Burmese script

The Burmese script is the basis of the alphabets used for modern Burmese, Mon, Shan and Karen.[1]

LanguagesBurmese, Shan, Mon, Karen, others.
Time period
11th century - present
Parent systems
Child systems
Burmese, Mon, Sgaw Karen, Shan
ISO 15924Mymr, 350
Unicode alias


An adaptation of the Old Mon script, the Burmese script was originally used to write the Mon. In modern times, besides being used to write the Burmese language, it has been adapted for use in writing other languages of Burma, most notably Shan, Mon (using a version of the script more similar to that used for Burmese than the original Old Mon script) and the S'gaw Karen language. It is also used for the liturgical languages of Pali and Sanskrit.[2]


The Burmese script was added to the Unicode Standard in September, 1999 with the release of version 3.0. Additional characters were added in subsequent releases.

Until 2005, most Burmese language websites used an image-based, dynamically-generated method to display Burmese characters, often in GIF or JPEG. At the end of 2005, the Burmese NLP Research Lab announced a Myanmar OpenType font named Myanmar1. This font contains not only Unicode code points and glyphs but also the OpenType Layout (OTL) logic and rules. Their research center is based in Myanmar ICT Park, Yangon. Padauk, which was produced by SIL International, is Unicode-compliant. Initially, it required a Graphite engine, though now OpenType tables for Windows are in the current version of this font. Since the release of the Unicode 5.1 Standard on 4 April 2008, three Unicode 5.1 compliant fonts have been available under public license, including Myanmar3, Padauk and Parabaik.[3]

Many Burmese font makers have created Burmese fonts including Win Innwa, CE Font, Myazedi, Zawgyi, Ponnya, Mandalay. It is important to note that these Burmese fonts are not Unicode compliant, because they use unallocated code points (including those for the Latin script) in the Burmese block to manually deal with shaping—that would normally be done by a complex text layout engine—and they are not yet supported by Microsoft and other major software vendors. However, there are few Burmese language websites that have switched to Unicode rendering, with many websites continuing to use a pseudo-Unicode font called Zawgyi (which uses codepoints allocated for minority languages and does not efficiently render diacritics, such as the size of ya-yit) or the GIF/JPG display method.

Burmese Support in Microsoft Windows 8

Windows 8 includes a Unicode-compliant Burmese font named "Myanmar Text". Windows 8 also includes a Burmese keyboard layout.[4] . Due to the popularity of the font in this OS, Microsoft kept its support in Windows 10.


The Unicode block called Myanmar is U+1000–U+109F. It was added to the Unicode Standard in September 1999 with the release of version 3.0:

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
U+100x က
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0

The Unicode block called Myanmar Extended-A is U+AA60–U+AA7F. It was added to the Unicode Standard in October 2009 with the release of version 5.2:

Myanmar Extended-A[1]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
U+AA7x ꩿ
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0

The Unicode called Myanmar Extended-B is U+A9E0–U+A9FF. It was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0:

Myanmar Extended-B[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
2.^ Grey area indicates non-assigned code point


  1. Hosken, Martin. (2012). "Representing Myanmar in Unicode: Details and Examples" (ver. 4). Unicode Technical Note 11.
  2. Sawada, Hideo. (2013). "Some Properties of Burmese Script" Archived 2016-10-20 at the Wayback Machine. Presented at the 23rd Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (SEALS23), Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.
  3. Zawgyi.ORG Developer site Archived 7 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. To install this keyboard layout, open Desktop, then Control Panel, then open the "Language" control panel. Click "Add language". Type "Burmese" into the search box in the upper-right (if you skip this step, Burmese fails to appear in the language list). After using the search box, Burmese appears and you can double-click it to choose it.

See also

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