Time to cruise to Myanmar? Perhaps it is a business trip or a holiday; you name it. Either way, you will need to speak at least basic Burmese at some point, and you know that the best way to learn a new language in the 21st century is using language learning apps.
Herein, I have both bad news and good news for you. Do you want to start with the negative? Oh okay. The bad news is that there is no Burmese on Babbel, Duolingo, and Mondly, the most well-known learning resources for us as language learners.
However, the good news is that we know three language learning apps – the best alternatives to Babbel – where you can learn Burmese.
We’ll recommend three language apps with a Burmese course at the end of this blog post, so you better keep reading!
- About The Burmese Language
- Where Is Burmese Spoken?
- Ethnicity Of Myanmar
- Other Spoken Languages In Myanmar
- Is Learning The Burmese Language Hard?
- Why Is There No Burmese On Babbel?
- What Language Apps Have Burmese?
About The Burmese Language
Burmese, the native language of the Bamar, is related to Tibetan and Chinese. It is written in a script consisting of circular and semi-circular letters, developed from a southern Indian script in the 5th century.
The Burmese language has 33 consonants, 12 vowels, and four tones. It uses the Burmese script with no spaces between the words.
The Burmese language includes heavy usage of honorifics and is age-oriented. It is also used to write Pali, the sacred language of Theravada Buddhism.
Where Is Burmese Spoken?
Burmese is the official language of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Myanmar is the largest country (the total land area is 261,228 sq. miles) in Southeast Asia, with a population of 55 million.
Bangladesh and India border Myanmar to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos, Thailand to its east and southeast, and the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal to its south. The capital city of Myanmar is Naypyidaw, while the largest city is Yangon.
Ethnicity Of Myanmar
Myanmar is very diverse in ethnicity; even the government recognizes 135 different ethnic groups. The Bamar 68%, the Shan 10%, the Kayin 7%, and lastly, the Rakhine make up 4% of the population.
Myanmar’s ethnic minority groups prefer the term “ethnic nationality” over “ethnic minority” because the word “minority” makes them feel insecure among others.
Other Spoken Languages In Myanmar
In Myanmar, currently, more than a hundred languages are spoken in total, but many of them are the languages of small tribes around the country.
Myanmar is home to four primary language families but the most commonly spoken one is the Sino-Tibetan language family, which includes Burmese, Karen, Kachin, Chin, and Chinese.
There are also two Indo-European languages widely-spoken in Myanmar, which are Pali, the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism, and English.
Is Learning The Burmese Language Hard?
We know that learning a new language is not easy; however, if you’re a native English speaker, learning Burmese can be more complex than learning other languages. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) says so, not me!
They’ve published a list showing how long it takes to learn a particular language for an ordinary English speaker. So in that list, Burmese is in the Category 4 languages, meaning it roughly takes at least 1100 hours to reach general proficiency to speak and comprehend the Burmese language.
Why Is There No Burmese On Babbel?
In our opinion, there are three ”possible” reasons why there is no Burmese on Babbel.
- There is no big hype around the world to learn Burmese, unlike other widely-spoken languages.
- Learning Burmese is proven more difficult by the FSI compared to the other languages offered in Babbel.
- Both the economic and touristic interests in Myanmar have decreased because of internal political problems over the last few years.
What Language Apps Have Burmese?
As you know, there are a few apps that you can learn Burmese, and we’ve listed the best alternative apps to Babbel for you.
Simply Learn Burmese
Simply Learn functions like a phrasebook to help you learn new words in a new language, Burmese in our case. You can learn the greetings, basic vocabulary, most commonly used phrases, and basic conversational phrases in Burmese.
The Burmese vocabulary is divided into categories according to proficiency level and topics.
Thanks to Simply Learn Burmese, you can hear the pronunciations from a native Burmese speaker, practice vocabulary with flashcards, and search for any Burmese phrases in seconds.
It is a perfect resource for learning Burmese for complete beginners!
Italki is a language app that brings learners and tutors together. You can learn the Burmese language quickly with the help of a professional tutor whose native language is Burmese.
Italki is especially perfect for intermediate and advanced learners who want to improve their speaking and comprehension skills in Burmese. If you already have a Burmese background, you can also find Burmese native speakers to practice your conversational skills.
If you’re an upper beginner learner who is eager to pay per lesson, you should consider purchasing regular Burmese lessons from a Burmese tutor on Italki.
Before you decide to purchase tens of lessons and spend money on Italki, make sure to read our Italki review here!
If your target language is Burmese and you have zero background, you MUST try the Ling App! It is the best app for learning Burmese because it offers a Burmese course for a beginner to an advanced level.
Ling puts an organized learning plan in front of you. All you have to do is follow the sequence and complete various interactive lessons ranging from audio lessons recorded by a native speaker to speaking practice with a chatbot.
The Ling App offers you everything you’re looking for in a language learning app. Trust me; you won’t regret it if you give it a try for FREE by simply downloading it from the App Store or Play Store.
Start learning Burmese or any other foreign language among 60 language courses with Ling App now! Until next time!