Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Myanmar Language Class

Today I finished my Myanmar language class at Moe Myanmar language center.

The course costs 300.000 Kyatts (a bit more than 300 USD) for 20 hours.The classes consists of 4 to 6 persons but I was lucky enough to have followed this course with just another person.

Moe is a very good and patient teacher and together with her assistant they taught us the spoken Myanmar language, beginners level. We received one book and a CD with all lessons in spoken Burmese.

The beginners course comprises 10 lessons: survival phrases, numbers and money, meeting people, food, taxi and direction, addressing people and family, calendar days of the week, shopping, travel&accommodation, work&emergency words.

After each lesson we had an extensive review and this helped us a lot in the learning process. The teacher uses flashcards, listening exercises and quizzes.

Basically we learned the spoken language in Roman characters and it would go without saying that the writing and speaking course should follow, if time allows.

There are four different tones, with high, low, creaky and stopped. For example "la" in different tones would mean: lḁ - month, la - to come, la: - question particle: is it? or la' - middle!

The word order is subject - object - verb, and some phrases would be twisted when translated: Yei tǝ bu: pei pa, which means water one bottle give please. Please note that there are different ways of phonetically writing the language.

The language seemed very complicated at the beginning but once I got used to the phonetic and the many syllable structure (consonants followed by vowels) it became easier. I have the most difficulties at listening and translating from Myanmar into English because it is hard to split the phrase as the words are short syllables and of course they speak quickly.

Below the combination of words I like so far:
Myanmar: fast and strong.

Ein thaun: ein=home + thaun=prison but used together mean marriage :)
Hin yei: hin=curry + yei=water but used together mean soup.
Note that you can say soup in three different ways, one of which I mentioned.

Tar-tar (phonetically ta-ta) - Goodbye!

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