Burmese at the University of Toronto
With recent political developments in Burma/Myanmar, Burmese has again become a Southeast Asian language more and more students are interested in learning. Apart from Newar and Tibetan, Burmese is the only other Tibeto-Burman language to have produced a conspicuous body of written literature preserved and produced till today. The productivity and creativity of its speakers and writers spans from the 11th century to the present and its records range from the early medieval inscriptions and Buddhist commentaries to the poetic and dramatic compositions of the early modern period to modernist genres which have emerged and have seen their distribution in print or, more recently, on the internet, over the last century or so, such as novels, short stories, and poems in free verse. Literary Burmese, however, is not limited to historiographical and religious documents or the belles lettres: contemporary media such as academic publications, textbooks, newspapers, radio, and television carry on and maintain even within the spoken domain the tradition of a style that involves a vocabulary, grammar, historical index, and prestige that have set this form of Burmese apart from the colloquial manifestations of the language.
Research on Burmese at UofT is conducted by
Christoph Emmrich, who works on rituals for girl children (nadwin), gender in courtly poetry, and Burmese-Pali commentaries.
At UofT Literary Burmese is taught at the Department for the Study of Religion at all levels (beginners, intermediate, and advanced) by Christoph Emmrich.
Textbook for Literary Burmese used at UofT: John Okell, with U Saw Tun and Daw Khin Mya Swe. Burmese (Myanmar). An Introduction to the Literary Style. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2010. Textbook for Literary Burmese used at UofT.
Reference grammar for Literary Burmese used at UofT: Adoniram Judson. Grammar of the Burmese Language. Rangoon: American Baptist Mission Press, 1883. Find this book here.
Reader for Literary Burmese used at UofT: R.F. St. Andrew St John. A Burmese Reader, Being an Easy Introduction to the Written Language and Companion to Judson’s Grammar. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1894. Reader for Literary Burmese used at UofT. Find this book here.