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An Introduction to the Literary Style
Burmese has two styles of speaking and writing: the colloquial style, which is used for talking to friends and for writing letters, and the literary style, which is used in more formal contexts, such as academic articles, newspaper reports, and narrative passages in fiction. This volume, one of four in the complete language course, introduces learners to the literary style. It assumes a prior knowledge of Burmese script and a grounding in the colloquial style.
Okell starts with simple sentences and, over a series of short lessons, gradually increases the range of vocabulary and the level of complexity. The texts Okell uses for study are excerpts from Burmese children’s schoolbooks, highlighting themes of home- and school-life and Burmese nationalism and independence. Each passage is accompanied by a full translation and is followed by a set of exercises designed to familiarize the reader with the new vocabulary and sentence structures. Downloadable audio files allow students to hear the texts read aloud. Language professors and their students or those learning Burmese on their own will appreciate the accessible approach and manageable size of the lessons in this very practical textbook series.
John Okell, now retired, was for many years Lecturer in Burmese at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is the author of First Steps in Burmese and A Reference Grammar of Colloquial Burmese and coauthor of Burmese/Myanmar: A Dictionary of Grammatical Forms, and he continues to teach short courses in Thailand, Burma, the USA, and elsewhere, and assists in language teaching at SOAS.
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