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

The Free Online Burmese Lessons

Learn Myanmar Language with Burmese Script, MP3 audio, PDF and unique grammar color-coding: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, particles, postpositional markers, 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" (silent "rt")
Ah2 "ar" in "Argentina" (silent "r")
Ah3 "ar" in "Artist" (slilent "r")
De1 "de" in "deep" (silent "p")
De2 "de" as in "demote"; "demand"
De3 "dee" as in "deer"; "decent"
Ko1 "colt" (silent "lt")
Ko2 as in "co-author"; "cocaine"
Ko3 "cold" (silent "ld")
Yu1 "u" in "Youth" (silent "th")
Yu2 "u" as in "university"; "utensil"
Yu3 "u" as in "user"; "Unix"
Shan1 as in "shunt" (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" (silent "ze")
May2 "may" as in "May I?"
May3 "ay" in "amazing"
Sin1 "sink" (silent "k")
Sin2 "sin" as in "sincerely"
Sin3 "sin" as in "sinful"; "Singapore"
Un1 "aunt" (silent "t")
Un2 "un" in "understanding"
Un3 "un" as in "under"
Meare1 "melt" (silent "lt")
Meare2 "mel" in "Melbourne" (silent "l")
Meare3 "mare" of "nightmare"
Tain1 "taint" (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 as in "domain"
Dome3 as in "dome"
Toon1 "doont" in "couldn't"
Toon2 "mon" in "monastery"
Toon3 "oon" as in "cartoon"
Koun1 "count" (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

Myanmar on South East Asia Map shown with flag, alphabets and numbers.

Myanmar Language & Grammar Overview

Scholars have long noted the similarities between the Burmese Language and Tibetan language. For example, Tibetan consonants such as ka, kha, ga, nga, cha, ja, nya, ta, tha, da, na, pa, pha, ba, ma, wa, zha, za, ya, ra, la, sha, sa, ha, etc. sound remarkably similar to the Burmese consonants. The origin of the Burmese script, Pyu, and Mon Script of ancient Myanmar and Tibet alphabet can be traced back to Brahmi script of ancient India, which was first seen in 500 BCE and spread throughout India by 300 CE in the reign of King Ashoka. The Tibetan-Burmese language classification is a branch of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages spoken from Tibet to the Malay Peninsula, and also referred to as Tibeto-Burman Languages.

Burmese spoken language is different from the literary form. Myanmar literary language has more expressive power compared to bland spoken words, but the sequence in the sentence structure basically remains the same.

Burmese verbs kri1-ya2 MP3 Audio File do not change tense like in English. Instead, verb-suffix words are appended to show the past tense, present tense, and future tense.

Burmese Verbs are categorized by three types of sentence constructions and also by the following three characteristics:

  • pyu1 chin3 - action (does/do)
  • pfyit chin3 - occurrence (be/is/are/am)
  • shi1 chin3 - presence (is at/has/have)
MP3 Audio File

Similarly, the same verb words are used for both plural and singular forms to say: "He does something" and "They do something."

It is possible to construct Burmese sentences without a verb. Example:

kja1-nau2 - I (pronoun, male term)
hsa1-ya2-woon2 - doctor (noun)
ba2 - ending polite word. (particle)

kja1-nau2 hsa1-ya2-woon2 ba2I am a doctor.

MP3 Audio File

Note: The last word ba2 in the above sentence is not a verb. It is classified as a particle in Myanmar grammar.

Myanmar grammar has a number of suffixes and ending words called wi1-but (postpositional markers) MP3 Audio File and pyit-si3 (particles). MP3 Audio File Those suffix and ending words are placed after a noun or a pronoun to show subject or object, and after a verb to show tense or mood. Sometimes, they can modify the adjective into verb.

The basic word order of the Burmese Language does NOT NECESSARILY fall into subject-object-verb format. Just like in English, you can either say: "The boy kicks the ball," (where "the boy" is the subject, "kick" the verb and "ball" the object) or "The ball was kicked by the boy." It deploys various ending words which have no English equivalent. Together with particles, those postpositional markers, also used as ending words, play an important part of the Myanmar language structure.

Example 1:

thwa3 - to go (verb)
dau1 - about to (particle for emphasis)
meare2 - will (postpositional marker to show tense)
nau2 - ending word. (particle for feeling tone)

thwa3 dau1 meare2 nau2I am about to go! MP3 Audio File

Example 2:

thi1 - to know (verb)
byi2 - has reached certain condition (postpositional marker)
la3 - question ending word (particle)

thi1 byi2 la3Do you know now? MP3 Audio File

Example 3:

thu2 - he (pronoun)
hmun2 - right; correct (adjective)
deare2 - affirmative ending word (postpositional marker, not a verb in Burmese grammar.)

thu2 hmun2 deare2He is right! MP3 Audio File

In the last example, the ending word IS NOT a verb, but it modifies the adjective into the word hmun2 deare2, which is considered as a verb of pfyit-chin3-pya1 kri1-ya2 (verb clause that shows occurrence) type. Although deare2 seems to correspond with the verb "is", it cannot be used consistently as "is" in some other sentence constructions.

Example:

hote deare2Yes!

It must be stressed that Burmese equivalent of "be/is/are/am" like deare2 MP3 Audio File are not verbs but post-positional markers, and they form verb clauses only in combination with verbs such as "go", "eat", "come", or adjectives such as "white", "wrong", "hungry".

Similarly, ending particle words such as ba2 MP3 Audio File when combined with nouns like "doctor", "man", "Buddhist", become equivalent to English "be/is/are/am" something or someone. In some other sentence constructions, they cannot be translated as English "be/is/are/am", and this can be confusing to non-native learners of Myanmar grammar.

As for pronouns nun2-za3, MP3 Audio File there are many ways to say you and I in Burmese. Wrong choice of the pronoun "you" and "I" will offend people. Family terms like "brother", "sister", "son", and "daughter" are commonly used among strangers to address to each others. There are four types of Burmese Pronouns:

  1. Personal Pronouns — "I", "You", "He", "She", "It", etc..

  2. Referential pronouns — "this","that", "above-mentioned", etc..

  3. Question Words — "what", "who", "where" in reference to the noun.

  4. Quantitative Pronouns — "one person", "three cups", "four items", "some", "few", "all", "half", etc..

Burmese Adjectives na2-ma1 wi1-thay2-tha1-na1 MP3 Audio File are classified into four groups:

  1. Qualitative — words that describe the quality of the noun. E.g., "rich" man, "far away" place.

  2. Referential — words that make reference to or point to something. E.g., "this" road, "that" road, "other" methods.

  3. Numbers — words that describe "how many" of something, "what position" in the ordered list, and unspecified numbers. E.g., "ten" people, "21st." birthday, "some" people.

  4. Question Words — words that ask for "how many", "how", "which", "how much", and "what" with clearly stated noun in the question. Without the noun, the same question words are classified as pronouns. E.g., "What kind of food do you like?" as opposed to "What kind do you like?"

Burmese Adverbs kri1-ya2 wi1-thay2-tha1-na1 MP3 Audio File are classified into five groups:

  1. "How" part of human actions — gestures, manner, facial expressions, and behavior. E.g., "arrogantly", "sluggishly", "truthfully", "respectfully".

  2. Conditions of things and situations — E.g., "in disarray", "in disorder", "definitely".

  3. "When" part of action words — E.g., "early", "often", "immediately".

  4. Interrogative adverbs — "when", "how".

  5. Words that show extent, size or magnitude — "few", "many", "very".

There are eight ways to categorize Burmese Nouns "nun2" : MP3 Audio File four by construction, and four by meaning:

  1. Combination; Compound |
    poun3-sut nun2 MP3 Audio File

    E.g., sa2-oat hsine2 (book + shop) — bookshop. MP3 Audio File

    It is possible to combine words other than nouns. E.g., (sa3 + thout + hsine2) = (eat+drink+shop) = restaurant. MP3 Audio File

  2. Original; Innate |
    pin2-ko2 nun2 MP3 Audio File

    E.g., khway3 — dog. MP3 Audio File

  3. Qualitative |
    gome2-yay2-pya1 nun2 MP3 Audio File

    E.g., htu3-choon2 hmu1 — the quality of being outstanding. MP3 Audio File This word is formed by the verb htu3-choon2 meaning "be outstanding" modified into a noun by the suffix particle hmu1.

  4. Verb Modifications |
    kri1-ya2 nun2 MP3 Audio File

    E.g., ku2-nyi2-hmu1 — help. MP3 Audio File The particle hmu1 modifies the verb ku2-nyi2 (to help) into a noun "help". This is unlike English where "help" can be either a verb or a noun.

  5. Individual Names |
    ta1-u3-hsine2 nun2 MP3 Audio File

    E.g., Yangon, Shwedagon, Aung San.

  6. Common Terms |
    a-mya3-hsine2 nun2 MP3 Audio File

    E.g., dog, city, cow, book

  7. Psychological; Abstract |
    sate-ta1-za1 nun2 MP3 Audio File

    E.g., courage, love, faith

  8. Conglomeration |
    a-su1-pya1 nun2 MP3 Audio File

    E.g., a-si3-a-yone3 — union, league.

    MP3 Audio File

Unlike in English where most people will have to look up the dictionary for the plural of "octopus", Burmese plural words ba1-hu1-woat MP3 Audio File in most cases simply add a suffix word dway2 MP3 Audio File to the noun in the colloquial language and mya3 MP3 Audio File in the literary form. Those suffix words are classified as particles.

Burmese language has several conjunctions known as thun2-bun2-da1 MP3 Audio File Those conjunctions in colloquial forms are slightly different from their literary counterparts. They are similar to conjunctions in English Language such as "if", "or else", "therefore", "however", "moreover", "in order to", "so as to", "for", "as if", "also", etc..

Learn more about Conjunctions in Myanmar Language.

Here is a comparison between Burmese Tones Vs. Mandarin Chinese Pinyin Tones. Consider the three stress levels in Burmese:

Ma1 = sounds like "Ma" in "Malaysia" MP3 Audio File
Ma2 = "ma" as in "diploma" MP3 Audio File
Ma3 = higher pitch of "Ma" as in "Mother" MP3 Audio File

Close counterparts in Mandarin Chinese Pinyin tones are:

Ma1 = Pinyin 4th tone.

Ma2 = sounds like Pinyin 3rd tone as in "ma3 lu", which means "the main road" in Mandarin Chinese.

Ma3 = Higher pitch level and close to Pinyin 1st or 2nd tone as in "Ma2 fan", which means "to bother" in Mandarin Chinese.

Learn more about Burmese Tones in Lesson 1.

Zawgyi font is the most popular font in Myanmar. It is the choice of font for an estimated 18 million facebook users in the country with 54.8 million population in the year 2017. Unicode is mistakenly identified by some as a type of font. Unicode is the International Standard used in the World Wide Web and supported by major operating systems including those used in the mobile phones. Currently, many Burmese font types are available that meet Unicode Standard.

Zawgyi, unfortunately, does not meet either Unicode Standard or that of W3C, which defines the standards for the World Wide Web. In earlier days before the Internet usage became widespread in Myanmar, Zawgyi font in stand-alone PC's had no issue. However, as the World is connected through the Internet, it is less desirable choice of font for coding professional websites. Nevertheless, it can still be used for Personal Computers, and it still remains the choice of font for Myanmar people. For more technical information, refer to this Wikipedia page. Burmese font used to code pages in this website is Unicode-compliant.


DOWNLOAD UNICODE-COMPLIANT BURMESE FONT

DOWNLOAD ZAWGYI FONT AND KEYBOARD FOR PC USE

Was it a creation of the military government or did they just revert back to the original word? Read all about it from historical and linguistic point of view and politics behind it.

INTRODUCTION TO BURMESE (MYANMAR) LANGUAGE 🙏

Mingalaba!MP3 Audio File

That's how Burmese people formally greet guests.

And, this is what Myanmar language daily newspaper print edition looks like.

the Mirror Myanmar Language daily Newspaper
“State Counselor Daw Aung Sun Suu Kyi Visits Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy”

— The Mirror, August 21, 2018 —

The actual words on this newspaper heading in direct translation will go something like this:

State + 's + Counselor + Daw Aung San Suu Kyi + Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy + to + go + arrive + observe

The last three words are like animated sequence of actions. Preposition "to" in English becomes post-positional marker "to" in Burmese. Spoken language uses different "to" word. The sentence will also be less complicated.

Burmese is the official language of over 53 million people of Myanmar — The Land of the Fast and the Strong 🏃 💪the most generous country in the World for the FIFTH CONSECUTIVE YEARS IN 2018. This is the country with more than 100 ethnic groups who speak their own languages and dialects. For many ethnic people, Burmese is the second language, and you will hear them speak with different accents. Even in Wa Self-Administered Division where Mandarin Chinese is taught in schools, their leaders could speak well enough Burmese to attend peace conference in Naypyitaw.

English is widely understood in Myanmar in establishments that have regular contact with foreigners, such as hotels and airports. To communicate at a deeper level, to mingle with the crowd, and to develop warmer relationships without the help of an interpreter, knowing some Burmese is a definite plus. And when it comes to the written part, Burmese is the language for virtually all of over 18 million Facebook users in Myanmar to exchange views, ideas and information; to share precious memories of yesterday and today; to express happiness and sorrow of the "now" moment; and to sing the song of hope for the dawns of many tomorrows to come. This is the language of love, the language of hate, and the language of a colorful spectrum of human emotions to brag, to lament and to vent frustrations online among Burmese people.

A series of political and economic reforms started in 2011 has resulted in Myanmar emerging as the fastest growing economy in Asia. According to Nikkei Asian Review, the World Bank on January 10, 2017 has revised the growth figure under Daw Aung Sun Suu Kyi leadership, but it is still a decent showing at an estimated 6.5 percent and only slightly lagged behind behind the Philippines, Laos and Cambodia. Conflict-torn Rakhine State has a negative effect on the growth, 😢 but Myanmar is getting assistance from the World Bank to rebuild the region. (See the latest Myanmar GDP annual growth rate.) Meanwhile, Myanmar sitting on the potentially lucrative global trade route vows to boost Belt and Road cooperation with China for the prosperous and bright future ahead. 😄 (gōngxǐ gōngxǐ gōngxǐ nǐ 恭喜恭喜恭喜你)

The name "Myanmar" is not a creation by the military government back in 1989. The Kingdom of "Mien" was well-recorded by the Chinese, and mentioned by the 13th century romance writer Rustichello da Pisa in The Travels of Marco Polo (Il Milione in Italian) to describe the Mongol invasion of ancient Bagan.

“... one of the finest sights in the world; so exquisitely finished are they, so splendid and costly.”

( Marco Polo's description of Bagan temples)

To a Westerner, spoken Burmese sounds somewhat like Korean. Grammatically, the structure of Burmese language is simple, easy to learn, and quite similar to Mandarin Chinese. While Mandarin Chinese has 4 tones, Burmese is quite happy with just 3. Unlike English, there are no complicated tenses and verb structures to worry about. The only major challenge in learning Burmese language will be to get the right "stress" or "tone" when speaking to a native speaker, and perhaps confusion with words which sound similar, but have different meanings according to the context in which they are spoken. Other than that, just be sure to pay special attention to prefix, suffix and ending words. They are important.

Naing Tinnyuntpu

Hi, my name is Naing Tinnyuntpu. This website offering free online burmese lessons has expanded and improved through the years. It has started out just for fun without any audio or script, but now it includes more serious grammar materials. I wish you good luck and have fun.

Cool song in the background by Myanmar singer Jenny. Lyrics by Si Thu [986KB] 🎶

You can leave your comments, feedbacks, and suggestions down the page. As a result of one suggestion, Learn Myanmar Script on this website now appears consistently among the best on Google, YahooYahoo!, Bingbing, AOLAOL, AskAsk, LYCOSLYCOS, Yandex, and nortonNorton Safe Search. In addition to script and beginner level Conversational Burmese, this website now offers one of the most comprehensive Myanmar Grammar on the Internet.

Burmese for more serious learners

Gone are the days when most people learning Burmese just wanted to pick up a phrase or two for a short visit to Myanmar. Now, there are more serious learners who must interact with local people on the regular basis. They are not only embassy staff, but more and more of business managers, those with International Non-governmental Organizations (INGO's), those non-native speakers in Myanmar with business visa, which was almost unheard of a decade ago, and scholarship holders, army officers, diplomats and businessmen studying Myanmar Language at YUFL in Yangon. (See the photo of international students at YUFL classroom.) A visit to FRC section of immigration office in Yangon Pansodan Road will give you some ideas on how many folds of increase in foreigners there has been since 2011. If you are one of them, the following two picks will help you.

Myanmar Script Learning Guide

Myanmar Script Learning Guide PDF (Rev. F) is further improved with larger font-size and new design. It now comes with more than 740 MP3 Audio recordings in seven pages of FREE ONLINE AUDIO SUPPORT. 104 pages, 650 KB (Updated: 2017-10-30)

Everyday Spoken Burmese

Everyday Spoken Burmese PDF (Rev. C) is for those seriously learning to understand and speak Burmese in a short time. It covers the most fundamental building blocks of the colloquial Myanmar Language. 105 pages, 487 KB. Revised: 2018-08-22. Over 400 MP3 audio files are available online with eight pages of Lesson A1.

Who says Burmese is hard to learn?

Canadian ambassador speaks Burmese callout icon youtube Foreigners Speaking Burmese
Watch a YouTube Video by Canadian Embassy in Yangon showing Canadians speaking Burmese.

Forget the myth that Burmese is hard to learn. U.S. government Foreign Service Institute (FSI) that trains diplomats says Burmese is an easier language to learn than Mongolian, Thai, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Japanese. Watch former 🍁 Canadian Ambassador Mark McDowell, currently the Head of International IDEA's Myanmar Office introduces himself in Burmese. He will also show you how to wear Longyi the right way.