There is some confusion with regards to Burmese and Chin being one and the same language. But this is not correct, as the Chin people are one of the major ethnic nationalities in Burma. Moreover, Chin has a wide variety of languages and dialects, whereas Burmese is the official language of Myanmar.
The Chin language has many varieties, not all mutually intelligible, and the linguistic
differences are compounded by highly varied levels of education and contact with the western world.
In fact, there are 31 different varieties of the Chin language, which are also spoken in India and Bangladesh. The largest varieties are:
- Zomi Tedim Chin with an estimated 344,000 speakers
- Falam Chin with an estimated 107,300 speakers
- Haka Chin (Hakha) with an estimated 125,000 speakers
There are also many different accents among the same dialects.
The Chin people use Latin script (Hakha alphabet) or Burmese script as their Writing System.
Burmese and Chin are not one and the same language. Some Chin speak standard Burmese, but this varies greatly by age, work experience and education level.
Burmese, on the other hand, is the official language of Myanmar. The majority of Burmese speakers, who live throughout the Irrawaddy River Valley, use a number of largely similar dialects, while a minority speak non-standard dialects found in the peripheral areas of the country. These dialects include:
- Tanintharyi Region: Merguese (Myeik, Beik), Tavoyan (Dawei), and Palaw
- Magway Region: Yaw
- Shan State: Intha, Taungyo and Danu
- Arakanese (Rakhine) in Rakhine State and Marma in Bangladesh are also sometimes considered dialects of Burmese and sometimes separate languages
Burmese uses the Burmese alphabet as their writing system.
Despite vocabulary and pronunciation differences, there is mutual intelligibility among Burmese dialects, as for the most part, they share the same four tones, consonant clusters and use of the Burmese script. However, several dialects substantially differ in Burmese with respect to vocabulary, lexical particles, and rhymes.
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