If you are visiting Burma for the first time, some of the things that you should know includes the fact that major credit cards are not accepted, therefore, it would be advisable to carry some cash. The national currency is Kyat, but the United States dollar is widely accepted as a means of payment. Even though the name of the country was changed to Myanmar in 1989 most western nations still refer to it as Burma, while the Asian countries such as China, Japan, India, Russia and Germany refer to it as Myanmar. Some governments still recognize the capital of Burma as Rangoon while officially it is Naypyidaw.
Burmese is the official language spoken in Burma, which is located in South East Asia. 32 million people speak Burmese as a first language, while 10 million people speak it as a second language. Apart from Burma, the language is also spoken in Bangladesh, USA, Malaysia and Thailand. Burmese is officially known as Myanmar but most English speakers still continue to refer to it as Burmese. The Burmese alphabet has 33 letters and it is written from left to write. Letters are normally rounded since palm leaves were used for writing in the past, and drawing straight lines would have resulted in the leaves being torn. There are usually no spaces between words, but modern Burmese literature normally leaves spaces between words to make it easier to read. It is not hard to learn Burmese since pronunciation normally follows spelling and its letters are simple to write.
Apart from Burmese, there are one hundred other languages that are spoken in Burma. These are mainly spoken by minority ethnic groups. All these languages fall under 4 ethnic groups. These are: Indo European, Sino-Tibetan, Tai Adai and Austro Asiatic. Some of the other languages include Karen, Shan, Kachine, Rhakine and Chinese. The use of ethnic language is discouraged at schools therefore, they are mainly used at home. Burmese is the primary language of instruction in schools, while English is the secondary language used for instruction in schools. English is mainly used by the urbanites and government officials.