Learn Myanmar Language with Burmese Script, MP3 audio, PDF and unique grammar color-coding: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, particles, postpositional markers, interjections.
His notable contributions to the semiconductor industry were the techniques recognized by Sematech as ‘Administrative Quality Best Practices’ during his process engineering days with now defunct IC chip making division of Hewlett-Packard in Singapore.
Born and raised in Yangon, he has lived in six countries and knowledgeable in unrelated areas including self-taught programming languages. His free online Burmese lessons serve as an effective communication bridge among tourists and growing numbers of foreign business managers with the Myanmar people.
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 ကြိယာ | kri1-ya2 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:
- ပြုခြင်း | pyu1 chin3 - action (does/do)
- ဖြစ်ခြင်း | pfyit chin3 - occurrence (be/is/are/am)
- ရှိခြင်း | shi1 chin3 - presence (is at/has/have)
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:
ကျွန်တော် | kja1-nau2 - I (pronoun, male term)
ဆရာဝန် | hsa1-ya2-woon2 - doctor (noun)
ပါ | ba2 - ending polite word. (particle)
ကျွန်တော်ဆရာဝန်ပါ။ | kja1-nau2 hsa1-ya2-woon2 ba2 — I am a doctor.
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 ဝိဘတ် | wi1-but (postpositional markers) and ပစ္စည်း | pyit-si3 (particles). 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
သွား | thwa3 - to go (verb)
တော့ | dau1 - about to (particle for emphasis)
မယ် | meare2 - will (postpositional marker to show tense)
နော် | nau2 - ending word. (particle for feeling tone)
သိ | thi1 - to know (verb)
ပြီ | byi2 - has reached certain condition (postpositional marker)
လား | la3 - question ending word (particle)
သူ | thu2 - he (pronoun)
မှန် | hmun2 - right; correct (adjective)
တယ် | deare2 - affirmative ending word (postpositional marker, not a verb in Burmese grammar.)
In the last example, the ending word IS NOT a verb, but it modifies the adjective into the word
မှန် တယ် |
hmun2 deare2, which is considered as a verb
of pfyit-chin3-pya1 kri1-ya2 (verb clause that shows occurrence) type.
Although တယ် |
deare2 seems to correspond with the verb "is", it cannot be used consistently as "is" in some other sentence
hote deare2 — Yes!
It must be stressed that Burmese equivalent of "be/is/are/am" like တယ် | deare2
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 ပါ | ba2
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 နာမ်စား | nun2-za3, 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:
- Personal Pronouns — "I", "You", "He", "She", "It", etc..
- Referential pronouns — "this","that", "above-mentioned", etc..
- Question Words — "what", "who", "where" in reference to the noun.
- Quantitative Pronouns — "one person", "three cups", "four items", "some", "few", "all", "half", etc..
Burmese Adjectives နာမဝိသေသန | na2-ma1 wi1-thay2-tha1-na1 are classified into four groups:
- Qualitative — words that describe the quality of the noun. E.g.,
"rich" man, "far away" place.
- Referential — words that make reference to or point to something. E.g., "this" road, "that" road, "other" methods.
- 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.
- 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 ကြိယာဝိသေသန | kri1-ya2 wi1-thay2-tha1-na1 are classified into five groups:
- "How" part of human actions — gestures, manner, facial expressions, and behavior. E.g.,
"arrogantly", "sluggishly", "truthfully", "respectfully".
- Conditions of things and situations — E.g., "in disarray", "in disorder", "definitely".
- "When" part of action words — E.g., "early", "often", "immediately".
- Interrogative adverbs — "when", "how".
- Words that show extent, size or magnitude — "few", "many", "very".
There are eight ways to categorize Burmese Nouns နာမ် | "nun2" : four by construction, and four by meaning:
- Combination; Compound |
ပေါင်းစပ်နာမ် | poun3-sut nun2
E.g., စာအုပ်ဆိုင် | sa2-oat hsine2 (book + shop) — bookshop.
It is possible to combine words other than nouns. E.g., စားသောက်ဆိုင် | sa3 + thout + hsine2 = eat+drink+shop = restaurant.
- Original; Innate |
ပင်ကိုနာမ် | pin2-ko2 nun2
E.g., ခွေး | khway3 — dog.
- Qualitative |
ဂုဏ်ရည်ပြနာမ် | gome2-yay2-pya1 nun2
E.g., ထူးချွန်မှု | htu3-choon2 hmu1 — the quality of being outstanding. This word is formed by the verb htu3-choon2 meaning "be outstanding" modified into a noun by the suffix particle hmu1.
- Verb Modifications |
ကြိယာနာမ် | kri1-ya2 nun2
E.g., ကူညီမှု | ku2-nyi2-hmu1 — help. 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.
- Individual Names |
တစ်ဦးဆိုင်နာမ် | ta1-u3-hsine2 nun2
E.g., Yangon, Shwedagon, Aung San.
- Common Terms |
အများဆိုင်နာမ် | a-mya3-hsine2 nun2
E.g., dog, city, cow, book
- Psychological; Abstract |
စိတ္တဇနာမ် | sate-ta1-za1 nun2
E.g., courage, love, faith
- Conglomeration |
အစုပြနာမ် | a-su1-pya1 nun2
E.g., အစည်းအရုံး | a-si3-a-yone3 — union, league.
Unlike in English where most people will have to look up the dictionary for the plural of "octopus", Burmese plural words ဗဟုဝုစ် | ba1-hu1-woat in most cases simply add a suffix word တွေ | dway2 to the noun in the colloquial language and များ | mya3 in the literary form. Those suffix words are classified as particles.
Burmese language has several conjunctions known as သမ္ဗန္ဓ |
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.
Do you just want to look up a list of Burmese words in table format?
Common English Nouns in Burmese
Common English Verbs in Burmese
Common English Adjectives in Burmese
List of Superlative terms
English prepositions in Burmese
Action words for daily activities
Common Burmese Adverbs
List of Numerical Classifiers
Restaurant Menu Items
List of drinks & beverages
List of fruits
List of Meat & Fresh Seafood
List of Vegetables
List of Seeds & Nuts
List of Cooking Ingredients
List of Countries around the World
List of Family Relationships
List of Symptoms, Diseases & Illnesses
List of Human Anatomy
List of Sports & Games
List of Occupations & Job titles
List of Businesss & Industries
List of Shops & Work Places
Here is a comparison between Burmese Tones Vs. Mandarin Chinese Pinyin Tones. Consider the three stress levels in Burmese:
မ | Ma1 = sounds like "Ma" in "Malaysia"
မာ | Ma2 = "ma" as in "diploma"
မား | Ma3 = higher pitch of "Ma" as in "Mother"
Close counterparts in Mandarin Chinese Pinyin tones are:
Ma1 = Pinyin 4th tone.
Ma2 = sounds like Pinyin 3rd tone as in , which means "the main road" in Mandarin Chinese.
Ma3 = Higher pitch level and close to Pinyin 1st or 2nd tone as in , 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 | မြန်မာဘာသာစကားအပြောအဆို သင်ခန်းစာများ - နိဒါန်း 🙏
That's how Burmese people formally greet guests.
And, this is what Myanmar language daily newspaper print edition looks like.
“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:
နိုင်ငံတော် | nine2-ngan2-dau2 - (State)
၏ | e1 - ('s)
အတိုင်ပင်ခံပုဂ္ဂိုလ် | a-tine2-bin2-khan2 poat-go2 - (Counselor)
ဒေါ်အောင်ဆန်းစုကြည် | dau2 oun2 hsun3 su1 kji2 - (Daw Aung San Suu Kyi)
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
သို့ | dtho1 - (to)
သွား | thwa3 - (go)
ရောက် | yout - (arrive)
လေ့လာ | lay1-la2 - (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 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 the Philippines, Laos and Cambodia. (See the latest Myanmar GDP annual growth rate.)
Conflict-torn northern part of Rakhine State is a tragedy. 😢 On the positive side, Myanmar is getting assistance from the World Bank and generous donations from friendly and trustworthy fellow Asian countries such as Japan and China to rebuild the region. ( どうもありがとう and 谢谢 😊 ) 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, but the name "Burma" is a creation by the British colonists. The Kingdom of "Mien" 緬 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)
Grammatically, the structure of Myanmar language is simple, easy to learn, and quite similar to Mandarin Chinese. While Mandarin Chinese has four tones, Burmese is quite happy with just three. And like the Chinese, there are no complicated tenses and verb structures to worry about. The only major challenge in learning Myanmar 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.
Hi, my name is Naing Tinnyuntpu | နိုင်တင်ညွန့်ပု | nine2-tin2-nyoon1-pu1. 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, Yahoo!, bing, AOL, Ask, LYCOS, Yandex, and Norton 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 Asian business managers with business visa which was almost unheard of a decade ago, and scholarship holders, army officers, diplomats and Asian businessmen studying Myanmar Language at YUFL in Yangon. (See the photo of international students at YUFL classroom.) If you are one of such individuals, the following two picks will help you.
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 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.