SOAS University of London

South East Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

Burmese Language 1 (PG)

Module Code:
Taught in:
Full Year

PLEASE NOTE: This module will be divided into two 15-credit modules next academic year (i.e Language A and Language B). The overall objectives and outcomes for the year will not change. There may be some slight changes to the formal assessment. Students will be required to take a written test in the last week of Term 1 and should therefore not plan to be absent from SOAS at this time.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  1. knowledge and understanding of basic Burmese grammar
  2. knowledge and understanding of essential Burmese vocabulary
  3. knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of basic Burmese structures and expressions in a given context
  4. the ability to understand short passages in written Burmese on everyday topics
  5. the ability to produce short compositions in written Burmese on everyday topics
  6. the ability to understand spoken Burmese and to engage in short spoken discourse on everyday topics


Total of 20 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week in language classes.

Scope and syllabus

This module provides an introduction to spoken and basic literary style Burmese language with emphasis on practical written and spoken Burmese. All of the more important grammatical structures of the language are introduced.  Communicative practice is established through learning language around dialogues and readings dealing with a range of everyday situations, including travelling, buying, selling, eating in restaurants and family life.

The module equips students with a basic knowledge of Burmese and practice of using Burmese in a variety of everyday situations. It allows students to interact with Burmese speakers in Burmese and to use original Burmese-language sources within the level covered in the course. This provides students with a basis to approach research topics relating to Burmese language and the histories, societies and cultures associated with Burmese.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May-June (50%);a 2,000-word portfolio of marked homework, translation or essay agreed with the convenor to be submitted in week 1, term 3 (30%); oral examination of 15 minutes (15%); in- class tests (5% total).

Suggested reading

  • Burmese by Ear by John Okell (text and recordings available on SOAS Website at
  • Burmese: an introduction to the spoken language, Book 2, by John Okell. Text and audio recordings.
  • Burmese: an introduction to the literary style, by John Okell. Text and audio recordings.  

published by The Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University, 1994


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules