အားလုံးမဂၤလာပါ။ (If you can’t read that, then you should download this font.)
Well, I suppose since this is my first post, I will write in English this time, but in the future, I plan to write ample amounts of posts in Burmese, because, of course, good writing improves all other aspects of language (see kids, English class isn’t useful, after all!). So, a little bit about myself: I am now a Freshmore (first year in undergrad, but I have enough credits to be a sophomore, so I’ll mix up the word) in a medium-sized Midwestern university majoring in German and Spanish (both B.A.).
I started learning Spanish at the age of ten by taking a mandatory elementary school class that met once a week. We only learned basic vocabulary, how to count, and some conversational phrases, but I loved it! In middle school, I began learning more of the grammar of Spanish and from seventh grade to tenth grade, I used a lot of my free time to work on my speaking and writing until it was pretty-darn good for a guy who doesn’t even speak Spanish at home.
This is where Burmese and German come in: I started learning both at about the same time, Burmese maybe a few months before German, but in retrospect, the same time. Towards the end of my sophomore year, I met a girl in my biology class, and because of my Spanish studies, I had become really interested in who was from what culture, etc. So, I asked her where she was from, and she answered “Burma”. I knew a little bit about the Burmese people in my city. Many bad stereotypes were lurking around about them because of an incident that happened at a local laundromat where a few “Burmese people” were spitting betel nut on the floor, and as a reaction a sign was posted on the door (in English) saying “NO BURMESE ALLOWED”, which of course, made the liberal nut-jobs of Fort Wayne have seizures and cry to the owner of the gas station that his business was bigoted. But I digress… Most of what I heard about the Burmese, is that they were majority Muslim (lol, no offense, that is WHAT I WAS TOLD). I asked the girl if she was Muslim, to which she answered a resounding, “no! I’m Buddhist!” I would chit-chat with her off-and-on about Burmese stuff, and one day, she showed me how to write her name in Burmese: မသူဇာ. She then informed me that was the only thing she knew how to write in Burmese, but I didn’t care, because I thought the writing looked so awesome. Over the next few months, I did what I could to start learning Burmese:
- I gathered whatever books and reading material I could find (including the sub-par BURMESE FOR BEGINNERS, although, it did help me learn the orthography and basic vocabulary, so I owe at least that, to it.
- I started listening to Burmese music and attempting at watching Burmese movies and TV clips, even if I didn’t understand a darn thing.
- I’d get on chat programs like Gtalk and ooVoo, just because a lot of Burmese youth use them, in order to strengthen my conversational skill.
- I would walk up to complete strangers on the street, as long as I was sure they were Burmese, and (after explaining that I am not a rapist… Lol, jk, I didn’t have to do that) strike up a conversation with them.
- I started going to a church that had a Burmese service.
- I did many more things that I can’t recall at the moment. [Update later, maybe?]
So, three years later, and here I am! I am nowhere near perfect, yet nowhere near horrible. I’ve had a bit of YouTube success due to THIS VIDEO, in which I sing horribly, yet some people seemed to be quite impressed. Since many people have asked me just how on earth I was able to accomplish this task, I figured since the majority of good ideas (and bad ideas) are now documented on the internet in blogs for all to see, I might as well choose that medium for my studies. Although I am very proud of my work, I recognize that I could never have progressed this far without the kindness of friends and strangers. Thus, I figured I ought to share my knowledge to make it that more valuable and helpful to anyone else who would like to learn another language (this site would be MOST useful if someone would like to learn Burmese, however😉 ).