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Some Burmese Vocabulary…

It’s hard to believe that our time in Myanmar will soon be coming to a close. Bagan, Kalaw, Sin Leh, Inle lake, Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin, Chin state, Mindat, Naypyidaw, Yangon… it has all gone by so fast. Our time spent with host families in the villages have given us a lot of opportunities to practice our Burmese. Here is a ‘cheat sheet’ of some vocabulary and phrases we have found useful.

Mingalarba:  Translation- Hello. One of two most useful phrases in Burmese, along with…

Jay zhuo ba:  Translation- Thank you. Typically used at least a dozen times per day. Be sure to use the formal version (Jay zhou dim ba day) when speaking to elders and monks.

Longyi:  Translation- Myanmar traditional sarong like skirt worn by both men and women. It is very difficult to tie, and the wearer must be on constant guard as they are prone to easily falling down. Most appropriate attire when visiting a pagoda.

Caum dey:  Translation- Delicious. Usually used after your first bite– and after your second bite, third bite, fourth bite, and so on. However it must be used with caution, as it can encourage your host family to immediately heap more food onto your plate.

Wa bee: Translation- I’m full. Must be said at least three times to achieve desired results. Vigorous head shakes and hand movements can help increase effectiveness. Done correctly, this will eventually signal to your host family that you are truely full, and not just refusing food out of politeness.

La dey: Translation- Beautiful. Synonym of Myanmar.