Emoticons in Burmese Spoken Words
Singaporeans and Malaysians have one-syllable ending word "lah" and Canadians have "Eh". So, Canadians have that too, eh? (pronounced "A") When you first hear such a word, you kind of understand what it means from the context of the conversation, although you don't quite know how to translate it.
Colloquial Burmese Language has several of those ending words with different meanings. This lesson demystifies those simple one-syllable words. Interesting, huh?
We have gone through quite a lot of single-syllable ending words in the previous lesson. Here, we will review some of those with more examples and introduce to you a different type of ending words. This mystery type not well documented and not usually taught to the outside world adds an extra dimension of feeling, emotions, and "humanness" to the spoken words just like emoticons that people use online.
"Emoticon" ending words are different in that they are extra words to the sentence. That means a complete sentence can still be made without adding those words.
Polite "ba2" wordThe word ba2 can be extra polite word, or both polite and part of the sentence structure like in the greeting
Similarly, for simple questions with adjective such as "Is it hot?" or "Is it sweet?", I can reply with a simple "yes" without including ba2.
hote-keare1, pu2 deare2 — "Yes, it's hot"
where pu2 means "hot" and deare2 is the affirmative ending word.
In such cases, both the question and the answer sound natural only if ba2 is dropped.
When to use "ba2" in questions and answers
"Yes" with ba2 at the end of the sentence is a polite response to a request or suggestion that is not
commonly used in "red or not red", "hot or not hot", "want or not want" type of questions and answers.
Nobody will answer:
pu2 ba2 deare2 — It's hot
with ba2 to a simple "Is it hot?" question.
Well, not in casual everyday conversation. Waiters might be more polite in asking question to the VIPs. Students might be more polite to teachers.
Question: Today is Tuesday, isn't it?
Answer: Hote deare2 — Yes.
The word ba2 is more personal and not about impersonal objects or the weather in both questions and answers. To the question
555-8888 ba2 la3 — Is this 555-8888? (or)
nine2 tin2-nyoon1-pu1 ba2 la3 — Is this Naing Tinnyuntpu ?
I will answer:
hote ba2 deare2
with the slightly raised 3rd tone ending over the phone.
The polite personal question
ba2 la3 is responded with the polite answer
Warm feeling of "nau2" ending
Actually, it's not a light-hearted "Got to go now!" in English without any feeling in it.
has some magic of warmth and closeness in it. It is as though, I am about to part with someone close. I don't really want to go, but I must. And I am asking for permission to go.
Do you see how this "yes" with nau2 makes the difference? In this context, it adds the feeling tone of awe and amazement over the observation to the simple "yes". It has a kind of emotional bonding effect with which you share your candid opinion or deep inner feelings.
So, I say:
thwa3 ome3 meare2 nau2 — Got to go
to someone close or someone I just made friend with. I can have shorter or longer variations of the same sentence.
thwa3 lite ome3 meare2 nau2
as in "I am going to the corner store and will be back," or
Well, it's not always necessary to have nau2 to be emotional.
thwa3 meare2 — "Good-bye!"
This is even shorter because words are stuck and Lashio Thein Aung's Song "Don't say goodbye" is playing in the background.
Going to review "meare2" ending
is a postpositional marker meaning "going to". It transforms the activity word (verb) into future tense. Although it is an ending word, the difference is it is part of the sentence structure, and not an extra "emoticon" word.
sa3 meare2 — going to eat.
Short sentence, not because I am sad, but too hungry to be verbose.
sa3 ja1 meare2.. sa3 ja1 meare2
Let's eat! Let's eat! (eat + plural + going to)
Mandarin Chinese equivalent would be
loat meare2 — I will do it. (do + going to)
Please do your work!!
hote-keare1 ba2... loat meare2
OK, Ok.. I will do it.. (yes + soften the tone + do + going to)
OK, I "meare2"
Do you want to go or not? (go + will + ?)
thwa3 meare2 — OK!
Do you want to play or not? (play + will + ?)
ga1-za3 meare2 — OK!
Do you want to rest or not? (rest + will + ?)
na3 meare2 — OK!
When thwa3 meare2
is the answer to the question
it's not a good-bye. It could be a situation where the two persons in the conversation are about to go out together.
Let's learn about "ja1 zo1" ending
sa3 ja1 zo1
Another variation of Let's eat! But, it is in a sense, "It's about time we eat." I may or may not be hungry. It is a routine and there is not much urgency in it.
thwa3 ja1 zo1
— Let's go! (It's about time we go home.)
pyay3 ja1 zo1
— Let's run!
It's about time we run.. Here comes the debt collector! I guess in this case, there is definitely some urgency in it.
Impatient with unsatisfactory "kwa2" ending
Now, let me show you how I can say the same "Let's go!" in an impatient, frustrated or unsatisfactory tone using
I take you to a hotel lobby where someone is supposed to meet us. The person doesn't show up after waiting for a good one hour....
thwa3 meare2 kwa2
Fed up and I say "Let's go" in an angry tone.. (go + going to + impatient tone)
Someone is repeatedly telling me not to do something without explaining why. I find him very unreasonable. I tell my friend, I don't care what the man says...
loat meare2 kwa2
I am going to do it, anyway.. (do + going to + unsatisfactory tone)
And I silently say to myself, "What the heck..."
loat deare2 kwa2
(do + affirmative + unsatisfactory tone) in the midst of doing it.
Don't eat that. The food is for the Supernatural beings in the Realm of Immaterial World, says the wife.
Husband: What? I haven't eaten in seven days and you are telling me the chicken is for the Nuts (Supernatural Beings) that I can't even see?
sa3 deare2 kwa2
he says angrily with a drum-stick in his mouth. (eat + affirmative + unsatisfactory tone)
Don't forget the "neare1" ending
But, how would you tell someone not to do, eat, or go in the first place?မိုးဟေကို | Moe Hay Ko & Star International Dance Group. 5 feet 7 inch (1.70m) tall Moe Hay Ko was born on June 26, 1985 in Mandalay. She is an Actress, Model, Producer, and Businesswoman. In the above video clip, she is telling you not to play games with her.
ma1-sa3 ba2 neare1
Please don't eat. (negative + eat + suggestion + negative imperative ending)
ma1-thwa3 ba2 neare1
Please don't go. (negative + go + suggestion + negative imperative ending)
ma1-loat ba2 neare1
Please don't do it. (negative + do + suggestion + negative imperative ending)
If you are a bit short-tempered at the time, you may drop the suggestion "ba2" to give a more direct order:
ma1-sa3 neare1 (negative + eat + negative imperative ending)
ma1-thwa3 neare1 (negative + go + negative imperative ending)
ma1-loat neare1 (negative + do + negative imperative ending)
ma1-loat neare1 hso2-nay2-hma1
Why are you keep doing it when I am telling you not to do it?
(negative + do + negative imperative + "despite saying so")
Didn't you say "hso2"?
In Burmese, the word
can have several meaning including "to say", "to sing" and "to nag".
It can be used as a particle at the end of the verb phrase to mean "Didn't you say... ?" If someone tells you earlier that he is going somewhere, but you find him watching TV, you can say...
thwa3 — go
meare2 — will; intention to do something
hso2 — Didn't you say?
thwa3 meare2 hso2
Didn't you say you were going?
When you say this ending word hso2, try to prolong it and raise it to the third tone hso3
Express your condolence with sympathetic "kweare2" ending
How about a sympathetic tone? A young woman is telling her grandmother how lousy her day has been. Grandma cannot do anything to help but only give comforting words and consolation through sympathy.
ay3 kweare2 — So sorry to hear that.
conveys a sympathetic tone to the sentence.
Some cold truth about abrupt "ay3" ending
is an another form of "yes".
Question: a-dau2 ji3... — Big Aunty.. (aunty + big)
"Someone told me your husband left you for a younger woman, is that true?"
Taken aback and admits "yes" with puzzlement as she ponders for a moment as to how on earth did he find out about it. With a shortest possible reply, conversation is ended just like that.
If you are a bit tired of hearing someone repeatedly complaining, or reminding you to bring back gifts, or lecturing you on the health benefits of organic food, you may interrupt and try to end the conversation by
ay3, ay3, ay3 (or)
I must also add that Ay3 is too informal and impolite to be used among strangers. However, it is OK to be used among buddies and cousins or by older persons to younger people that they know well.
Pay attention to ending words in this ending story
The old Grandma seems to have a good heart. Her grandson is about to beat up a thief who broke into the house.
The Grandma says:
ma1 — negative
loat — do
ba2 — soften tone
neare1 — negative imperative
kweare2 — sympathy
ma1-loat ba2 neare1 kweare2
Please don't do it. Have mercy on him...
The neighbor joins in. "Hey, that's the same fella who stole my bike. Let's beat him up.."
cha1 kwa1... cha1 kwa1
"fight! fight!..", cheer on the youngsters.
(fight + show of enthusiasm and delight)
Note the tone difference: kwa1 in the first tone is used to express delight; kwa2 in the second tone is used to express dissatisfaction.
ma1-loat ja1 ba2 neare1 kweare2...
(negative + do + plural + soft tone of suggestion + negative imperative + sympathy)
ma1-loat ja1 ba2 neare1
Note the plural term "ja1" to mean "Please you guys, have mercy on him.."
tha1-na3 ba2 deare2
I feel pity for him.
(feel pity + soft suggestion + affirmative)
tha1-na3 ba2 deare2 kweare2
a stronger expression of pity by adding sympathy.
Can we use impatient, unsatisfactory ending kwa2 with pity feeling? Those two seem to be polar opposites.
Yes, we can!...(I say confidently just like Obama.)
tha1-na3 ba2 deare2 kwa2
(feel pity + soft suggestion + affirmative + dissatisfied tone)
I feel pity for the victim, and at the same time express my disagreement for the injustice being done with the tone of unsatisfactoriness.
Look at those savages beating up a helpless victim. How cruel!
"Yes, I couldn't agree with you more," says a bystander who is a middle-age man.
hote deare2 bya2
the second man echoed..
hote deare2 shin1
yes, they are just like that...his wife concurred.
ay3 lay2... murmurs an another.
They all agreed to the same thing by saying "yes", but the ending
is masculine to be uttered by male speakers while
is feminine expression used by female speakers.
is the same "yes" in murmuring tone, but gender-neutral and can be used by both sexes. It is an exact equivalent of Singaporean "Yah lah.." and somewhat close to "Right!" or "Absolutely!" in English.
The situation soon gets ugly, and the police arrives...
I will construct a very expressive sentence using combinations of simple one-syllable words— most of them already discussed previously.
keare3... koun3 ja1 thay3 yeare1 la3
"Look at the mess! Tell me... What do you people have to say now?"
("OK now you people..." + good + plural + yet to be + concern + ?)
So, as you can see, Burmese language has short and yet powerful and emotionally-loaded expressions. I will use one of my favorite expressions to end this lesson.
The funny expression is from the comics invented by the late Burmese cartoonist named Aung Shain (pronounced Oun2 Shain2) to end his comics.
The English equivalent is "The End". It literally means enough + yet to be + already.
The reason why it is funny is because you don't expect to hear the last two combination of negative and positive pairs, and end up wondering if you really have had enough or not.
tau2 thay3 byi2