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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.

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Superlatives in Myanmar Language (Sortable)
best a-koun3 zone3
best/brightest person a-tau2 zone3
biggest a-kji3 zone3
brightest (light) a-lin3 zone3
busiest a-loat a-shoat zone3
cheapest zay3 a-pau3 zone3
cleanest a-thun1 zone3
coldest (temperature) a-ay3 zone3
coldest (feeling) a-chan3 zone3
dampest; wettest a-so2 zone3
darkest (room) a-hmoun2 zone3
deepest (ocean) a-net zone3
dirtiest a-nyit-pup zone3
driest a-chout zone3
earliest a-sau3 zone3
easiest to learn, method, etc.. a-lweare2 zone3
eldest a-kji3 zone3
fastest a-myan2 zone3
fattest a-wa1 zone3
funniest a-yi2-ya1 zone3
furthest a-way3 zone3
happiest a-pyau2 zone3
hardest (subject, language) a-khet zone3
hardest (material) a-ma2 zone3
heaviest a-lay3 zone3
highest a-myin1 zone3
hottest (temperature felt) a-ike zone3
most refreshing (girl) a-lun3 zone3
hottest (temperature) a-pu2 zone3
kindest / most generous dtha1-bau3 a-koun3 zone3
latest (fashion) nout hsone3 bau2
latest (time) nout a-kja1 zone3
laziest a-pyin3 zone3
least expensive zay3 a-cho2 zone3
lightest in weight a-pau1 zone3
longest a-shay2 zone3
loudest a-kjeare2 zone3
lowest (degree or point); rock bottom a-nain1 zone3
lowest (object's height) a-nain1-zone3
lowest (price) a-pau3 zone3
lowest (sound volume) a-toe3 zone3
most accurate a-hmun2 zone3
most applicable a-thet-hsine2 zone3
most bitter (taste) a-kha3 zone3
most beautiful a-hla1 zone3
most compassionate a-kjin2-na2-tut zone3
most complicated a-shoat zone3
most cruel a-yet-set zone3
most dependable ah3 a-ko3-ya1 zone3
most despicable a-yoat-ma2 zone3
most economical; most frugal a-chway2-ta2 zone3
most expensive zay3 a-kji3 zone3
most fragrant a-hmway3 zone3
most hard-working a-kjo3-za3 zone3
most influential au3-za2 a-shi1 zone3
most intense a-pyin3-htan2 zone3
most lengthy in time a-kja2 zone3
most modern khit a-hmi2 zone3
most natural dtha-ba2-wa1 a-kja1 zone3
most populous lu2-u3-yay2 a-mya3 zone3
most powerful; the one with most physical strength ah3 a-shi1 zone3
most influential and powerful au3-za2 ah2-na2 a-shi1 zone3
most profitable a-myut a-ya1 zone3
most secluded a-thi3-thun1 zone3
most useful a-thone3-kja1 zone3
most valuable tan2-bo3 a-shi1 zone3
narrowest a-kjin3 zone3
nearest a-ni3 zone3
poorest a-hsin3-yeare3 zone3
prettiest yoat a-chau3 zone3
purest a-thun1-sin2 zone3
rarest a-sha3 zone3
richest a-chan3-dtha2 zone3
saddest wun3 a-neare3 zone3
shallowest a-tain2 zone3
shortest (object) a-toh2 zone3
shortest (person) a-pu1 zone3
simplest a-shin3 zone3
skinniest a-pain2 zone3
slowest a-hnay3 zone3
smallest a-thay3 zone3
smartest nyan2 a-shi1 zone3
softest material a-pyau1 zone3
soonest a-hlyin2-myan2 zone3
stingiest kut-si3 a-neare3 zone3
strongest ah3 a-shi1 zone3
sweetest (girl) chit sa1-ya2 a-koun3 zone3
sweetest (taste) a-cho2 zone3
tallest a-myin1 zone3
thickest a-htu2 zone3
thinnest (material) a-pa3 zone3
ugliest yoat a-hso3 zone3
weakest ah3 a-neare3 zone3
widest a-kjeare2 zone3
worst a-hso3 zone3
worst performing person a-nyan1 zone3
youngest a-ngeare2 zone3

Lesson 30: Comparisons and superlative terms in Burmese

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the

a-hla1 zone3 — prettiest

of them all? A judge's job is never easy. You cannot give a perfect score every time a contestant comes up on stage and starts gyrating in different fashion. You need to look for something special — a wanting smile, enchanting eye contact, a natural poise that captures your imagination, flowing movements in rhythm with every beat of the music, and a perfect choice of wardrobe that complements the figure well, and yet not too revealing.

Who is prettiest?

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the အလှဆုံး | a-hla1-zone3 (prettiest) of them all? A judge's job is never easy. You cannot give a perfect score every time a contestant comes up on stage and starts gyrating in different fashion. You need to look for something special — a wanting smile, enchanting eye contact, a natural poise that captures your imagination, flowing movements in rhythm with every beat of the music, and a perfect choice of wardrobe that complements the figure well, and yet not too revealing. ဟဲလေး [51 seconds]

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Helay | ဟဲလေး | heare3 lay3

Never compare yourself with the others, says the wise. Normally, the word "conceit" in English and ma2-na1 in Burmese is associated with someone who considers oneself to be superior than the others.

Interestingly, "Mana" in Pali language is the conceit "I" that not only compares oneself to be superior than the others. When one considers oneself equal to or inferior than the others, that is also conceit. All three types of comparisons are rooted in the false concept of "I" ego entity that keeps us binding in the cycle of suffering known as thun2-dtha1-ya2 (Samsara in Pali), according to the ancient wisdom.

However, for practical purposes, we cannot get away with words of comparisons. This is good. That is better. This one is the best. She is taller than I. He is the tallest and the biggest, and so on.

This is better, taller, bigger, worse, smaller, shorter

The burmese adjective word


which roughly means "more", is used to describe that something or someone is better, taller, bigger, and so on. However, it should be noted that "more" in degree can go in either positive or negative direction. For example, "more short" means shorter. "More bad" means worse.

Try to see the pattern in sentence construction. The format is...

da2 po2 xxxx deare2

where you substitute xxxx with the adjective of your choice.

da2 po2 koun3 deare2

This is better. (this + more + good + affirmative)

da2 po2 hso3 deare2

This is worse. (this + more + bad + affirmative)

da2 po2 shay2 deare2

This is longer. (this + more + long + affirmative)

da2 po2 toh2 deare2

This is shorter. (this + more + short + affirmative)

da2 po2 kji3 deare2

This is bigger. (this + more + big + affirmative)

da2 po2 ngeare2 deare2

This is smaller. (this + more + small + affirmative)

Which one is better?

You should also learn to put comparisons in the form of questions. They follow the same pattern, so I will just give one example.

beare2 ha2 — which

po2 — more

koun3 — good

dtha1-leare3 — ?

beare2 ha2 po2 koun3 dtha1-leare3

Which (one) is better?

that which is

da2 (pronoun) means "this".

da2 (particle) is reference to the object "which is" or "that which is".

The example below shows how da2 modifies the adjective

po2 kji3bigger

into a noun phrase

po2 kji3 da2that which is bigger.

po2 — more

kji3 — big

da2 — that which is

lo2 chin2 — want

deare2 — affirmative

po2 kji3 da2 lo2 chin2 deare2

I want the bigger one.

po2 kji3 da2 po2 koun3 deare2

The bigger, the better. (more + big + "which is" + more + good + affirmative)

Bigger than this

In the above examples, I am pointing to something and say this is bigger, and so on. What if I want to say something is bigger than this that I am pointing at? In that case, you need to use

de2 htetmore than this

instead of da2 (this).

de2 htet po2 kji3 deare2

It's bigger than this. ("more than this" + more + big + affirmative)

de2 htet po2 koun3 deare2

It's better than this. ("more than this" + more + good + affirmative)

de2 htet po2 hso3 deare2

It's worse than this. ("more than this" + more + bad + affirmative)

Colder and hotter (warmer) than this

How's the weather in Toronto (compared to Yangon)?

de2 htet po2 ay3 deare2

It's colder than this. ("more than this" + more + cool + affirmative)

You can replace pronoun de2 (this) in the above sentence with the proper noun Yangon like this:

Yangon htet po2 ay3 deare2

It's colder than Yangon. (Yangon + more than or above + more + cool + affirmative)

We will now build up a longer sentence.


ga1 — is (PPM that makes "Toronto" subject)


htet — more than or above

po2 — more

ay3 — cool

deare2— affirmative

Toronto ga1 Yangon htet po2 ay3 deare2

Toronto is colder than Yangon.

Yangon ga1 Toronto htet po2 pu2 deare2

Yangon is warmer than Toronto.

Toronto is Colder than Yangon

Much colder than this

Actually, the weather in Toronto is much, much colder than Yangon. If you compare Yangon to Maymyo (Pyin Oo Lwin), a tourist attraction in Myanmar, it is quite appropriate to say

de2 htet po2 ay3 deare2.

But, if you compare Yangon to Toronto, it's better to stress that Toronto is "much" colder. The Burmese word for indefinite pronoun "much" in such a situation is


It literally means "so many" or "great quantity".

de2 htet — more than this

a-mya3-ji3 — great quantity (equivalent to much more)

po2 — to exceed

ay3 — cool

deare2 — affirmative.

de2 htet a-mya3-ji3 po2 ay3 deare2

It's much colder than this!

Toronto ga1 Yangon htet a-mya3-ji3 po2 ay3 deare2

Toronto is much colder than Yangon.

So, you can say

ay3 deare2

if the object or the environment has a low temperature. Likewise,

pu2 deare2

means the object or the weather has a high temperature.

Burmese language has a different word if your body feels cold due to the weather. If you're shivering in sub-zero temperature, you say

chan3 deare2.

Perhaps, the more useful word that you can say is

ike deare2

if you are sweating under the sweltering heat in the hottest month around April in Myanmar.

Words such as "feel cold", "feel warm", "feel happy", and "feel sad" are one-syllable verbs. Those stand-alone verbs are not complete sentences by themselves, but the sense equivalent to English verbs "be" or "feel" is already included. In comparison, words such as "happy" "sad", "warm", and "cold" in English are adjectives.

So, in "feel cold" word chan3, "feel" is already included as opposed to adjective ay3 for "cold" weather.


pu2 lite da2The weather is so hot (to the extreme).

ike lite da2I feel so hot!

Be careful with pronunciation. pu2 is pronounced like poo2, not pa1-yu2.

This is the biggest one!

For superlatives in Burmese such as the best, the biggest, and the tallest, etc., the adjective is sandwiched between the prefix particle "a" and suffix particle "zone3" in this pattern:

a-xxxx zone3.


a-kji3 zone3the biggest

a-myin1 zone3the tallest

a-shay2 zone3the longest

a-ay3 zone3the coldest

a-koun3 zone3the best

da2 — this

a-kji3 zone3 — the biggest

beare3 — exactly!

da2 a-kji3 zone3 beare3

This is the biggest!

Just like in English, superlatives in Burmese cover the extremes in both directions to include the best and the worst, the biggest and the smallest, the tallest and the shortest, and so on.


a-thay3 zone3the smallest

a-toh2 zone3the shortest (for objects such as roads and ropes)

a-pu1 zone3the shortest (for height of a person)

a-pu2 zone3the hottest

a-hso3 zone3the worst

By the way, did you notice that there is just a slight tone difference between the shortest (person) and the hottest?

a-pyau2 zone3 nay1

means happiest day. For Burmese people of all ages, it comes in Mid April every year when Water Festivals and New Year are celebrated. And it is not a single day.

In 2017, the government of Myanmar had announced the plan to cut the New Year holidays from 10 days to 5. The announcement which came too close to the holidays was reverted back after the public responded with much anger and dissatisfaction.

The shorter Water Festival holidays started in 2018. The five lost days are now redistributed with other holidays in cooler months.
Myanmar's Happiest Time

Myanmar's Happiest Time. Without a doubt, Myanmar Thingyan Water Festival Celebrations are the happiest times of the year for children and adults of all ages. (45 seconds)

Posted by Naing Tinnyuntpu on Monday, May 2, 2016
အိမ့်ချစ် | Eint Chit

Comparing people

Instead of saying, "this is the best" in reference to the object, can we make comparisons between people? How would you say he is the best and the brightest?

thu2 — he or she

a-tau2 zone3 — the best and the brightest

beare3 — exactly!

thu2 a-tau2 zone3 beare3

He/she is the best and the brightest.

Superlatives in the form of questions

Just like "better", we will now learn to put superlative terms in the form of questions. Since the pattern is the same for such questions, I will give just one example.

beare2 ha2 — which "thing" (adjective)

a-koun3 zone3 — the best; good to the extreme position (adjective)

leare3 — ? (particle)

beare2 ha2 a-koun3 zone3 leare3

Which (one) is the best?

Who is the best?

Similarly, you can ask who is the best, the tallest, the shortest, or the brightest, etc..

beare2 dthu2 — who (which + person)

a-tau2 zone3 — the best and the brightest

leare3 — ?

beare2 dthu2 a-tau2 zone3 leare3

Who is the best?

When is the best time?

Here's an another useful question that you can ask.

beare2 a-chain2 — when (which + time)

a-koun3 zone3 — the best

leare3 — ?

beare2 a-chain2 a-koun3 zone3 leare3

When is the best time?

Superlatives as adverbs

It is possible to use the same superlative word as an adjective or an adverb depending on the sentence construction.

For example,

a-koun3 zone3 ah3-ga1-za3 dtha1-ma3

the best athlete (best [adjective] + athlete [noun])

a-koun3 zone3 loat pay3 ba2

Please do the best for me. (best [adverb] + do [verb] + request [particle])

In the second sentence, "the best" refers to "how" of the verb "do". So, it is an adverb.

Superlatives as nouns

It is also possible for superlatives to be used as nouns. Grade 11 Myanmar Grammar students are taught that to construct such a sentence, there MUST NOT be a noun adjacent to the superlative as in the best "athlete" example shown above.

It's like in English where "best" can be either an adjective as in the "best athlete", or the noun which refers to the person who is most outstanding.

Here is an example of literary Burmese sentence:

thit mya3 — wood (noun) + plural (particle)

dwin2 — equivalent to "in", "at", "among" (postpositional marker)

a-koun3 zone3 — best (noun)

dthi2 — equivalent to "is"; makes "best" the subject (postpositional marker)

kjoon3-thit — teak (noun)

pfyit dthi2 — be; happen to be (verb) + ending affirmative word (postpositional marker)

thit mya3 dwin2 a-koun3 zone3 dthi2 kjoon3-thit pfyit dthi2

Teak is the best among the woods.

Where is the highest mountain in the World?

Now, for the last part, we will build up the a-shay2 zone3 (longest) sentence of this lesson.

ga1-ba2 — the World

pau2 hma2 — on (equivalent to preposition "in")

a-myin1 zone3 — the tallest

toun2 — mountain

beare2 hma2 — where at

shi1 — exist

leare3 — ?

ga1-ba2 pau2 hma2 a-myin1 zone3 toun2 beare2 hma2 shi1 leare3

Where is the highest mountain in the World?