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

Color Codes: 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 in Industrial Engineering (USA).

His contributions to the semiconductor industry included 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 that connects international community with ordinary Myanmar people.

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
#fa8072salmonကြက်သွန်နီရောင် | kjet-thoon2-ni2 youn2
#ff6347tomatoခရမ်းချဉ်သီးရောင် | kha1-yan3-jin2-dthi3 youn2
#ff0000redအနီရောင် | a-ni2-youn2
#dc143ccrimsonကြက်သွေးရောင် | kjet-thway3 youn2
#800000maroonနီညိုရောင် | ni2-nyo2-youn2
#8b0000dark redယောဂီရောင် | yau3-ge2 youn2
#a52a2abrownအညိုရောင် | a-nyo2-youn2
#d2691echocolateချောကလက်ရောင် | chau1-ka1-let youn2
#cd853fperuကြက်ဥရောင် | kjet-u1-youn2
#daa520goldenrodရွှေအိုရောင် | shway2-o2 youn2
#ff8c00dark orangeသင်္ကန်းရောင် | thin2-gun3 youn2
#ffa500orangeလိမ္မော်ရောင် | lain2-mau2 youn2
#ffd700goldရွှေရောင် | shway2 youn2
#ffff00yellowအဝါရောင် | a-wa2 youn2
#f0e68ckhakiကာကီရောင် | ka2-ki2 youn2
#ffdab9peachpuffမိတ်ကပ်ရောင် | mate-kut youn2
#ffdeadအသားရောင် | a-tha3 youn2
#f5deb3wheatပင်နီရောင် | pin2-ni2 youn2
#d2b48ctanအညိုဖျော့ရောင် | a-nyo2-byau1 youn2
#e6e6falavenderမီးခိုးနုရောင် | mi3-go3-nu1 youn2
#f5f5dcbeigeကြာဖြူရောင် | kja2-byu2 youn2
#fffff0ivoryဆင်စွယ်ရောင် | hsin2-sweare2 youn2
#ffffffwhiteအဖြူရောင် | a-pfyu2-youn2
#f5fffamintcreamနို့နှစ်ရောင် | no1-hnit youn2
#90ee90light-greenအစိမ်းနုရောင် | a-sain3-nu1 youn2
#9acd32yellow greenကျောက်စိမ်းရောင် | kjout-sain3 youn2
#808000oliveစစ်ကားရောင် | sit-ka3-youn2
#006400darkgreenအစိမ်းရင့်ရောင် | a-sain3-yin1 youn2
#008000greenအစိမ်းရောင် | a-sain3-youn2
#2e8b57seagreenကျောင်းစိမ်းရောင် | kjoun3-zain3 youn2
#00ff00limeသံပရာရောင် | thun2-ba1-ya2 youn2
#adff2fgreen yellowဖက်ဖူးရောင် | pfet-pfu3 youn2
#ffe4e1mistyroseပန်းနုရောင် | pan3-nu1 youn2
#ffc0cbpinkပန်းရောင် | pan3 youn2
#ee82eevioletမရမ်းရောင် | ma1-yan3-youn2
#ff00ffmagentaမရမ်းနုရောင် | ma1-yan3-nu1 youn2
#ff00ffmid violet redခရမ်းနုရောင် | kha1-yan3-nu1 youn2
#800080purpleခရမ်းရောင် | kha1-yan3 youn2
#4b0082indigoမဲနယ်ရောင် | meare3-neare2 youn2
#00008bdarkblueအပြာရင့်ရောင် | a-pya2-yin1 youn2
#000080ပင်လယ်ပြာရောင် | pin2-leare2-bya2 youn2
#0000ffblueအပြာရောင် | a-pya2 youn2
#000000blackအမည်း / အနက် | a-meare3/ a-net
#808080grayမီးခိုးရောင် | mi3-go3 youn2
#c0c0c0silverငွေရောင် | ngway2 youn2
#add8e6light-blueအပြာနုရောင် | a-pya2-nu1 youn2
#87ceebskyblueမိုးပြာရောင် | mo3-bya2 youn2
#40e0d0turquoiseစိမ်းပြာရောင် | sain3-bya2 youn2
#00ffffaquaစိမ်းပြာနုရောင် | | sain3-bya2-nu1 youn2
#008080tealစိမ်းပြာရင့်ရောင် | sain3-bya2-yin1 youn2
#1e90ffdodgerblueဂျင်းပြာရောင် | jin3-pya2 youn2
#007fffazureတိမ်ပြာရောင် | tain2-pya2 youn2

အရောင် | a-youn2

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

ရောင် | youn2.

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

For example:

အင်္ကျီ | ain3-ji2 — shirt

အဖြူ | a-pfyu2 — white

ဘယ်မှာလဲ | beare2 hma2 leare3 — where is it?

အင်္ကျီအဖြူ ဘယ်မှာလဲ

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

ပန်း | pan3 — flower

ရောင် | youn2 — color.

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

Aqua is made of three words

စိမ်း | sain3 — green

ပြာ | pya2 — blue

ရောင် | youn2 — color.

စိမ်းပြာရောင် | sain3-bya2 youn2 MP3 Audio File

Purple is

ခရမ်း | kha1-yan3 — egg plant

ရောင် | youn2 — color.

ခရမ်းရောင် | kha1-yan3 youn2 MP3 Audio File

The word

နု | nu1 (adjective) MP3 Audio File

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

The word

ရင့် | yin1 (adjective) MP3 Audio File

meaning "mature" is used to describe darker colors.

အပြာရင့် | 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

ရွှေ | shway2.

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

It is common for elder Burmese men to dye their hair

အနက် | a-net MP3 Audio File or

အမည်း | 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,

အပြာရောင် | a-pya2 youn2 MP3 Audio File

means blue, and hair

အပြာရောင် သန်းတယ် | a-pya2 youn2 thun3 deare2 MP3 Audio File

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

သန်း | 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

သင်္ကန်းရောင် | 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.

အင်္ကျီ | ain3-ji2 — shirt

ပန်းရောင် | pan3 youn2 — pink color

ဘယ်မှာလဲ | beare2 hma2 leare3 — where is it?

အင်္ကျီ ပန်းရောင် ဘယ်မှာလဲ

ain3-ji2 pan3 youn2 beare2 hma2 leare3

Where is the pink color shirt?

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

ပန်းရောင် | pan3 youn2 — pink color

အင်္ကျီ | ain3-ji2 — shirt

ဘယ်မှာလဲ | beare2 hma2 leare3 — where is it?

ပန်းရောင် အင်္ကျီ ဘယ်မှာလဲ

pan3 youn2 ain3-ji2 beare2 hma2 leare3

Where is the pink color shirt?

It is OK to add the suffix

ရောင် | youn2

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

အင်္ကျီ အဖြူ ဘယ်မှာလဲ

ain3-ji2 a-pfyu2 beare2 hma2 leare3

အင်္ကျီ အဖြူရောင် ဘယ်မှာလဲ

ain3-ji2 a-pfyu2 youn2 beare2 hma2 leare3

အဖြူရောင် အင်္ကျီ ဘယ်မှာလဲ

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,



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.

အဖြူရောင် | a-pfyu2 youn2 — white color

အင်္ကျီ | ain3-ji2 — shirt

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

လူ | lu2 — man

အဖြူရောင် အင်္ကျီနဲ့ လူ

a-pfyu2 youn2 ain3-ji2 neare1 lu2

The man with the white shirt.

You can also say:

အဖြူရောင် | a-pfyu2 youn2 — white

အင်္ကျီ | ain3-ji2 — shirt

ဝတ် | woot — wear

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

လူ | lu2 — man

အဖြူရောင် အင်္ကျီ ဝတ်ထားတဲ့လူ

a-pfyu2 youn2 ain3-ji2 woot hta3 deare1 lu2

The man who is wearing white shirt.

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

အမည်းရောင် | a-meare3 youn2 — black color

ဖိနပ် | pfa1-nut — footwear

စီး | 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.

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

လူ | lu2 — man

အမည်းရောင် ဖိနပ် စီးထားတဲ့ လူ

a-meare3 youn2 pfa1-nut si3 hta3 deare1 lu2

The man who is wearing black slippers.

အမည်းရောင် | a-meare3 youn2 — black color

မျက်မှန် | myet-hmun2 — glasses

ဝတ် | woot — wear

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

လူ | lu2 — man

အမည်းရောင် မျက်မှန် ဝတ်ထားတဲ့ လူ

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:

ဘာ | ba2 — what

အရောင် | a-youn2 — color

လိုချင် | lo2 chin2 — want

လဲ | leare3 — ?


ဘာအရောင် လိုချင်လဲ | ba2 a-youn2 lo2 chin2 leare3

What color do you want?


အဝါရောင် | a-wa2 youn2Yellow.

Situation B:

The tourist had initiated the conversation:

ဟို | ho2 — that

အဝါရောင် | a-wa2 youn2 — yellow

ကြည့် | kji1 — to look

ချင်တယ် | chin2 deare2 — want to + affirmation ending word.


ဟို အဝါရောင် ကြည့် ချင်တယ်

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."

အဝါရောင် | a-wa2 youn2 — yellow

ရှိ | shi1 — present or available

လား | la3 — ?


အဝါရောင် ရှိလား

a-wa2 youn2 shi1 la3

Do you have yellow?

The tourist, after inspecting the merchandize,

ဒါ | da2 — this

| ma1 — not

ကြိုက် | kjite — like

သေး | thay3 — yet to be

ဘူး | bu3 — negative ending.

ဒါ မကြိုက်သေးဘူး

da2 ma1-kjite thay3 bu3

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

လိမ္မော်ရောင် | lain2-mau2 youn2 — orange color

ပေး | pay3 — to pay; to give

ပါ | ba2 — suggestion word.

လိမ္မော်ရောင် ပေးပါ

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."

ရောင်စုံ ဘောလုံး | youn2-zone2 bau3-lone2colorful ball

ရောင်စုံ ဘောလုံး | youn2-zone2 bau3-lone2colorful ball

တစ်လုံး ငါးပြား | ta1-lone2 nga2 bya35 pya (cent) each

တစ်လုံး ငါးပြား | ta1-lone2 nga2 bya35 pya (cent) each

ကြိုက်တဲ့ အရောင် | kjite deare1 a-youn2 yway3 ba2

Please choose the color you like.

ကြိုက်တဲ့ အရောင် | kjite deare1 a-youn2 yway3 ba2

Please choose the color you like.

တစ်လုံး ငါးပြား | ta1-lone3 nga2 bya35 pya (cent) each

တစ်လုံး ငါးပြား | 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:

ရောင်စုံ | youn2-zone2colorful (color + all present)

ဘောလုံး | bau2-lone3ball (ball + sphere)

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

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

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

အရောင် | a-youn2color

ရွေး | yway3choose

ပါ | ba2suggestion

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