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".
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".
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:
such as in Kyaiktiyo (a Buddhist pilgrimage site), which is pronounced chaih-TEE-ou.
such as Mawlamyine (a city in Myanmar), which is pronounced mau-la-myain.
such as in Sagaing (a city in Myanmar), which is pronounced za-gainh.
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.)
such as in Myanmar, which is pronounced myan-MA.
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.
Burmese has a complicated set of vowels, containing 12 vowels.
like the 'i' in site
like the 'ou' in out; always used with a consanant ending
like the 'a' in ache
like the 'oa' in moat
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
like the 'i' in trip
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
like the 'c' in cat
like the 'j' in jeep
like the 'l' in love
like the 'm' in mad
like the 'n' in nut
like the 'ng' in dancing
like the 'ni' in onion
like the 'p' in spin
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
like the 'sh' in shack
like a 's' in sound
like a 't' in that
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
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."
မဂၤလာပါ။ (Min ga la ba.)
(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)
. (Kyeizu pyu yue )
ေက်းဇူးတန္ပါတယ္။ (Kyeizu tin ba de.)
ရပါတယ်။ (Ya ba de.)
ဟုတ္တယ္။ (Ho de.)
. မဟုတ္ဘူ။(Ma ho bu.)
Excuse me. (getting attention)
ခင္ဗဵာ? (Ka mya?)
Excuse me. (begging pardon)
. (taung pan par tal)
. သြာေတာ့မယ္။(Thwa dau mal)
. (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?)
! (kuu nyi par ohn!)
! (Ai ya! Kyi!)
. (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)
Burmese numbers follow the Arabic system of numerals.