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.
I am lost for word as to how to say the opposite of "loudly" in English. Is there an English adverb
which means "in low volume"? "Quietly" or "Silently" means no volume at all. You can say "whisper",
"hush..hush" or speak "softly", but how do I tell someone to listen to the radio in low volume using the
opposite of "loudly"?
In Burmese you don't indirectly say: "Please turn down your volume" because you can directly say:
"Please listen unloudly." I have never heard of the word "unloudly" in English before. Have you? And
I have never heard of anyone saying "Please listen softly" either.
Could it be that there is no English word for toe3-toe3 because English
speakers always turn up the speakers and never play their music toe3-toe3 ?
By the way, the Burmese phrase is toe3-toe3pfwin1
(in low volume + to open) to tell the teenager to turn on the latest electronic gadget in low volume.
CLICK TABLE HEADER COLUMNS TO SORT BY ASCENDING OR DESCENDING ORDER IN ENGLISH OR BURMESE.
Lesson 8: "How" and "When" Parts of Action Words -- Burmese Adverbs
Imagine yourself driving a red Ferrari down the long and winding mountain road. Suddenly, at the steep corner turn, you lost
control, and you find yourself in the clouds. You quickly press the emergency button with your shaken hand, and the parachute opens. As you take a deep breath, you see the blue
mountain behind the clouds in your rear-view mirror. You will now never forget the meaning of MOUN3, (to drive) on the
MOUNtain road. That's a memory technique where you are learning to associate the word MOUN3 with MOUNtain. Here is a video clip with less power than a red Ferrari.
Imagine yourself driving a red Ferrari down the long and winding mountain road. Suddenly, at the steep corner turn, you lost control, and you find yourself in the clouds. You quickly press the emergency button with your shaken hand, and the parachute opens. As you take a deep breath, you see the blue mountain behind the clouds in your rear-view mirror. You will now never forget the meaning of MOUN3, (to drive) on the MOUNtain road. That's a memory technique where you are learning to associate the word MOUN3 with MOUNtain. Here is a video clip with less power than a red Ferrari. [28 seconds]
Verbs in the previous lesson are quite useful in telling others what you want to do. But, sooner or later you discover that you still
cannot communicate what you really want to say. Something seems to be missing. For example, you need to go to the embassy in a hurry.
You know the words thwa3
means to go and moun3
means to drive. You have memorized some useful nouns such as
thun2-yone3 for embassy.
In addition, you know the general formula for constructing a sentence
which says you want to do something:
-- I want to xxxx.
So, you can tell the driver:
-- I want to go to the embassy.
You can follow up with the order:
moun3 -- drive!
or using the softer tone:
moun3ba2 -- Please drive!
You still find the sentence unsatisfactory because you have expressed only half of what you really want to say: You are in a hurry. You want him
to drive fast.
-- I want to go to the embassy fast.
(embassy + quickly + go + want + affirmative)
Please drive fast!
The five types of Burmese Adverbs
The Adverb in the Burmese grammar has a Pali origin, and is known as kri1-ya2 wi1-thay2-tha1-na1.
The word kri1-ya2 refers to the action words (Verbs), and wi1-thay2-tha1-na1 means
to modify or to qualify. Burmese adverbs qualify the verbs similar to English.
Words that describe "how" part of the action words known as a-mu2-a-ya2-pya1 kri1-ya2 wi1-thay2-tha1-na1
belong to a type of Myanmar adverbs that show gestures, manner, facial expressions, and behavior of human and other living beings. Examples:
yo2-yo2 thay2-thay2kine2ba2 - Please handle
hnay3-hnay3 kway3-kway3 - sluggishly.
wome3-wome3 dine3-dine3 - noisily.
Myanmar grammar put the conditions of things such as road conditions affected by the heavy storm in a different classification of adverbs.
It is called a-chay2-a-nay2-pya1 kri1-ya2 wi1-thay2-tha1-na1. Examples:
thut-thut-yut-yut - neatly
pfa1-yo2 pfa1-yeare3 - in disarray; in disorder
Examples in complete sentences:
mo3a-kji3-a-kjeare2ywa2nay2deare2 - Rain is pouring down
- Huts are in disarray.
Another type of Burmese adverb known as a-chain2-pya1 kri1-ya2 wi1-thay2-tha1-na1 shows
time or "when" part of action words:
Note that this adverb time word a-khu1 meaning "now" will be a noun a-khu1 if used with the descriptive adjective word such as "sunny" or "raining".
More examples of adverbs that show time in relation to the action word (verb):
- I am about to go now.
kha1-nah1 nay2sa3ja1meare2 - We shall eat
in a while.
a-may3 kri1-ya2 wi1-thay2-tha1-na1 are interrogative adverbs such as "when" and "how" questions
in relation to the verbs. Examples:
How will you go?
When will you go?
The fifth type of Burmese adverbs known as pa1-ma2-na1-pya1 kri1-ya2 wi1-thay2-tha1-na1
shows the magnitude or size. Examples:
a-loon2 -- extremely, very mya3-mya3 -- abundantly neare3-neare3 -- just a little a-kone2 -- all lone3-wah1 -- none
Examples in complete sentences:
lone3-wah1tha1-bau3-ma1-tu2bu3 - I absolutely disagree.
- Just put a little.
Adverb example in a song
The song in the video clip below used the adverb da1-jain2-ta1-kha2 meaning once in a while.
da1-jain2-ta1-kha2 -- once in a while (adverb) dtha2 -- only (particle) yah1 -- have (verb) dthau3 -- (particle) convert the clause into adjective to mean "rare" pweare3-dau2 -- festive occasion (noun) a-tu2-tu2 -- together (adverb) pyau2 -- be happy (verb)
We have this festival only once in a while. Let's be happy together.
We have this festival only once in a while. Let's be happy together. [29 seconds]
da1-jain2-ta1-kha2 -- once in a while (adverb)
dtha2 -- only (particle)
yah1 -- have (verb)
dthau3 -- (particle) convert the clause into adjective to mean "rare"
pweare3-dau2 -- festive occasion (noun)
a-tu2-tu2 -- together (adverb)
pyau2 -- be happy (verb)
Now, we will add adverbs to the verbs we have met in the previous lesson.
The following are mixtures of complete sentences, verbal commands, suggestions and phrases. They are organized in the same sequence as
in lesson 7.
a-mya3-ji3sa3 -- Have your fill of the stomach!; eat
a lot. (a lot + eat)
-- Go immediately!(immediately + go)
-- Do it nicely! (good + good + do)
-- Run quickly! (quick + quick + run)
a-thay2cha1 -- Attack! ; Charge! ;
fight till the death!
(deadly + fight)
Please come regularly. (regularly + come + suggestion)
You will note that many of those Burmese adverbs are formed by doubling of words. For example, koun3
means good (adjective), and koun3-koun3 means
nicely (adverb), or in a good manner. Those double-word adverbs are frequently used in
spoken form and they are further classified as hna1-kjain2-htut kri1-ya2- wi1-thay2-tha1-na1
in Burmese grammar, which means "two-times-repeat adverbs".
Busy Street Activities
thate - so much (adverb) ku2 - help (verb) chin2 - want to (particle used as verb suffix to mean "ku2-chin2" - want to help) ta2 - modifies "want to help"(verb) to "the thought that wants to help" (noun) beare3 - emphasis ending word: "exactly! (particle)
-- I want to help so much.
-- Don't park obstructively; Don't obstruct the traffic.
(obstructively + negative prefix particle + stop or park + negative imperative)
lu2-dway2 -- people (human + plural) a-yan3 -- too much (adverb) toe3 -- to push and shove (verb) nay2 -- particle equivalent to present participle "ing" ja1 -- particle that modifies the verb "to push" to plural deare2 -- affirmation ending word (postpositional marker)
lu2-dway2ayan3toe3nay2ja1deare2 -- There's too much shoving and pushing going on.
-- back up slowly.
(slow + slow + back up or reverse the car)
a-chain2 -- time (noun) thate -- too much (adverb) ma1 -- not (particle) pfyone3 -- to waste (verb) ba2 -- polite emphasis (particle) neare1 -- negative imperative (particle)
a-chain2thatema1pfyone3ba2 neare1 -- Don't waste too much time!
-- Wash your hands properly! (hand + good + properly + to wash)
Although let is a singular form meaning hand, it is understood to refer to both
hands of a single person. The plural letdway2 refers to hands of many people.
(See lesson 32 for singular and plural terms.)
kha1-nah1 ta1-pfyoata-na3yu2meare2 -- I am going to take a short rest!
(momentarily + a rest [noun] + to take + going to)
Near the end of Shift
na2-yi2ma1-kja2 kha1-nah1 kji1
-- Watch the clock every now and then.
(clock or watch + not + take a long time + again and again + to look or to glance)
This word is interesting. ma1-kja2 kha1-nah1 is a coined word using
means not + take a long time, and kha1-nah1 kha1-nah1,
which means again and again. So,
ma1-kja2 kha1-nah1 means you do something again and again before a long time. The appropriate English translation
is every now and then.
End of Shift
-- I just finished work, as in "the shift is just over."
(now + just + work + to go down + affirmation)
ain2 -- house or home (noun) chau3-chau3 moon2 moon2 -- smoothly; smooth-sailing without obstacles on the way (adverb) pyan2-yout-la2 -- return (verb) (return + arrive + come) byi2 -- ending word "has/have" (postpositional marker)
ain2chau3-chau3 moon2 moon2pyan2-yout-la2byi2 -- [ He, she, I] has/have come back home safely!
pfa1-nut -- shoes, slippers, footwear (noun) go2 -- to (postpositional marker that makes slipper the "object" of the sentence.) de2hma2 -- here (adjective in English = Burmese pronoun + postpositional marker) thut-thut-yut-yut - neatly (adverb) choot -- remove from body; take off (verb) ba2 -- polite ending word (particle)
-- Please remove your shoes neatly here.
Time to cook
-- Cook rice in a rush. (rice + in a rush + to cook)
hin3 -- dishes such as fish, meat, chicken, and vegetable to be eaten with rice (noun) dway2 -- (particle that makes the noun plural) pfyit-ga1-dut-hsun3 - carelessly; not properly done (adverb) ma1 - negative (particle) chet -- cook (verb) ba2 -- polite word (particle) neare1 -- negative imperative telling not to (particle)
hin3dway2pfyit-ga1-dut-hsun3ma1chetba2neare1 -- Please don't anyhow cook the dishes.
Taking a bath
-- unhurriedly shampoo the hair. (unhurriedly + head + to wash hair or clothes)
-- leisurely take a bath. (leisurely + to bathe)
ba1-gun2 -- plates (noun) sin2 -- be clean; be free from impurities(verb) oun2 -- in order to (conjunction) thay2-thay2-cha2-cha2 -- thoroughly (adverb) hsay3 -- wash (verb)
Thoroughly wash the dishes.
yay2 -- water (noun) lone2 -- to keep something tight (verb) oun2 -- in order to (conjunction) beare2-lo2 -- how (adverb) pate -- close (verb) ma1leare3 -- ending question word.
How do I shut the faucet tight so that water will not be dripping?
The word oun2 is a positive word which means "to pass", such as in "to pass the exam" (verb). It can be appended
to several other words as conjunction to mean "in order to make it happen". For example,
sin2oun2 means "in order to
make it clean", where sin2 means "be spotlessly clean".
yay2-di2-yo2 -- Radio a-kjeare2 ji3 -- loudly na3-htoun2 -- to listen
-- listen to the radio so loudly.
TV toe3-toe3 -- opposite of "loudly"; in low volume beare3 -- only pfwin1 -- to open
TVtoe3-toe3beare3pfwin1 -- Don't turn on the TV volume so loud;
watch TV with low volume
Note that in Burmese, the above sentence is not a negative imperative, but a positive suggestion.
Say your prayers
-- Always say your Grace [Christian rituals]
(wish or trophy + always + to ask for)
-- Say prayers regularly every night.
(night + every + God or the Buddha or a symbol representing the Buddha + regularly + to pay respect)
Time to sleep
-- Later on, [I will be] sleepily switching off the light.
(later on + sleepily + with + light or fire + to close + going to)
Take note of the omission of "you" and "I" in the above Burmese phrases. They are implicitly implied and unnecessary in such phrases.
-- Pay now! (money + now + to pay)
-- I shop regularly every week.
Myanmar housewives probably shop for dry goods every week. Majority of households in Myanmar
buy fresh vegetables and small portions of meat, fish, or chicken almost every day in the neighborhood market. There are also sellers -- usually
women-- going around some neighborhood every morning, each carrying a big basket of grocery items on their heads and crying out the melody of their signature
Adverbs should be studied after the verbs. In Burmese language grammar,
particles and postpositional markers are also important because verbs or adverbs alone will not
work. Those parts of speech will be discussed later in detail.