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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.
The PDF file contains useful survival phrases that you can use when you are in the rural areas away from English speakers. When all other communications fail, just point out the phrase in Burmese script directly from your smartphone that says things like, "take me to the nearest hotel".
Revision: L Revised Date: 2019-10-07 File Size: 357 KB Number of Pages: 37
Although the phrases are not explained in details, it is designed to help you to see the sentence patterns, and priority is placed in the emergency situations and words such as shouting, tha1 kho3...tha1 kho3 ( thief!...thief!) or mi3... mi3 (fire!...fire!).
Audio files for Survival Phrasebook are zipped for easy download and offline study. Zipped files include more than 130 MP3 Audio files, a text file with file names in English Romanization, Burmese script, and English translation. Also included is a CSV file and an Excel file for easy sorting.
So far, we have covered a lot of grounds on useful basic Burmese vocabularies, words, and phrases. Although new lessons are added as time goes by, I will keep the Myanmar conversational phrases as simple as possible, so that you can jump in at any lesson without difficulties.
In this lesson, I am going to focus on essential travel phrases for the tourists. Some of the words and phrases are already covered in the previous lessons, so if you have been following me, this will be like a review. For the tourists who discover this page through the Internet search, this lesson will be a useful information put together in one page.
Calling a taxi or a doctor 📞
As a traveler, you definitely need a transport. Although some travel agencies provide guided tours inclusive of transport, some tourists prefer to make adventures on their own. If you are one of such individuals, you can go to the front desk in your hotel and ask:
tet-si2 — taxi
khau2 — call
pay3 — give
ba2 — soft polite tone
tet-si2khau2pay3ba2 — Can you call a taxi for me, please?
hsa1-ya2-woon2 — doctor
khau2 — call
pay3 — give
ba2 — soft polite tone
You can use the same sentence construction with "doctor" in place of "taxi".
hsa1-ya2-woon2khau2pay3ba2 — Can you call a doctor for me, please?
Can you do this for me, please? 🚕
So, the general pattern of making such requests is:
xxxxpay3 ba2 where,
xxxx is the action word (verb).
pay3 means to give. In Myanmar grammar, when this word is used as a suffix word after an another verb, it becomes a particle meaning to do something for someone, or on the behalf of someone.
ba2 is a polite ending word which softens the tone, as opposed to a command.
If the request is the first phrase as you approach someone for help, and not in the middle of the conversation, include "for me", or "to me" in the beginning of the phrase.
kja1-nau1 — me (male term)
go2 — roughly means "to" or "for"
xxxx — do something
pay3 ba2 — polite ending word.
kja1-nau1go2xxxxpay3 ba2 - Please do xxxx for me (male).
kja1-ma1go2xxxxpay3 ba2 - Please do xxxx for me (female).
I have covered a list of verbs that you can use in lesson7. For example, you can say,
a-wootshau2pay3ba2 — Can you wash clothes for me, please?
dau2-la2leare3pay3ba2 — Can you exchange dollar (into kyat) for me, please?
Can you take me to xxxx ? ⛵
The general pattern of making this type of request is:
Use the phrase "xxxxya1ma1-la3 to ask if something is available or if it is OK to get something done. (Please see lesson 15 for more on ordering food and drinks including restaurant menus.)
ya1 - is the verb "to get" or "to obtain" in Burmese grammar, but it can also be roughly translated as an adjective "available". For example
be2-ya2ya1ma1-la3 - Can I get beer? roughly means: "Is beer available here?"
If someone tries to sell you something that you don't want, say:
ma1-weare2thay3 bu3 — Not buying this time. (negative + buy + still not + negative ending)
How to make a bargain in Burmese? 🉐
There are still many places in Myanmar where you can make a bargain, like souvenir sellers and roadside used books vendors. While there are a good many honest merchants making their decent living, some cannot resist the temptation to hike up the price a little when they see foreigners with lots of cash. What can you do? The small amount of extra money that they ask may mean nothing to you, but it can feed a poor family for a day in this country — just a small input for your consideration. However, if you're certain that the greed is ridiculously high, you can then use the phrase
shau1ba2ome3 — Please decrease or reduce a little.
The song below uses this phrase in a different context where this guy is begging provocatively dressed girls to be less sexy to save him from heart attacks. IMPORTANT NOTE: It's optional to sing exactly like this when you make a bargain.
There are still many places in Myanmar where you can make a bargain, like souvenir sellers and roadside used books vendors. While there are a good many honest merchants making their decent living, some cannot resist the temptation to hike up the price a little when they see foreigners with lots of cash. What can you do? The small amount of extra money that they ask may mean nothing to you, but it can feed a poor family for a day in this country — just a small input for your consideration. However, if you're certain that the greed is ridiculously high, you can then use the phrase လျှော့ပါဦး | shau1 ba2 ome3 — Please decrease or reduce a little.
The song below used this phrase in a different context where this guy is begging provocatively dressed girls to be less sexy to save him from heart attacks. IMPORTANT NOTE: It's optional to sing exactly like this when you make a bargain. — performed by Dယံ | D Yan (15 seconds)
When Burmese people hear this phrase, it gets the impression that the speaker is a Westerner. The phrase does not catch on to become a common usage.
The more colloquial phrase for "sorry" as in "I'm sorry to hear that" is
satema1-koun3ba2bu3 - (mind or spirit + not + good + polite + negative ending word)
When someone accidentally touches an another person, especially to an elder person, Burmese people will say,
ga1-dau1 ... ga1-dau1 - (show of respect and/or gratitude). This word is equivalent to "sorry".
Another usage of "sorry" in English is when you did not hear or understand what the other person said, which is like saying "excuse me, can you say that again?"
beare2-lo2leare3 — how? - (how + ?)
pyan2pyau3ba2 ome3 — Can you say that again? - (prefix: "repeat" + speak + polite + ending word)
If someone is in the way in the crowded place and you don't want to be rude by pushing your way through or wait for the person to get out of the way, you can say this:
neare3-neare3 — a little
lout — just about; not exact
neare3-neare3lout — Excuse me! Excuse me, please!
This phrase requesting to move a little is often heard on the crowded public buses during the rush hours as people try to shove their way to the exit door.
Meeting, greetings, saying thank you and good-bye
I have already covered basic greetings, meeting, questions and answers in previous lessons, so I will just summarize them here without giving detailed explanations. For details on basic questions and answers, please refer to lesson 2.
nay2-koun3la3 — How are you?
tway1 — meet (verb)
ya1 da2 — as for being able to (particle)
wun3-tha2 — be glad(verb) equivalent to happy (adjective in English)