ [kḛiN] kim.
ကိံး [kéiN] kim:
ကီ [kì] ki In some words, [ʔì] is represented by .
ကီး [kí] ki:
ကု [kṵ] ku. In some words, [ʔṵ] is represented by .
ကုတ် [kouʔ] kut
ကုန် [kòuN] kun
ကုန့် [ko̰uN] kun.
ကုန်း [kóuN] kun:
ကုပ် [kouʔ] kup
ကုမ် [kòuN] kum
ကုမ့် [ko̰uN] kum.
ကုမ်း [kóuN] kum:
ကုံ [kòuN] kum
ကုံ့ [ko̰N] kum.
ကုံး [kóuN] kum:
ကူ [kù] ku In some words, [ʔù] is represented by .
ကူး [kú] ku: In some words, [ʔú] is represented by ဦး.
ကေ [kè] ke In some words, [ʔè] is represented by .
ကေ့ [kḛ] ke.
ကေး [ké] ke: In some words, [ʔé] is represented by ဧး.
ကဲ [kɛ́] kai:
ကဲ့ [kɛ̰] kai.
ကော [kɔ́] kau: Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါ gau: [ɡɔ́].[* 1] In some words, [ʔɔ́] is represented by .
ကောက် [kauʔ] kauk Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါက် gauk [ɡauʔ].[* 1]
ကောင် [kàuN] kaung Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါင် gaung [ɡàuN].[* 1]
ကောင့် [ka̰uN] kaung. Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါင့် gaung. [ɡa̰uN].[* 1]
ကောင်း [káuN] kaung: Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါင်း gaung: [ɡáuN].[* 1]
ကော့ [kɔ̰] kau. Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါ့ gau. [ɡɔ̰].[* 1]
ကော် [kɔ̀] kau Takes an alternative long form with certain consonants, e.g. ဂေါ် gau [ɡɔ̀].[* 1] In some words, [ʔɔ̀] is represented by .
ကို [kò] kui
ကိုက် [kaiʔ] kuik
ကိုင် [kàiN] kuing
ကိုင့် [ka̰iN] kuing.
ကိုင်း [káiN] kuing:
ကို့ [ko̰] kui.
ကိုး [kó] kui:
ကွတ် [kuʔ] kwat
ကွန် [kùN] kwan
ကွန့် [kṵN] kwan.
ကွန်း [kúN] kwan:
ကွပ် [kuʔ] kwap
ကွမ် [kùN] kwam
ကွမ့် [kṵN] kwam.
ကွမ်း [kúN] kwam:
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i The consonant letters that take the long form are , , , , , and .

Other symbols

အသတ်, တံခွန် Virama; modifies the sound quality of a letter and varies with letters (usually creates a consonant final)
◌း ဝစ္စပေါက်, ရှေ့ကပေါက်, ရှေ့ဆီး Visarga; creates high tone, but cannot be used alone
သေးသေးတင် Anunaasika, creates nasalised -n final
အောက်မြစ် Anusvara, creates creaky tone
used exclusively for Pali
used exclusively for Pali

One or more of these accents can be added to a consonant to change its sound. In addition, other modifiying symbols are used to differentiate tone and sound, but are not considered diacritics.



Specific consonants (a final and the following consonant), when placed next to one another, may be stacked, with the final placed underneath the consonant. They are considered ligatures, and are typically used to abbreviate, but are not necessary and are primarily used to denote Pali or Sanskrit origin.


A decimal numbering system is used, and numbers are written in the same order as Hindu-Arabic numerals.

The numerals from zero to nine are: Burmese numerals.svg (Unicode 1040 to 1049). The number 1945 would be written as Burmese 1945.png. separators (such as commas) to group digits are not used.

Another set of digits from zero to nine is used in the Shan language.


There are two primary break characters in Burmese, drawn as one or two downward strokes ( or ), which respectively act as a comma and a full stop . is used as a full stop if the sentence immediately ends with a verb. is roughly the equivalent of a comma and is used to connect two trains of thought.


The Unicode ranges for writing Burmese and other languages of Myanmar are U+1000–U+109F and U+AA60–U+AA7B. The latter set, Myanmar Extended-A, is new in Unicode 5.2. Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points.

Unicode.org chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+100x က

For writing the basic Burmese language, only U+1000–U+104F is needed:

  • the basic abugida for Burmese and other languages of Myanmar:
    • U+1000–U+1020: the 33 base consonants.
    • U+1021–U+102A: the 10 independent vowels (including 1 variant needed for Shan and 1 variant needed for Mon).
    • U+102B–U+1035: the 11 dependent vowels (diacritics combining on the right, above, below, or left of the base consonant).
    • U+1036–U+103A: the 5 diacritic signs (anusvara, tone mark, visarga, virama, visible virama).
    • U+103B–U+103E: the 4 medial consonant signs (diacritics combining on the right, around, or below).
  • U+103F: the Myanmar letter "Great Sa".
  • U+1040–U+1049: the 10 digits.
  • U+104A–U+104B: the 2 punctuation signs (section signs).
  • U+104C–U+104F: the 4 symbols (locative, completed, aforementioned, genitive).

The rest of the chart contains extensions for other languages:

  • Extensions for Pali and Sanskrit:
    • U+1050–U+1051: the 2 base consonants.
    • U+1052–U+1055: the 4 independent vowels.
    • U+1056–U+1059: the 4 dependent vowels (diacritics combining on the right or below).
  • Extensions for Mon:
    • U+105A–U+105D: the 4 base consonants.
    • U+105E–U+1060: the 3 medial consonant signs (diacritics combining below).
  • Extensions for S’gaw Karen:
    • U+1061: the 1 base consonant.
    • U+1062: the 1 vowel sign (diacritic on the left).
    • U+1063–U+1064: the 2 medial consonant signs (diacritics combining on the right).
  • Extensions for Western Pwo Karen:
    • U+1065–U+1066: the 2 base consonants.
    • U+1067–U+1068: the 2 vowel signs (diacritics combining on the right).
    • U+1069–U+106D: the 5 tone signs (diacritics combining on the right).
  • Extensions for Eastern Pwo Karen:
    • U+106E–U+1070: the 3 base consonants.
  • Extensions for Geba Karen:
    • U+1071: the 1 vowel sign (diacritic combining above).
  • Extensions for Kayah:
    • U+1072–U+1074: the 3 vowel signs (diacritics combining above).
  • Extensions for Shan:
    • U+1075–U+1081: the 13 base consonants.
    • U+1082: the 1 medial consonant signs (diacritic combining below).
    • U+1083–U+1086: the 4 vowel signs (diacritic combining on the right, left or above).
    • U+1087–U+108D: the 7 tone signs (diacritics combining on the right or below).
  • Extensions for Rumai Palaung:
    • U+108E: the 1 base consonant.
    • U+108F: the 1 tone sign (diacritics combining on the right).
  • Extensions for Shan:
    • U+1090–U+1099: the 10 digits.
    • U+109E–U+109D: the 2 symbols.

The 4 code points U+109A–U+109D are still not assigned.

Websites using Burmese Unicode

Until 2005, most Burmese language websites used an image-based dynamically generated method of displaying characters (often in GIF or JPEG). At the end of 2005, the Burmese NLP Research Lab announced a Myanmar Open Type font named Myanmar1. This font contains not only Unicode code points and glyphs but also the OTLs logic and rules. Their research center is based in Myanmar ICT Park, Yangon. Padauk, which was produced by SIL International, is Unicode compliant, but initially required a Graphite engine (now OpenType tables for Windows are in the current version of this font). After Unicode 5.1 Standard released on April 4, 2008, three Unicode 5.1 compliant Fonts are available under public license.[1]

Many Burmese font makers have created Burmese fonts such as, Win Innwa, CE Font, Myazedi, Zawgyi, Ponnya, Mandalay etc. It is important to note that those Unicode Burmese fonts are not Unicode compliant, because they use unallocated codepoints in the Burmese block to manually deal with shaping that would normally be done by the Uniscribe engine and they are not yet supported by Microsoft and other major software vendors. The Myanmar Bible Society launched a Burmese Unicode website,[2] using Mozilla Firefox & Padauk Open Type ver 2.1 font from ThanLwinSoft,[3] and here Burmese characters are displayed correctly. The Australian Government website followed, using the Padauk OT font ([4]).

Many big websites are still using a GIF/JPG display method.

See also

External links

Fonts supporting Burmese characters


  1. ^ Zawgyi.ORG Developer site
  2. ^ http://www.myanmarbible.com/bible/Judson/html/
  3. ^ http://www.thanlwinsoft.org
  4. ^ http://www.mylanguage.gov.au/my/141


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