Burmese Language and Literature

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Burmese Language and Literature, Language and Literature of the People of Myanmar.

The Burmese language belongs to the Tibetan Burmese branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Characteristics are: fixed position of the verb at the end of the sentence (sentence structure: subject – object – predicate), immutability of words, existence of a large number of grammatical syllables to represent the syntactic relationships, emphasis, modification, etc., tonal language. The Burmese script, like the Thai, Lao and Khmer script, emerged from the southern Indian alphabet system.

The oldest evidence of the old Burmese writing culture are stone inscriptions, mostly of Buddhist content (mainly donation protocols) from the time of the Pagan Empire (1044–1287). The oldest dated text is the Razakumar inscription (Myazedi) from 1113, which is significant as a historical source. Since it reports the same facts in Burmese, Mon, Pyu and Pali, it made it possible to decipher the Pyu script. From the middle of the 12th century, Burmese had established itself as a linguistic and literary language.

According to itypeauto, Burmese literature reached its first heyday in the royal city of Ava (Inwa), which was mostly dominant in the time of the small empires from the 14th to the middle of the 16th century and continued the royal tradition of Pagan. Classical poetry was verse art with a growing number of increasingly complex forms of rhyme and expression (over 50). Standing under the patronage of the king and v. a. Initially practiced largely by monks, the content of the poetry was largely determined by Buddhist teaching, but also by praise for kings (historical ballads “Egyin”, “Mawgun”), nature, love, etc. There was also folk poetry on subjects from the village and family Milieu as well as oral narrative material (fairy tales). The literature developed analogously among the other empire-building Buddhist ethnic groups Mon, Shan and Rakhine.

Traditionally, prose as a literary form was less important than poetry. They were mainly used for treatises in the fields of natural sciences, astrology, law and for historiography. The “Great Chronicle” (around 1730) and the “Glass Palace Chronicle” based on it – compiled from 1829–34 with texts from the legendary early days to writings from the 19th century – are examples of high-quality Burmese prose. It was only under the influence of Western models and aided by the introduction of book printing in Burma around 1870 that the novel found its way into Burmese literature. In the second half of the 19th century, the genre of drama also experienced an upswing, inspired among other things. through the reception of the Indian national epic Ramayana.

The reception of western culture shaped the further development of prose literature in the beginning of the 20th century. James Hla Kyaw (* 1863, † 1913) published the novel “Ma Mae Ma and Maung Yin Maung” (1904), for which he was inspired by “The Count of Monte Christo” by A. Dumas . From the 1920s, short stories became the most popular literary form. In order to develop a characteristically Burmese literature, v. a. Pi Mo Nin (* 1838, † 1939) at. Strong impulses came from the literary trend of the 1930s »Khitsan« (time test), carried by Theippan Maung Wa (* 1899, † 1942), Zawgyi (* 1907, † 1990) and Minthuwun (* 1909, 2004) as well as by U Pe Maung Tin (* 1888, † 1973) was sponsored. It was characterized by lifelike content and styles in verse and prose and subsequently contributed to the development of socially critical literature.

Today the spectrum of contemporary literature in Myanmar (Burma) ranges from trivial stories to the very popular guidebooks to the complex literary reflection of social reality. International literary developments are incorporated through translations and adaptations. The restrictions imposed by the strict censorship have stimulated subtle metaphorical expressions. The goals and values ​​of Buddhism are never called into question and the study of classical poetry is still pursued intensively. The state funding for literature aims v. a. on the preservation of traditional cultural values ​​and the development of a sense of union.

Country Overview

British colony, independent since 1948 as the Burmese Federal Union formed by Burma proper, the national states of the karen (kawthoolei), the kayah, the shan, the kachin and the territory of the chin, in 1989 it took the name of Myanmar. With the 1974 Constitution Myanmar, in 1990 a Constituent Assembly was elected to draft a new Constitution (the previous 1974 Text was suspended in 1988) to which, however, the Council for the Restoration of Law and Order (SLORC), then the State Council for Peace and Development (1997), established by the military after a new coup, prevented the work from starting, effectively suspending the organization and abolishing all parties. Similarly, starting in 1988, the Council of State abolished the People’s Councils which exercised executive and judicial power in local administrative units (states or divisions, cities or villages), placing the judiciary under the control of the executive. Common Law British and does not incorporate the emanations of the International Court of Justice. The death penalty is in effect. The armed forces responsible for the defense of the state are the army, the navy and the air force, which are also flanked by a people’s police force and a people’s militia. The military service is voluntary and can be carried out by both sexes from 18 years of age. The education system, formerly the prerogative of Buddhist monks, has taken on a more modern connotation since the early nineteenth century. It was only after independence, however, that some attempts at school planning were promoted. Their realization took place only in part, as evidenced also by the high rate of illiteracy recorded among the population. It is true, however, that from the 1980s to the early years of the new millennium (2006), the rate dropped from 34% to 10.1%. At the level of school organization, in the country primary education is compulsory, lasts four years and is given from 5 to 9 years; the secondary one lasts from 10 to 16 and includes two sub-cycles. Higher education is entrusted to the two universities of Rangoon (Yangon) founded in 1920 and of Mandalay (1964) and various higher institutes.

Burmese Language and Literature

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