The Burmese or Myanmar script developed from the Mon script, which was adapted from a southern Indian script during the 8th century. The earliest known inscriptions in the Burmese script date from the 11th century.
Type of writing system: syllabic alphabet – each letter has an inherent vowel [a]. Other vowels sounds are indicated using separate letters or diacritics which appear above, below, in front of, after or around the consonant.
The rounded appearance of letters is a result of the use of palm leaves as the traditional writing material.
Straight lines would have torn the leaves. The Burmese name for the script is ca-lonh ’round script’.
Burmese is a tonal language with three main tones (high, low and creaky) and two other tones (stopped and reduced). The tones are indicated in writing using diacritics or special letters.