Visitors in Myanmar often speak the Burmese language for greetings, farewell, purchasing something, places or asking directions. Therefore, for those who are not familiar with this kind of language, you at least should know some essential phrases to have an enjoyable Myanmar tour package. So, here are useful expressions that will one may need when traveling to Myanmar.
Greetings and Farewell
You are not an expert in speaking the Burmese language, but you can still learn some easy and useful phrases to practice with locals.
If you want to say ‘How are you?’ by language in that country, you can use “nei kaun: ye. la:”.
Instead of speaking English phrase ‘Good morning’, Good afternoon’, ‘Good evening’ or ‘’Good night’ which are probably known by most locals who contact with foreign visitors in tourist destinations, you can say ‘mingala nan ne khin: ba’, ‘kaun:tho:nei Khin: ba’, ‘kaun: tho: nya. nei khin: ba’ and ‘thwa: bi’ respectively.
To be friendlier with local people, you can greet them like ‘twei. ya. da wan: tha ba de’ which means ‘Please to meet you’ or say ‘noun gya. thei: da paw’ which refers to ‘See you again’.
There are some certain easy words to remember like ‘yes/no’ words. In fact, some locals can still understand when you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, by using local words, the people in that country can see how you appreciate their language and country. Easiest word that means ‘yes’ (for both genders) is ‘in:’, whereas ‘no’ will be ‘hin. in:’
It is necessary to communicate with the locals in polite ways to show respect.
If you want to say ‘thank you’ or ‘thank you very much’, ‘kyei: zu: tin ba de’ and ‘kyei:zu: amya: gyi: tin ba de’ respectively are two ways to express that meaning.
‘Kyo zo ba de:’ means ‘you are welcome’
‘Sei’ mashi. ba ne’ means ‘I beg your pardon (apology)’
‘Sel’ mashi ba ne’ means ‘sorry’
‘Thi: khan ba’ means ‘Excuse me’
‘A: na zaya gyi:’ means ‘You are so kind’.
Sometimes, if you want to offer help like ‘Can I help you?’, Myanmar people use ‘ku nyi ba ya. Zei’.
Questions and Requests
It is common for a visitor to ask questions or requests. While wandering around the street to buy something, the most popular question would be ‘how much?’. And by saying ‘be lau’le:’ local people can clearly understand you are asking prices.
Some more useful phrases that you would probably need:
• ‘e: da ba le:’ means ‘What’s that?’
• ‘ein tha be ma shi. tha le:’ means ‘Where is the restroom?’
• ‘bel na nar yi shi byi lel’ means ‘What time is it?’
• ‘thwa: gwin. pyu. ba oun:’ means ‘May I go now?’
• ‘da’ poun yai’ lo. ya. mala:’ means ‘May I take a photograph?’
• ‘te li hpon: thoun: lo. ya.ma la:’ means ‘May I use the telephone?’
• ‘be lan ga thwah ya ma ke’’ means ‘Which way?’
Tourists would be unfamiliar with roads in Myanmar; therefore, they would feel confused when getting lost in busy or unknown streets. It is to say, visitors should know some useful expressions involving asking or being given answers about directions.
Here are some most common phrases:
• ‘be be cho:’ means ‘Turn left’
• ‘nya be cho:’ means ‘Turn right’
• ‘te. de. thwa; ba’ refers to ‘Straight ahead’
• ‘dima ya’ ba’ means ‘Stop here’
• ‘hpyei: byei:’ means ‘Slow down’
• ‘pyan hie:’ means ‘Turn back’
Like other essential expressions, saying common places such as airport, bus station, railway station, hotel, embassy, hospital, clinic, police station, post office, market, riverboat jetty, guest house or restaurant in Burmese language are important. Those words can be respectively said in language of Myanmar like: ‘lei zei, ba saka: hma’tain, buda youn, hou te, than youn:, hsei: youn, hsei: gan:, ye: sa khan:, sa dai, zei:, thin: baw: zei’, e. yei’ tha and sa: thau’ hsain’.