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SOAS Language Centre

Introduction to Burmese

A ten-week course aimed at those who wish to acquire a basic conversational and reading ability in Burmese

Duration: 20 hours (2 hours per week for 10 weeks)


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Mode of Attendance: Part Time

Burmese/Myanmar is the national language of the country known as Burma or Myanmar. It is the mother tongue of the majority ethnic group, the ‘Bamar’, and is used as a lingua franca by other ethnic groups such the Karen and Shan.  


The SOAS Language Centre course in Burmese is a systematically graded foundation course in the modern colloquial language.  It aims to give applicants a confident and enjoyable start in speaking Burmese, focusing on what is most likely to be needed when visiting Burma: “survival language” for cafés, taxis, shops, and so on, and “social language” for getting to know people and making friends.  Applicants will also learn to read and write Burmese script, so that they can read public notices, advertisements, magazines, newspapers and other written material.  The course is taught in English and Burmese. Class size is limited to fifteen to allow close involvement.

Continuing your study

Subject to demand, the Language Centre may be able to schedule Introduction to Burmese 2 later in the academic year. Speaking and comprehension skills continue to be developed, as do reading and writing, allowing students to progress with confidence.




The designated materials for this course are as follows:

1. Burmese Script in Eight Days (BS8D)

1.1 Reference sheets (13 pp, 496 KB)
1.2 Practice sheets (12 pp, 96 KB)
1.3 Audio (30 minutes, 28 MB)

2. Burmese by ear (BBE)

2.1 Book (211 pages A5, 1 MB)
2.2 Audio (6 hours, 327 MB)
2.3 Practice sheets for Units 1-3 in roman (15 pp, 108 KB)
2.4 Practice sheets for Units 3-12 in script (26 pp, 104 KB)

These materials can be downloaded from the following site:


For those who prefer to be provided with hard copies of the non-audio material, there will be a charge for the cost of production of the handouts.


The course is taught in small groups with a maximum of fifteen students per group. Classes will be held at the Bloomsbury or Kings Cross Campus of SOAS in central London on one evening a week. Participants receive 20 hours of language tuition over a ten-week period (with additional weeks where public holidays and/or cancellations through staff sickness displace a session).

See our online store to book a place on this course.

Language Centre How To Apply

You can enrol:

Not a complete beginner?

If you are not a complete beginner, you will need to complete an assessment for course placement, allowing us to decide which course is right for you.

To apply for an assessment please complete our Needs Analysis Form (pdf; 187kb) and send to the relevant email inbox where a Course Officer will contact you for scheduling.

Course Fees and Discounted Rates

An overview of our Short Course Fees and Discounted Rates.

If you are eligible for a discount, you will not be able to complete your transaction on the Online Store. You will need to bring a paper Application Form (pdf; 462kb) , including your Staff/Student card for us to make a copy of, after which we can process your application at the discounted rate.

Returning students

If you are a returning student, you will have received a letter informing you of the procedures for rejoining prior to the start of the registration period. You can pay using any method indicated above. Returning students, if they are continuing onto the course indicated as the progression course, do not need to be assessed.