Myanmar or Burma – Learn a Little about These Two Name
14 Jun 2019 by Admin
Many people who visit or want to learn about Myanmar would get confused by the two names, Burma and Myanmar. If you also wonder which of the two name, Myanmar or Burma, is the right one to use, then read the following article to find out.
The Two Names Make Many People Confused
Before 1989, this beautiful Southeast Asian country was widely known under the official English name of Burma. This name had been used by the British colonizers for centuries and even adopted after the dependence of the country.
In 1989, the military government of the country made a decision to dispose of the names given by the British in the colonial era, to replace them with those that have spellings closer to the pronunciation in the Burmese language. This was similar to th
e case of India where they renamed Bombay into Mumbai and Calcutta into Kolkata, etc.
Both Two Names Are Widely Used
Nowadays, the officially used English name that the country has declared to the world is “Republic of the Union of Myanmar”. However, the name change has led to a division into two sides arguing about which name is the right one to use. This controversial issue is mainly rooted in the matter of politics and partly related to linguistic:
Myanmar is a country with many ethnic groups and its people speak many different languages. The major ethnic group whose soak up the largest population in Myanmar is the Burmese. Like Japanese, the tongue of the Burmese has a wide range of variations used in different social contexts and for different purposes. In Burmese, the name of the ethnic group is verbally expressed as Bama, whose literary version is written as Myanmar.
A crucial point that you should bear in mind is that the debate is merely about the English version of the name. The military government did not modify the official name in Burmese. Now in the language of the Burmese, people use both two versions of the name. The national anthem of the country is Bama Pyi, which can be interpreted as “the country of Burma”.
The people who criticize the modification of the country name claim that over centuries, people had recognized Burma as the official English name of the whole country while Myanma/Myanmar was purely recognized as a name which reflects the influence of the dominating ethnic group of the country. In contrary, the government announces a totally different statement which is contradictory to the above-mentioned claims.
Many people who expressed their criticism towards the government rejected the new name as a way to demonstrate their disapproval, not because of any linguistic reasons relating to the sounds of the names.
Still, it is common now that people choose to use both names, Burma and Myanmar. This is also the choice of the former president of the U.S, Barack Obama, during his visit to this Southeast Asian country. Both names are now used alternatively. For example, if you want to cruise in Burma, you can search "Myanmar River Cruises" and still get the information that you want. It is interesting, isn't it?
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