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.
That was an interesting phrase used by the Burmese cartoonist named moun2 wa1-na1 for the character tha1-main2 pau3 thoot. It means,
"Yes or not?"
Mandarin Chinese equivalent would be Shi4 bu shi4?
In some parts of Myanmar, people speaks in dialects that are slightly different from the mainstream Burmese. For example,
"It's so good!"
emphasizes on koun3, which means "good".
Lashio Thein Aung's Song: "Don't Say Goodbye"
The late Lashio Thein Aung (Jimmy Jack) was one of the early pioneers of Myanmar Stereo Music and songs with electric guitar in the mid 70's. Those were the days of recording songs on cassette tapes. In 2013, after 40 years away from home, he came back to Myanmar to perform live concerts.
When I was young, I had the impression that he was a Chinese, because some of his songs had both Burmese and Chinese lyrics.
Here's his stage performance in Yangon 2015 when he sung in both Burmese and Chinese. The legendary singer passed away in Houston, Texas at the age of 73 in December 2018.
One of his songs had lyrics: "I feel like crying when you say good-bye." There are several songs of his on the Internet today. Some fans have created Music videos like the one below.
CLICK TABLE HEADER COLUMNS TO SORT BY ASCENDING OR DESCENDING ORDER IN ENGLISH OR BURMESE.
Summary of Words and Phrases in this lesson (Sortable)
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" word
The word ba2 can be extra polite word, or both polite and part of the sentence structure like in the greeting
If someone asks..
"Do you want it?", or "Do you like it?", with simple verb in the question, I can reply with a simple "yes" without including ba2.
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.
— "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.
However, if someone makes a request or suggestion: "Please do this!", I can add an extra polite ba2. My response can be
Myanmar Grammar Notes:hote is a verb "to be correct". However, hote-keare1 is a particle. The modern usage of hote as a short form of hote-keare1 has not made it into the dictionary yet, although it is a popular usage nowadays.
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:
pu2ba2deare2 — 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.
Likewise, simple questions like those will also be without ba2 word.
— Is it hot?
Question:Today is Tuesday, isn't it?
Answer:Hotedeare2 — Yes.
The word ba2 is more personal and not about impersonal objects or the weather in both questions and answers. To the question
— Is this 555-8888? (or)
nine2 tin2-nyoon1-pu1ba2 la3 — Is this Naing Tinnyuntpu ?
I will answer:
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
At the end of lesson 2a, I used
Got to go now!
(go + indication of intention + warm feeling tone)
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.
If someone says: "Hey, look at the sky! It's turning orange and red", I will not just say
The reply "yes" with
makes all the difference.
Hey, you are right.. what you say is true.
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.
to someone close or someone I just made friend with. I can have shorter or longer variations of the same sentence.
as in "I am going to the corner store and will be back," or
Shorter but more emotional as in "I don't know when I will see you again."
Well, it's not always necessary to have nau2 to be emotional.
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.
— going to eat.
Short sentence, not because I am sad, but too hungry to be verbose.
Let's eat! Let's eat! (eat + plural + going to)
Mandarin Chinese equivalent would be "Chi1 fan4.. Chi1 fan4"
— I will do it. (do + going to)
Please do your work!!
OK, Ok.. I will do it.. (yes + soften the tone + do + going to)
OK, I "meare2"
could also be used to express a simple "OK" to "or not" type of questions.
Do you want to eat or not? (eat + will + ?)
sa3meare2 — OK!
Do you want to go or not? (go + will + ?)
thwa3meare2 — OK!
Do you want to play or not? (play + will + ?)
ga1-za3meare2 — OK!
Do you want to rest or not? (rest + will + ?)
na3meare2 — OK!
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
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.
— Let's go! (It's about time we go home.)
— 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....
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...
I am going to do it, anyway.. (do + going to + unsatisfactory tone)
And I silently say to myself, "What the heck..."
(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?
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-thwa3neare1 (negative + go + negative imperative ending)
ma1-loatneare1 (negative + do + negative imperative ending)
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?
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.
— 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
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.."
"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-loatja1 ba2 neare1 kweare2...
(negative + do + plural + soft tone of suggestion + negative imperative + sympathy)
ma1-loatja1 ba2 neare1
Note the plural term "ja1" to mean "Please you guys, have mercy on him.."
I feel pity for him.
(feel pity + soft suggestion + affirmative)
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.)