Burmese is the language that is most commonly spoken in Myanmar. It is a member of the Tibeto-Burman family of languages. Tribal minorities have their own languages and dialects. There are about 135 languages and 4 major dialects spoken in Myanmar. 

Burmese is tonal like Chinese, Thai or Laotian. Depending on the intonation, the word kya can refer to a tiger or to a unit of currency. The word taung could mean basket or mountain. Every syllable may be pronounced in five ways. There are three tones (high, even and heavy) and two ways of pronouncing syllables (with a glottal stop or as a short, unaccented syllable). Burmese is written in a special script with rounded characters. There are 30 consonants, 7 vowels and two diphthongs.

The art of courtesy and persuasion (called a-nah-dah) is very important. For example, rather than saying "no" outright, a speaker must convince the other person that what cannot be achieved is not worth having. Myanmar etiquette also distinguishes between a lie and statement that is not the whole truth. There is a time and place for the latter. The goal is a situation in which both parties feel they have won.

There are many forms of address in Myanmar. U means uncle, ko means elder brother or friend, maung means a boy or young man, bo means leader, ma means sister or young girl, daw means aunt and saya means teacher or master. The language also includes unique kin terms. The in-laws of a married couple may address each other as khamee or khamet. The husbands of two sisters would call each other ma yah nyi ako.

  Did you know?
In Myanmar, pointing a finger, hand or foot at someone is considered rude. When offering or receiving gifts, both hands are used. When talking to an older person, one does not sit at the same level, as a mark of respect. The head is sacred, and touching someone else's head is unacceptable.
U may be used as a respectful form of address for adult men, similar to "Mr." Daw may be used to address women. There are no family names. People simply use their given name, usually preceded by U or Daw. Blood relationships cannot be traced through people's names. Also, there are no nicknames: names of two or more syllables are never shortened to one.
  English Burmese
  Yes    Hou ke
  No   Mahou pabu
  Please   Ceizu pyu ba
  Thank you   Ceizu ba 
  Hello   Mingala ba
  Goodbye   Thwa ba oun me
  Excuse me   Kwin pyu ba
  How are you?   Kaun bad hala?