Greetings, Basic Questions & Answers in Burmese 🙏
|# ↑↓||Subject ↑↓|
|1||May peace be with You!|
|2||Master of a trade|
|3||Affirmative initial word|
|6||Plural word for people|
|8||Affirmative ending word|
|9||Delicious or not?|
|10||How Burmese people greet each others|
|11||Good Morning / Good Afternoon / Good Evening|
|12||Nice to meet you|
|14||6W's and 3H's Overview|
|15||Difference between Right and Wrong|
|18||Where is it?|
|19||Where are you?|
|21||What is this?|
|22||Want to go or not?|
|23||Are you going?|
|24||Do you need it?|
|26||How much do you want?|
|27||Do you have enough?|
|29||Have you ....?|
|30||Haven't you ...?|
|31||No longer ...|
|38||How was the lesson?|
May Peace be with you!
In the previous lesson, I have covered the comprehensive list of Burmese tones in a system similar to Hanyu Pinyin tone system. Please refer back to the discussion on Tones in Burmese for the detailed explanations on the correct pronunciations of the words. In this lesson, we will start with some useful simple Burmese phrases.
မင်္ဂလာပါ | Min2-ga1-la2-ba2
Body Language in Greeting
Pressing of the raised palms together during the greeting with mutual respect is not yet commonly practiced in Myanmar like 'Wai' (ไหว้) greeting in Thailand or 'Namaste' (नमस्ते) greeting in India. Usually, this gesture is a one-way respect from the younger person to the elders, to the monks, or Buddha images and Pagodas. The tradition can be traced back to Ancient India 4,000 years ago, and is called Anjali Mudra (अञ्जलि मुद्रा) in Sanskrit.
If you are a foreigner greeted with Min2-ga1-la2 ba2, it's OK to reply with Min2-ga1-la2 ba2 accompanied by a simple nod and a smile.
That's the standard greeting that you might have read it or heard of before. "Min2-ga1-la2" has attributes of wholesomeness, graciousness, joy and freedom from imperfections. It is quite close to the English word "auspicious", but "auspicious" is the adjective usually associated with day or event, whereas "Min2-ga1-la2" bestows those attributes to the human being.
When "ba2" is added to the end of the sentence, it gives a soft suggestive feel to it. It's as though the speaker is graciously offering a gift of wholesomeness and a wish to bring a perfect experience to the person who rightfully deserved it. There is no excitement in saying it, but it has an air of tranquility and calmness in it. So, my translation of Min2-ga1-la2-ba2 would be
"Hello, welcome and enjoy a perfect occasion!"
The Root of Min2-ga1-la2 ba2
The word မင်္ဂလာ | Min2-ga1-la2 in Burmese greeting မင်္ဂလာပါ | min2-ga1-la2 ba2 comes from the ancient Pali word meaning 'something auspicious', 'good luck', or a 'good omen'.
Myanmar English Dictionary by the Ministry of Education defines this word in English as
- source of prosperity, blessing
- anything auspicious, joyous, festive
Min2-ga1-la2 ba2 is a formal word used to greet teachers, hotel guests, and customers. Another common usage to min2-ga1-la2 is မင်္ဂလာဆောင် | min2-ga1-la2 hsoun2, which means to marry and wed with a formal ceremony.
In one of the most popular Buddhist Suttas (sermon) known as "Maha-mangala Sutta", the Buddha teaches on how to live a happy life by common sense approaches such as avoidance of bad company and developing the serene mind.
Source: Buddhist Dictionary, Manual of Buddhist Terms & Doctrines by Ven. Nyanatiloka.
Myanmar Grammar Notes: "Min2-ga1-la2" is a noun in Burmese grammar. The correct translation of auspicious is မင်္ဂလာရှိသော | min2-ga1-la2 shi1 dthau3 (adjective).
Burmese sentences can be formed without reference to pronouns and persons. There is no "I" or "You" in the above sentence. It is understood that the wish is aimed at the person being spoken to. Having said that, I remember as a child greeting to the teacher in the classroom as
မင်္ဂလာပါ ဆရာမ | Min2-ga1-la2 ba2 hsa1-ya2-ma1
The Master : "hsa1-ya2"
ဆရာ | "Hsa1-ya2" refers to the teacher or a master of any trade, like 师傅 "Shi1 Fu" in Mandarin Chinese. In Myanmar, there are no slaves, everyone is a "master"...
စာရေးဆရာ | sa2-yay3 hsa1-ya2 - a writer
ဆိုက်ကားဆရာ | hsite-ka3 hsa1-ya2 - a trickshaw / trishaw (tricycle that carries two passengers, one facing the back) driver
ဆရာတော် | hsa1-ya2-dau2 - Venerable Monk, and so on...
When addressing to a female teacher, မ |
"ma1" is added to
ဆရာ | "hsa1-ya2".
ဆရာမ | hsa1-ya2-ma1 could refer to a female teacher, a female nurse, a female superior, a female doctor, or any professional-looking female.
ဟုတ်ကဲ့၊ ဆရာမ | Hote-keare1 hsa1-ya2-ma1 - Yes, madam!
Yes, positively "hote"
Nowadays, on the Internet Chat and SMS, a short form of "yes" is commonly used.
Question: ဟုတ်လား | Hote la3 - Is that so? Literally, it means "yes?"
Answer: ဟုတ် | Hote - Yes.
ကောင်းပြီလေ | Koun3 byi2 lay2 - Oh, well.. what you said is fine with me. (Lit: good, let it be)
There are more than one way to say "yes" depending on the context. We will discuss more in lesson 3.
A good word to know: "koun3"
ကောင်း | koun3 means "good".
ကောင်းရဲ့လား | Koun3 yeare1 la3 - Is it to your liking? Good or not?
ကောင်းတယ် | Koun3 deare2 - Good!
Koun3 deare2, in this case, is the answer "yes" to the question "good or not". You use back the word Koun3 (adjective) in the question.
Koun3 deare2 can also be a statement. For example, after you have tasted delicious food, you can say:
ကောင်းတယ် |Koun3 deare2 - Good!
The question mark: "La3"
When the word လား | la3 (particle) is added to the end of the sentence, it becomes a question mark.
ကောင်းလား | Koun3 la3 - Good?
နေကောင်းလား | Nay2-koun3 la3 - How are you? ([feeling well= live + good] + ?)
ကောင်းပါတယ် | Koun3 ba2deare2 - I am fine; pretty good! (good+ confirmation clause according to what the speaker sees or feels)
The word နေကောင်း | nay2-koun3 is a verb meaning feeling well. It is a compound word made up of နေ | nay2, which is a short form of the word နေထိုင် | nay2-htine2 meaning to live or to dwell. The word ကောင်း | koun3, as we have seen earlier, means "good".
Also note that the question has the verb portion nay2 and the adjective portion koun3. In the answer, the verb portion nay2 is omitted.
The plural "ja1" for people
The word ကြ | ja1 (particle) indicates that the conversation refers to more than one person.
နေကောင်းကြလား | Nay2-koun3 ja1 la3 - How's everyone? (feeling well + plural + ?)
နေကောင်းကြပါတယ် | Nay2-koun3 ja1 ba2-deare2 - We are fine. (feeling well + plural + affirmative)
ဟုတ်ကဲ့၊ နေကောင်းကြပါတယ် | Hote-keare1... Nay2-koun3 ja1 ba2-deare2 - Yes, we are fine. (yes + feeling well + plural + affirmative)
Showing doubt and concern with "yeare1"
ရဲ့ | yeare1 (postpositional marker) is added when the person asking the question has no idea on the situation of the conversation, and it put the tone of concern, doubt, and a sincere desire to know what's going on.
ဟုတ်ရဲ့လား | Hote yeare1 la3 - Are you sure? (yes + doubt and concern + ?)
When you don't hear from your family for a long time and wondering if they are OK or not, you add ရဲ့ | yeare1 mentioned above to seek assurance and to show concern.
နေကောင်းကြရဲ့လား | Nay2-koun3 ja1 yeare1 la3 - How's everyone? Is everyone OK? (feeling well + plural + doubt and concern + ?)
ဟုတ်ကဲ့၊ နေကောင်းကြပါတယ် | Hote-keare1, Nay2-koun3 ja1 ba2 deare2 - Yes, we are fine. (yes, feeling well + plural + affirmative)
Affirmative "deare2" or "ba2 deare2"
ပါတယ် | Ba2 deare2 is the positive affirmation in the answer. ပါ | "Ba2" in the word ပါတယ် | ba2 deare2 is a polite word which softens the feeling tone, and at the same time put the emphasis on the verb or the noun before it with the meaning somewhat like "indeed". (It is spelled as "pa2" in Burmese script.) Some phrases sound too abrupt without this word.
ဟုတ်ပါတယ် | Hote ba2 deare2 - Yes, the way I see it. Yes, that's right!
ကောင်းပါတယ် | Koun3 ba2 deare2 - ( good + affirmative) It was previously used as an answer: "I am fine!" to "How are you?" type of question. Depending on the context, it could also mean "it is good that way, the way I see it." If you want to sound real Burmese, you might even want to add လေ | lay2 to the end of this sentence:
ကောင်းပါတယ်လေ | Koun3 ba2 deare2 lay2
It adds a deep thought and unconditional acceptance of the situation in which one cannot do much to change. Believe me, it's quite common for the Burmese people in Myanmar. Just four words, and they sum up the following lengthy English expression:
"Well, the way it turns out... it's good that way. We have to look at it positively and accept the situation..."
to which I agree absolutely by saying:
ဟုတ်ပါ့ ဟုတ်ပါ့ | Hote-pa1, hote-pa1...
The feeling is all there. Though unspoken, we know. We understand. We silently feel the thoughts behind the speaker. (There you go. Now you are learning REAL Burmese that the Lonely Planet never teach you...)
Delicious or not?
စါး | Sa3 means to eat.
စါးကောင်းရဲ့လား | Sa3-koun3 yeare1 la3 - How was the food? Good? (delicious+ doubt and concern + ?)
ကောင်းပါတယ် | Koun3 ba2 deare2 - Yes, it was good! (good + affirmative)
The word delicious is coined by စါး | sa3 - to eat, and ကောင်း | koun3, which means good. Also note that the verb sa3 is omitted in the answer just like the answer to "how are you?" question.
If you want to show your gratitude to the host, you can say:
သိပ် | Thate - extremely (adverb)
ကောင်း | koun3 - good (adjective)
တာ | da2 - refers to the object (food in this case) which is good (particle)
ပဲ | beare3 -- ending word (particle)
The particle တာ | "da2" modifies the adjective "koun3" into a noun "koun3 da2", which means something that is good. So, သိပ်ကောင်းတာ | thate koun3 da2 refers to something extremely good. ပဲ | Beare3 is the emphasis ending word roughly means, "exactly" in this case.
သိပ်ကောင်းတာပဲ | Thate koun3 da2 beare3 - It was very good! In lesson 8 we will discuss more on how to express yourself better using adverbs.
More on Greetings
It's funny, but မင်္ဂလာပါ | Min2-ga1-la2ba2 is not a common usage among Burmese to greet each other. It seems like a reserved word to teach the first Burmese word to foreigners:-) If I go out the street, a neighbor might ask:
ဘယ်လဲ | Beare2 leare3 - Go where? Where to?
When I come back home, she might ask again:
ဘယ်ကပြန်လာလဲ | Beare2 ga1 pyan2 la2 leare3 - Come back from where?
The word ပြန်လာ | pyan2 la2 is to come back, and က | ga1 means from.
When it's near breakfast, lunch, or dinner time, she might say..
စါးပြီးပြီလား | Sa3 pyi3 byi2 la3 - Eaten already? where pyi3 byi2 means "done".
How to say "Good morning", "Good afternoon", "Good evening" in Burmese
Speakers of some other languages will be interested in learning how to say those greetings in Burmese. For example, Malay and Indonesian languages have standard greetings like "Selamat pagi", "Selamat petang", "Selamat malam", and so on. Yes, it is possible to directly translate "Good morning", "Good evening" and "Good night" into Burmese. But, you will sound very odd and people will look at you in a funny way when you say those phrases.
Burmese culture is evolving
Although "Good Morning" is not a common usage in colloquial Burmese, you will probably hear radio DJ's using the term: မင်္ဂလာမနက်ခင်းပါ | min2-ga1-la2 ma1-net-khin3 ba2.
မနက် | ma1-net means morning, and ခင်း | khin3 covers the whole region or stretch of time.
Similarly, မင်္ဂလာနေ့လယ်ခင်းပါ | min2-ga1-la2 nay1-leare2-khin3 ba2 - Good Afternoon
မင်္ဂလာညနေခင်းပါ | min2-gla2 nya1 nay2 khin3 ba2 - Good Evening
You will also hear more usage of the term မင်္ဂလာပါ | min2-ga1-la2 ba2 by commercial establishments such as restaurants and hair saloons as they compete for customers.
Nice to meet you
When someone introduces you to a native Burmese speaker, you can say
တွေ့ရတာ ဝမ်းသာ ပါတယ် | Tway1 ya1 da2 wun3-tha2 ba2 deare2 - Nice to meet you!
တွေ့ | Tway1 - meet (verb)
ရတာ | ya1 da2 - as for being able to (particle)
ဝမ်းသာ | wun3-tha2 - be glad(verb) equivalent to happy (adjective in English)
ပါတယ် | ba2 deare2 - polite affirmative ending words. (particle + postpositional marker)
What if you have already met the person before? What kind of greeting can a foreigner say to a Burmese? Just say "hello" in English. နေကောင်းလား | Nay2-koun3 la3 to one person or နေကောင်းကြလား | Nay2-koun3 ja1 la3 to more than one person would also do fine.
If you are, say, the president of the United States making a formal speech in Yangon, then it's very appropriate to start with မင်္ဂလာပါ | Min2-ga1-la2 ba2. Former president Obama learned to say that word. He had also learned to say ကျေးဇူးတင်ပါတယ် | kjay3 zu3 tin2 ba2 deare2 - Thank you! at the end of his speech.Watch Obama on Youtube
Obama greets in Burmese. Former US President Obama made his first trip to Myanmar in November 2012 and second trip in November 2014.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) Myanmar Naingan, Mingalaba! (Laughter and applause.) I am very honored to be here at this university and to be the first President of the United States of America to visit your country.
Read the entire transcript at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov
OK, so now you know what's ကျေးဇူးတင်ပါတယ် | kjay3-zu3 tin2 ba2 deare2 means. But, exactly what does it mean in Burmese? Here's the break-down.
ကျေးဇူး | kjay3-zu3 - a good work (help or merit) that a person does on an another person.
တင် | tin2 - to explain the facts and make a report as in တင်ပြ | tin2 pya1. It could also mean to have left behind a debt and gratitude in this case.
ပါတယ် | ba2 deare2 - polite ending word with emphasis on tin2.
How to ask basic questions: 6W's and 3H
The word လား | la3 is used at the end of the sentences to form questions which expect "yes" or "no" answer.
The word လဲ | leare3 is used at the end of the sentence for all 6 W's and 3 H questions: "what", "which", "where", "who", "why", "when", "how", "how many", and "how much".
ဘယ် | Beare2 is used in the beginning of all 6 W's and 3 H questions except "what" and "why". Sentences with ဘယ် | Beare2 will always end with လဲ | leare3 forming the pattern:
ဘယ် - - - လဲ | Beare2 ... leare3.
ဘာ | Ba2 is used in the beginning of the sentence to ask "what" and "why" questions. Don't confuse this ဘာ | Ba2 with suggestive and polite ပါ | ba2 at the end of the sentences and phrases such as the greeting: မင်္ဂလာပါ | Min2-ga1-la2 ba2.
Just like ဘယ် | beare2, sentences with ဘာ | ba2 will always end with လဲ | leare3 forming the pattern:
ဘာ - - - လဲ | ba2 ... leare3.
You will see those patterns as we go along. Here comes a list of basic questions, answers and phrases.
Difference between Right and Wrong
မဟုတ်ဘူး | Ma1-hote bu3 - Wrong! (negative + yes/to be true + negative ending)
ဟုတ်တယ် | Hote deare2 - Yes, what you say is true. (yes/to be true + affirmative)
Simple negative statements will have the pattern Ma1- xxxx bu3, where xxxx is either adjectives such as "hot", "cold", or the verbs such as "need", "like".
Simple positive statements will have the pattern xxxx deare2, where xxxx is either adjectives such as "hot", "sweet", "red", or the verbs such as "hungry", "thirsty".
Normally, "hungry" in English is an adjective as in "hungry dog" unless it is used with the verb forming word in the sentence such as "I (am hungry)". Burmese word hsa2 is not an adjective but a verb "be hungry" in ဆာတယ် | hsa2 deare2 - I am hungry!. It can be used with the adjective forming particle as in ဆာသောခွေး | (hsa2 dthau3) khway3 - hungry dog. Similarly, several words that you would normally expect to be adjectives in English are used as verbs in Burmese.
Still not "thay3 bu3"
မဟုတ်သေးဘူး | Ma1-hote thay3 bu3 - Still not right! (negative + yes + yet to be + negative ending)
မလိုသေးဘူး | Ma1-lo2 thay3 bu3 - I don't need it yet. (negative + need + yet to be + negative ending)
Go where? Where to?
ဘယ်လဲ | Beare2 leare3 - Go where? (where + ?)
ဘယ်သွားချင်လဲ | Beare2 thwa3 chin2 leare3 - Where do you want to go? (where + go + want + ?)
ဘယ်သွားကြမလဲ | Beare2 thwa3 ja1 ma1-leare3 - Where shall we go? (where + go + plural + will + ?)
Where is it?
ဘယ်မှာလဲ | Beare2 hma2 leare3 - Where is it? (which + location indicator + ?)
ဟိုမှာ | Ho2 hma2 - there! (that + location indicator)
ဒီမှာ | De2 hma2 - here! (this place + location indicator)
Where are you?
Myanmar got talent. Go ahead girl. Give your best shot. Ask "Where are you?" in less than one minute.
Where are you?
Myanmar got talent. Go ahead girl. Give your best shot. Ask "Where are you?" in 55 seconds.Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Wednesday, May 18, 2016
How about that for improving your listening skills? She said "where" word four times in 55 seconds. Can you catch them? She reversed the question: "You + where?" to "Where + you?" and "Where + he?" to put more stress on the "where" word. We will go over "you" and "he" words later in lesson 4. Here, I will give just one informal "Where are you?" By the way, her name is Eint Chit | အိမ့်ချစ် | Ain1-Chit and she also wrote the lyrics. Watch her when she was even younger back in 2009. The starting part of this song is in lesson 4. This rising star was discovered by Coca-Cola Myanmar and named the brand ambassador in April 2015 to join Sai Sai Kham Leng and Mi Sandi to tour the country.
နင်ဘယ်မလဲ | Nin2 beare2 ma1-leare3 - Where are you? (you + where?)
ဘာလဲ | Ba2 leare3 - What? (in a sense, "Why do you call me?" "Why are you bothering me?")
ဘာလိုချင်လဲ | Ba2 lo2 chin2 leare3 - What do you want? (what + need + want + ?)
ဘာလုပ်ချင်လဲ | Ba2 loat chin2 leare3 - What do you want to do? (what + do + want + ?)
ဘာလုပ်ကြမလဲ | Ba2 loat ja1 ma1-leare3 - What shall we do? for fun, etc.. (what + do + plural + will + ?)
ဘာစားကြမလဲ | Ba2 sa3 ja1 ma1-leare3 - What shall we eat? (what + eat + plural + will + ?)
What is this?
Objects, subjects, people, places, or the words pointing to the nouns such as "this", "that", "he", "they" always come first in the question words: "what", "where", "who", "when", "why", "how", and "how much". The sequence is the same as Chinese, but opposite from English.
ဒါဘာလဲ | Da2 ba2 leare3 - What is this? (this + what + ?)
Want to go or not?
သွားချင်လား | Thwa3 chin2 la3 - Do you want to go? (go + want + ?)
မသွားချင်ဘူး | Ma1-thwa3 chin2 bu3 - I don't want to go. (negative + go + want + negative ending)
မသွားချင်သေးဘူး | Ma1-thwa3 chin2 thay3 bu3 - I don't want to go yet. (negative + go + want + yet to be + negative ending)
သွားချင်တယ် | Thwa3 chin2 deare2 - I want to go. (go + want + affirmative)
ဟုတ်ကဲ့၊ သွားချင်တယ် | Hote-keare1, thwa3 chin2 deare2 - Yes, I want to go. (yes + go + want + affirmative)
Are you going?
သွားမလား | Thwa3 ma1-la3 - Are you going? (go + will + ?)
မသွားဘူး | Ma1-thwa3 bu3 - I am not going. (negative + go + negative ending)
သွားမယ် | Thwa3 meare2 - Yes, I am going. (go + going to)
Do you need it?
လိုလား | Lo2 la3 - Do you need it? (need + ?)
လိုချင်လား | Lo2-chin2 la3 - Do you want it? (want + ?)
လိုတယ် | Lo2 deare2 - I need it. (need + affirmative)
လိုချင်တယ် | Lo2-chin2 deare2 - I want it. (want + affirmative)
ဟုတ်ကဲ့၊ လိုတယ် | Hote-keare1, lo2 deare2 - Yes, I need it. (yes + need + affirmative)
ဟုတ်ကဲ့၊ လိုချင်တယ် | Hote-keare1, lo2 chin2 deare2 - Yes, I want it. (yes + need + want + affirmative)
မလိုဘူး | Ma1-lo2 bu3 - No need. (negative + need + negative ending)
ဘယ်လောက်လဲ | Beare2-lout leare3 - How much? (where + approximately enough + ?)
ဒီလောက် | De2-lout - This much. (this + approximately enough)
How much do you want?
ဘယ်လောက် လိုချင်လဲ | Beare2-lout lo2-chin2 leare3 - How much do you want? (how much + want + ?)
ဒီလောက် လိုတယ် | De2-lout lo2 deare2 - I need it this much. (this much + need + affirmative)
ဒီလောက် လိုချင်တယ် | De2-lout lo2-chin2 deare2 - I want this much. (this much + want + affirmative)
ဟုတ်ကဲ့၊ ဒီလောက်လိုချင်တယ် | Hote-keare1, de2-lout lo2-chin2 deare2 - Yes, I want this much. (yes, this much + want + affirmative)
Do you have Enough?
လောက်လား | Lout la3 - Enough? (be sufficient + ?)
လောက်တယ် | Lout deare2 - Yes, enough. (be sufficient + affirmative)
မလောက်ဘူး | Ma1-lout bu3 - Not enough. (negative + be sufficient + negative ending)
လောက်ပြီလား | Lout byi2 la3 - Enough? (be sufficient + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)
မလောက်သေးဘူး | Ma1-lout thay3 bu3 - Still not enough. (negative + enough + yet to be + negative ending)
လောက်ပြီ | Lout byi2 - Enough. (be sufficient + has reached certain level, state or condition)
What's the difference between လောက်လား | Lout la3 and လောက်ပြီလား | Lout byi2 la3? Usually, byi2 la3 is used to ask the question during some kind of action or activity. For example, you can say Lout byi2 la3 while you are giving cash to someone to buy something.
Have you reached the condition xxxx "byi2 la3"?
The question word ပြီလား | byi2 la3 such as in "enough already?" above has several uses. Note the similarities in sentence construction.
ရောက်ပြီလား | Yout byi2 la3 - Have you/we reached there already? (arrive or reach the destination + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)
မရောက်သေးဘူး | Ma1-yout thay3 bu3 - Not yet. (negative + arrive + yet to be + negative ending)
ရောက်ပြီ | Yout byi2 -- Yes, we are there already. (arrive or reach the destination + has reached certain level, state or condition)
ရပြီလား | Ya1 byi2 la3 - Have you got it already? (get + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)
မရသေးဘူး | Ma1-yah1 thay3 bu3 - Not yet. (negative + get + yet to be + negative ending)
ရပြီ | Ya1 byi2 - Yes, I've got it already. (get + has reached certain level, state or condition)
The same word ရ | ya1 can also mean something is available, can be done, or ready. You can say ရပြီလား | ya1 byi2 la3 to ask if the repair is done, or if the dinner is ready. In lesson 15, the phrase ဘီယာရမလား | be2-ya2 ya1 ma1-la3 is used to ask if beer is available.
ကုန်ပြီလား | Kone2 byi2 la3 - Used up (or) eaten up already? (empty + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)
မကုန်သေးဘူး | Ma1-kone2 thay3 bu3 - Not yet. (negative + empty + yet to be + negative ending)
ကုန်ပြီ | Kone2 byi2 - Empty and no longer available. It's all gone! (empty + has reached certain level, state or condition)
ပြီးပြီလား | Pyi3 byi2 la3 - Finished already? (finish + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)
မပြီးသေးဘူး | Ma1-pyi3 thay3 bu3 - Not yet. (negative + finish + yet to be + negative ending)
ပြီးပြီ | Pyi3 byi2 -- Yes, done it. (finish + has reached certain level, state or condition)
As for the informal Burmese greeting "Eaten already?", there is a slight difference for the "not yet" answer.
စားပြီးပြီလား | Sa3 pyi3 byi2 la3 - Eaten already? [greeting] (eat + finish + has reached certain level, state or condition + ?)
မစားရသေးဘူး | Ma1-sa3 ya1 thay3 bu3 - Not yet. (negative + eat + get + yet to be + negative ending)
စားပြီးပြီ | Sa3 pyi3 byi2 - Yes. (eat + finish + has reached certain level, state or condition)
The answer မစားရသေးဘူး | Ma1-sa3 ya1 thay3 bu3 implies that the speaker has not got the opportunity or time to eat yet. If the question is asked in the middle of your meal and not a greeting, you can answer: မပြီးသေးဘူး | Ma1-pyi3 thay3 bu3.
Haven't you xxxx "thay3 bu3 la3"?
Just like in English, "Have you got it already?" can be re-phrased by the negative question: "Haven't you got it yet?", negative questions in Burmese can be formed by the words သေးဘူးလား | thay3 bu3 la3.
မလောက်သေးဘူးလား | Ma1-lout thay3 bu3 la3 - Still not enough? (negative + enough + yet to be + negative ending + ?)
မရောက်သေးဘူးလား | Ma1-yout thay3 bu3 la3 - Are we not there yet? (negative + arrive or reach + yet to be + negative ending + ?)
မရသေးဘူးလား | Ma1-ya1 thay3 bu3 la3 - Haven't you got it yet? (negative + get + yet to be + negative ending + ?)
မကုန်သေးဘူးလား | Ma1-kone2 thay3 bu3 la3 - Haven't used/eaten up yet? (negative + empty + yet to be + negative ending + ?)
မပြီးသေးဘူးလား | Ma1-pyi3 thay3 bu3 la3 - Haven't you done it yet? (negative + finish + yet to be + negative ending + ?)
မစားရသေးဘူးလား | Ma1-sa3 ya1 thay3 bu3 la3 - Haven't you eaten yet? (negative + eat + get + yet to be + negative ending + ?)
No longer : dau1
Use the phrase မ - - - တော့ဘူး | "Ma1-xxxx "dau1 bu3" if you no longer do, want, or need something.
မလိုတော့ဘူး | Ma1-lo2 dau1 bu3 - I no longer need it. (negative + need + no longer + negative ending)
မလုပ်တော့ဘူး | Ma1-loat dau1 bu3 - I am no longer doing it. (negative + do + no longer + negative ending)
မသွားတော့ဘူး | Ma1-thwa3 dau1 bu3 - I am not going anymore. (negative + go + no longer + negative ending)
မစားတော့ဘူး | Ma1 sa3 dau1 bu3 - I am not going to eat. (negative + eat + no longer + negative ending)
မလိုချင်တော့ဘူး | Ma1-lo2 chin2 dau1 bu3 - I no longer want it. (negative + need + want + no longer + negative ending)
မလုပ်ချင်တော့ဘူး | Ma1-loat chin2 dau1 bu3 - I don't want to do it anymore. (negative + do + want + no longer + negative ending)
မသွားချင်တော့ဘူး | Ma1-thwa3 chin2 dau1 bu3 - I no longer want to go. (negative + go + want + no longer + negative ending)
မစားချင်တော့ဘူး | Ma1-sa3 chin2 dau1 bu3 - I don't want to eat it anymore. (negative + eat + want + no longer + negative ending)
ဘာကြောင့်လဲ | Ba2 joun1 leare3 - But, why? (what + reason + ?)
Note that "why" is the question "what" (ဘာလဲ | Ba2 leare3) with ကြောင့် | "joun1" in the middle.
ဘာဖြစ်လို့လဲ | Ba2 pfyit-lo1 leare3 - Why?, Why didn't you?, etc.. (what + because this happens + ?)
ဘာကြောင့်လဲ | Ba2 joun1 leare3 is a question "why" as in a scientific investigation, whereas ဘာဖြစ်လို့လဲ | Ba2 pfyit-lo1 leare3 is more of a personal question.
ဘယ်သူလဲ | Beare2 dthu2 leare3 -- Who? (which + person + ?)
သူပဲ | Thu2 beare3 -- That's him! (he + exactly!)
ဘယ်ဟာလဲ | Beare2 ha2 leare3 - Which one? (which + thing + ?)
ဒါပဲ | Da2 beare3 - This is the one! (this + exactly!)
ဒါလိုချင်တယ် | Da2 lo2-chin2 deare2 - I want this one. (this + want + affirmative)
ဟုတ်ကဲ့၊ ဒါလိုချင်တယ် | Hote-keare1, da2 lo2-chin2 deare2 - Yes, I want this one. (yes + this + want + affirmative)
Do you see the pattern of "who" and "which" with the word "where" ဘယ်လဲ | beare2 leare3 in them? Similarly, "how" also has the pattern ဘယ် - - - လဲ | beare2...leare3. If you recognize those patterns, it will be easier for you to remember the questions: "how much", "what", why", "which", "how", and "where".
The question "when" also follows the pattern ဘယ် - - - လဲ | beare2...leare3 Here is an example:
Beare2 dau1 - when
လာ | la2 - come
မ | ma1 - will
လဲ | leare3 - ?
ဘယ်တော့ လာမလဲ | Beare2-dau1 la2 ma1-leare3 - When will you come?
We will discuss the details of "when" question in lesson 14.
ဘယ်လိုလုပ်ကြမလဲ | Beare2-lo2 loat ja1 ma1-leare3 - How shall we do now? [in this situation] (how + do + plural + will + ?)
ဘယ်လိုလဲ | Beare2-lo2 leare3 - How did it go? What would you do now? How is it going? (how + ?)
ဒီလိုပဲ | De2-lo2 beare3 - So so.. Nothing unusual. (like this + exactly!)
ဘယ်လို သွားကြမလဲ | Beare2-lo2 thwa3 ja1 ma1-leare3 - How shall we go? Which route or transport to take? (how + go + plural + will + ?)
Burmese language uses "measure words" to ask and answer "how many" type of questions. When you say "a cup of tea", "two glasses of water", or "3 persons", "cup", "glasses", and "persons" are measure words. So, you need to have some familiarity with those measure words to ask questions like "How many cups of tea do you want?"
Extensive list of "measure words" are given in lesson 12 and examples are shown in lesson 25. Here, I will just show one useful phrase:
ဘယ်နှယောက်လဲ | Beare2 hna1-yout leare - How many persons?
When the waiter in the restaurant or the front desk in the hotel asks you this, ယောက် | yout is the measure word used for the number of people.
How was the lesson?
So, ဘယ်လိုလဲ | Beare2-lo2 leare3 - How did the lesson go?
ခက်လား | Khet la3 - Difficult?
လွယ်လား | Lweare2 la3 - Easy?
ဒီလိုပဲ | De2 lo2 beare3 -- So, so ... (Lit: "Just like this.")
But, how was the teaching?
ကောင်းရဲ့လား | koun3 yeare1 la3 -- Good or not?
ကောင်းပါတယ်လေ | Koun3 ba2 deare2 lay2 -- Oh, well... acceptance with a sigh..
You should now have a feel of how Burmese sentences are constructed. They are relatively simple and uncomplicated compared to English. You may reply by saying:
ဟုတ်ပါတယ် | Hote ba2 deare2 - Yes, the way I see it.
Better still, say like a real Burmese in Yangon:
ဟုတ်ပါ့ ဟုတ်ပါ့ | Hote-pa1, hote-pa1... Yes, I agree with you absolutely!
to which I reply:
ကောင်းပြီလေ | Koun3 byi2 lay2 - Well, I am glad... (good + has reached that state + " OK, well")
and end this lesson by saying:
သွားဦးမယ်နော် | Thwa3 ome3 meare2 nau2 - Got to go now! (go + indication of intention + warm feeling tone)