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The Free Online Burmese Lessons
Learn Myanmar Language, History & Culture

Learn Myanmar Language in conversational and literary form. Learn to speak and read Burmese. The Free Online Colloquial Burmese (Myanmar language) lessons include Burmese script, MP3 audio, PDF files and easy Burmese grammar study materials with color-coded parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, particles, postpositional markers, and interjections.

Naing Tinnyuntpu Naing Tinnyuntpu is no stranger to systematic and efficient approach. He came from manufacturing environment with Bachelor's and Master's degree in Industrial Engineering (USA). His contributions to semiconductor industry include Administrative Quality Best Practices during his working years as a process engineer with Hewlett-Packard in Singapore. Born and raised in Yangon, he has lived in 6 countries and exposed to different cultures and knowledgeable in unrelated areas. This includes self-taught programming languages. Currently, he is contributing to Tourism in Myanmar by making his online Burmese lessons freely available and accessible to all.


TONE REFERENCE TABLE
Audio Pronunciation
Ah1 "a" in "art" with silent "rt"
Ah2 "ar" in "Argentina" with silent "r"
Ah3 "ar" in "Artist" with slilent "r"
De1 "de" in "deep" with silent "p"
De2 "de" as in "demote"; "demand"
De3 "dee" as in "deer"; "decent"
Ko1 "colt" with silent "lt"
Ko2 as in "co-author"; "cocaine"
Ko3 "cold" wit silent "ld"
Yu1 "u" in "Youth" with silent "th"
Yu2 "u" as in "university"; "utensil"
Yu3 "u" as in "user"; "Unix"
Shan1 as in "shunt" with silent "t"
Shan2 "shun" as in "chandelier"
Shan3 as in "shun"
Au1 as in "auction"
Au2 as in "Australia";"auditor"
Au3 as in "August"
May1 "maize" with silent "ze"
May2 "may" as in "May I?"
May3 "ay" in "amazing"
Sin1 "sink" with silent "k"
Sin2 "sin" as in "sincerely"
Sin3 "sin" as in "sinful"; "Singapore"
Un1 "aunt" with silent "t"
Un2 "un" in "understanding"; "umbrella"
Un3 "un" as in "under"
Meare1 "melt" with silent "lt"
Meare2 "mel" in "Melbourne" with silent "l"
Meare3 "mare" of "nightmare"
Tain1 "taint" with silent "t"
Tain2 "tain" as in "Captain"
Tain3 "tain" as in "maintain"
Bine1 "Bryant" without "r"
Bine2 as in "carbine"
Bine3 as in "combine"
Dome1 as in "don't"
Dome2 close to "dominate"
Dome3 as in "dome"
Toon1 "doont" in "couldn't"
Toon2 "mon" in "monastery"
Toon3 "oon" as in "cartoon"
Koun1 "count" with silent "t"
Koun2 "coun" in "counter-strike"
Koun3 "coun" as in "counsel"
ate cake, jade, eight, paid, bake
et wet, set, mad, yet
oot cook, put, look
out out, south, mouse, doubt
ike/ite sight, pipe, night, dice, like
ut up, nut, sucks
oat oat, coat, goat, soak
it it, pit, sit
Read this page with Myanmar Script

Basic Conversational Burmese with Script in PDF format and Audio in Zip file

The latest version of PDF file including Lesson 2a, 2b, and 2c is available for download.

Basic Conversational Burmese with Script

Revision: K3.1
Revised Date: 2016-08-18
File Size: 247 KB
Number of Pages: 19

Spelling and usages in Burmese script are consistent with (and checked against) the Spelling Reference Book and Burmese to Burmese Dictionary published by the Ministry of Education in Naypyitaw, Myanmar.

More than 130 Audio files are zipped for easy download and offline study.

Zipped Audio Files

File: lesson2a-summary.zip
Date: 2017-02-22
File Size: 6.61 MB

Text, CSV, and Excel files with audio file names, corresponding Script, Romanization, and English meaning are added to aid in self-study.

Zipped Audio Files

lesson2a-summary-list.zip
Date: 2017-03-11
File Size: 18 KB

SUMMARY OF WORDS AND PHRASES WITH MP3 AUDIO.

Complete sentences in Romanization start with capital letters. CLICK (OR TOUCH) COLUMN HEADERS TO SORT phrases in ascending or descending order.

Sortable Words and Phrases
AUDIO ↑↓ ENGLISH ↑↓
ba2 polite word with emphasis
ba2-deare2 affirmation in the answer
Ba2 joun1 leare3 Why? (as in science investigation)
Ba2 leare3 What?
Ba2 lo2 chin2 leare3 What do you want?
Ba2 loat chin2 leare3 What do you want to do?
Ba2 loat ja1 ma1 leare3 What shall we do?
Ba2 pfyit lo1 leare3 Why? (What's the matter?)
Ba2 sa3 ja1 ma1 leare3 What shall we eat?
Beare2 dau1 la2 ma1 leare3 When will you come?
Beare2 gah1 pyan2 la2 leare3 Come back from where?
Beare2-ha2 leare3 Which one?
Beare2-hma2 leare3 Where is it?
Beare2 hna1 yout leare3 How many persons?
Beare2 leare3 Go where?
Beare2-lo2 leare3 How is it going?
Beare2-lo2 loat ja1 ma1 leare3 What shall we do? (What's next?)
Beare2-lo2 thwa3 ja1 ma1 leare3 How shall we go?
Beare2-lout leare3 How much?
Beare2-lout lo2-chin2 leare3 How much do you want?
Beare2 thwa3 chin2 leare3 Where do you want to go?
Beare2 thwa3 ja1 ma1 leare3 Where shall we go?
Beare2-thu2 leare3 Who?
byi2 la3 has reached certain stage?
Da2 ba2 leare3 What is this?
Da2 beare3 This is the one!
Da2 lo2 chin2 deare2 I want this one!
dau1 no longer (do or want something.)
De2-hma2 here!
De2-lo2 beare3 So so.. (Lit: "Just like this.")
De2-lout This much!
De2-lout lo2-chin2 deare2 I want this much.
De2-lout lo2 deare2 I need this much.
Ho2-hma2 there!
Hote yes (short form) Lit: to be correct
Hote ba2-deare2 Yes, that's right!(correct fact)
Hote deare2 Yes (to yes or no choice)
Hote-keare1 Yes (polite positive agreement)
Hote la3 Yes? (Is that so? / Is that correct?)
Hote pa1, Hote pa1 Absolutely!
Hote yeare1 la3 Are you sure? Correct or not?
hsa1-ya2 teacher, master of a trade
hsa1-ya2-dau2 Venerable Monk
hsa1-ya2-ma1 madam, female teacher
hsite-ka3 hsa1-ya2 a trickshaw / trishaw driver
ja1 plural form of people
Khet la3 difficult?
Kone2 byi2 la3 Used/eaten up already?
Kone2 byi2 Used/eaten up already.
koun3 good
Koun3 ba2-deare2 I am fine / It was OK.
Koun3 ba2-deare2 lay2 whatever... is good.
Koun3 byi2 lay2 Good! Well, I am glad.
Koun3 deare2 Good! (It was good!)
Koun3 la3 Good?
Koun3 yeare1 la3 good or not? (any problem?)
kjay3 zu3 merit done on an another person.
Kjay3 zu3 tin2 ba2 deare2 Thank You!
la3 Question mark at the end of the sentence.
Lo2 chin2 deare2 I want it.
Lo2 chin2 la3 Do you want it?
Lo2 deare2 I need it.
Lo2 la3 Do you need it?
Lout byi2 to be enough
Lout byi2 la3 enough already?
Lout deare2 Yes, enough!
Lout la3 Do you have enough?
Lweare2 la3 easy?
Ma1 hote bu3 Wrong!
Ma1 hote thay3 bu3 Still not right!
Ma1 kone2 thay3 bu3 I haven't used/eaten up yet.
Ma1 kone2 thay3 bu3 la3 Haven't used/eaten up yet?
Ma1 lo2 bu3 No need!
Ma1 lo2 chin2 dau1 bu3 I no longer want it.
Ma1 lo2 dau1 bu3 I no longer need it.
Ma1 lo2 thay3 bu3 I don't need it yet.
Ma1 loat chin2 dau1 bu3 I don't want to do it anymore.
Ma1 loat dau1 bu3 I am no longer doing it.
Ma1 lout bu3 not enough
Ma1 lout thay3 bu3 still not enough
Ma1 lout thay3 bu3 la3 still not enough?
Ma1 pyi3 thay3 bu3 Haven't finished yet.
Ma1 pyi3 thay3 bu3 la3 Haven't you done it yet?
Ma1 sa3 chin2 dau1 bu3 I don't want to eat it anymore.
Ma1 sa3 dau1 bu3 I am not going to eat.
Ma1 sa3 yah1 thay3 bu3 I haven't eaten yet.
Ma1 sa3 yah1 thay3 bu3 la3 Haven't you eaten yet?
Ma1 thwa3 bu3 I am not going.
Ma1 thwa3 chin2 bu3 I don't want to go.
Ma1 thwa3 chin2 dau1 bu3 I no longer want to go.
Ma1 thwa3 chin2 thay3 bu3 I don't want to go yet.
Ma1 thwa3 dau1 bu3 I am not going anymore.
Ma1 yah1 thay3 bu3 Haven't got (or ready) yet.
Ma1 yah1 thay3 bu3 la3 Haven't got (or ready) yet?
Ma1 yout thay3 bu3 We are not there yet.
Ma1 yout thay3 bu3 la3 Are we not there yet?
Min2-gla2-ba2 formal greeting
nay2-htine2 life; living
nay2-koun3 feeling well
Nay2-koun3 ja1 ba2-deare2 We are fine.
Nay2-koun3 ja1 la3 How's everyone?
Nay2-koun3 ja1 yeare1 la3 How's everyone? (concern)
Nay2-koun3 la3 How are you?
Nin2 beare2 ma1 leare3 Where are you?
Pyi3 byi2 done! / It's over.
Pyi3 byi2 la3 Finished already?
sa2-yay3 hsa1-ya2 a writer
sa3 eat
Sa3-koun3 yeare1 la3 How was the food? Delicious?
Sa3 pyi3 byi2 Yes, eaten already.
Sa3 pyi3 byi2 la3 eaten already?
Thate koun3 ta2 beare3 It was very good!
thay3 still not
thay3 bu3 NOT YET ending words
Thu2 beare3 That's him!
Thwa3 chin2 dare2 I want to go.
Thwa3 chin2 la3 Do you want to go?
Thwa3 ma1 la3 Are you going?
Thwa3 meare2 Yes, I am going.
Thwa3 ome3 meare2 nau2 Got to go now!
tway1 meet
tway1 yah1 ta2 as for the opportunity to meet
Tway1 yah1 ta2 wun3-tha2 ba2 deare2 Nice (or glad) to meet you!
wun3-tha2 happy; glad
yah1 to obtain; be ready; to be available
Yah1 byi2 Yes, got it (or ready as in dinner.)
Yah1 byi2 la3 Have you got it? Is it ready?
yeare1 the word to show concern
yout to reach the destination
Yout byi2 We are there.
Yout byi2 la3 Are we there yet?

How to Invite Someone in Burmese?

Naturally, after greetings and small talks, you will probably hear invitations from your Burmese friend, or from Asia Pearl Travels in this case:

Myan2 ma2 -- Myanmar
pyi2 -- Country
go2 -- to
la2 -- come
leare2 -- visit
ba2 ome3 -- polite persuasion

Myan2 ma2 pyi2 go2 la2 leare2 ba2 ome3 -- Won't you visit Myanmar?

You can substitute "Myan2 ma2 pyi2" with the list of countries around the World in lesson 19.

You can use the same sentence structure to invite someone to your house.

Ain2 -- house
la2 -- come
leare2 -- visit
ba2 ome3 -- polite persuasion

Ain2 la2 leare2 ba2 ome3 -- Please visit our house.

That phrase will come in handy if you are already in Yangon, and if you want to practice speaking Burmese.

Lesson 2a: Greetings, Basic Questions & Answers in Burmese

Table of Contents / Index (Sortable)
# ↑↓ Subject ↑↓
1May peace be with You!
2Master of a trade
3Affirmative initial word
4Good!
5Question mark
6Plural word for people
7Showing concern
8Affirmative ending word
9Delicious or not?
10How Burmese people greet each others
11Good Morning / Good Afternoon / Good Evening
12Nice to meet you
13Thank you!
146W's and 3H's Overview
15Difference between Right and Wrong
16Still not...
17Go where?
18Where is it?
19Where are you?
20What?
21What is this?
22Want to go or not?
23Are you going?
24Do you need it?
25How much?
26How much do you want?
27Do you have enough?
28Enough already?
29Have you ....?
30Haven't you ...?
31No longer ...
32Why?
33Who?
34Which?
35When?
36How?
37How many?
38How was the lesson?

May Peace be with you!

In the previous lesson, I have covered the comprehensive list of Burmese tones in a system similar to Hanyu Pinyin tone system. Please refer back to the discussion on Tones in Burmese for the detailed explanations on the correct pronunciations of the words. In this lesson, we will start with some useful simple Burmese phrases.

Myanmar President Office A New Gentle Culture
This type of greeting from a person of higher social status to someone who is younger or of a lower social status is not yet common in Myanmar.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had introduced this gentle culture originated in ancient India by returning his extended palms firmly pressed together as a gesture of courtesy to Burmese well-wishers who greeted to him in a similar manner. It came as a pleasant surprise and bewilderment to the onlookers who were not accustomed to such returning of the salute.

The 8th President of Myanmar, U Thein Sein, led by similar good example in this rare photo posted on Myanmar President's Office website. (Dated: 6 August 2015)

Myanmar Presient U Thein Sein greeting in mutual respect

Body Language in Greeting

Pressing of the raised palms during the greeting with mutual respect is not yet commonly practiced in Myanmar like 'Wai' greeting in Thailand or 'Namaste' greeting in India. Usually, this gesture is a one-way respect from the younger person to the elders, to the monks, or Buddha images and Pagodas. The tradition can be traced back to Ancient India 4,000 years ago, and is called Anjali Mudra in Sanskrit.

If you are a foreigner greeted with Min2-gla2-ba2, it's OK to reply with Min2-gla2-ba2 accompanied by a simple nod and a smile.

Min2-gla2-ba2

That's the standard greeting that you might have read it or heard of before. "Min2-gla2" has attributes of wholesomeness, graciousness, joy and freedom from imperfections. It is quite close to the English word "auspicious", but "auspicious" is the adjective usually associated with day or event, whereas "Min2-gla2" bestows those attributes to the human being.

When "ba2" is added to the end of the sentence, it gives a soft suggestive feel to it. It's as though the speaker is graciously offering a gift of wholesomeness and a wish to bring a perfect experience to the person who rightfully deserved it. There is no excitement in saying it, but it has an air of tranquility and calmness in it. So, my translation of Min2-gla2-ba2 would be

"Hello, welcome and enjoy a perfect occasion!"

The Root of Min2 ga1 la2 ba2

The word Min2 ga1 la2 in Burmese greeting min2 ga1 la2 ba2 comes from the ancient Pali word meaning 'something auspicious', 'good luck', or a 'good omen'.

Myanmar English Dictionary by the Ministry of Education defines this word in English as

  1. source of prosperity, blessing
  2. anything auspicious, joyous, festive

Min2 ga1 la2 ba2 is a formal word used to greet teachers, hotel guests, and customers. Another common usage to min2 ga1 la2 is min2 ga1 la2 hsoun2, which means to marry and wed with a formal ceremony.

In one of the most popular Buddhist Suttas (sermon) known as "Maha-mangala Sutta", the Buddha teaches on how to live a happy life by common sense approaches such as avoidance of bad company and developing the serene mind.

Source: Buddhist Dictionary, Manual of Buddhist Terms & Doctrines by Ven. Nyanatiloka.
Website: books.google.com/books?isbn=9552400198

Myanmar Grammar Notes: "Min2-gla2" is a noun in Burmese grammar. The correct translation of auspicious is min2-gla2-shi1-dthau3 (adjective).

It is interesting to note that Burmese sentences can be formed without reference to pronouns and persons. There is no "I" or "You" in the above sentence. It is understood that the wish is aimed at the person being spoken to. Having said that, I remember as a child greeting to the teacher in the classroom as

Min2-gla2-ba2 hsa1-ya2-ma1

The Master : "hsa1-ya2"

"Hsa1-ya2" refers to the teacher or a master of any trade, like "Shi1 Fu" in Mandarin Chinese. In Myanmar, there are no slaves, everyone is a "master"...

sa2-yay3 hsa1-ya2 -- a writer

trickshaw-trishaw driver

hsite-ka3 hsa1-ya2 -- a trickshaw / trishaw (tricycle that carries two passengers, one facing the back) driver
hsa1-ya2-dau2 -- Venerable Monk, and so on...

When addressing to a female teacher, "ma1" is added to "hsa1-ya2".

hsa1-ya2-ma1 -- could refer to a female teacher, a female nurse, a female superior, a female doctor, or any professional-looking female.

Hote-keare1 hsa1-ya2-ma1 -- Yes, madam!

Note: The 7th Burmese character Hsa1 sounds almost like the 6th character Sa1 but with more hissing sound. Please refer to lesson33 for pronunciations of consonants.

Yes, positively "hote"

Nowadays, on the Internet Chat and SMS, a short form of "yes" is commonly used..

Question: Hote la3 -- Is that so? Literally, it means "yes?"
Answer: Hote. -- Yes.
Koun3 byi2 lay2 -- Oh, well.. what you said is fine with me. (Lit: good, let it be)

There are more than one way to say "yes" depending on the context. We will discuss more in lesson 3.

A good word to know: "koun3"

koun3 means "good".
Koun3 yeare1 la3 -- Is it to your liking? Good or not?
Koun3 deare2 -- Good!

Koun3 deare2, in this case, is the answer "yes" to the question "good or not". You use back the word Koun3 (adjective) in the question.

Koun3 deare2 can also be a statement. For example, after you have tasted delicious food, you can say Koun3 deare2 -- Good!

The question mark: "La3"

When the word la3 (particle) is added to the end of the sentence, it becomes a question mark.

Koun3 la3 -- Good?

Nay2-koun3 la3 -- How are you? ([feeling well= live + good] + ?)
Koun3 ba2-deare2 -- I am fine; pretty good! (good+ confirmation clause according to what the speaker sees or feels)

The word nay2-koun3 is a verb meaning feeling well. It is a compound word made up of nay2, which is a short form of the word nay2-htine2 meaning to live or to dwell. The word koun3, as we have seen earlier, means "good".

Also note that the question has the verb portion nay2 and the adjective portion koun3. In the answer, the verb portion nay2 is omitted.

The plural "ja1" for people

The word ja1 (particle) indicates that the conversation refers to more than one person.

Nay2-koun3 ja1 la3 -- How's everyone? (feeling well + plural + ?)
Nay2-koun3 ja1 ba2-deare2 -- We are fine. (feeling well + plural + affirmative)
Hote-keare1... Nay2-koun3 ja1 ba2-deare2 -- Yes, we are fine. (yes + feeling well + plural + affirmative)

Showing doubt and concern with "yeare1"

yeare1 (postpositional marker) is added when the person asking the question has no idea on the situation of the conversation, and it put the tone of concern, doubt, and a sincere desire to know what's going on.

Hote yeare1 la3 -- Are you sure? (yes + doubt and concern + ?)

When you don't hear from your family for a long time and wondering if they are OK or not, you add yeare1 mentioned above to seek assurance and to show concern.

Nay2-koun3 ja1 yeare1 la3 -- How's everyone? Is everyone OK? (feeling well + plural + doubt and concern + ?)

Hote-keare1, Nay2-koun3 ja1 ba2-deare2 -- Yes, we are fine. (yes + feeling well + plural + affirmative)

Affirmative "deare2" or "ba2-deare2"

Ba2-deare2 is the positive affirmation in the answer. "Ba2" in the word ba2-deare2 is a polite word which softens the feeling tone, and at the same time put the emphasis on the verb or the noun before it with the meaning somewhat like "indeed". (It is spelled as "pa2" in Burmese script.) Some phrases sound too abrupt without this word.

Hote ba2-deare2 -- Yes, the way I see it. Yes, that's right!

Koun3 ba2-deare2 -- (good + affirmative) It was previously used as an answer: "I am fine!" to "How are you?" type of question. Depending on the context, it could also mean "it is good that way, the way I see it." If you want to sound real Burmese, you might even want to add lay2 to the end of this sentence:

Koun3 ba2-deare2 lay2

It adds a deep thought and unconditional acceptance of the situation in which one cannot do much to change. Believe me, it's quite common for the Burmese people in Myanmar. Just four words, and they sum up the following lengthy English expression:

"Well, the way it turns out... it's good that way. We have to look at it positively and accept the situation..."

to which I agree absolutely by saying:

Hote-pa1, hote-pa1...

The feeling is all there. Though unspoken, we know. We understand. We silently feel the thoughts behind the speaker. (There you go. Now you are learning REAL Burmese that the Lonely Planet never teach you...)

Delicious or not?

delicious food in Myanmar

Sa3 means to eat.
Sa3-koun3 yeare1 la3? -- How was the food? Good? (delicious+ doubt and concern + ?)
Koun3 ba2-deare2 -- Yes, it was good. (good + affirmative)

The word delicious is coined by sa3 - to eat, and koun3, which means good. Also note that the verb sa3 is omitted in the answer just like the answer to "how are you?" question.

If you want to show your gratitude to the host, you can say:

Thate -- extremely (adverb)
koun3 -- good (adjective)
ta2 -- refers to the object (food in this case) which is good (particle)
beare3 -- ending word (particle)

The particle "ta2" modifies the adjective "koun3" into a noun "koun3-ta2", which means something that is good. So, Thate koun3 ta2 refers to something extremely good. Beare3 is the emphasis ending word roughly means, "exactly" in this case.

Thate koun3 ta2 beare3 -- It was very good! In lesson 8 we will discuss more on how to express yourself better using adverbs.

More on Greetings

It's funny, but Min2-gla2-ba2 is not a common usage among Burmese to greet each other. It seems like a reserved word to teach the first Burmese word to foreigners:-) If I go out the street, a neighbor might ask:

Beare2 leare3 -- Go where? Where to?

When I come back home, she might ask again:

Beare2 gah1 pyan2 la2 leare3 -- Come back from where? The word pyan2 la2 is to come back, and gah1 means from.

When it's near breakfast, lunch, or dinner time, she might say..

Sa3 pyi3 byi2 la3 -- Eaten already? where pyi3 byi2 means "done".

How to Greet in Burmese.

How to say "Good morning", "Good afternoon", "Good evening" in Burmese

Speakers of some other languages will be interested in learning how to say those greetings in Burmese. For example, Malay and Indonesian languages have standard greetings like "Selamat pagi", "Selamat petang", "Selamat malam", and so on. Yes, it is possible to directly translate "Good morning", "Good evening" and "Good night" into Burmese. But, you will sound very odd and people will look at you in a funny way when you say those phrases.

Burmese culture is evolving

Although "Good Morning" is not a common usage in colloquial Burmese, you will probably hear radio DJ's using the term: min2-gla2 ma1-net-khin3 ba2. MP3 Audio File

ma1-net means morning, and khin3 covers the whole region or stretch of time.

Similarly, min2-gla2 nay1-leare2-khin3 ba2 - Good Afternoon MP3 Audio File

min2-gla2 nya1-nay2-khin3 ba2 - Good Evening MP3 Audio File

You will also hear more usage of the term min2-gla2 ba2 by commercial establishments such as restaurants and hair saloons as they compete for customers.

Nice to meet you

When someone introduces you to a native Burmese speaker, you can say

Tway1 yah1 ta2 wun3-tha2 ba2 deare2 -- Nice to meet you!

Tway1 -- to meet (verb)
yah1 ta2 -- as for being able to (particle)
wun3-tha2 -- be glad(verb) equivalent to happy (adjective in English)
ba2 deare2 -- polite affirmative ending words. (particle + postpositional marker)

What if you have already met the person before? What kind of greeting can a foreigner say to a Burmese? Just say "hello" in English. Nay2-koun3 la3 to one person or Nay2-koun3 ja1 la3 to more than one person would also do fine. If you are, say, the president of the United States making a formal speech in Yangon, then it's very appropriate to start with Min2-gla2-ba2. President Obama learned to say that word. He had also learned to say kjay3 zu3 tin2 ba2 deare2 - Thank you! at the end of his speech.

whitehouse Watch Obama on Youtube
Obama greets in Burmese. US President Obama made his first trip to Myanmar in November 2012 and second trip in November 2014.
United States President Obama speaks Burmese

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) Myanmar Naingan, Mingalaba! (Laughter and applause.) I am very honored to be here at this university and to be the first President of the United States of America to visit your country. Read the entire transcript at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov

Thank You!

OK, so now you know what's kjay3 zu3 tin2 ba2 deare2 means. But, exactly what does it mean in Burmese? Here's the break-down.

kjay3 zu3 -- a good work (help or merit) that a person does on an another person.

tin2 -- to explain the facts and make a report as in tin2 pya1. It could also mean to have left behind a debt and gratitude in this case.

ba2 deare2 -- polite ending word with emphasis on tin2.

How to ask basic questions: 6W's and 3H

The word la3 is used at the end of the sentences to form questions which expect "yes" or "no" answer.

The word leare3 is used at the end of the sentence for all 6 W's and 3 H questions: "what", "which", "where", "who", "why", "when", "how", "how many", and "how much".

Beare2 is used in the beginning of all 6 W's and 3 H questions except "what" and "why". Sentences with Beare2 will always end with leare3 forming the pattern:

Beare2 ... leare3.

Ba2 is used in the beginning of the sentence to ask "what" and "why" questions. Don't confuse this Ba2 with suggestive and polite ba2 at the end of the sentences and phrases such as the greeting: Min2-gla2-ba2. They sound alike but spelled differently. Please refer to PDF file with Burmese Script.

Just like beare2, sentences with ba2 will always end with leare3 forming the pattern:

ba2 ... leare3.

You will see those patterns as we go along. Here comes a list of basic questions, answers and phrases.

Difference between Right and Wrong

Ma1 hote bu3 -- Wrong! (negative + yes/to be true + negative ending)

Hote deare2 -- Yes, what you say is true. (yes/to be true + affirmative)

Simple negative statements will have the pattern Ma1 xxxx bu3, where xxxx is either adjectives such as "hot", "cold", or the verbs such as "need", "like".

Simple positive statements will have the pattern xxxx deare2, where xxxx is either adjectives such as "hot", "sweet", "red", or the verbs such as "hungry", "thirsty".

Normally, "hungry" in English is an adjective as in "hungry dog" unless it is used with the verb forming word in the sentence such as "I (am hungry)". Burmese word hsa2 is not an adjective but a verb "be hungry" in hsa2 deare2 -- I am hungry!. It can be used with the adjective forming particle as in (hsa2 dthau3) khway3 -- hungry dog. Similarly, several words that you would normally expect to be adjectives in English are used as verbs in Burmese.

Still not "thay3 bu3"

Ma1 hote thay3 bu3 -- Still not right! (negative + yes + yet to be + negative ending)

Ma1 lo2 thay3 bu3 -- I don't need it yet. (negative + need + yet to be + negative ending)

Go where? Where to?

Beare2 leare3 -- Go where? (where + ?)

Beare2 thwa3 chin2 leare3 -- Where do you want to go? (where + go + want + ?)

Beare2 thwa3 ja1 ma1 leare3 -- Where shall we go? (where + go + plural + choice word + ?)

Where is it?

Beare2-hma2 leare3 -- Where is it? (which + location indicator + ?)

Ho2-hma2 -- there! (that + location indicator)

De2-hma2 -- here! (this place + location indicator)

Note: The "where" word Beare2-hma2 leare3 is commonly spoken as Beare2-ma1 leare3

Where are you?

Myanmar got talent. Go ahead girl. Give your best shot. Ask "Where are you?" in less than one minute.

Where are you?

Myanmar got talent. Go ahead girl. Give your best shot. Ask "Where are you?" in 55 seconds.

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How about that for improving your listening skills? She said "where" word four times in 55 seconds. Can you catch them? She reversed the question: "You + where?" to "Where + you?" and "Where + he?" to put more stress on the "where" word. We will go over "you" and "he" words later in Lesson 4. Here, I will give just one informal "Where are you?" By the way, her name is Eint Chit | ain1-chit and she also wrote the lyrics. Watch her when she was even younger back in 2009. The starting part of this song is in lesson 4. This rising star was discovered by Coca-Cola Myanmar and named the brand ambassador in April 2015 to join Sai Sai Kham Leng and Mi Sandi to tour the country.

Nin2 beare2-ma1 leare3 -- Where are you? (you + where?) MP3 Audio File

What?

Ba2 leare3 -- What? (in a sense, "Why do you call me?" "Why are you bothering me?")

Ba2 lo2 chin2 leare3 -- What do you want? (what + need + want + ?)

Ba2 loat chin2 leare3 -- What do you want to do? (what + do + want + ?)

Ba2 loat ja1 ma1 leare3 -- What shall we do? for fun, etc.. (what + do + plural + choice word + ?)

Ba2 sa3 ja1 ma1 leare3 -- What shall we eat? (what + eat + plural + choice word + ?)

What is this?

Objects, subjects, people, places, or the words pointing to the nouns such as "this", "that", "he", "they" always come first in the question words: "what", "where", "who", "when", "why", "how", and "how much". The sequence is the same as Chinese, but opposite from English.

Da2 ba2 leare3 -- What is this? (this + what + ?)

Want to go or not?

Thwa3 chin2 la3 -- Do you want to go? (go + want + ?)

Ma1 thwa3 chin2 bu3 -- I don't want to go. (negative + go + want + negative ending)

Ma1 thwa3 chin2 thay3 bu3 -- I don't want to go yet. (negative + go + want + yet to be + negative ending)

Thwa3 chin2 deare2 -- I want to go. (go + want + affirmative)

Hote-keare1, thwa3 chin2 deare2 -- Yes, I want to go. (yes + go + want + affirmative)

Are you going?

Thwa3 ma1 la3 -- Are you going? (go + choice word + ?)

Ma1 thwa3 bu3 -- I am not going. (negative + go + negative ending)

Thwa3 meare2 -- Yes, I am going. (go + going to)

Do you need it?

Lo2 la3 -- Do you need it? (need + ?)

Lo2 chin2 la3 -- Do you want it? (need + want + ?)

Lo2 deare2 -- I need it. (need + affirmative)

Lo2 chin2 deare2 -- I want it. (need + want + affirmative)

Hote-keare1, lo2 deare2 -- Yes, I need it. (yes + need + affirmative)

Hote-keare1, lo2 chin2 deare2 -- Yes, I want it. (yes + need + want + affirmative)

Ma1 lo2 bu3 -- No need. (negative + need + negative ending)

How much?

Beare2-lout leare3 -- How much? (where + approximately enough + ?)

De2-lout -- This much. (this + approximately enough)

How much do you want?

Beare2-lout lo2-chin2 leare3 -- How much do you want? (how much + want + ?)

De2-lout lo2 deare2 -- I need it this much. (this much + need + affirmative)

De2-lout lo2 chin2 deare2 -- I want this much. (this much + want + affirmative)

Hote-keare1, de2-lout lo2 chin2 deare2 -- Yes, I want this much. (yes, this much + need + want + affirmative)

Do you have Enough?

Lout la3 -- Enough? (be sufficient + ?)

Lout deare2 -- Yes, enough. (be sufficient + affirmative)

Ma1 lout bu3 -- Not enough. (negative + be sufficient + negative ending)

Enough already?

Lout byi2 la3 -- Enough? (be sufficient + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)

Ma1 lout thay3 bu3 -- Still not enough. (negative + enough + yet to be + negative ending)

Lout byi2 -- Enough. (be sufficient + has reached certain level, state or condition)

What's the difference between Lout la3 and Lout byi2 la3 ? Usually, byi2 la3 is used to ask the question during some kind of action or activity. For example, you can say Lout byi2 la3 while you are giving cash to someone to buy something.

Have you reached the condition xxxx "byi2 la3"?

The question word byi2 la3 such as in "enough already?" above has several uses. Note the similarities in sentence construction.

Yout byi2 la3 -- Have you/we reached there already? (to arrive or to reach the destination + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)

Ma1 yout thay3 bu3 -- Not yet. (negative + to arrive + yet to be + negative ending)

Yout byi2 -- Yes, we are there already. (to arrive or to reach the destination + has reached certain level, state or condition)

Yah1 byi2 la3 -- Have you got it already? (to get + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)

Ma1 yah1 thay3 bu3 -- Not yet. (negative + to get + yet to be + negative ending)

Yah1 byi2 -- Yes, I've got it already. (to get + has reached certain level, state or condition)

The same word yah1 can also mean something is available, can be done, or ready. You can say yah1 byi2 la3 to ask if the repair is done, or if the dinner is ready. In lesson 15, the phrase be2-ya2 yah1 ma1 la3 is used to ask if beer is available.

Kone2 byi2 la3 -- Used up (or) eaten up already? (empty + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)

Ma1 kone2 thay3 bu3 -- Not yet. (negative + empty + yet to be + negative ending)

Kone2 byi2 -- Empty and no longer available. It's all gone! (empty + has reached certain level, state or condition)

Pyi3 byi2 la3 -- Finished already? (to finish + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)

Ma1 pyi3 thay3 bu3 -- Not yet. (negative + to finish + yet to be + negative ending)

Pyi3 byi2 -- Yes, done it. (to finish + has reached certain level, state or condition)

As for the informal Burmese greeting "Eaten already?", there is a slight difference for the "not yet" answer.

Sa3 pyi3 byi2 la3 -- Eaten already? [greeting] (to eat + to finish + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)

Ma1 sa3 yah1 thay3 bu3 -- Not yet. (negative + to eat + to get + yet to be + negative ending)

Sa3 pyi3 byi2 -- Yes. (to eat + to finish + has reached certain level, state or condition)

The answer Ma1 sa3 yah1 thay3 bu3 implies that the speaker has not got the opportunity or time to eat yet. If the question is asked in the middle of your meal and not a greeting, you can answer: Ma1 pyi3 thay3 bu3.

Haven't you xxxx "thay3 bu3 la3"?

Just like in English, "Have you got it already?" can be re-phrased by the negative question: "Haven't you got it yet?", negative questions in Burmese can be formed by the words thay3 bu3 la3.

Ma1 lout thay3 bu3 la3 -- Still not enough? (negative + enough + yet to be + negative ending + ?)

Ma1 yout thay3 bu3 la3 -- Are we not there yet? (negative + to arrive or to reach + yet to be + negative ending + ?)

Ma1 yah1 thay3 bu3 la3 -- Haven't you got it yet? (negative + to get + yet to be + negative ending + ?)

Ma1 kone2 thay3 bu3 la3 -- Haven't used/eaten up yet? (negative + empty + yet to be + negative ending + ?)

Ma1 pyi3 thay3 bu3 la3 -- Haven't you done it yet? (negative + to finish + yet to be + negative ending + ?)

Ma1 sa3 yah1 thay3 bu3 la3 -- Haven't you eaten yet? (negative + to eat + to get + yet to be + negative ending + ?)

No longer : dau1

Use the phrase "Ma1 xxxx "dau1 bu3" if you no longer do, want, or need something.

Ma1 lo2 dau1 bu3 -- I no longer need it. (negative + need + no longer + negative ending)

Ma1 loat dau1 bu3 -- I am no longer doing it. (negative + do + no longer + negative ending)

Ma1 thwa3 dau1 bu3 -- I am not going anymore. (negative + go + no longer + negative ending)

Ma1 sa3 dau1 bu3 -- I am not going to eat. (negative + eat + no longer + negative ending)

Ma1 lo2 chin2 dau1 bu3 -- I no longer want it. (negative + need + want + no longer + negative ending)

Ma1 loat chin2 dau1 bu3 -- I don't want to do it anymore. (negative + do + want + no longer + negative ending)

Ma1 thwa3 chin2 dau1 bu3 -- I no longer want to go. (negative + go + want + no longer + negative ending)

Ma1 sa3 chin2 dau1 bu3 -- I don't want to eat it anymore. (negative + eat + want + no longer + negative ending)

Why?

Ba2 joun1 leare3 -- But, why? (what + reason + ?)

Note that "why" is the question "what" ( Ba2 leare3 ) with "joun1" in the middle.

Ba2 pfyit-lo1 leare3 -- Why?, Why didn't you?, etc.. (what + because this happens + ?)

Ba2 joun1 leare3 is a question "why" as in a scientific investigation, whereas Ba2 pfyit-lo1 leare3 is more of a personal question.

Who?

Beare2 thu2 leare3 -- Who? (which + person + ?)

Thu2 beare3 -- That's him! (he + exactly!)

Which?

Beare2-ha2 leare3 -- Which one? (which + ?)

Da2 beare3 -- This is the one! (this + exactly!)

Da2 lo2 chin2 deare2 -- I want this one. (this + need + want + affirmative)

Hote-keare1, da2 lo2 chin2 deare2 -- Yes, I want this one. (yes + this + need + want + affirmative)

Do you see the pattern of "who" and "which" with the word "where" beare2 leare3 in them? Similarly, "how" also has the pattern beare2...leare3. If you recognize those patterns, it will be easier for you to remember the questions: "how much", "what", why", "which", "how", and "where".

When?

The question "when" also follows the pattern beare2...leare3 Here is an example:

Beare2 dau1 -- when
la2 -- to come
ma1 -- choice word
leare3 -- ?

Beare2 dau1 la2 ma1 leare3 -- When will you come?

We will discuss the details of "when" question in lesson 14.

The word ma1 is the colloquial form of hma2, which is a preposition "in" "at" "on" in English in "where" question, and also colloquial form of myi2, which indicates the intention to do something, and roughly future tense "will" in English.

How?

Beare2-lo2 loat ja1 ma1 leare3 -- How shall we do now? [in this situation] (how + do + plural + choice word + ?)

Beare2-lo2 leare3 -- How did it go? What would you do now? How is it going? (how + ?)

De2-lo2 beare3 -- So so.. Nothing unusual. (like this + exactly!)

Beare2-lo2 thwa3 ja1 ma1 leare3 -- How shall we go? Which route or transport to take? (how + go + plural + choice word + ?)

How many?

Burmese language uses "measure words" to ask and answer "how many" type of questions. When you say "a cup of tea", "two glasses of water", or "3 persons", "cup", "glasses", and "persons" are measure words. So, you need to have some familiarity with those measure words to ask questions like "How many cups of tea do you want?"

Extensive list of "measure words" are given in lesson 12 and examples are shown in lesson 25. Here, I will just show one useful phrase:

Beare2 hna1 yout leare -- How many persons?

When the waiter in the restaurant or the front desk in the hotel asks you this, yout is the measure word used for the number of people.

How was the lesson?

So, Beare2-lo2 leare3 -- How did the lesson go?

Khet la3 -- Difficult?

Lweare2 la3 -- Easy?

De2-lo2 beare3 -- So, so ... (Lit: "Just like this.")

But, how was the teaching?

koun3 yeare1 la3 -- Good or not?

Koun3 ba2 deare2 lay2 -- Oh, well... acceptance with a sigh..

You should now have a feel of how Burmese sentences are constructed. They are relatively simple and uncomplicated compared to English. You may reply by saying:

Hote ba2 deare2 -- Yes, the way I see it.

Better still, say like a real Burmese in Yangon:

Hote pa1, hote pa1... Yes, I agree with you absolutely!

to which, I reply:

Koun3 byi2 lay2 -- Well, I am glad... (good + has reached that state + " OK, well")

and, end this lesson by saying:

Thwa3 ome3 meare2 nau2 -- Got to go now! (go + indication of intention + warm feeling tone)