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Color Codes: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, particles, postpositional markers, interjections.

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Lesson 10: Describing things in Colors

Back in the previous lesson, we have seen how to describe a person in terms of physical descriptions and attitudes. But in real life situations, simple phrases like "He is fat" is not good enough. How would you say, "She is the one with the red shirt", or "He is the man with thick black glasses" to point to someone in the crowd? Let's take a look at color words in Burmese:

Colors in Burmese

OK guys, you have 1 minute to introduce Burmese Color Words to the World.

Color Words in Burmese

OK guys, you have 1 minute to introduce Burmese Color Words to the World.

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Sunday, May 1, 2016
Guys: ဇော်ဝင်းထွဋ်၊ and သားစိုး | Zaw Win Htut and Tha Soe. Girls: Helen, မေ၊ ထက်ထက်ထွန်း၊ နန်းစန္ဒာလှထွန်း | May, Htet Htet Htun, Nun Sanda Hla Htun
Sortable Colors
HTML ↑↓ ENGLISH ↑↓ BURMESE ↑↓
#fa8072salmonkjet-thoon2-ni2 youn2
#ff6347tomatokha1-yan3-jin2-dthi3 youn2
#ff0000reda-ni2-youn2
#dc143ccrimsonkjet-thway3 youn2
#800000maroonni2-nyo2 youn2
#8b0000dark redyau3-ge2 youn2
#a52a2abrowna-nyo2-youn2
#d2691echocolatechau1-ka1-let youn2
#cd853fperukjet-u1-youn2
#daa520goldenrodshway2-o2 youn2
#ff8c00dark orangethin2-gun3 youn2
#ffa500orangelain2-mau2 youn2
#ffd700goldshway2 youn2
#ffff00yellowa-wa2 youn2
#f0e68ckhakika2-ki2 youn2
#ffdab9peachpuffmate-kut youn2
#ffdeada-tha3 youn2
#f5deb3wheatpin2-ni2 youn2
#d2b48ctana-nyo2-byau1 youn2
#e6e6falavendermi3-go3-nu1 youn2
#f5f5dcbeigekja2-byu2 youn2
#fffff0ivoryhsin2-zweare2 youn2
#ffffffwhitea-pfyu2-youn2
#f5fffamintcreamno1-hnit youn2
#90ee90light-greena-sain3-nu1 youn2
#9acd32yellow greenkjout-sain3 youn2
#808000olivesit-ka3 youn2
#006400darkgreena-sain3-yin1 youn2
#008000greena-sain3-youn2
#2e8b57seagreenkjoun3-zain3 youn2
#00ff00limethun2-ba1-ya2 youn2
#adff2fgreen yellowpfet-pfu3 youn2
#ffe4e1mistyrosepan3-nu1 youn2
#ffc0cbpinkpan3 youn2
#ee82eevioletma1-yan3 youn2
#ff00ffmagentama1-yan3-nu1 youn2
#ff00ffmid violet redkha1-yan3-nu1 youn2
#800080purplekha1-yan3 youn2
#4b0082indigomeare3-neare2 youn2
#00008bdarkbluea-pya2-yin1 youn2
#000080pin2-leare2-bya2 youn2
#0000ffbluea-pya2 youn2
#000000blacka-meare3/ a-net
#808080graymi3-go3 youn2
#c0c0c0silverngway2 youn2
#add8e6light-bluea-pya2-nu1 youn2
#87ceebskybluemo3-bya2 youn2
#40e0d0turquoisesain3-bya2 youn2
#00ffffaquasain3-bya2-nu1 youn2
#008080tealsain3-bya2-yin1 youn2
#1e90ffdodgerbluejin3-pya2 youn2
#007fffazuretain2-pya2 youn2

a-youn2

means "color" or "colour" in British English. When used as a suffix, it is simply

youn2.

For primary and common colors, suffix youn2 can be omitted.

For example:

ain3-ji2 — shirt

a-pfyu2 — white

beare2 hma2 leare3 — where is it?

ain3-ji2 a-pfyu2 beare2 hma2 leare3

Where is the white shirt?

However, you cannot omit the suffix youn2 with non-primary and less common colors such as pink.

The word "pink" is a coined word using

pan3 — flower

youn2 — color.

pan3 youn2 MP3 Audio File or flower color means "pink".

Aqua is made of three words

sain3 — green

pya2 — blue

youn2 — color.

sain3-bya2 youn2 MP3 Audio File

Purple is

kha1-yan3 — egg plant

youn2 — color.

kha1-yan3 youn2 MP3 Audio File

The word

nu1 (adjective) MP3 Audio File

in "light green or "light blue" refers to tender new leave that has just sprung up.

The word

yin1 (adjective) MP3 Audio File

meaning "mature" is used to describe darker colors.

a-pya2 yin1 MP3 Audio File

could be understood as dark-blue color.

The most frequently used color word in Burmese is probably Gold. In the tone system, I spell it

shway2.

Official spelling is "Shwe" as in "Shwedagon Pagoda".

It is common for elder Burmese men to dye their hair

a-net MP3 Audio File or

a-meare3, MP3 Audio File

which both mean black, so that they are not only young at heart, but also young above the ears.

Nowadays, it is fashionable for younger people to dye their hair in all kind of colors. For example,

a-pya2 youn2 MP3 Audio File

means blue, and hair

a-pya2 youn2 thun3 deare2 MP3 Audio File

means having streaks of blue color hair when looking at it from certain angles. The word

thun3 MP3 Audio File

in this context refers to "tinted" with color.

Cosmetic industry has its own fancy color names that are yet to be standardized in the dictionary. This is unlike the language of the web pages in HTML where several colors are named and standardized by W3C with exact coding and RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) ratios.

In automotive industry, companies like GM and Ford (both now have showrooms in Yangon) have their own color conventions with exact formula.

In Physics, the spectrum of colors as a result of refraction of white light can be described by exact wavelengths. However, physicists are not to keen in giving fancy color names to different wavelengths. If they had, they probably would have come up with Greek sounding names like "hadrons", "mesons", "bosons' and so on.

Exactly how did those naming conventions come about, colors or otherwise? In several cases, new words are started by just one credible source or a popular person, and the rest of us happily use it. When physicist Murray Gell-Mann invented the word "quark", he had in mind the cry of the gull which also rhymes with words like "Mark" and "bark". Obviously, he was also thinking of "qu" word in "quantum". The word is now universally accepted.

Language as defined by the dictionaries lags behind industries and new trends. And when it comes to color conventions, its no exception. No standard dictionary will describe the color of rose or pink as having such and such exact wavelengths and primary color ratios.

Although there are no standardized Burmese words for several colors, we still need to communicate those in some way. When I say

thin2-gun3 youn2

meaning the color of the robes worn by the Buddhist monks, it will be understood as having the color range anywhere from "dark red" to "dark orange".

In the above table, I have listed several colors that are yet to be standardized. For our learning process, we will just use simple "safe" colors that will be understood by all.

ain3-ji2 — shirt

pan3 youn2 — pink color

beare2 hma2 leare3 — where is it?

ain3-ji2 pan3 youn2 beare2 hma2 leare3

Where is the pink color shirt?

You can re-arrange the sentence. Here's an another version.

pan3 youn2 — pink color

ain3-ji2 — shirt

beare2 hma2 leare3 — where is it?

pan3 youn2 ain3-ji2 beare2 hma2 leare3

Where is the pink color shirt?

It is OK to add the suffix

youn2

to primary colors, too. The following three sentences all mean the same: Where is the white color shirt?

ain3-ji2 a-pfyu2 beare2 hma2 leare3

ain3-ji2 a-pfyu2 youn2 beare2 hma2 leare3

a-pfyu2 youn2 ain3-ji2 beare2 hma2 leare3

Which version is better? The first one is shorter and probably preferable. In the third phrase:

a-pfyu2 youn2 ain3-ji2,

suffix

youn2

is added to the primary color followed by the article of clothing. I find this version works more consistently in in my PHP translation program.

Let's move on.

a-pfyu2 youn2 — white color

ain3-ji2 — shirt

neare1 — with (postpositional marker that shows ain3-ji2 is being used)

lu2 — man

a-pfyu2 youn2 ain3-ji2 neare1 lu2

The man with the white shirt.

You can also say:

a-pfyu2 youn2 — white

ain3-ji2 — shirt

woot — wear

hta3 deare1 — modify the verb "wear" to "the one who is wearing"

lu2 — man

a-pfyu2 youn2 ain3-ji2 woot hta3 deare1 lu2

The man who is wearing white shirt.

hta3 deare1 is equivalent to the present participle [~ing] in English and "zhe" in Mandarin Chinese.

a-meare3 youn2 — black color

pfa1-nut — footwear

si3 — literally it means to ride, but here it means to wear the footwear. In a way, you stand on the footwear as if you are about to ride on those.

hta3 deare1 — change the verb "wear" to "the one who is wearing"

lu2 — man


a-meare3 youn2 pfa1-nut si3 hta3 deare1 lu2

The man who is wearing black slippers.

a-meare3 youn2 — black color

myet-hmun2 — glasses

woot — wear

hta3 deare1 — change the verb "wear" to the present participle "wearing".

lu2 — man

a-meare3 youn2 myet-hmun2 woot hta3 deare1 lu2

The man who is wearing black glasses.

Simple Color Selections

If you are a tourist, some simple color phrases would suffice.

Situation A:



ba2 — what

a-youn2 — color

lo2 chin2 — want

leare3 — ?

Shopkeeper:

ba2 a-youn2 lo2 chin2 leare3

What color do you want?

Tourist:

a-wa2 youn2Yellow.

Situation B:



The tourist had initiated the conversation:

ho2 — that

a-wa2 youn2 — yellow

kji1 — to look

chin2 deare2 — want to + affirmation ending word.

Tourist:

ho2 a-wa2 youn2 kji1 chin2 deare2

Let me take a look at that yellow one.

What if there's no yellow item on the shelf? In that case, the tourist cannot say "that yellow one."

a-wa2 youn2 — yellow

shi1 — present or available

la3 — ?

Tourist:

a-wa2 youn2 shi1 la3

Do you have yellow?

The tourist, after inspecting the merchandize,

da2 — this

ma1 — not

kjite — like

thay3 — yet to be

bu3 — negative ending.

da2 ma1-kjite thay3 bu3

No, not this one, I still don't like this one.

lain2-mau2 youn2 — orange color

pay3 — to pay; to give

ba2 — suggestion word.

lain2-mau2 youn2 pay3 ba2

Please give me orange color.

Colorful Balls

More advanced-level descriptive words in colors will be continued in the next lesson. But for now, let me regress back to the child's level language by ending this lesson with the nursery rhyme which goes in the same tune as "Ba ba black Sheep."

youn2-zone2 bau3-lone2colorful ball

youn2-zone2 bau3-lone2colorful ball

ta1-lone2 nga2 bya35 pya (cent) each

ta1-lone2 nga2 bya35 pya (cent) each

kjite deare1 a-youn2 yway3 ba2

Please choose the color you like.

kjite deare1 a-youn2 yway3 ba2

Please choose the color you like.

ta1-lone3 nga2 bya35 pya (cent) each

ta1-lone3 nga2 bya35 pya (cent) each.

See how the tone of the word "ball" bau2-lone3 is changed to the musical note bau3-lone2 in this song. And here's the break-down with correct tones for the words:

youn2-zone2colorful (color + all present)

bau2-lone3ball (ball + sphere)

ta1-lone3each ( suffix for "one" + measure word for spherical objects)

nga3 bya35 pya (5 + equivalent of "cent")

kjite deare1the one you like (like + that which is)

a-youn2color

yway3choose

ba2suggestion

Note: Although spelled as bau3-lone3, the ball is read or spoken as bau2-lone3.