Middle Burmese

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Middle Burmese
RegionPresent-day Burma
Era16th century–18th century
Early form
Burmese script
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Middle Burmese was a form of the Burmese language spoken from the 16th century to the 18th century. Its beginning roughly corresponds with the rise of the Taungoo Dynasty and its transition to Modern Burmese with the beginning of the Konbaung Dynasty. Its transition to Modern Burmese occurred in the 18th century.[1] Middle Burmese is characterized by stabilization of Burmese orthography and steady evolution of the Burmese phonology, which accelerated during the transition from Middle Burmese to Modern Burmese.[2]

The transition from Old Burmese to Middle Burmese included phonological changes (e.g., mergers of sound pairs that were distinct in Old Burmese) as well as accompanying changes in the underlying orthography.[1]

The transition between Middle Burmese and Modern Burmese was dominated by substantial changes in pronunciation, more so than that between Old Burmese and Middle Burmese.[2] However, many features of Middle Burmese have been preserved in the literary tradition (high register) of written Modern Burmese, including grammatical markers and lexical particles.[2] Word order, grammatical structure and vocabulary have remained markedly comparable, well into Modern Burmese, with the exception of lexical content (e.g., function words).[1][3]


  1. ^ a b c Herbert, Patricia; Anthony Crothers Milner (1989). South-East Asia: Languages and Literatures: a Select Guide. University of Hawaii Press. p. 5. ISBN 9780824812676.
  2. ^ a b c Wheatley, Julian K. "43. Burmese". In Bernard Comrie (ed.). The World's Major Languages. Routledge. pp. 724–739. ISBN 9780203301524.
  3. ^ LaPolla, Randy J.; Graham Thurgood (2013). Sino-Tibetan Languages. Routledge. ISBN 9781135797171.