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.

Read this page with Myanmar Script

Ordinal numbers are usually used up to the third. For example, to describe the floor levels in buildings, the first, second, and third are used. After the third, people usually say

lay htut

instead of

za1-doat-hta1 htut.

In school books, the 9th grade is called

na1-wa1-ma1 dun3

meaning 9th grade, but in conversation, people usually say

ko3 dun3

which means grade 9.

ORDINAL NUMBER TABLE
ENGLISH ↑↓ AUDIO ↑↓
1st - First pa1-hta1-ma1
2nd - Second du1-ti1-ya1
3rd - Third tut-ti1-ya1
4th - Fourth za1-doat-hta1
5th - Fifth pyin2-sa1-ma1
6th - Sixth hsut-hta1-ma1
7th - Seventh thut-ta1-ma1
8th - Eighth ut-hta1-ma1
9th - Ninth na1-wa1-ma1
the 10th - tenth da1 tha1-ma1

Zero, minus, decimal, fractional numbers, percentage % points & basic mathematical terms in Burmese

Burmese word for zero is

thone2-nya1. MP3 Audio File

In upper Myanmar, temperature in celsius could drop below zero at night in cool seasons.

thone2-nya1 out

means sub zero.

a-pu2 jain2

means temperature. You can say

a-pu2 jain2 thone2-nya1 out shi1 deare2

to mean the temperature is sub-zero.

MP3 Audio File

If you want to be more precise, you can use

a-hnoatminus figures.

a-hnoat hnit

means minus 2.

a-pu2 jain2 a-hnoat hnit shi1 deare2

means the temperature is minus 2 (-2°C).

MP3 Audio File

Minus 2 in this case is the

a-nain1-zone3the lowest MP3 Audio File

temperature.

a-myin1-zone3the highest MP3 Audio File

temperature in the same region could reach above 95°F.

Decimal numbers are expressed digit by digit after

decimal pointda1 tha1-ma1. MP3 Audio File

The word da1 tha1-ma1

also refers to the ordinal number tenth.

For example,

thone3-zeare130+

lay34

da1 tha1-ma1point

thone33

lay34

nga35

means 34.345. MP3 Audio File

Try to think in terms of

pone2piles

of items to remember the

a-pine3 ga1-nun3fractional numbers.

Suppose you have

lay3 bone2four piles

of sugar, and you offer me

thone3 bone23 piles

out of 4, you are giving me

lay3-bone2 thone3-bone2three quarter (¾). MP3 Audio File

What about proportions? If you divide a big pile into 15 piles, and give 5 people in the ratios of 5:4:3:2:1, the first person gets 5 piles and the last person only gets 1 pile. In Burmese, the ratio is called

a-cho3.

So,

hnit a-cho3 tit MP3 Audio File

is 2 is to 1, 2 to 1 ratio, or (2:1).

You can use the above pone2 word to describe any fractional numbers. However, if you have two pone2 and given away one pone2, it is better to use the word

ta1-wet

which means half(½).

ta1-wet ti1-de1 MP3 Audio File

means exactly half the amount.

ta1-wet ni3-ba3 MP3 Audio File

means almost half.

ta1-wet kjau2 MP3 Audio File

refers to over the half amount.

If you don't know the exact numbers, you can give

khan1-hmun3-jay2approximate numbers. When you say,

khan1-hmun3-jay2 ta1-htoun2

MP3 Audio File

it means approximately 1,000 or 1000 plus-minus 10 (1000±10), which could go either way.

When you say the average life expectancy of male population is 65 in this town, you are referring to

pfyan3-hmya1, MP3 Audio File

which is the mean mu (μ) in normal bell-curve distribution.

When I start using strange Greek alphabets like α, β confidence levels, Χ Chi-Square distributions, arrival rate λ and so on, I am using a branch of mathematics known as

kain3 ga1-nun3Statistics.

If I try to solve simultaneous equations with not so strange alphabets like 3X + 4Y + 5Z= 0, I need the knowledge of

et-kha1-ya2 thin2-cha2, where

et-kha1-ya2

means alphabet, and

thin2-cha2 means math. So, Burmese word for

Algebra is

et-kha1-ya2 thin2-cha2.

There is no Burmese word for Calculus though.

How about this? 1+1 = 10. Illogical? That's the logic behind the digital world, and

ni3 pyin2-nya2Information Technology (IT).

If the probability of rain within 24 hours is 60%, you say

chout-hseare2 ya2-ghine2-hnome3

MP3 Audio File where

ya2-ghine2-hnome3

means percentage.

Suppose the quality level of your production reaches six sigma (6σ), the defective level is very low, and you have achieved almost zero defect. In previous decades, customers were quite happy with

ko3-zeare1 nga395

da1 tha1-ma1point

nga35

ya2-ghine2-hnome3percent

MP3 Audio File

(95.5%) quality level based on the sampling plan, but that is not good enough in this day of tough competition.

You can use the word

ya2-ghine2-hnome3 byay1

to refer to 100%. This term is usually used to indicate the support that politicians hope to get from the people.

pyay1

means "filled up" or "full amount".

So, those are the basic

a-poun3 | plus (+), MP3 Audio File

a-hnoat | minus (-), MP3 Audio File

a-hmyout | multiplication (×) MP3 Audio File

a-sa3 | division (÷) MP3 Audio File of

thin2-cha2 | mathematics MP3 Audio File

in Burmese.

What are the measure words? When you say "a glass of water", or "a cup of tea", "glass" and "cup" are measure words, also known as numerical classifiers.

Burmese, just like the Chinese, has several of those measure words for different types of nouns: objects, concepts, people, and animals, etc., that do not have English equivalents. They are known as

thin2-cha2 myo3-pya1 pyit-si3. MP3 Audio File

or simply

myo3-pya1 pyit-si3. MP3 Audio File




CLICK TABLE HEADER COLUMNS TO SORT BY ASCENDING OR DESCENDING ORDER OF ENGLISH OR ROMANIZATION.

List of Numerical Classifiers (Sortable)
ENGLISH ↑↓ AUDIO ↑↓
a person lu2 ta1-yout
two persons lu2 hna1-yout
30 comrades yeare3-bau2 thone3 jate
a crowd of people lu2 oat ta1-oat
a herd of cattle nwa3 ta1-oat
a swarm of bees pya3 ta1-oat
one animal ta1-rate-hsun2 da1-goun2
a dog khway3 da1-goun2
two dogs khway3 hna1-koun2
a litter of puppies khway3-dtha3-bout ta1-oat
three birds hnget thone3 goun2
four fishes nga3 lay3 goun2
a shoal of fish nga3 oat ta1-oat
a plane lay2-yin2-byan2 da1-zi3
a boat; a ship thin3-bau3 da1-zi3
a bicycle set-bain3 da1-zi3
a car ka3 da1-zi3
a house ain2 ta1-lone3
a tree thit-pin2 da1-bin2
a bundle of sticks htin3 da1-zi3
a bundle of mustard mone2-nyin3 da1-zi3
a pair of shoes pfa1-nut ta1-yan2
an umbrella hti3 ta1-choun3
a shirt ain3-ji2 ta1-hteare2
a pair of trousers boun3-be2 ta1-hteare2
a watch na2-yi2 ta1-lone3
a light bulb mi3-lone3 ta1-lone3
a computer koon2-pyu2-ta2 ta1-lone3
a radio ray2-de2-yo2 ta1-lone3
a TV set ti2-bwe2 ta1-lone3
a hat oat-htoat ta1-lone3
a book sa2-oat ta1-oat
a piece of paper sa2-ywet ta1-ywet
a pack of cards pfeare3-htoat ta1-htoat
a pencil kheare3-dun2 ta1-choun3
a knife da3 ta1-choun3
a pot o3 ta1-lone3
a pair of chopsticks tu2 da1-zone2
a chair htine2-gome2 ta1-lone3
a table za1-bweare3 ta1-lone3
a cup of tea la1-pfet-yay2 ta1-khwet
a slice of bread poun2-mone1 ta1-chut
a jar of jam yo2 da1-ba1-lin3
a glass of beer be2-ya2 ta1-khwet
a bottle of Whisky wit sa1-ki2 da1-ba1-lin3
a plate of rice hta1-min3 da1-ba1-gun2
an order of rice noodle mone1-hin3-ga3 da1-bweare3
a packet of noodles khout-hsweare3 ta1-htoat
a bunch of grapes za1-byit-thi3 ta1-khine2
a bunch of banana nga1-pyau3 dthi3 ta1-pfe3
a banana nga1-pyau3 dthi3 ta1-lone3
an apple pan3 dthi3 ta1-lone3
a kernel of corn pyoun3 bu3 ta1-zi1
an ear of corn pyoun3 bu3 ta1-pfu3
a bar of soap hsut-pya2 da1-doun1 or kheare3
a heap of rubbish a-hmite-pone2 da1-bone2
a chain of events a-pfyit a-pyet ta1-khu1
a song tha1-chin3 da1-boat
a story pone2-byin2 lay3 ta1-khu1

Lesson 12: Learn to say, "I earn $ 123,456,789 a second!"

Many Burmese people seem to be fascinated with

nun2-but | numbers. MP3 Audio File

Even in this modern day with scientific knowledge, it is not unusual for Myanmar people to consult astrologers and choose the most auspicious dates for important personal occasions and business undertakings. Some have even developed their own "system" to predict the winning lottery numbers!!

10,000, 5000, 1000, 500 and 200 Kyat Notes

Here's a tip to prevent you from the culture shock. In a recent edition of the Lonely Planet's Myanmar Travel, one of the authors noted that Myanmar people tend to exaggerate with numbers. Perhaps, this is the culture where losing credibility is deemed not so important as in some other parts of the world. To be fair, let's face it. You will always find people who like to brag a little.

ADDED NOTE: This article was first written sometime back in late 2011 or early 2012. As for bragging people in Yangon, it still stands correct (at least for some), as mentioned in one of Burmese Proverbs and Traditional Sayings.

kjwa3 means to brag.

de2 — this

koun2 — reference to a guy or an animal

nga1-kjwa3 — braggart

beare3 — affirmation ending word

de2 koun2 nga1-kjwa3 beare3

What a braggart!

If you look at it from the positive angle, this is freedom like nowhere else in the world. You are free to exaggerate all you want (about yourself, that is) — regardless of what you say is true or not. That's why the spoken language is called

za1-ga3 MP3 Audio File

where

ka3 MP3 Audio File

in a sense means to exaggerate. The tradition probably goes back to generations — long before "spin-doctors" came onto the stage of American politics.

In any case, earning 123,456,789 dollars a second is a bit too much — just a tiny bit too much. How about 123,456 kyats a month? We will learn to say 1,2,3 up to 99,999,999 in Burmese. In case you don't know, "9" was considered a lucky number by a late well-known Burmese individual. In those days, Burma had strange currency denominations such as 45 kyats and 90 kyats, which had the digits all add up to number 9.

Reference Tables for Burmese Numerals

First, let's start with the very basic from 1 to 9.

Numbers from 1 to 9 (Sortable)
1-9 ↑↓ Myanmar Script ↑↓ Pronunciation ↑↓
1 MP3 Audio File tit
2 MP3 Audio File hnit
3 MP3 Audio File thone3
4 MP3 Audio File lay3
5 MP3 Audio File nga3
6 MP3 Audio File chout
7 MP3 Audio File khoon2-nit
8 MP3 Audio File shit
9 MP3 Audio File ko3

To say 1,2,3 in the multiple of 10's such as 10,20,30, etc., the general format is to add the word

hseare2

after 1,2,3. However, there are slight changes in the pronunciations of 1,2 and 7.

NOTE:

hseare2 MP3 Audio File

may sound like

zeare2 MP3 Audio File

for 30, 40, 50 and 90. In general, if you have trailing zero's after, 3,4,5 and 9, people soften the consonant when spoken.
10X Numbers from 10 to 90
10-90 Myanmar Script Pronunciation
10 ၁၀ MP3 Audio File ta1-hseare2
20 ၂၀ MP3 Audio File hna1-hseare2
30 ၃၀ MP3 Audio File thone3 zeare2
40 ၄၀ MP3 Audio File lay3 zeare2
50 ၅၀ MP3 Audio File nga3 zeare2
60 ၆၀ MP3 Audio File chout hseare2
70 ၇၀ MP3 Audio File khoon2 na1-hseare2
80 ၈၀ MP3 Audio File shit hseare2
90 ၉၀ MP3 Audio File ko3 zeare2

To say 1,2,3 in the multiple of 100's such as 100, 200, 300, etc., the general format is to add the word

ya2 MP3 Audio File

after 1,2,3. Note the similarities with the 10's in the pronunciation of 1,2 and 7.

100X Numbers from 100 to 900
100-900 Myanmar Script Pronunciation
100 ၁၀၀ MP3 Audio File ta1-ya2
200 ၂၀၀ MP3 Audio File hna1-ya2
300 ၃၀၀ MP3 Audio File thone3 ya2
400 ၄၀၀ MP3 Audio File lay3 ya2
500 ၅၀၀ MP3 Audio File nga3 ya2
600 ၆၀၀ MP3 Audio File chout ya2
700 ၇၀၀ MP3 Audio File khoon2 na1-ya2
800 ၈၀၀ MP3 Audio File shit ya2
900 ၉၀၀ MP3 Audio File ko3 ya2

To say 1,2,3 in the multiple of 1000's such as 1000, 2000, 3000, etc., the general format is to add the word

htoun2 MP3 Audio File

after 1,2,3.

1000X Numbers from 1,000 to 9,000
1,000X Myanmar Script Pronunciation
1,000 ၁၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File ta1-htoun2
2,000 ၂၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File hna1-htoun2
3,000 ၃၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File thone3 htoun2
4,000 ၄၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File lay3 htoun2
5,000 ၅၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File nga3 htoun2
6,000 ၆၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File chout htoun2
7,000 ၇၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File khoon2 na1-htoun2
8,000 ၈၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File shit htoun2
9,000 ၉၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File ko3 htoun2

number with four zero's is called

thoun3. MP3 Audio File

Note that it is pronounced in the 3rd tone. Don't confuse this word with the thousand,

htoun2 MP3 Audio File

which is in the second tone.

If you are used to expressing those numbers in terms of thousands in your language, you will need to re-adjust the learning. Try to see 2,0000 figure instead of 20,000.

NOTE:

thoun3 MP3 Audio File

can be soften to

dthoun3 MP3 Audio File

for 30,000, 40,000, 50,000, and 90,000.

10,000X Numbers from 10,000 to 90,000
10,000X Myanmar Script Pronunciation
10,000 ၁၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File ta1-thoun3
20,000 ၂၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File hna1-thoun3
30,000 ၃၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File thone3 dthoun3
40,000 ၄၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File lay3 dthoun3
50,000 ၅၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File nga3 dthoun3
60,000 ၆၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File chout thoun3
70,000 ၇၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File khoon2 na1-thoun3
80,000 ၈၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File shit thoun3
90,000 ၉၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File ko3 dthoun3

The higher numbers are expressed in

thain3.

Remember, it has five trailing zero's. It is used as a base for even higher numbers in the multiple of 10, 100, and 1000 to that base.

The usage of thain3 in the unit one hundred thousand is comparable to "lakh" often used with units of money in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Hong Kong.

Place the word

thain3

after the numbers from 1 to 19.

ta1-thain3 means, 1,00000 = 100,000 = one hundred thousand.

hseare2-dthain3 means 10X the thain3 = 10,00000 = 1,000,000 = one million.

Place the word thain3 before the numbers from 20 onwards.

For example,

thain3 hna1-hsare2

means 20X the thain3 = 20,00000 = 2,000,000 = 2 million.

thain3 ta1-toun2

means 1000X the thain3 = 1000,00000 = 100,000,000.

One thousand thain3 is one hundred million.

If you have numbers with 3,4,5,9, and 10 in front the zero, you may hear people soften the words to sound like dthain3.

Higher Numbers from 100,000 to 100,000,000
100,000X Myanmar Script Pronunciation
100,000 = 1,00000 ၁၀၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File ta1-thain3
1,000,000 = 10,00000 ၁၀၀၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File hseare2 dthain3
1,500,000 = 15,00000 ၁၅၀၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File hseare1-nga3 dthain3
1,800,000 = 18,00000 ၁၈၀၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File hseare1-shit thain3
2,000,000 = 20,00000 ၂၀၀၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File thain3 hna1-hseare2
4,000,000 = 40,00000 ၄၀၀၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File thain3 lay3-zeare2
10,000,000 = 100,00000 ၁၀၀၀၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File thain3 ta1-ya2
100,000,000 = 1000,00000 ၁၀၀၀၀၀၀၀၀ MP3 Audio File thain3 ta1-htoun2

So, how would you say 654321 in Burmese? Here is a formula. You always start with the highest multiple of 10X. The above number has 6 digits (with the place for 5 trailing zeros), so start with thain3. It is pretty much straight forward as shown below:

chout thain3 — 6,00000 +

nga3 dthoun3 — 50000 +

lay3 htoun2 — 4000 +

thone3 ya2 — 300 +

hna1-hseare1 — 20 +

tit — 1

654,321 = ၆၅၄၃၂၁

There is one small detail. The word "hseare2", which is used for 10X as in 10, 20, 30 .... 80, 90 is pronounced in the first tone as hseare1 when it is followed by a single digit number from 1 to 9 such as in the above example.

Numbers between 10 and 100 with non-zero last digit

thone3-zeare1 — 30 +

lay3 — 4

chout-hseare1 — 60 +

shit — 8

ko3-zeare1 — 90 +

ko3 — 9

34 - 68 - 99 ( ၃၄ ၊ ၆၈ ၊ ၉၉ ။ )

OK, quiz time! How would you then say "11"?

That was a trick question. No, it's not

ta1-hseare1 — 10 +

tit — 1

In spoken Burmese, just omit ta1 in ta1-hseare1 (10 +) for numbers from 11 to 19 like examples below:

hseare1 — 10 +

tit — 1

hseare1 — 10 +

nga3 — 5

hseare1 — 10 +

ko3 — 9

11 - 15 - 19 ( ၁၁ ၊ ၁၅ ၊ ၁၉ ။ )

Numbers from 11-19
11-19 Myanmar Script Pronunciation
11 ၁၁ MP3 Audio File hseare1 tit
12 ၁၂ MP3 Audio File hseare1 hnit
13 ၁၃ MP3 Audio File hseare1 thone3
14 ၁၄ MP3 Audio File hseare1 lay3
15 ၁၅ MP3 Audio File hseare1 nga3
16 ၁၆ MP3 Audio File hseare1 chout
17 ၁၇ MP3 Audio File hseare1 khoon2-nit
18 ၁၈ MP3 Audio File hseare1 shit
19 ၁၉ MP3 Audio File hseare1 ko3

Millions and Billions

thun3 MP3 Audio File is the word for "million".

chout thun3 means six million.

However, in the business world, you will hear people speak in terms of

thain3 MP3 Audio File figure with 5 zero's instead.

Six million is sixty thain3, or thain3 chout-hseare2.

And, people usually round up the big numbers so you don't need to worry about saying the smaller numbers that follow the thain3 number such as htoun2 and ya2.

Present Myanmar government uses the term

be2-la1-yan2 — billion

to announce the budget and expenses. This be2-la1-yan2 is the American usage of billion equivalent to one thousand million. I need to clarify this because the British billion is a million million, and Americans call this a trillion.

The Burmese language newspaper "The Mirror" uses the term be2-la1-yan2-na2 for billionaire.

Trillions

A million million or a trillion is a difficult concept to visualize. Let's see how many zero's behind it.

1

10

100

1,000

10,000

100,000

1,000,000 = 1 million

10,000,000 = 10 million

100,000,000 = 100 million

1,000,000,000 = a billion (1,000 million)

10,000,000,000 = 10 billion

100,000,000,000 = 100 billion

1,000,000,000,000 = a trillion (1,000 billion)

The Burmese language uses the English loaned word trillion as

hta1-ri2-li2-yan2.

For example, for the fiscal year 2015-2016, Myanmar government tax revenue is estimated to be 6.387 hta1-ri2-li2-yan2 Kyat.

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: Use of English loaned word 'trillion' does not mean that Burmese language lacks words for very large numbers. There are words with Pali origin:

ကုဋေ | ga1-day2

means ten millions.

ကုဋေကဋာ | ga1-day2 ga1-da2 refers to millions and millions or 'zillions'.

The less known word for American trillion is ပကောဋိ | pa1-kau3-de1.However, those old words are not used in today's business world.

"Half" Numbers

There is one other common usage that you should know.

khweare3 MP3 Audio File means half.

In terms of math, there is an additional half value to the multiplier. For example,

nga3 dthoun3 khweare3 means 55000. Let's do some math:

nga3 means 5

thoun3 means you need to multiply by 10000. ( 5 * 10000 = 50000)

khweare3 refers to the half of whatever multiplier you use, in this case, (1/2 * 10000= 5000).

Add this 5000 to 50000. (50000+5000= 55000)

So, khweare3 is the same as "half" in English when you say "A million and a half."

Another example on "half" numbers

chout thain3 khweare3 means 6,50000.

thain3 means you need to multiply by 1,00000. ( 6 * 1,00000 = 6,00000)

khweare3 refers to the half of the multiplier you use; in this case, (1/2 * 1,00000= 50000).

Add this 50000 to 6,00000. (6,00000 + 50000 = 6,50000)

A Review of numbers big and small

Selected Numbers from 1 to 6 Million (Sortable)
English ↑↓ Burmese Pronunciation ↑↓
1 tit
2 hnit
3 thone3
4 lay3
5 nga3
6 chout
7 khoon2-nit
8 shit
9 ko3
10 ၁၀ ta1-hseare2
15 ၁၅ hseare1-nga3
200 ၂၀၀ hna1 ya2
3000
(3,000)
၃၀၀၀ thone3 htoun2
40000 ၄၀၀၀၀ lay3 dthoun3
500000
(5,00000)
၅၀၀၀၀၀ nga3 dthain3
6000000
(60,00000)
၆၀၀၀၀၀၀ thain3 chout-hseare2
6000000
(6,000,000)
၆၀၀၀၀၀၀ chout thun3

Now it's about time to exaggerate a little

So, finally, you should be able to say that you earn 123,456 kyats (a second, a minute, or whatever exaggeration you preferred.)

ta1-thain3 — 1,00000 +

hna1-thoun3 — 20000 +

thone3 htoun2 — 3000 +

lay3 ya2 — 400 +

nga3 zeare1 — 50 +

chout — 6

kjut — Kyat

ta1-set-kun1 — 1 second

ya1 deare2 — receive + affirmative.

ta1-thain3
hna1-thoun3
thone3-htoun2
lay3-ya2
nga3-zeare1 chout kjut
ta1-set-kun1 ya1 deare2