Learn Myanmar Language in conversational and literary form. Learn to speak and read Burmese.
The Free Online Colloquial Burmese (Myanmar language) lessons include Burmese script, MP3 audio, PDF files and
easy Burmese grammar study materials with color-coded parts of speech:
nouns, pronouns, verbs,
adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions,
particles, postpositional markers, and
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.
As an alternative or in addition to speaking in Burmese, perhaps you can bring along printout of the words or phrases in Burmese
Script and point that out to the local people. You will be better understood that way.
You can download the PDF file that focuses more on useful survival phrases
that you can use when you are in the rural areas away from English speakers. When all other communications fail, just point out the phrase
in Burmese script that says things like, "take me to the nearest hotel".
Revision: J1 Revised Date: 2017-03-20 File Size: 411 KB Number of Pages: 20
Although the phrases are not explained in details, it is designed to help you to see the sentence patterns, and priority is
placed in the emergency situations and words such as shouting, tha1 kho3...tha1 kho3 ( thief!...thief!) or
mi3... mi3 (fire!...fire!).
Audio files for Survival Phrasebook are zipped for easy download and offline study. Zipped files include more than 130 MP3 Audio files,
a text file with file names in English Romanization, Burmese script, and English translation. Also included is a CSV file and an Excel file for easy sorting.
So far, we have covered a lot of grounds on useful basic Burmese vocabularies, words, and phrases.
Although new lessons are added as time goes by, I will keep the Myanmar conversational phrases as simple as possible,
so that you can jump in at any lesson without difficulties.
In this lesson, I am going to focus on essential travel phrases for the tourists. Some of the words and phrases
are already covered in the previous lessons, so if you have been following me, this will be like a review.
For the tourists who discover this page through the Internet search, this lesson will be a useful information
put together in one page.
Calling a taxi or a doctor
As a traveler, you definitely need a transport. Although travel agencies like Asia Pearl Travels provide guided
tours inclusive of transport, some tourists prefer to make adventures on their own. If you are one of such individuals,
you can go to the front desk in your hotel and ask:
tet-si2 -- taxi khau2 -- call pay3 -- to give ba2 -- soft polite tone
tet-si2khau2pay3ba2 -- Can you call a taxi for me, please?
hsa1-ya2-woon2 -- doctor khau2 -- call pay3 -- to give ba2 -- soft polite tone
You can use the same sentence construction with "doctor" in place of "taxi".
hsa1-ya2-woon2khau2pay3ba2 -- Can you call a doctor for me, please?
Can you do this for me, please?
So, the general pattern of making such requests is:
xxxxpay3 ba2 where,
xxxx is the action word (verb).
pay3 means to give. In Myanmar grammar, when this word is used as a suffix word after an another
verb, it becomes a particle meaning to do something
for someone, or on the behalf of someone.
ba2 is a polite ending word which softens the tone, as opposed to a command.
If the request is the first phrase as you approach someone for help, and not in the middle of the conversation, include "for me", or "to me" in
the beginning of the phrase.
kja1-nau1 -- me (male term) go2 -- roughly means "to" or "for" xxxx -- do something pay3 ba2 -- polite ending word.
- Please do xxxx for me (male).
- Please do xxxx for me (female).
I have covered a list of verbs that you can use in lesson7. For example, you can say,
a-wootshau2pay3ba2 -- Can you wash clothes for me, please?
dau2-la2leare3pay3ba2 -- Can you exchange dollar (into kyat) for me, please?
Can you take me to xxxx ?
The general pattern of making this type of request is:
lay2-yin2-pyan2 kwin3 -- airport (airplane + field)[noun] po1 -- to send[verb] pay3 -- to give [verb] ba2 -- soft polite tone [particle]
lay2-yin2-pyan2 kwin3po1pay3ba2 -- Can you take me to the airport, please?
A shorter word for airport is lay2-zate. You will find this word on maps and road signs. The table below
is a list of some useful vocabularies that you can substitute in place of the airport.
Use the phrase "xxxxyah1ma1la3 to ask if something is available or if it is OK to get something done.
(Please see lesson 15 for more on ordering food and drinks including restaurant menus.)
yah1 - is the verb "to get" or "to obtain" in
Burmese grammar, but it can also be roughly translated as an adjective "available". For example
be2-ya2yah1ma1la3 - Can I get beer? roughly means:
"Is beer available here?"
If someone tries to sell you something that you don't want, say:
-- Not buying this time. (negative + buy + still not + negative ending)
How to make a bargain in Burmese?
There are still many places in Myanmar where you can make a bargain, like souvenir sellers and roadside used books vendors. While there are a good many
honest merchants making their decent living, some cannot resist the temptation to hike up the price a little when they see foreigners with lots of cash. What can you do?
The small amount of extra money that they ask may mean nothing to you, but it can feed a poor family for a day in this country -- just a small input for your
consideration. However, if you're certain that the greed is ridiculously high, you can then use the phrase
shau1ba2ome3 -- Please decrease or reduce a little.
The song below uses this phrase in a different context where this guy is begging provocatively dressed girls to be less sexy to save him from heart attacks.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It's optional to sing exactly like this when you make a bargain.
There are still many places in Myanmar where you can make a bargain, like souvenir sellers and roadside used books vendors. While there are a good many honest merchants making their decent living, some cannot resist the temptation to hike up the price a little when they see foreigners with lots of cash. What can you do? The small amount of extra money that they ask may mean nothing to you, but it can feed a poor family for a day in this country -- just a small input for your consideration. However, if you're certain that the greed is ridiculously high, you can then use the phrase လျှော့ပါဦး | shau1 ba2 ome3 -- Please decrease or reduce a little.
The song below used this phrase in a different context where this guy is begging provocatively dressed girls to be less sexy to save him from heart attacks. IMPORTANT NOTE: It's optional to sing exactly like this when you make a bargain. -- performed by Dယံ | D Yan (15 seconds)
When Burmese people hear this phrase, it gets the impression that the speaker is a Westerner. The phrase does not catch on to
become a common usage.
The more colloquial phrase for "sorry" as in "I'm sorry to hear that" is
satema1koun3ba2bu3 - (mind or spirit + not + good + polite + negative ending word)
When someone accidentally touches an another person, especially to an elder person, Burmese people will say,
ga1-dau1 ... ga1-dau1 - (show of respect and/or gratitude). This word is equivalent to "sorry".
Another usage of "sorry" in English is when you did not hear or understand what the other person said, which is like saying
"excuse me, can you say that again?"
beare2-lo2leare3 -- how? - (how + ?)
-- Can you say that again? - (prefix: "repeat" + speak + polite + ending word)
Meeting, greetings, saying thank you and good-bye
I have already covered basic greetings, meeting, questions and answers in previous lessons, so I will just
summarize them here without giving detailed explanations. For details on basic questions and answers, please
refer to lesson 2.
nay2-koun3la3 -- How are you?
Tway1 -- to meet (verb) yah1 ta2 -- as for being able to (particle) wun3-tha2 -- be glad(verb) equivalent to happy (adjective in English) ba2deare2 -- polite affirmative ending words. (particle + postpositional marker)
-- Nice to meet you!
-- What's your name? - (name + how + call + ?)
in3-ga1-late -- English za1-ga3 -- spoken language pyau3 -- to speak, to tell, to say tut -- suffix particle: know how to tha1-la3 -- ?
in3-ga1-late za1-ga3pyau3tut tha1-la3
-- Can you speak English?
neare3 neare3 -- a little pyau3 -- to speak, to tell, to say tut -- suffix particle: know how to deare2 -- affirmation.
neare3 neare3pyau3tutdeare2 -- Yes, I can speak a little.
kjay3 zu3 -- a good deed done on an another person.
tin2 -- to explain the fact as in tin2-pya1
ba2deare2 -- polite ending word with emphasis on tin2.
kjay3 zu3tin2ba2deare2 -- Thank you!
ah3-na2sa1 ya2 ji3 -- You are so kind and hospitable!