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Burmese phrasebook

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Revision as of 07:10, 18 April 2013 by 119.151.136.136 (Talk)

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Burmese (ျမန္‌မားစကား mien ma za ga) is the official and primary language of Myanmar. It is closely related to Tibetan, and distantly related to Chinese. The government uses the term "Myanmar" to describe the language, although most continue to refer to the language as "Burmese".

Grammar

Burmese word order is subject-object-verb, unlike English word order, which is subject-verb-object. Subjects and objects are omitted when such is implied in context. As a rule, all objects must be attached to a -go particle.

Burmese has an array of honorifics. Its grammar also contains many prefixes and suffixes indicating tense and mood.

The Burmese often use family names such as "brother", "sister", "auntie" in place of "you" and "I".

Pronunciation guide

Read Romanized signs properly
Burmese, similar to French, rarely has consonant endings, because most become glottal stops (like the break in uh-oh!) or nasalised. Burmese names written using Latin letters include these endings to denote the fact that the endings are written. These endings include:

  • -'k'

such as in Kyaiktiyo (a Buddhist pilgrimage site), which is pronounced chaih-TEE-ou.

  • -'ne'

such as Mawlamyine (a city in Myanmar), which is pronounced mau-la-myain.

  • -'ng'

such as in Sagaing (a city in Myanmar), which is pronounced za-gainh.

  • -'m'

such as in dhamma (a Buddhist term), which is pronounced dha-MA. (A special case accompanies -m. For example, lam, which means "street", is pronounced lan, with an -n.)

  • -'r'

such as in Myanmar, which is pronounced myan-MA.

  • -'t'

such as in Thatbyinnyu (a temple in Bagan), which is pronounced thah-BYIN-nyu.

Burmese is a tonal language, consisting of four tones (low, high, creaky, checked). All dialects of Burmese in Myanmar adhere to this rule, although vocabulary usage varies from region to region.

Burmese is written using the Burmese script, which is based on an ancient Indian script called Pali. Its alphabet contains 34 letters, which look like circles or semi-circles. The Burmese script also contains many tone marks and sound modifying marks.

Burmese uses an English-based romanisation system.

Vowels

Burmese has a complicated set of vowels, containing 12 vowels.

Diphthongs

ai 
like the 'i' in site
au 
like the 'ou' in out; always used with a consanant ending
ei 
like the 'a' in ache
ou 
like the 'oa' in moat

Monophthongs

like the 'a' in mama
like the 'e' in she
like the 'ea' in meat
like the 'o' in tote
like the 'ew' in lewd
ih 
like the 'i' in trip

Consonants

Burmese consanants are aspirated (contains an 'h' sound) and unaspirated (does not contain an 'h' sound).

Aspirated and unaspirated consanants are romanised irregularly, because a uniform system does not yet exist.

like the 'b' in bat
like the 'd' in dagger
like the 'g' in gap
like the 'h' in house
like the 'k' in tanker
kh
like the 'c' in cat
ky
like the 'j' in jeep
like the 'l' in love
like the 'm' in mad
like the 'n' in nut
ng 
like the 'ng' in dancing
ny 
like the 'ni' in onion
like the 'p' in spin
ph 
like the 'p' in pig
becomes a 'y', or is silent. In other words, the letter "r" is a lot like a trilled "r" sound ("rrrr") in Burmese (just like the "r" in Latin/Spanish).
like a 's' in sing, or becomes a 'th' sound
shw
like the 'sh' in shack
hs 
like a 's' in sound
like a 't' in that
th 
like a 't' in tongue
like a 'w' in win. Although there is no consonant "v" in Burmese, "w" sounds much like "v" in "victory" (just like German "w").
like a 'y' in young
like a 'z' in zoo

Phrase list

Negations
Burmese, when negating verbs, uses two of the following structures:

  • ma + ____ + bu

used to mean that the verb was not accomplished. Example: Nei ma kaing bu, which means "You did not touch it".

  • ma + ____ + neh

used to mean that the verb must not be accomplished. Example: Nei ma kaing neh, which means "You do not touch it."

Basics

Common signs

OPEN 
CLOSED 
ENTRANCE 
EXIT 
PUSH 
PULL 
TOILET 
MEN 
WOMEN 
FORBIDDEN 


Hello. 
မဂၤလာပါ။ (Min ga la ba.)
Hello. (informal
(Nei kaung la?)
How are you? 
ေနေကာင္းလာ။ (Nei kaon la?)
Fine, thank you. 
ေနေကာင္းပါတယ္။ (Ne kaon ba de)
What is your name? 
 ? (na mal bal loe kall lal?)
My name is ______ . 
______ . (Kya nau na mee _____ ba.)
Nice to meet you. 
. (Twe ya da wanta ba de)
Please. 
. (Kyeizu pyu yue )
Thank you. 
ေက်းဇူးတန္ပါတယ္။ (Kyeizu tin ba de.)
You're welcome. 
ရပါတယ်။ (Ya ba de.)
Yes. 
ဟုတ္တယ္။ (Ho de.)
No. 
. မဟုတ္ဘူ။(Ma ho bu.)
Excuse me. (getting attention
ခင္ဗဵာ? (Ka mya?)
Excuse me. (begging pardon
. ( )
I'm sorry. 
. (taung pan par tal)
Goodbye 
. သြာေတာ့မယ္။(Thwa dau mal)
Goodbye (informal
. (Thwa dau mal)
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
[ ]. ( [ba ma za ga go [kaung-kaung] ma pyaw thet bu.])
Do you speak English? 
 ? ( in glei za ga go pyaw thet de la?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
 ? (In glei za-ga pyaw thet de lu di ma shi la?)
Help! 
 ! (kuu nyi par ohn!)
Look out! 
 ! (Ai ya! Kyi!)
Good morning. 
. (Mingalabar )
Good night (to sleep
. (Eigh douh meh )
I don't know.  
. က်န္ပ္းမသိဘူ။(Kya-nau ma thi bu)
I don't understand. 
. က်န္ပ္းနာမလဲဘူ။(Kya-nau na ma ley bu)
Where is the toilet? 
 ? (ein thar ka bal mhar lal)

Problems

Numbers

Burmese numbers follow the Arabic system of numerals.

၀ (thoun-nya)
၁ (tit)
၂ (hni)
၃ (thoun)
၄ (lei)
၅ (nga)
၆ (chao)
၇ (kun hni)
၈ (shit)
၉ (ko)
10 
၁၀ (se)
11 
၁၁ (seh-tit)
12 
၁၂ (seh-hnih)
13 
၁၃ (seh-thoun)
14 
၁၄ (seh-lei)
15 
၁၅ (seh-nga)
16 
၁၆ (seh-chauk)
17 
၁၇ (seh-kuun)
18 
၁၈ (seh-shit)
19 
၁၉ (seh-kou)
20 
၂၀ (hna-seh)
21 
၂၁ (hna-seh-tit)
22 
၂၂ (hna-seh-hnih)
23 
၂၃ (hna-seh-thoun)
30 
၃၀ (thoun-zeh)
40 
၄၀ (lei-zeh)
50 
၅၀ (nga-zeh)
60 
၆၀ (chau-seh)
70 
၇၀ (kueh-na-seh)
80 
၈၀ (shit-seh)
90 
၉၀ (ko-zeh)
100 
၁၀၀ (tit-ya)
200 
၂၀၀ (hni-ya)
300 
၃၀၀ (thoun-ya)
500 
၅၀၀ (nga-ya)
1000 
၁၀၀၀ (tit-taon)
2000 
၂၀၀၀ (hna-taon)
10,000 
(se-thaon)
number _____ (train, bus, etc.) 
Burmese uses several measure words. As a general rule, use ku for items, and yau for persons.

Time

now 
a gu (အခု)
later 
nao ma
before 
a shei
morning 
ma ne
afternoon 
nei le
night 
nya (ည)

Clock time

What time is it? 
Be ne na yee toe bi le?
It is nine in the morning. 
Ko nai toe bi.
Three-thirty PM. 
Thoun na yee kwe.

Duration

_____ minute(s) 
min-ni (မိနစ္‌)
_____ hour(s) 
nai yi (နာရီ)
_____ day(s) 
ye' or nei (နေ့)
_____ week(s) 
ba
_____ month(s) 
la (လ)
_____ year(s) 
hni (န္ဟစ္‌)

Days

today 
di nei
yesterday 
ma nei
tomorrow 
ma ne pyan
this week 
di ba
last week 
a yin ba
next week 
nao ba
Sunday 
tha nin ga nei (တနင္ဂန္ဝေ)
Monday 
tha nin la (တနင္‌းလာ)
Tuesday 
in ga (အင္ဂာ)
Wednesday 
bo ta hu (ဗုဒ္ဓဟူး)
Thursday 
kya tha ba dei (က္ရားသပတေး)
Friday 
tao kya (သောက္ရာ)
Saturday 
sa nei (စနေ)

Note: The Burmese calendar consists of 8 days, with one day between Wednesday and Thursday, called ya-hu, although this is purely ceremonial.

Months

Writing time and date

Colors

black 
အမည် ရောင် a me yaon
white 
အဖ္ရူရောင် a pyu yaon
gray 
မီးခု္းရောင် mi go yaon
red 
အနီရောင် a ni yaon
blue 
အပ္ရာရောင် a pya yaon
yellow 
အဝာရောင် a wa yaon
green 
အစိမ္ရောင် a sein yaon
orange 
လိမ္မော္ရောင် lein mau yaon
purple 
ခရမ္းရောင် ka-yan yaon
brown 
အညိုရောင် a nyo yaon
Do you have it in another color?  
Di ha go nao a yaon de she la?

Transportation

Bus and train, ship and plane

Train
yeh-ta

Train Station
bu ta yone

Bus
ba(sa) ka

Bus Stop
ka hma tine

Bus Station
ka gey

Ship
thin bau

Port
thin bau sey

Airplane
leyin pyan

Airport
ley yein gun

Ticket
leh hma

Fare
ka

Depart/Leave
tweh

Arrive
yow

Luggage
pyit see

Directions

Over there
ho beht
Left Side
beh beht
Right Side nya beht

Taxi

Is this taxi free?
Te ka se ahh tha la

Lodging

To Stay
theh

Bed
ga din

Restroom
ehn tha

Shower
yay cho khan

Food

asar

Money

How much is it?
Zey beh lout le?
Money
kyat

one dollar
deh kyat

two dollars
neh kyat

three dollars
thone kyat

four dollars
ley kyat

five dollars
nga kyat

six dollars
chowt kyat

seven dollars
cuni kyat

eight dollars
sheh kyat

nine dollars
coh kyat

ten dollars
se kyat

twenty dollars
neh se kyat

twenty-five dollars
neh se nga kyat
or more commonly
a sait

fifty dollars
nga se kyat

one hundred dollars
tayar kyat

When refering to US currency, it is important to remember to say "dollar" before the specified amount
For example US $50 would be "dollar nga se".

Eating

I am hungry.
Nga bite sa de.

Where do you want to go eat?
Beh sau thot sine thwa meh le?

I can only drink bottled water
Kha naw ye bu ye be thouk lo ya de

Are there any napkins (Can I have one?)
napkin she tha la

Fried foods
uh chaw sa

Noodles
cow sweh

Rice (white)
htamin

Fried rice
htamin chaw

Ice
yey ghe

Ice cream bar
yey ghe mou

Sugar
de ja

Salt
sa

MSG
a cho mout

Potato
ah lou

Vegetable
a yweh

Fruit
a thee

Banana
nguh pyaw thee

Apple
pun thee

Apple Juice
pun thee yay

Grapes
duh beh thee

Durian
doo hinh thee

Orange
lei maw thee

Chicken
chet tha

Beef
ameh tha

Goat
seit tha

Lamb
tho tha

Fish
nga

Bars


Beer/Alcohol
ayet

Round (As in "A round of beers")
pweh

Ciggaretts
sei lait

Glass
kwut

Shopping

Store
sine

Clothes
ain gee

Pants
boun bee

Shoes
punuht

Bra
bou le

Ring
lut sout

Socks
chey sout

House
ehn

Purse/Wallet
puh sun eight

Backpack
saw ough eight

Movies
youh shin

Driving

Car
ka

Stop
yet/ho

Go/Drive
thwa/moun

Traffic Light
Mee point

Authority

Administration
oh cho yey

Prime Minister
wan-jee cho

President
thanmada

Vice President
duteya thanmada

Military
tatmadaw

Chairman
oh ga taw

Parliament
hluttaw

Politics
nine-nga yey

This is a usable phrasebook. It explains pronunciation and the bare essentials of travel communication. An adventurous person could use it to get by, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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