Tag Archives: alliteration

Funny Burmese Pun

Nationality: Burmese

Primary Language: Burmese

Other Language(s): English, Chinese

Age: 19

Occupation: Student

Residence: Los Angeles, CA

Performance Date: 02/17/2024

A.N is 19 years old, and is currently a USC student who’s originally from Yangon, Myanmar. She is my current suite mate and has been a friend since middle school, since we are from the same hometown and school. I asked her if she uses or is familiar with any sayings, proverbs, jokes or folk speech within our culture. 

“Yes, when I was really young, probably when I was like in my elementary years, my family members said this saying to me really often. It’s a really funny saying, you probably know it too. Whenever I would trip or hurt myself, they say “ချီတုံးမတ်တတ်ထ ခဏနာကြပြောက်” (pronounced as “chi tone ma ta hta, kana naa kyaut pyaut”) *laughs*. It directly translates to “Poop stand up, in a bit, it won’t hurt anymore”. I think my older family members said this as a joke to make me laugh and distract me from crying out of pain right after I trip. Obviously, the saying is absurd and doesn’t make sense, but to a kid, it’s a really funny image to be distracted by. They don’t say it anymore to me because I’ve grown up but they have said it to my sister when she was younger too.”

Since I am also Burmese, I’ve heard this folk speech before. I don’t remember it being said to me, probably because I was too young to remember, but they’ve said it to my younger brother as a child. It sounds pretty jarring in English but it makes a lot more sense in Burmese, since the sentence flows like an alliteration. On top of just a joke, I interpret this folk speech as a clever word play in Burmese language, and is used by protective parents that cherish their children.