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,
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particles, postpositional markers, and
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.
The word htut as a verb means to pile up/repeat one after another.
The same idea is applied in the floor levels of the building. In the word
"chouthtut" meaning sixth floor,
htut is used as a numerical classifier for the number of floors.
choat-htut-ji3 pfa1-ya3 (noun)
is the pagoda having six floors, and a tourist destination in Yangon.
To get married in Burmese means to htut the hands where the couple place the hands on top
of each other inside the silver cup while sitting side by side on the stage in the wedding ceremony. The phrase
means we will get married, where Let htut is the verb to get married.
In the phrase htutpyau3ba2 ome3,
"htut" is used as an adverb meaning again. It is a request to repeat what has
been said, where pyau3 means to say or to tell.
The same word "htut" is used as an adverb meaning again when offering an another
round of meal.
means having to repeat something unpleasant again and again as in
htut ta1-leare3-leare3pyau3nay2 yah1deare2. Usage: How many times have I told you
not to do this? htut ta1-leare3-leare3pyau3nay2 yah1deare2
-- I have to be repeating this again and again!
In the old days, and still in many government offices, people htut (verb) the registration books.
That means there is a stack of registration books where you place your book and wait for your turn for processing.
means I have already submitted my registration sa2-oat(book).
refers to Roti Parata (round Indian pastry having many puffy layers) where
ta1-ya2 means one hundred. So, htut ta1-ya2 means one hundred layers.
Lesson 32: Singular & Plural Terms
It must have been half a year since I last updated my lessons. It seems like time just flies like the wind unseen.
In Burmese, a-chain2 means time. The English word "time" is usually singular,
such as in "time stands still". But, you can also say "times are bad", or use it to mean frequency as in
"I have done it three times." Likewise, the word dway2 is added in Burmese to make
the word "time" plural.
Who would have thought Father Time can be Plural (dway2)?
a-chain2 -- time dway2 -- plural de2-lo2 beare3 -- just like this (like this + exactly!) kone2 -- to have run out thwa3 -- to go (used as particle to indicate past tense) deare2 -- affirmative bya2 -- male term of affirmative statement
a-chain2dway2de2-lo2 beare3kone2thwa3deare2bya2 -- Time just flies by in my life. (uttered by the male person).
You can use the above phrase to describe the meaningless life without a purpose, without concrete results. (Be sure to look sad
when you say that phrase like an actor on the stage.) You can also use that phrase to describe the wasted time in the traffic jam.
How would a female person say that phrase? You can
replace bya2 with the female term shin1.
But, more animated and energetic word is tau2.
a-chain2dway2de2-lo2 beare3kone2thwa3deare2tau2 -- Time just flies by in my life. (uttered by female person).
If you want to be even more animated, like in Newspaper comics, a female person would say...
In English, you add "s" or "es" to make many words (you can count) plural as in "mangoes", "oranges", "cars" and so on. But then,
the plural of "this man" becomes "those men". You don't say "peoples" but "many people". You don't put "sugars" but "some sugar".
In Burmese, you can make most nouns plural by adding dway2. Similar word mya3
is used in the written language. However, nobody will use mya3 as a plural word in spoken Burmese.
Although it is possible to have spoken phrases with mya3 right after the noun, it does not modify the noun to
the plural word. For instance, "mya3" in "a-loatmya3nay2deare2" means
I have "many"a-loat (work) to do as opposed to "a few"
(neare3). It should be noted that mya3 in the above Burmese sentence is a verb, "be abundant",
but if you translate into English sentence, it is equivalent to adjective "many".
You can say: a-loatdway2mya3nay2deare2 -- I am busy.
The plural dway2 can be omitted.
lu2 -- People dway2 -- plural a-mya3ji3 -- so many beare3 -- exactly ha1 -- emphasis particle equivalent to exclamation "Gosh!", "Oh, my God!"
lu2dway2a-mya3ji3beare3ha1 -- Gosh! there are so many people!
Myanmar Grammar Notes: Burmese language does not recognize ah2-may2-date (interjection) at the end of the
sentence. The word ha1 can be an interjection if it appears in the beginning
of the sentence.
There are exceptions to dway2 usage. You can say, "water has leaked in" by adding plural
dway2 to water, but you don't say, "please drink water dway2".
There are no hard and fast rules as to when you can add that plural word.
In my analysis, there is no dway2 in "please drink water" because you are referring to a single
glass of water.
yay2 -- Water dway2 -- plural win2 -- to enter la2byi2 -- to come (come + has reached certain level, state or condition) ha1 -- exclamation as in "Gosh!", "Oh, my God!"
yay2dway2win2la2byi2ha1 -- Oh, my God! Water has leaked in!"
In Myanmar Language, the word water (yay2) can be used as either Singular or Plural term. It can be used as plural by adding the
suffix (dway2) as this video clip shows.
In Myanmar Language, the word water (yay2) can be used as either Singular or Plural term. Although nobody will say: "Please drink many waters", it can be used as plural by adding the suffix (dway2) as this video clip shows. There is no fast and hard rule as to when to use this suffix word. [43 seconds]
yay2 -- Water (without plural word) thout -- to drink ba2 -- polite suggestion ome3 -- please; "won't you" type of suggestion a-ba1 -- to address the elder man (old man)"
yay2thoutba2ome3a-ba1 -- Grandpa, won't you have some water?
Nobody will say,
"yay2dway2thoutba2ome3a-ba1", just like nobody will say, "Please drink many waters" in English.
hta1-min3 -- cooked rice (without plural word) (noun) htut -- again; one after another (adverb) hteare1 -- to put in (verb) ba2-- polite suggestion (particle) ome3-- please; "won't you" type of suggestion (particle)
hta1-min3htuthteare1ba2ome3 -- Won't you have some more rice?
Why is dway2 missing? That's probably because each person has his or her meal using
only a single plate. Let's analyze some more. You can say, "I have bought apple dway2",
but you offer the apple in singular form because you don't expect someone to bite 2 apples (or 2 pieces) at the same time.
Think of it this way. You can add plural to the clothing items such as "shirts", but you ask someone to put on the
pan3-thi3 -- apple dway2 -- plural weare2 -- to buy hta3 -- modifies the verb "to buy" to "has bought" deare2 -- affirmative.
pan3-thi3dway2weare2hta3deare2 -- I have bought some apples.
pan3-thi3 -- apple sa3 -- to eat ba2 -- polite suggestion ome3 -- please; "won't you" type of suggestion
pan3-thi3sa3ba2ome3 -- Won't you have some apples?
hsun2 -- uncooked rice (without plural word) weare2 -- to buy yah1 -- particle: "need to do" ome3 -- suggestion or reminder with a need of something in this context meare2 -- going to; future tense or intention.
hsun2weare2yah1ome3meare2 -- I/We need to buy rice.
Again, dway2 is missing probably because people usually buy one bag and one variety of rice at a time.
If you put dway2, you know right away it does not sound right. However, when someone says
"that shop is selling rice dway2" it becomes plausible; only linguists and Burmese language teachers will
argue among themselves whether it is a correct Burmese or not.
ho2hsine2hma2hsun2dway2youn3nay2deare2 -- The shop over there is selling rice. (of different varieties in several bags.)
The above hypothetical sentence has a tone of surprise in it. That's what you would tell someone if you unexpectedly discovered that the shop
over there is selling rice. If you just want to tell someone that rice is available at that shop, you normally say it in the singular form.
Ho2hsine2hma2hsun2youn3deare2 -- Rice is available at that shop (or)
You can buy rice over there.
As you have seen earlier, you can add dway2 to concepts that cannot be seen such as time, or
work (which is not really an object.) Here's an another example:
tha1-bau3 -- mental view point, thinking pattern, and personality dway2 -- plural kja1 -- "to come down" (verb) used as a particle: in certain state or condition nay2 -- ongoing activity; present participle [..ing] deare2-- affirmative
tha1-bau3dway2kja1nay2deare2 -- having an appreciative view with delight and/or desire
For example, you can say someone is
as he is looking at the latest car model in the showroom. Try to imagine him with eyes wide-open, smiling with excitement, going
around the shiny new sports car several times, touching it, looking at it from different angles, and wanting it.
General Pattern of Singular & Plural Words
Generally, you can add "dway2" to
all plants, flowers, and living beings including people
vegetable(s) in general term, but not to specific names such as "cabbage", "bean-sprouts", etc..
In Burmese, you say "bean-sprouts" without (s).
all professionals such as teachers, police, workers, etc.
most objects that you can count such as books, chairs, bottles, cars, buildings
things that cannot be counted but still part of Nature & Environment: dust, clouds, rain, water, moisture
concepts and poetic words that you cannot count, touch, or see such as in
Dote-kha1dway2mya3 (be afflicted with many sufferings)
You normally DO NOT add "dway2" to
food & drinks: meat, fish, rice, eggs, milk, sugar, water, all types of beverages.
items that you use or consume one at a time: medicine, clothing when the conversation is about such
usage or consumption.
items that come in a lot, a pile, or a bunch: a bunch of banana, a bag of rice.
You (doh1) better review (ja1)
I have already explained in lesson 4 the word doh1 which can make you (one person)
to you people, he to them, and I to we. So, doh1 can make singular to plural
for 1st person, 2nd person, and 3rd person. There is no English equivalent that can make "he" to "he(s)".
doh1 and dway2 are not interchangeable, but dway2
can be added after doh1 to make a stronger unity as a whole.
nga2 -- I nga2doh1 -- We nga2 doh1 dway2 -- We the people
In written Burmese Language, the plural word mya3 is never used after doh1.
In lesson 2, I have already given sufficient examples using ja1.
Unlike dway2, which modifies the noun (such as apple) to plural, ja1 modifies the
verb (e.g. to eat, to go, to play, to review) to plural just like the heading of this section:
You (doh1) better review (ja1).
The English equivalent would be like changing the verbs "does" to "do", "goes" to "go", "eats" to "eat", and so on.
Example: sa3ja1zo1 in English is
"Let's eat", not "Let's eats".
Since verbs are action words, ja1 is applicable to all beings including animals capable of actions.
In Conclusion, Rain can be with or without (Dway2)
2013 is an incredible year with lots of rain dway2, wind dway2, and
flood dway2 not only in Yangon, but also in other parts of the World such as Southern Alberta and Toronto
in Canada, London, and Paris. Rain can be catastrophic. But then, sometimes it is a pleasant surprise like a
song that was requested.
Don't worry too much whether or not to add dway2. Even Burmese people don't know which
is right all the time. I will end this lesson with a song in my childhood.
sa1-nay2 -- Saturday hma2 -- at, on ywa2 -- falling of the rain drops teare1 -- that, the subject of the conversation (rain in this case) mo3 -- rain lo2 beare3 -- just like that (the subject) theare3-theare3 meare3-meare3 -- fervently, passionately with vigor; characteristics of heavy rain with
dark clouds and thunder chit -- to love meare2 -- will la3 -- ?
sa1-nay2hma2ywa2teare1mo3lo2 beare3theare3-theare3 meare3-meare3chitmeare2la3 -- Will you love me passionately, like the rain that falls on Saturday?
Well, since I am not an accomplished vocalist, I am not going to sing it for you. I will just read it out (without much passion.)