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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

Public Restrooms

While ain2-tha2 MP3 Audio File is the common usage to describe "washroom", "restroom", or "toilet" in Burmese, the formal term is called thun1-sin2-khan3. MP3 Audio File One complaint that we often hear from the foreign visitors is lack of adequate public restroom facilities in this country. Myanmar government is now making improvements in this area. In downtown Yangon, for example, you will now find newly built (or renovated) public washrooms, and those appear to be well-maintained.

Here's an another useful Burmese phrase: a-pau1 thwa3 chin2 deare2 MP3 Audio File is a colloquial way to say "I want to go the the restroom." If you are wondering where is this place a-pau1 MP3 Audio File that is to thwa3 (go), MP3 Audio File it would be good enough to know that this word is just a polite way to imply "to urinate" without directly saying it. And yes, the phrase can be used by both male and female.

Summary of Words and Phrases in this lesson
<< AUDIO >> English
ain2-tha2 toilet
ain2-tha2 thwa3 chin2 deare2 I want to go to the toilet.
beare2-bet left side
beare2-bet hma2 on the left side
beare2-bet hma2 la3 Is it on the left side?
beare2 htut hma2 leare3 Which floor?
beare2 lo2 thwa3 ma1-leare3 How to go?
beare2 lo2 thwa3 yah1 ma1-leare3 How to get there from here?
beare2 na3 ma1 leare3 Nearby where?
de2 gah1 nay2 from here
de2-gah1-nay2 beare2 lo2 thwa3 ma1-leare3 How do I go from here?
de2-na3-hma2 ain2-tha2 shi1 la3 Is there a toilet around here?
du1-ta1-ya1 second
du1-ta1-ya1 htut second floor
du1-ta1-ya1 htut hma2 on the second floor
du1-ta1-ya1 htut hma2 ba2 (It's) on the 2nd floor
dut-hlay2-ga3 elevator/lift
dut-hlay2-ga3 si3 lo1 yah1 deare2 You can take the elevator.
kjay3-zu3 beare3 Thanks!
lun3-doun1 corner of the road
lun3 ho2-bet hma2 other side of the road
lun3 ku3 to cross the road
Lun3 ku3 bo1 ma1 lo2 bu3 No need to cross the road.
ma1 lo2 bu3 no need
nya2-bet right side
nya2-bet hma2 on the right side
nya2 bet hma2 la3 Is it on the right side?
nyi2-lay3 young brother
ta1-da3 bridge
ta1-da3 pau2 on (over) the bridge
ta1-da3 pau2 gah1 nay2 from (over) the bridge
ta1-da3 pau2 gah1 nay2 thwa3 ba2 cross the road from the bridge
teare1-teare1 thwa3 Go straight
u3-lay3 Uncle
yone3-khan3 office (room)

Lesson 6: Asking for Directions: A Tourist Story

In lesson 5, we have seen how our tourist got lost in the street of Yangon. His five-days Mission: to seek out new culture & strange civilizations, to attempt at speaking Burmese language, and to boldly go where no tourist has gone before.

Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Something is missing to my story. Background music please....

Background Music

Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Something is missing to my story. Background music please. [15 seconds]

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Friday, May 13, 2016

Tourist:

nyi2-lay3 -- young brother
Sakura Tower -- Sakura Tower
beare2 -- where
na3 -- nearby
ma1 -- at
leare3 -- ?

nyi2-lay3, Sakura Tower beare2 na3 ma1 leare3 - How do I get to Sakura Tower, young brother?

Note: It is common for Burmese people to address to strangers with family terms. moun2-lay3 is the equivalent of nyi2-lay3 used by a female to a male younger than her.

How to ask direction in Burmese

na3 from the word a-ni3 a-na3 meaning vicinity is used as a suffix word nearby.

We have seen the postpositional marker hma2 before. The word hma2 is a location indicator, which means in, at, on, etc.. If you speak slowly word by word, the above sentence might sound:

beare2 na3 hma2 leare3

But, with the normal flow of speech, it sounds more like:

beare2 na3 ma1 leare3 -- Nearby where?

That's a complete sentence that you can ask, for example, when someone mentions a place for you to go.

The Street Vendor:

de2 gah1 nay2 teare1-teare1 thwa3 -- Go straight from here.
lun3-doun1 hma2 beare3 -- It's at the corner of the road.

Let's analyze this into detail:

de2 gah1 nay2 -- from here (here + starting from + where you stay or stand)
teare1-teare1 thwa3 -- go straight (straight + go)

lun3-doun1 -- at the corner of the road (road or street + corner)
hma2 beare3 -- located right there (at + exactly!)

de2 gah1 nay2 teare1-teare1 thwa3 lun3-doun1 hma2 beare3 -- Go straight from here. It's at the corner of the road.

Tourist:

lun3 -- street; road
doun1 -- corner
hma2 -- at
hote la3 -- Is that so? (yes + ?)

lun3 means road or a street, and doun1 refers to the corner. So, lun3-doun1 means street corner.

However, lun3-doun1 alone is not a complete sentence. You need to add at least the postpositional marker hma2 to mean at the corner of the road. So, you can say: lun3-doun1 hma2 when someone asks: "Where is it?"

lun3-doun1 hma2 hote la3 -- at the corner, you say?

Tourist continues:

beare2-bet -- left side (left + direction)
hma2 la3 -- Is it there? (at + ?)

nya2-bet -- right side (right + direction)
hma2 la3 -- Is it there? (at + ?)

beare2-bet hma2 la3... nya2-bet hma2 la3 -- left side or right side?

How to say 'left', 'right' and 'straight' in Burmese

It is possible to shorten the above sentence. You can ask the question: nya2-bet hma2 la3, which means "Is it on the right side?"

The Street Vendor:

nya2-bet hma2 -- It's on the right side. (right + direction + at)

Do you see the simplicity of sentence construction in Burmese? You don't need lengthy questions and answers to be understood. As we have seen in lesson 2, la3 is equivalent of the question mark.

The Street Vendor continues:

lun3 ku3 -- cross the road (road + cross or swim)
bo1 -- for; something necessary to do
ma1 lo2 bu3 -- No need (not + need + negative ending)

lun3 ku3 bo1 ma1 lo2 bu3 -- No need to cross the road.

ma1 lo2 bu3 means no need. For example, you can ask the question: lun3 ku3 bo1 lo2 la3. "Need to cross the road?" Unlike in English, nobody will ask: "Do I need to cross the road?" It's not necessary to include "I" in the above phrase. When it comes to "yes" or "no" answers in Burmese, simply use back the verb in the question. ma1 lo2 bu3 means "no" and lo2 deare2 means "yes" where lo2 is the verb "to need".

Tourist : hote... kjay3-zu3 beare3 -- Got it, Thanks.. (Yes + thanks + exactly!)

As we have seen in lesson 2, kjay3-zu3 is a help or merit that a person does on an another person.

Airline offices are located in Sakura Tower. The tourist needs to go to the Silk Air office to change his departure flight so that he can extend his five-day visit by a few more days. He has 28 days tourist visa, so it is not a problem as far as immigration is concerned. But now, he has to find Silk Air in Sakura Tower.

Tourist to Security Guard at the lobby:

Silk Air yone3-khan3 -- Silk Air office (Silk Air + office + room)
beare2 htut -- which floor? (where + suffix: floor or level)
hma2 leare3 -- at + ?

Silk Air yone3-khan3 beare2 htut hma2 leare3 -- Which floor is Silk Air Office?

Note the sentence construction: "Silk Air office which floor at?" When you ask "what", "where", and "when" types of questions in Burmese, always place the subject of the conversation in front. "This is what?", "Washroom where?", "Meeting when?", etc.. Chinese speakers will find it easy because the pattern is similar.

Security Guard:

du1-ta1-ya1 -- second
htut -- floor
hma2 -- at
ba2 -- polite ending word.

du1-ta1-ya1 htut hma2 ba2 -- (It's) on the second floor.

When it comes to floor levels in the buildings, Burmese don't use the simple 1,2,3 or tit...hnit...thone3 in Burmese for the first 3 floors. Instead, pa-hta1-ma1 (the first), du1-ta1-ya1 (the second), and tut-ta1-ya1 (the third) are used. We will learn to say numbers in lesson 12.

Tourist:

de2 gah1 nay2 -- from here (here + starting from + where you stay or stand)
beare2 lo2 -- how
thwa3 -- go
ma1 leare3 -- choice word + ?

de2 gah1 nay2 beare2 lo2 thwa3 ma1 leare3 -- How do I go from here?

"Here + from + how + go?" Try to think of it this way. You are standing here. From that position, how to go?

Alternatively, you can add the word "yah1" meaning "to get" or "can be done" to mean "how can I get there from here?"

de2 gah1 nay2 -- from here (here + starting from + where you stay or stand)
beare2 lo2 -- how
thwa3 -- go
yah1 -- to get; can be done
ma1 leare3 -- choice word + ?

de2 gah1 nay2 beare2 lo2 thwa3 yah1 ma1 leare3 -- How can I get there from here?

Security Guard:

dut-hlay2-ga3 -- elevator ( electric + stairs )
si3 -- ride
lo1 -- to take that course of action
yah1 deare2 -- possible; can be done.

Now, try to think like a Burmese. Think of the object or subject in your head first. In this case, it is the elevator. What are you going to do with it? You are going to ride in it. It is a possibility and can be done. "Elevator ride can be done."

dut-hlay2-ga3 si3 lo1 yah1 deare2 -- You can take the elevator.

Everything goes fine with the air ticket, but as the tourist comes out of the building, an emergency situation arises all of a sudden. It must be the combined effects of mone1-hin3-kha3 (fish gravy rice noodle) in the morning and spicy chicken Biryani that he had earlier.

The tourist is searching for words in his head to make an emergency request. He remembers

ain2-tha2 is the Burmese word for toilet.
thwa3 chin2 deare2 means "I want to go". So, he can construct the sentence like this:

ain2-tha2 thwa3 chin2 deare2 -- "I want to go to the toilet."

But, wait... Save this sentence for some other time. What he really needs to do now is to ask whether there is a toilet around here.

Tourist:

u3-lay3 -- Uncle
de2-na3 hma2 -- around here (here + nearby + at)
ain2-tha2 -- toilet
shi1 la3 -- present + ?

u3-lay3.. de2-na3 hma2 ain2-tha2 shi1 la3 -- Uncle, is there a toilet around here?

Why not place "toilet" in front of "around here"? Isn't the object or subject supposed to come first in the sentence? Yes, it can be done, but it doesn't sound so good. Maybe because it is not the question of "where" the object is, but the question is "whether" the object exists with the emphasis on "around here". At the airport or in the restaurant, you can ask where the washrooms are, but it does not sound very natural to ask "toilet where?" in the middle of the street.

The elder gentleman :

lun3 -- road
ho2-bet -- the other side (there or that + direction or side)
hma2 -- at
shi1 deare2 -- present + affirmative.

Try to picture the "road" in you head first. On the other side "is" the answer to the question.

lun3 ho2 bet hma2 shi1 deare2 -- There's one on the other side of the road.

ta1-da3 -- bridge
pau2 -- on top or over
gah1 nay2 -- from (from + where you stay or stand.)
thwa3 ba2 -- go + suggestion.

ta1-da3 pau2 gah1 nay2 thwa3 ba2 -- cross the road from the bridge.

Tourist:

kjay3-zu3 beare3 u3-lay3 -- Thanks, Uncle.. (thanks + exactly + Uncle)

And, not long afterwards, the tourist sees his destination from across the road. He smiles with relief as he walks into the sunset over the bridge.

The end.

Yangon Independence Park Public Toilet