20 November 2012
Interesting Thai words and phrases
Did you know that …Did you know that a pig living in America makes a different sound from the ones living in Thailand? And did you know that a Thai word written with the English alphabets can have over five different pronunciations and definitions? Foreigners who are just beginning to study Thai will notice that mastering the Thai pronunciation can be challenging. This is mainly due to the tonal variation of the words. The word “pa” for instance, can mean cloth if pronounced in a high tone. But when pronounced in mid-range tone, the word "pa" means to invite. Foreigners who are learning the Thai language will also find it amusing to know that the animal sound in English and in Thai are totally different. Few exceptions like a cat’s meow remains the same for both English and Thai. But what about a gecko? You know, those scaly-creepy looking lizard that inhabits houses that have lots of trees? What kind of sound do they make? In English it makes a “geck-ko” sound. But in Thailand, it makes a “tup-gae” sound. Wow, it appears that not only people of different nationality speak different language; animals do too. Pigs oink in English but they oot in Thai Frogs ribbit-ribbit in English but oap-oap in Thai Rooster cock-a-doodle-doo in English, but in Thai they ee-aek-aek Geckos (our favorite animal)…kidding! They make a geck-ko sound in English but in Thailand they let out an eerie tup-gae. In Thai, this tup-gae sound is translated as “your liver”. The name for the animal itself is took-gae. The name for this animal (as well as the sound) is derived from a folktale that mothers would tell their children in order to scare them whenever they were naughty. The took-gae (gecko) will eat your liver (tup-gae) so you better behave. Cows moo in English and whaddya know! They also moo in Thai! A dog woofs in English, but bok-bok in Thai Cats meow in English and Thai How about words that can be pronounced in various tones? In Thai, you will encounter a lot of them so be sure to let your Thai teacher articulate the pronunciation. - Fun—With mid-tone this word means teeth. In low tone, this word means dream. - Ped, peht, and pet—Ped means duck. Peht means spicy and pet means diamond. If you accidentally bit into a chili and your tongue is on fire, don’t just yell Duck! Duck! The waiter will run to get you roast duck instead of water. Practice pronouncing these words correctly. - Hep / Het—Hep means flea and Het means mushroom. - Krai kai kai gai—Foreigners may have a hard time pronouncing this phrase. In Thai, the phrase means “Who’s selling the chicken eggs?” New learner of Thai might end up saying “kai kai kai kai”—this just means: eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs.
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