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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.





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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

Hote deare2 hote? MP3 Audio File

That was an interesting phrase used by the Burmese cartoonist named Moun2 Wa1 Na1 for the character "Tha1-Main2-Pau3-Thoot". It means, "Yes or not?" Mandarin Chinese equivalent would be "Shi4 bu shi4?". In some parts of Myanmar, people speaks in dialects that are slightly different from the mainstream Burmese. For example, Koun3 hma1 Koun3 MP3 Audio File meaning "It's so good!" emphasizes on koun3, which means "good".

Lashio Thein Aung's Song: "Don't Say Goodbye"

Lashio Thein Aung (Jimmy Jack) is one of the early pioneers of Myanmar Stereo Music and songs with electric guitar in the mid 70's. Those were the days of recording songs on cassette tapes. In 2013, after 40 years away from home, he came back to Myanmar to perform live concerts.

When I was young, I had the impression that he was a Chinese, because some of his songs had both Burmese and Chinese lyrics.

One of his songs has lyrics: "I feel like crying when you say good-bye." There are several songs of his on the Internet today. Some fans have created Music videos like the one below.

CLICK TABLE HEADER COLUMNS TO SORT BY ASCENDING OR DESCENDING ORDER IN ENGLISH OR BURMESE.

Summary of Words and Phrases in this lesson (Sortable)
AUDIO ↑↓ ENGLISH ↑↓
a-dau2 aunty
a-dau2 ji3 big aunty
Ay3 Yes (cold)
Ay3 ay3 ay3 Ok, Ok.. stop bothering me
Ay3 ba2 Duh... like I don't know
Ay3 bya2 Yes, very true! (male)
Ay3 kweare2 I sympathize with you!
Ay3 lay2 Right! Absolutely!
Cha1 kwa1 Fight!
Ga1-za3 ma1 la3 Do you want to play or not?
Ga1-za3 meare2 OK, I will (play)
Hote ba2 deare3 Yes, that's right!
Hote deare2 bya2 I agree! (male)
Hote deare2 nau2 Hey, you're right!
Hote deare2 shin1 Yes, I concur. (female)
Hote-keare1 ba2 Yes, that's right!; OK!
hso2-nay2-hma1 despite saying so
ja1-zo1 Let's..
keare3 OK now..
kwa1 enthusiastic ending word
kwa2 frustrated ending word
kweare2 sympathetic ending word
Loat deare2 kwa2 frustrated action
Loat meare2 I will do it
Loat meare2 kwa2 Will do anyway.(frustrated)
Ma1 loat ba2 neare1 Please don't do it!
Ma1 loat neare1 Don't do it! (order)
Ma1 sa3 ba2 neare1 Please don't eat!
Ma1 sa3 neare1 Don't eat that! (order)
Ma1 thwa3 ba2 neare1 Please don't go!
Ma1 thwa3 neare1 Don't go! (order)
meare2 will (do something)
Na3 ma1 la3 Do you want to rest or not?
Na3 meare2 OK, I will (rest)
nau2 ending word (warm)
Pyay3 ja1-zo1 Let's run!
Sa3 deare2 kwa2 I'll eat. (regardless)
Sa3 ja1 meare2 Let's eat!
Sa3 ja1-zo1 Let's eat!
Sa3 ma1 la3 Do you want to eat or not?
Sa3 meare2 I will (eat); OK!
Tau2 thay3 byi2 The end
Tha1-na3 ba2 deare2 pity on (it/him/her)
Thwa3 ma1 la3 Want to go?
Thwa3 meare2 OK, I will go. (an answer)
Thwa3 meare2 Good-Bye!
Thwa3 meare2 hso2 Didn't you say you're going?
Thwa3 meare2 nau2 I've got to go
Thwa3 ome3 meare2 nau2 See you around!
Thwa3 lite ome3 meare2 nau2 Let me be excused
Thwa3 ja1-zo1 Let's go!
Thwa3 meare2 kwa2 I am going!(frustrated)
Note: Complete phrases in the above table start with Capital letters.

Lesson 3: Emoticons in Burmese Spoken Words

Singaporeans and Malaysians have one-syllable ending word "lah" and Canadians have "Eh". So, Canadians have that too, eh? (pronounced "A") When you first hear such a word, you kind of understand what it means from the context of the conversation, although you don't quite know how to translate it. Colloquial Burmese Language has several of those ending words with different meanings. This lesson demystifies those simple one-syllable words. Interesting, huh?

In Lesson 2, we have covered some basic Burmese sentence constructions using:

beare2 MP3 Audio File

ba2 MP3 Audio File

in the beginning of the sentence combined with leare3 at the end of the sentence to from basic "what", "who", "where", "why", "which", "how", "how many", and "how much?" questions in

beare2 ......leare3 MP3 Audio File

ba2 ......leare3 MP3 Audio File

format.

We have seen simple positive statements and answers using

xxxx deare2 MP3 Audio File and

simple negative statements and answers using

Ma1 ... bu3 MP3 Audio File

at the end of the sentences. Burmese language has several single-syllable words used at the end of the sentences. You must master those colloquial ending words to master the Burmese language. Those are important part of the sentence structure to express one's intention, to ask something, or to change the feeling tone of the conversation. In a way, those simple words put the extra dimension of feeling, emotions, and "humanness" to the spoken words just like emoticons that people use online. In this lesson, we will learn how to use some of those particles and postpositional markers effectively. think

Learn Burmese Online

Warm feeling of "nau2" ending

At the end of lesson 2, I used..

Thwa3 ome3 meare2 nau2 MP3 Audio File -- Got to go now! (go + indication of intention + warm feeling tone)

Actually, it's not a light-hearted "Got to go now!" in English without any feeling in it.

nau2 MP3 Audio File has some magic of warmth and closeness in it. It is as though, I am about to part with someone close. I don't really want to go, but I must. And I am asking for permission to go. sad to go

"Yes" with or without "ba2" ending VS. "nau2" ending

Let me give some examples on different types of "yes", and how nau2 can add the feeling tone to a simple "yes".

(1)"Yes" without "ba2"

If someone asks..

"Do you want it?", or "Do you like it?", with simple verb in the question, I can reply with a simple "Yes" without including ba2, or repeating the verb of the question in the answer:

Hote, MP3 Audio File or
Hote-keare1 - Yes MP3 Audio File

Similarly, for simple questions with adjective such as "Is it hot?" or "Is it sweet?", I can reply with a simple "Yes" without including ba2.

Hote, or
Hote-keare1
Hote-keare1, pu2 deare2 - "Yes, it's hot", MP3 Audio File where pu2 means "hot" and deare2 is the affirmative ending word.

(2)"Yes" with "ba2"

If someone makes a request or suggestion: "Please do this!", I can add an extra polite ba2...

Hote, or
Hote-keare1, or
Hote-keare1 ba2. MP3 Audio File polite

Myanmar Grammar Notes: hote is a verb "to be correct". However, Hote-keare1 is a particle. The modern usage of hote as a short form of Hote-keare1 has not made it into the dictionary yet, although it is a popular usage nowadays.

(3) When to use "ba2" in "yes" answer

"Yes" with ba2 at the end of the sentence is a polite response to a request or suggestion that is not commonly used in "red or not red", "hot or not hot", "want or not want" type of questions regarding verb or adjective.

Nobody will answer: pu2 ba2 deare2 - "It's hot" with ba2 to a simple "Is it hot?" question.

Question: pu2 la3 - Is it hot? MP3 Audio File
Answer: pu2 deare2 - Yes. MP3 Audio File

When someone asks over the phone,

555-8888 ba2 la3 -- "Is this 555-8888?" (or)
Nine2 Tin2-Nyoon1-Pu1 ba2 la3 -- "Is this Naing Tinnyuntpu ?"

I will answer:

Hote ba2 deare2 MP3 Audio File -- with the slightly raised 3rd tone ending over the phone.

The polite question inquiring about the noun or pronoun with ba2 la3 is responded with the polite answer ba2 deare2. polite answer

When I say Hote ba2 deare2 meaning "yes", I am confirming to the fact about the object or subject in the question.

In simple confirmation questions and answers, ba2 will not be used.

Question: "Today is Tuesday, isn't it?"
Answer: Hote deare2 -- Yes.

In the above case, the answer "yes" sounds natural only if you drop ba2. In general, if the question asking for the confirmation has to do with verb, adjective, and informal noun or pronoun, there will not be ba2 in it, and you don't not to use ba2 in the answer.

(4) Compare to "nau2" in "yes" answer

If someone says: "Hey, look at the sky! It's turning orange and red", I will not just say Hote deare2. The reply "yes" with nau2 MP3 Audio File makes all the difference.

Hote deare2 nau2 MP3 Audio File surprise(in a sense, "Hey, you are right.. what you say is true..")

Do you see how this "yes" with nau2 makes the difference? In this context, it adds the feeling tone of awe and amazement over the observation to the simple "yes".

Burmese ending word "nau2"

What does the ending word (နော် | nau2) mean in the Burmese language? Here's 31 seconds clip on the usage.

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Mi Sandi | မိစန္ဒီ | mi1 sun2 di2 & Jade Dragon Dance Group

Another example of "nau" ending with feeling

So, I say:

Thwa3 ome3-meare2 nau2 MP3 Audio File -- "Got to go.." to someone close or someone I just made friend with. I can have shorter or longer variations of the same sentence..

Thwa3 lite ome3-meare2 nau2 MP3 Audio File ( as in "I am going to the corner store and will be back..")

Thwa3 -meare2 nau2 MP3 Audio File good-bye (shorter but more emotional as in "I don't know when I will see you again.")

Well, it's not always necessary to have nau2 to be emotional.

Thwa3 meare2 MP3 Audio File -- "Good-bye!" ( even shorter because words are stuck and Lashio Thein Aung's Song "Don't say goodbye" is playing in the background.) don't say good bye

Going to explain "meare2" ending

meare2 MP3 Audio File is a postpositional marker meaning "going to". It transforms the activity word (verb) into future tense.

Sa3 meare2 MP3 Audio File -- going to eat. Short sentence, not because I am sad, but too hungry to be verbose.

Sa3 ja1 meare2.. Sa3 ja1 meare2 MP3 Audio File -- Let's eat! Let's eat! ( eat + plural + going to )

(Mandarin Chinese equivalent would be "Chi1 fan4.. Chi1 fan4")

Loat meare2 MP3 Audio File -- I will do it. (do + going to)

Please do your work!!

Hote-keare1 ba2... Loat meare2 MP3 Audio File -- OK, Ok.. I will do it.. (yes + soften the tone + do + going to)

OK, I "meare2"

meare2 MP3 Audio File could also be used to express a simple "OK" to "or not" type of questions. For example,

Sa3 ma1 la3 -- Do you want to eat or not? (eat + "or not" choice + ?)
Sa3 meare2 -- OK!

Thwa3 ma1 la3 -- Do you want to go or not? (go + "or not" choice + ?)
Thwa3 meare2 -- OK!

Ga1-za3 ma1 la3 -- Do you want to play or not? (play + "or not" choice + ?)
Ga1-za3 meare2 -- OK!

Na3 ma1 la3 -- Do you want to rest or not? (rest + "or not" choice + ?)
Na3 meare2 -- OK!

When Thwa3 meare2 is the answer to the question Thwa3 ma1 la3, it's not a good-bye. It could be a situation where the two persons in the conversation are about to go out together.

Let's learn about "ja1-zo1" ending

Sa3 ja1-zo1 -- Another variation of Let's eat! But, it is in a sense, "It's about time we eat." I may or may not be hungry. It is a routine and there is not much urgency in it.

ja1-zo1 MP3 Audio File means "Let's".

Thwa3 ja1-zo1 -- Let's go! (It's about time we go home...)

Pyay3 ja1-zo1 Let's run! -- Let's run! (It's about time we run.. Here comes the debt collector! I guess in this case, there is definitely some urgency in it. big smile

Impatient with unsatisfactory "kwa2" ending

Now, let me show you how I can say the same "Let's go!" in an impatient, frustrated or unsatisfactory tone using kwa2. MP3 Audio File I take you to a hotel lobby where someone is supposed to meet us. The person doesn't show up after waiting for a good one hour....

Thwa3 meare2 kwa2 frustrated -- fed up and I say "Let's go" in an angry tone.. (go + going to + impatient tone)

Someone is repeatedly telling me not to do something without explaining me why. I find him very unreasonable. I tell my friend, I don't care what the man says...

Loat meare2 kwa2 -- I am going to do it, anyway.. (do + going to + unsatisfactory tone)

And I silently say to myself, "What the heck..."
Loat deare2 kwa2 (do + affirmative + unsatisfactory tone) in the midst of doing it.

Don't eat that. The food is for the Supernatural beings in the Realm of Immaterial World, says the wife.

Husband: What? I haven't eaten in seven days and you are telling me the chicken is for the Nuts (Supernatural Beings) that I can't even see?

Sa3 deare2 kwa2 -- he says angrily with a drum-stick in his mouth. (eat + affirmative + unsatisfactory tone)

Don't forget the "neare1" ending

But, how would you tell someone not to do, eat, or go in the first place?

How to say "Don't" in Burmese

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Tuesday, May 3, 2016
မိုးဟေကို | Moe Hay Ko & Star International Dance Group

Ma1 sa3 ba2 neare1 MP3 Audio File -- Please don't eat. (negative + eat + suggestion + negative imperative ending)

Ma1 thwa3 ba2 neare1 MP3 Audio File -- Please don't go. (negative + go + suggestion + negative imperative ending)

Ma1 loat ba2 neare1 MP3 Audio File -- Please don't do it. (negative + do + suggestion + negative imperative ending)

If you are a bit short-tempered at the time, you may drop the suggestion "ba2" to give a more direct order:

Ma1 sa3 neare1 (negative + eat + negative imperative ending)
Ma1 thwa3 neare1 (negative + go + negative imperative ending)
Ma1 loat neare1 (negative + do + negative imperative ending)

Ma1 loat neare1, hso2-nay2-hma1 Why still do? -- Why do you keep doing it when I am telling you not to do it? (negative + do + negative imperative + "despite saying so")

Didn't you say "hso2"?

In Burmese, the word hso2 MP3 Audio File can have several meaning including "to say", "to sing" and to nag". It can be used as a particle at the end of the verb phrase to mean "Didn't you say... ?" If someone tells you earlier that he is going somewhere, but you find him watching TV, you can say...

Thwa3 -- to go
meare2 -- will; intention to do something
hso2 -- Didn't you say?

Thwa3 meare2 hso2 Didn't you say? -- Didn't you say you were going?

When you say this ending word hso2, try to prolong it and raise it to the third tone hso3

Express your condolence with sympathetic "kweare2" ending

How about a sympathetic tone? A young woman is telling her grandmother how lousy her day has been. Grandma cannot do anything to help but only give comforting words and consolation through sympathy.

Ay3 kweare2 sympathy -- So sorry to hear that.

kweare2 MP3 Audio File -- conveys a sympathetic tone to the sentence.

Some cold truth about abrupt "ay3" ending

Ay3 MP3 Audio File is an another form of "yes".

Question: "A-dau2 ji3... -- Big Aunty.. (aunty + big)
"Someone told me your husband left you for a younger woman, is that true?"

Answer: Ay3 taken aback with anger -- (taken aback and admits "yes" with puzzlement as she ponders for a moment as to how on earth did he find out about it.. With a shortest possible reply, conversation is ended just like that.)

If you are a bit tired of hearing someone repeatedly complaining, or reminding you to bring back gifts, or lecturing you on the health benefits of organic food, you may interrupt and try to end the conversation by

Ay3, ay3, ay3 (or)
Ay3 ba2 Ay3 ba2

I must also add that Ay3 is too informal and impolite to be used among strangers. However, it is OK to be used among buddies and cousins or by older persons to younger people that they know well.

Pay attention to ending words in this ending story

The old Grandma seems to have a good heart. Her grandson is about to beat up a thief who broke into the house. The Grandma says:

Ma1 -- Negative
loat -- do
ba2 -- soften tone
neare1 -- negative imperative
kweare2 -- sympathy

Ma1 loat ba2 neare1 kweare2 have mercy on him -- Please don't do it. Have mercy on him...

The neighbor joins in. "Hey, that's the same fella who stole my bike. Let's beat him up.."

"Cha1 kwa1... Cha1 kwa1..." fight, fight "fight! fight!..", cheer on the youngsters. ( fight + show of enthusiasm and delight )

Note the tone difference: kwa1 in the first tone is used to express delight; kwa2 in the second tone is used to express dissatisfaction.

Ma1 -- Negative
loat -- do
ja1 -- plural
ba2 neare1 -- Please don't
kweare2... have pity on him -- sympathy

Ma1
loat
ja1
ba2 neare1

Note the plural term "ja1" to mean "Please you guys, have mercy on him.."

Tha1-na3 ba2 deare2 -- I feel pity for him.. (feel pity + soft suggestion + affirmative)

Tha1-na3 ba2 deare2 kweare2 -- a stronger expression of pity by adding sympathy.

Can we use impatient, unsatisfactory ending kwa2 with pity feeling? Those two seem to be polar opposites.

Yes, we can!...(I say confidently just like Obama.)

Tha1-na3 ba2 deare2 kwa2 -- (feel pity + soft suggestion + affirmative + dissatisfied tone) I feel pity for the victim, and at the same time express my disagreement for the injustice being done with the tone of unsatisfactoriness.

Look at those savages beating up a helpless victim. How cruel!

Ay3 bya2 ay3 bya2 -- "Yes, I couldn't agree with you more" , says a bystander who is a middle-age man.
Hote deare2 bya2 -- A second man echoed..
Hote deare2 shin1 -- yes, they are just like that...his wife concurred.
Ay3 lay2... murmurs an another.

They all agreed to the same thing by saying "yes", but the ending bya2 is masculine to be uttered by male speakers while shin1 is feminine expression used by female speakers..

Ay1 lay2... is the same "yes" in murmuring tone but gender-neutral and can be used by both sexes. It is an exact equivalent of Singaporean "Yah lah.." and somewhat close to "Right!" or "Absolutely!" in English.

The situation soon gets ugly, and the police arrives...

I will construct a very expressive sentence using combinations of simple one-syllable words-- most of them already discussed previously.

Keare3... koun3 ja1 thay3 yeare1 la3... keare3 "Look at the mess! Tell me.. What do you people have to say now?" ("OK now you people..." + good + plural + yet to be + concern + ?)

So, as you can see, Burmese language has short and yet powerful and emotionally-loaded expressions. I will use one of my favorite expressions to end this lesson. The funny expression is from the comics invented by the late Burmese cartoonist named Aung Shain (pronounced Oun2 Shain2) to end his comics. The English equivalent is "The End". It literally means enough + yet to be + at this very moment.

Tau2 thay3 byi2 The end