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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

Learn the word "htut" in detail

The word htut MP3 Audio File 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 "chout htut" meaning sixth floor, htut is used as a numerical classifier for the number of floors. choat-htut-ji3 pfa1-ya3 (noun) MP3 Audio File 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 Let htut ja1 meare2 MP3 Audio File means we will get married, where Let htut is the verb to get married.

In the phrase htut pyau3 ba2 ome3, MP3 Audio File "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.

htut ta1-leare3-leare3 MP3 Audio File means having to repeat something unpleasant again and again as in htut ta1-leare3-leare3 pyau3 nay2 yah1 deare2. Usage: How many times have I told you not to do this? htut ta1-leare3-leare3 pyau3 nay2 yah1 deare2 -- I have to be repeating this again and again! MP3 Audio File

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. sa2-oat htut hta3 deare2 MP3 Audio File means I have already submitted my registration sa2-oat (book).

htut ta1-ya2 MP3 Audio File 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-chain2 dway2 de2-lo2 beare3 kone2 thwa3 deare2 bya2 -- 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.

Plural word usage in Burmese

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-chain2 dway2 de2-lo2 beare3 kone2 thwa3 deare2 tau2 -- 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...

a-chain2 dway2 de2-lo2 beare3 kone2 thwa3 deare2 tau2 yay1

Dway2 can make most nouns plural

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-loat mya3 nay2 deare2" 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-loat dway2 mya3 nay2 deare2 -- I am busy. MP3 Audio File The plural dway2 can be omitted.

lu2 -- People
dway2 -- plural
a-mya3 ji3 -- so many
beare3 -- exactly
ha1 -- emphasis particle equivalent to exclamation "Gosh!", "Oh, my God!"

lu2 dway2 a-mya3 ji3 beare3 ha1 -- 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
la2 byi2 -- to come (come + has reached certain level, state or condition)
ha1 -- exclamation as in "Gosh!", "Oh, my God!"

yay2 dway2 win2 la2 byi2 ha1 -- 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.

Water

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]

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Friday, May 6, 2016
အမွန်း | Ah Moon was born in 1991 at Kachin State in Myanmar

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)"

yay2 thout ba2 ome3 a-ba1 -- Grandpa, won't you have some water?

Nobody will say, "yay2 dway2 thout ba2 ome3 a-ba1", just like nobody will say, "Please drink many waters" in English.

Similarly,

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-min3 htut hteare1 ba2 ome3 -- Won't you have some more rice?

(Please refer to the detail explanation of htut in the left column.

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 shirt.

pan3-thi3 -- apple
dway2 -- plural
weare2 -- to buy
hta3 -- modifies the verb "to buy" to "has bought"
deare2 -- affirmative.

pan3-thi3 dway2 weare2 hta3 deare2 -- I have bought some apples.

pan3-thi3 -- apple
sa3 -- to eat
ba2 -- polite suggestion
ome3 -- please; "won't you" type of suggestion

pan3-thi3 sa3 ba2 ome3 -- 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.

hsun2 weare2 yah1 ome3 meare2 -- 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.

ho2 -- that (pronoun)
hsine2 -- shop (noun)
hma2 -- at; location indicator (postpositional marker)
hsun2 -- uncooked rice (noun)
dway2 -- plural (particle)
youn3 -- to sell (verb)
nay2 -- present participle [..ing] that modifies "sell" to "selling" (particle)
deare2 -- affirmative (postpositional marker)

ho2 hsine2 hma2 hsun2 dway2 youn3 nay2 deare2 -- 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.

ho2 -- that
hsine2 -- shop
hma2 -- at; location indicator
hsun2 -- uncooked rice
youn3 -- to sell
deare2 -- affirmative

Ho2 hsine2 hma2 hsun2 youn3 deare2 -- Rice is available at that shop (or) You can buy rice over there.

Concepts dway2

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-bau3 dway2 kja1 nay2 deare2 -- having an appreciative view with delight and/or desire

For example, you can say someone is tha1-bau3 dway2 kja1 nay2 deare2 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-kha1 dway2 mya3 (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.
  • cooking ingredients: cooking oil, salt, spices, onions, garlics
  • 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
nga2 doh1 -- 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: sa3 ja1 zo1 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-nay2 hma2 ywa2 teare1 mo3 lo2 beare3 theare3-theare3 meare3-meare3 chit meare2 la3 -- 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.)