Written Task: The Usage of Burglish on Social Networks

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The Usage of 'Burglish' on Social Networks

A Debate

Zwe Kyaw Zwa @ Robert Chen

Written Task: 999 words

Rationale: 298 words


        The introduction of the English language to Myanmar has transformed many

monolinguals in the country to bilinguals. However, the dominance of English, the

world's top lingua franca, over Burmese, a vernacular of Myanmar, has raised

serious concerns regarding a declining fluency among youth in use of the mother

language and hence, the loss of cultural heritage. People are becoming alarmed

about what they consider as an improper usage of English and Burmese by

Burmese teens on the Internet.

Multilinguals, through code-switching, have transformed the Internet into a

source that invents new vocabulary or even whole new languages. 'Burglish,' a

blend of Burmese and English, is one of these languages. 'Burglish' emerges from

the utilization of English phonetics to spell Burmese pronunciations. This hybrid

language has become a significant form of communication between Burmese

speakers, and together with the social influence it has on people, an online

community of 'Burglish' users is established.

However, the practice of 'Burglish' gives rise to controversial issues

concerning the purpose of its usage. Is this hybrid language a sign of innovation or

stagnation, that of resiliency or incompetence? Is it going to improve or reduce the

standards of our English? I have decided to create a debate between two students,

John and Mike, focusing on how the adoption of English impacts the Burmese

tongue and then, on whether its usage as a form of communication on social

networks is appropriate. Although the questions argued are open-ended, persuasive

language, supported by information, plays a key role in convincing the audience

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who the victor of the debate is.


Written Task

Mike: Ever since the English language was introduced to Myanmar during the

colonial days, there has been a significant sign of increase in the number of

bilingual speakers rather than monolinguals in the country. But, numerous

students, especially those from international schools, have already lost their

fluency in their mother tongue and some can't even read or write in Burmese!

John: The illiteracy of the students in their own language, concerns only


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