A Sneak Peek on Burmese Language – How to start a short conversation in Burmese
Burmese is the official language of over 53 million people of Myanmar, the country with 135 ethnic groups who speak their own languages and dialects. Burmese is the native language of the Bamar and the second language of many ethnic people, instead with different accents. Although the constitution officially recognizes the English name of the language as the Myanmar language, most English speakers, even some of Myanmar people themselves, continue to refer to the language as Burmese.
As one of the former British Colonies, English has been one of the foundation subjects in the curriculum of basic education school in Myanmar. Hence, most of Myanmar people in the city, especially in establishments that have regular contact with foreigners such as hotels and airports, can understand basic English quite well. However, understanding the Myanmar language and being able to communicate to local people with short conversation might make your visit to Myanmar somehow interesting and enjoyable.
Most tourists in Myanmar get as far as hello and thank you. It’s a good place to start but you can still go a bit further. In this article, we will show you how to start a short but informative conversation in Myanmar language by putting the basic building blocks in place.
Burmese words are made up of lots of short syllables. Grammatically, the structure of Myanmar language is simple, easy to learn, and quite similar to Mandarin Chinese, with no complicated tenses and verb structures to worry about. As long as you can get the right "stress" or "tone" when speaking to a native speaker, you can just pay attention to prefix, suffix and ending words, so that you can deliver your communication in the right context.
Hello – Min Gā Lar Bar
Thank you – Ché Zu Bé or Ché Zu Ba (only use this to people who look like younger than you)
Thank you very much – Ché Zu Tin Par Dal (more polite form)
Yes/No questions end in "Lar"
Is there a room? – Ah Khan Shi Lar (Ah-khan means room.)
Is there a toilet? – Ein Dah Shi Lar (Ein-dah means toilet.)
There is – Shi Dal
There isn't – Ma Shi Bu
Informative questions end in "Lal"
How much? – Bé Lau Lal
How much is a room? – Ah Khan Ka Bé Lau Lal
Where is it? – Bal hMā Lal
Where is the toilet? – Ein Dah Bal hMā Lal
Where is the train station? – Bu Dar Bal hMā Lal
What is your name? – Nā Mé Bé Lo Khaw Lal (Nā-Mé means "name")
Some routinely use verbs
Where will you go? – Bé Thwa Me Lal (Thwa means "go")
What will you drink? – Bar Tauq Me Lal (Tauq means "drink")
What will you eat? – Bar Sar Me Lal (Sar means "eat")
To mingle with the crowd without the help of an interpreter, knowing some Burmese is a definite plus. After all, this is the language of love, and the language of a colorful spectrum of human emotions to share, to enjoy and to communicate among Burmese people.