Thai

An Essential Grammar
This is a concise and user-friendly guide to the basic structures of the
language.
Grammatical forms are demonstrated through examples, given in both
Thai script and romanised transliteration, with clear, jargon-free expla-
nations. It is designed for use both by students taking a taught course in
Thai and for independent learners, and includes guidance on pronuncia-
tion, speech conventions and the Thai writing system as well as grammar.
Topics include:
• Sentence particles
• Negation
• Questions
• Numerals and quantification
• Location markers and prepositions
With numerous examples bringing grammar to life, this unique reference
work will prove invaluable to all students looking to master the grammar
of Thai.
David Smyth is Lecturer in Thai at the School of Oriental and African
Studies, University of London.
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Routledge Essential Grammars
The following titles are available in the Essential Grammars series:
Chinese
Danish
Dutch
English
Finnish
Georgian: A Learner’s Grammar
Hungarian
Modern Hebrew
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Urdu
Other titles of related interest published by Routledge:
Colloquial Thai
By John Moore and Saowalak Rodchue
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Thai
An Essential Grammar
David Smyth
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T
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First published 2002
by Routledge
11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE
Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada
by Routledge
29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group
© 2002 David Smyth
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or
reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical,
or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including
photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
A catalog record for this book has been requested
ISBN 0–415–22614–7 (pbk)
ISBN 0–415–22613–9 (hbk)
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This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005.
“To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s
collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.”
ISBN 0-203-99504-X Master e-book ISBN
For Manas Chitakasem
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Preface xiii
Introduction 1
Thai and its speakers 1
Romanisation 2
Learning Thai 2
Dictionaries 3
Linguistic literature on Thai 3
Chapter 1 Pronunciation 5
1.1 Consonants 5
1.2 Vowels and diphthongs 7
1.3 Tones 9
1.4 Stress 10
Chapter 2 The writing system 11
2.1 Consonants 11
2.2 Consonants by class 14
2.3 Vowels 14
2.4 Live syllables and dead syllables 15
2.5 Tone rules 16
2.6 Miscellaneous 19
Chapter 3 Nouns, classifiers and noun phrases 23
3.1 Proper nouns 23
3.2 Common nouns 24
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Contents
3.3 Making new nouns 25
3.4 Noun phrases and classifiers 31
3.5 Word order in noun phrases 33
Chapter 4 Pronouns 39
4.1 Personal pronouns: basics 39
4.2 Reflexive pronouns 47
4.3 Emphatic pronoun 48
4.4 Reciprocal: ‘each other’ 49
4.5 Possessive pronouns 50
4.6 Demonstrative pronouns 50
4.7 Interrogative pronouns 51
4.8 Indefinite pronouns 51
4.9 Relative pronouns 54
Chapter 5 Verbs 56
5.1 The verb ‘to be’ 56
5.2 Stative verbs 59
5.3 Verb compounds 59
5.4 Resultative verbs 60
5.5 Directional verbs 61
5.6 Modal verbs 63
5.7 Time and aspect 67
5.8 Passives 74
5.9 Verbs of utterance, mental activity and perception
with wâa 76
5.10 Verbs of emotion with thîi 77
5.11 Causatives 77
5.12 ‘To give’: direct and indirect objects 80
5.13 Verb serialization 81
Chapter 6 Adjectives (stative verbs) and adjectival
constructions 83
6.1 Compound adjectives 84
6.2 Modification of adjectives 85
6.3 Special intensifiers 87
6.4 Reduplication 89
6.5 Comparison of adjectives 91
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Contents
viii
Chapter 7 Adverbs and adverbial constructions 96
7.1 Adverbs of manner 96
7.2 Modification of adverbs 100
7.3 Comparison of adverbs 101
7.4 Adverbs of time 103
7.5 Adverbs of frequency 104
7.6 Adverbs of degree 105
Chapter 8 Location markers and other prepositions 108
8.1 Location: thîi and yùu 108
8.2 ‘To’ 111
8.3 ‘For’ 111
8.4 ‘By’ 113
8.5 ‘With’ 114
8.6 ‘From’ 115
Chapter 9 Clauses and sentences 116
9.1 Word order and topicalisation 116
9.2 Subordinate clauses 118
9.3 Direct and indirect speech 123
9.4 Imperatives 123
9.5 Exemplification 124
9.6 Exclamatory particles 125
Chapter 10 Sentence particles 126
10.1 Question particles 126
10.2 Polite particles 126
10.3 Mood particles 129
Chapter 11 Negation 138
11.1 Negating main verbs 138
11.2 Negating resultative verbs 139
11.3 Negating auxiliary verbs 140
11.4 mây dây + VERB (PHRASE) 142
11.5 mây chây + NOUN 143
11.6 mây mii 144
11.7 Modifying negatives: intensifying and softening 144
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Contents
ix
11.8 Negative imperatives 145
11.9 Negative causatives 146
11.10 Negative questions 148
11.11 Negative conditional clauses 149
11.12 Saying ‘no’ 150
11.13 Useful negative expressions 151
11.14 Two further negatives: mí and haˇ a . . . mây 151
Chapter 12 Questions 153
12.1 Yes/no questions 153
12.2 Wh- questions 159
12.3 Alternative questions 169
12.4 Indirect questions 170
Chapter 13 Numbers, measurement and
quantification 171
13.1 Cardinal numbers 172
13.2 Cardinal numbers with sàk and tâN 174
13.3 Ordinal numbers 175
13.4 Sanskrit numbers 176
13.5 Once, twice . . . 177
13.6 Fractions, decimals, percentages, multiples 177
13.7 Collective numbers 179
13.8 Some idiomatic expressions involving numbers 180
13.9 Measurements 181
13.10 Distances 181
13.11 Distribution: ‘per’ 182
13.12 Quantifiers 182
13.13 Negative quantification 184
13.14 Approximation: ‘about’ 184
13.15 Restriction: ‘only’ 185
13.16 ‘More than’ 186
13.17 ‘Less than’ 188
13.18 ‘As many as’ 188
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Contents
x
Chapter 14 Time 189
14.1 Days 189
14.2 Parts of the day 189
14.3 Months 190
14.4 Years 191
14.5 Dates 192
14.6 Seasons 192
14.7 Useful expressions of time 193
14.8 Telling the time 196
Chapter 15 Thai speech conventions 200
15.1 Politeness 200
15.2 Thanks 200
15.3 Apologies 201
15.4 Polite requests 202
15.5 Misunderstandings 206
15.6 Socialising 208
Appendix 1 Romanisation systems 215
Appendix 2 The verbs hây, dây/dâay and pen:
a summary 218
Glossary 223
Bibliography and further reading 227
Index 231
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This volume aims to fill a long-felt need, among both teachers and students
of Thai, for a detailed descriptive grammar which is accessible to the
ordinary learner with little or no knowledge of linguistic terminology.
For beginners, it should prove a useful reference source that may be used
in conjunction with any introductory language course; for more advanced
learners, it will hopefully clarify grey areas in their knowledge and provide
some further insight into the language.
This book could not have been attempted, let alone completed, without
the help and encouragement of many people, over a period of many years.
I am indebted to all those Thais who, over the years, with charm, grace
and tact have helped me to improve my knowledge of their language;
to all those authors listed in the bibliography (and many others, too
numerous to mention); to the late Peter J. Bee, formerly Lecturer in Tai
at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, who
did much to arouse my curiosity about language in general and Thai
in particular; and to those students of Thai who each year ask new
and searching questions and fill me with fresh resolve not to have
to bluff my way through the following year. I am especially grateful to
Sujinda Khantayalongkoch, Manas Chitakasem, Vantana Cornwell and
Routledge’s anonymous reviewer from Australia, for their careful checking
of the draft manuscript and their numerous constructive suggestions for
improving the text; their input has been invaluable. I am also grateful to
Walaiporn Tantikanangkul, Andrew Simpson and Justin Watkins for some
very practical guidance. Errors, omissions and other shortcomings that
may remain are, however, entirely my own responsibility. Finally, my
greatest debt of gratitude is to Manas Chitakasem, my teacher, colleague
and friend for nearly thirty years, for his unstinting support and encour-
agement since my first faltering forays into Thai; it is to him that this
book is dedicated with respect and affection.
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Preface
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Thai and its speakers
Thai (formerly called ‘Siamese’) is a member of the Tai family of languages
which are spoken by an estimated 70 million people dispersed over a
wide area of Asia, from northern Vietnam to northern India. Thai, with
nearly 50 million first-language speakers, is the most important language
in the Tai family, which also includes Lao, Shan (spoken in northern
Burma) and some 15 million speakers in southwestern China. Despite
common structural features, even closely related Tai languages are often
mutually unintelligible because of phonological and lexical differences.
Tai speakers were once thought to have originated from China and
migrated southwards, but today the border area between northern Vietnam
and China’s Guangxi province is regarded as a more likely origin. From
the eighth century AD Tai speakers began to migrate westwards and south-
westwards into what is present-day Thailand.
Thai is the national language of Thailand. Distinct regional dialects of
Thai are spoken in the north, northeast and south of the country, but
the language of the Central Region is regarded as the standard and is
used both in schools and for official purposes throughout the country.
Thai is a tonal language, with the meaning of each syllable determined
by the pitch at which it is pronounced. Standard Thai has five tones –
mid, low, high, rising and falling. Thai has no noun or verb inflections:
a noun has a single form, with no distinction between singular and plural,
while past, present and future time can be conveyed by a single verb
form. Like many other South-East Asian languages, Thai has a complex
pronoun system, which reflects gender, age, social status, the formality
of the situation and the degree of intimacy between speakers. Much of
the original Thai lexicon is monosyllabic; a high percentage of polysyl-
labic words are foreign borrowings, particularly from the classical Indian
languages, Sanskrit and Pali.
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Introduction
Romanisation
There is no universally recognised system for romanising Thai and Thais
can neither write their language in the Western alphabet nor easily read
Westerners’ romanisations of Thai. When romanising Thai, linguists use
one system, librarians another and the Royal Thai Institute yet another;
the average Thai, if called upon to romanise Thai words, would almost
certainly do so in a quite unsystematic way.
The system used in this book is based on the phonemic transcription
devised by the American scholar, Mary Haas, in the early 1940s and
slightly modified in J. Marvin Brown’s AUA Thai course materials. While
this system is widely used in the linguistic literature on Thai and aca-
demic writing on Thailand, commercially published courses often avoid
transcriptions that use symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet.
The system appears in full in Appendix 1.
Learning Thai
A number of readily available Thai courses can be used in conjunction
with this grammar. The Linguaphone Thai Course (1984) by Manas
Chitakasem and David Smyth, and Teach Yourself Thai (1995) by David
Smyth, both equip the learner with the necessary grammar and vocabu-
lary to deal with a range of everyday situations and provide a structured
introduction to the script; both works include cassettes/CDs.
Of earlier materials, Spoken Thai (1945–8) by Mary Haas and Heng
Subhanka, although dated in places, is an extremely solid work, which
offers many valuable insights into the language. Foundations of Thai
(1968) by Edward Anthony et al., and Thai Basic Course (1970) by
Warren G. Yates and Absorn Tryon likewise provide very thorough intro-
ductions to the language with comprehensive grammar notes. The AUA
Language Center Thai Course (1967), prepared by J. Marvin Brown, is
designed for classroom use with a native speaker, rather than self-tuition,
but other works produced by AUA, including Brown’s AUA Language
Center Thai Course: Reading and Writing (1979), and Adrian Palmer’s
imaginative dialogue books, Small Talk (1974) and Getting Help with
Your Thai (1977) are well worth consulting. Fundamentals of the Thai
Language (1957) by Stuart Campbell and Chuan Shaweewongse (although
in the most recent reprint, authorship is now attributed to ‘the editors
of Marketing Media Associates Co., Ltd.’), has long provided the Bangkok
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Intro-
duction
2
expatriate with a sound introduction to the language, despite its tradi-
tional grammar-translation approach.
Two substantial books on Thai grammar addressed to English speakers
are Thai Reference Grammar (1964) by Richard Noss and Teaching of
Thai Grammar (1982) by William Kuo. Noss’s book, based on his doctoral
thesis, is a detailed and insightful descriptive grammar that no serious
student of Thai can fail to benefit from; however, it is addressed to those
with a background in linguistics, and its use of linguistic terminology is
at best bewildering and at times simply intimidating for the majority of
beginners. Kuo’s book, by contrast, is a much more down-to-earth work-
book for practising key structures, but it does require a prior knowledge
of Thai script.
Dictionaries
The most useful dictionary for the learner is Thai-English Student’s
Dictionary (1964) compiled by Mary Haas. Each Thai script entry is
followed by a phonemic transcription and English gloss. A particularly
useful feature for the learner is that for every noun the appropriate clas-
sifier is indicated; many of the entries also include well-chosen examples
of everyday usage. George B. McFarland’s Thai-English Dictionary (1944),
although dated, remains a valuable reference work for the more advanced
student of Thai, for it contains many words of Sanskrit origin and exten-
sive listings of flora and fauna not found in the Haas volume. Two
impressive recent works, which do not include pronunciation guides, but
do reflect more up-to-date usage, are Domnern and Sathienpong’s Thai-
English Dictionary (1994) and Thianchai Iamwaramet’s A New Thai
Dictionary with Bilingual Explanation (1993). Robertson’s Practical
English-Thai Dictionary (1969) is an invaluable pocket-sized aid for the
beginner, which gives Thai equivalents of about 2,500 common English
words in both romanised transcription and Thai script.
Linguistic literature on Thai
There is a rich English-language literature on many aspects of Thai linguis-
tics, most of which is catalogued in Franklin E. Huffman’s Bibliography
and Index of Mainland Southeast Asian Languages and Linguistics (1986).
Much of this literature is in the form of unpublished doctoral theses
written in American university linguistics departments during the 1970s
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Linguistic
literature
on Thai
3
and 1980s and therefore not readily available. A number of collections
of essays produced to honour leading scholars of Thai, most notably
William J. Gedney (1975), Fang-Kuei Li (1976) and Vichin Panupong
(1997), include contributions which the serious learner can benefit from.
Anthony Diller’s essays on levels of language use (1985) and the role of
Central Thai as a national language (1991) and William A. Smalley’s
Linguistic Diversity and National Unity: Language Ecology in Thailand
(1994), a masterful study of the relationship between the national
language, regional dialects and minority languages, are accessible to the
layman and offer invaluable insights into the language and language situ-
ation in Thailand.
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Intro-
duction
4
Thai differs radically from English and other European languages in being
a tone language. In tone languages the meaning of a syllable is deter-
mined by the pitch at which it is pronounced. The Thai sound system
also includes a small number of consonant and vowel sounds which have
no close equivalent in English. The lists of consonant and vowel sounds
in this section include, where possible, a close equivalent sound in stan-
dard British English. An example of the sound in a word is given for
confirmation with a Thai native speaker.
Consonants
Initial consonants
The consonants d, b, f, l, m, n, r, y, w, s, h are similar to English; the
following consonants, however, need further clarification:
k similar to g in get e.g. kày (“a‡) chicken
kh similar to kh in khakhi e.g. khày (“z‡) egg
N similar to ng in singer e.g. Naan (+·v) work
c similar to j in jar e.g. caan (.·v) plate
ch similar to ch in chart e.g. chaay (z·a) male
t similar to t in stop e.g. taam (e·.) to follow
th similar to th in Thailand e.g. thay (“ra) Thai
p similar to p in spin e.g. pay (“u) to go
ph similar to p in part e.g. phaasaˇ a (s·™·) language
1.1.1
1.1
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Chapter 1
Pronunciation
Many Thais find it difficult to produce an initial r and will substitute l.
Thus rúu (‘to know’) is often pronounced lúu.
Final consonants
A Thai syllable can end in two types of consonant sounds:
(a) the stops -p, -t, -k
The final stop consonants are unreleased. Unreleased stops are produced
when the airstream is closed to make the sound, but not re-opened, so
that no air is released. Examples in English include the ‘p’ in the casual
pronunciation of ‘yep!’ and the ‘t’ in ‘rat’ when ‘rat trap’ is said quickly.
Beginners sometimes find it difficult to hear the difference between words
like rák (‘to love’), rát (‘to bind’) and ráp (‘to receive’), while in attempt-
ing to reproduce these sounds, they may inadvertently ‘release’ the final
consonant.
(b) the nasals -m, -n, -N
These sounds are familiar from English and present no problem.
Consonant clusters
The following consonant clusters exist in Thai; they occur only at the
beginning of a word:
kr- as in kruN (a·+) city
kl- as in klay (“aa) far
kw- as in kwâaN (a·‰·+) wide
khr- as in khray (”e·) who?
khl- as in khláay (ea‰·a) to resemble
khw- as in khwaˇ a (z··) right
pr- as in pratuu (u·Ωe ) door
pl- as in plaa (ua·) fish
phr- as in phrá (n·Ω) monk
phl- as in phlâat (na·e) to miss, fail
tr- as in troN (e·+) straight
1.1.3
1.1.2
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1
Pronunciation
6
In everyday speech many Thais will omit the second consonant in a
cluster:
plaa (ua·) ‘fish’ becomes paa
khray (”e·) ‘who?’ becomes khay
pratuu (u·Ωe ) ‘door’ becomes patuu
A more radical transformation, associated with Bangkok working-class
speech, is the change of initial khw- to f-:
khwaˇ a (z··) ‘right’ becomes faˇ a
khwaam sùk (e··.az) ‘happiness’ becomes faam sùk
Vowels and diphthongs
Thai distinguishes between short and long vowels. Short vowels are tran-
scribed with a single letter (e.g. -a, -e, -E, etc.) and long vowels with two
letters (e.g. -aa, -ee, -ii, etc.).
Diphthongs (combinations of two vowel sounds) are similarly distin-
guished by length. Short diphthongs are represented by a single letter
followed by w or y (e.g. -aw, -Oy, -uy, etc.); long diphthongs are repre-
sented by either two different letters (e.g. -ia, -¨a, -ua, etc.) or two similar
letters followed by w or y (e.g -aaw, -” ”w, -EEy, etc.).
Learners are likely to experience some difficulty in hearing and producing
differences between the short and long diphthongs -aw/-aaw and -ay/-aay:
raw (–··) we raaw (···) about
khâw (–z‰·) to enter khâaw (z‰··) rice
tay (“e) liver taay (e·a) to die
saˇ y (”a) clear saˇ ay (a·a) late morning
When reading Thai script it is essential to be able to distinguish between
long and short vowel symbols, as vowel length influences tone (see Chapter
2):
-a similar to u in run e.g. yaN (a+) still
-aa similar to a in father e.g. maa (.·) to come
-e similar to e in let e.g. dèk (–ea) child
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1.2
Vowels and
diphthongs
7
-ee similar to ay in may e.g. thee (–r) to pour
-´ similar to er in number e.g. N ´n (–+v) money
-´´ similar to er in her e.g. c´´ (–.a) to meet
-E short vowel, similar to air in hair e.g. khE‡ N (—z+) hard
-EE long vowel, similar to air in hair e.g. mEfl E (—.‡) mother
-i similar to i in bin e.g. bin (uv) to fly
-ii similar to ee in fee e.g. mii (.ƒ ) to have
-O short vowel, similar to or in corn e.g. tOfl N (e‰a+) must
-OO long vowel, similar to or in corn e.g. bOŸ Ok (uaa) to say
-o similar to o in Ron e.g. con (.v) poor
-oo similar to o in go e.g. too (‘e) big
-u similar to oo in book e.g. yúk (ae) era
-uu similar to oo in coo e.g. rúu (· ‰) to know
-Á short vowel, with no equivalent in English; e.g. nÁŸ N (≠v∆‡+) one
-Á Á long vowel, with no equivalent in English; e.g. mÁ Á (.a) hand
-ia similar to ear in hear e.g. sı ˇa (–aƒa) to lose
-ua similar to oer in doer e.g. rúa (·‰·) fence
-Áa long diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. bÁŸ a (–u‡a)
bored
-iaw similar to io in Rio e.g. diaw (–eƒa·) single
-uay similar to oué in roué e.g. ruay (··a) rich
-Áay diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. nÁŸ ay (–≠v‡aa) tired
-uy similar to ewy in chewy e.g. khuy (ea) to chat
-ooy long diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. dooy (‘ea) by
-´´y long diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. n´´y (–va)
butter
-Oy similar to oy in boy e.g. bOŸ y (u‡aa) often
-OOy similar to oy in boy e.g. rO ⁄ Oy (·‰aa) hundred
-ay short diphthong, similar to ai in Thai e.g. thay (“ra) Thai
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Pronunciation
8
-aay long diphthong, similar to ai in Thai e.g. taay (e·a) dead
-iw similar to ue in hue e.g. hı ˇw (≠·) hungry
-ew short diphthong, similar to ayo in Mayo e.g. rew (–··) fast
-eew long diphthong, similar to ayo in Mayo e.g. leew (–a·) bad
-Ew short diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. thE‡w (—a·)
row
-EEw long diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. lE ⁄ Ew (—a‰·)
already
-aw short diphthong, similar to ao in Lao e.g. raw (–··) we
-aaw long diphthong, similar to ao in Lao e.g. raaw (···) about
Tones
Each syllable in Thai is pronounced with a specific tone. Standard Thai
has five different tones, which are represented in the transcription system
by an accent over the first vowel in the syllable. They are mid tone (no
accent), high tone (

), low tone (

), rising tone (

) and falling tone (

).
a Mid tone (sıˇaN saˇ aman): normal voice pitch:
pay (“u) to go maa (.·) to come phEE N (—n+) expensive
b High tone (sıˇaN trii): higher than normal voice pitch:
rót (·a) car sÁ ⁄ Á (z‰a) to buy lék (–aa) small
c Low tone (sıˇaN èek): lower than normal voice pitch:
sìp (au) ten càak (.·a) from yày (”≠¡‡) big
d Rising tone (sıˇaN càttawaa): starting from a lower than normal voice
pitch with a distinctive rising contour:
khO‡ O N (za+) of suˇay (a·a) pretty phO‡ Om (+a.) thin
e Falling tone (sıˇaN thoo): starting from a higher than normal voice
pitch with a distinctive falling contour:
thîi (rƒ‡) at chO^Op (zau) to like phûut (ne) to speak
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1.3
Tones
9
Tone change
There are a few common words which have a different tone in normal
conversation to when pronounced slowly and deliberately in isolation.
For example, kháw (–z·) ‘he, she, they’, chán (av) ‘I’ and máy (“≠.)
(question particle) are all pronounced with a high tone in normal conver-
sation but a rising tone when pronounced in isolation.
In one form of adjectival reduplication (see 6.4), the first element is pro-
nounced with a high tone for the purpose of emphasis or intensification:
suˇay (a·a) beautiful
súay suˇay (a·aa·a) so beautiful!
In certain situations tones may also change; the unstressed first syllable
in a two-syllable word is usually pronounced with a mid tone (see 1.4),
while when two syllables with rising tones follow one another, the first
is often pronounced as a high tone:
náNsÁ‡ Á (≠v+aa) book
sO ⁄ O N saˇ am khon (aa+a·.ev) two or three people
Stress
In words of two syllables, unlike in English, it is the second syllable which
is stressed. When the vowel in the first syllable is -a, it is normally reduced
to -E and in normal speech the tone is mid:
pratuu~pr´tuu (u·Ωe ) door
sadùak~s´dùak (aΩe·a) convenient
When the vowel -aa occurs in both the first and second syllable, it is
commonly shortened in the first syllable:
aahaˇ an~ahaˇ an (a·≠··) food
phaasaˇ a~phasaˇ a (s·™·) language
1.4
1.3.1
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1
Pronunciation
10
Thai is written in a unique script. This has evolved from a script which
originated in South India and was introduced into mainland South-East
Asia during the fourth or fifth century AD. The neighbouring Lao and
Cambodian scripts bear some close similarities to Thai. The first recorded
example of Thai writing is widely believed to be a stone inscription found
by the future King Mongkut (Rama IV, 1851–68) at Sukhothai in 1833,
and dated 1283 AD. In this inscription, the author, King Ramkhamhaeng,
records that he actually devised the script. In recent years there has been
lively debate in academic circles about its authenticity; much of this can
be found in Chamberlain (1991).
The Thai writing system is alphabetic. It is written across the page from
left to right with no spaces between words; when spaces are used, they
serve as punctuation markers, instead of commas or full stops. There is
generally a close match between spelling and pronunciation. The following
sections outline the key features of the Thai writing system:
Consonants
The Thai alphabet has forty-two consonants which are arranged according
to the traditional Indian alphabetic order, beginning with velar stops,
then palatals, dentals, bilabials and finally, sonorants.
All consonants are pronounced with an inherent -O O vowel sound. Each
consonant has a name, rather like ‘a-for-apple, b-for-bat’, which children
learn in school. For the foreign learner, knowing these names can be
useful when asking how to spell a word, but is not necessary for learning
to read.
Many consonant symbols change their pronunciation at the end of a word
because of the very limited number of final consonant sounds that exist
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Chapter 2
The writing system
in Thai (1.1.2); thus, the letters representing initial kh, c, ch, d, th, b,
ph, s and f sounds are each channelled into one of just three possible
sounds – k, p, t – when they occur at the end of a word. The following
table lists the consonants in dictionary order with their names and pronun-
ciations, both as initial and as final consonants:
Name Initial Final
a kOO kày (chicken) k k
z khO‡ O khày (egg) kh k
e khOO khwaay (buffalo) kh k
r khOO rakhaN (bell) kh k
+ NOO Nuu (snake) N N
. cOO caan (plate) c t
a chO‡ O chìN (small cymbals) ch t
z chOO cháaN (elephant) ch t
z sOO sôo (chain) s t
a chOO (ka)ch´´ (tree) ch t
¡ yOO yı ˇN (girl) y n
¸ dOO chádaa (theatrical crown) d t
¸ tOO patàk (goad) t t
¡ thO‡ O thaˇan (base) th t
- thOO monthoo (Indra’s Queen) th t
a thOO thâw (old person) th t
a nOO neen (novice) n n
e dOO dèk (child) d t
e tOO tàw (turtle) t t
a thO‡ O thuˇN (bag) th t
r thOO thahaˇan (soldier) th t
c thOO thoN (flag) th t
v nOO nuˇu (mouse) n n
u bOO bay máay (leaf) b p
u pOO plaa (fish) p p
+ phO‡ O phÁfl N (bee) ph p
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2
The writing
system
12
! fO‡ O faˇa (lid) f p
n phOO phaan (tray) ph p
† fOO fan (tooth) f p
s phOO saˇmphaw (sailing ship) ph p
. mOO máa (horse) m m
a yOO yák (giant) y y
· rOO rÁa (boat) r n
a lOO liN (monkey) l n
· wOO wE‡ En (ring) w w
a sO‡ O saˇalaa (pavilion) s t
™ sO‡ O rÁsı ˇi (ascetic) s t
a sO‡ O sÁ‡ a (tiger) s t
≠ hO‡ O hìip (box) h -
u lOO culaa (kite) l n
a OO àaN (bowl) ‘zero’* -
∏ hOO nók hûuk (owl) h -
*See 2.3.
The following table summarises the representation of final consonant
sounds; although there are theoretically fifteen ways of writing a final
-t sound, less than half of these are likely to be encountered in normal
usage.
Final consonant sound Thai consonant symbol
-p u u n s †
-t e e ¸ ¸ . a ¡ r c - z z a ™ a
-k a z e r
-m . ·
-n v a ¡ · a u
-N +
-y a
-w ·
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2.1
Consonants
13
Consonants by class
Thai consonants are divided into three classes: high, mid and low. The
class of the initial consonant is one factor in determining the tone of a
word or syllable. In order to be able to read, the learner has to memo-
rise the class of each consonant; the easiest way to do this is to memorise
the shorter lists of mid-class and high-class consonants so that everything
not on those lists can be assumed to be low class.
Low class: v . + · a a ·
n m N r l y w
e z z r n †
kh ch s th ph f
r c s ¡ a
kh th ph y n
a - a u ∏
ch th t l h
Mid class: a . e e u u a ¸ ¸
k c d t b p zero d t
High class: z a a + ! a a ™ ≠ ¡
kh ch th ph f s h th
Vowels
Vowel symbols can only be written in combination with a preceding
consonant; they can appear after, before, above, or below a consonant,
and even surrounding the consonant on three sides; in the following table,
a dash is used to indicate the position of the consonant. When a word
begins with a vowel sound, the ‘zero’ or ‘glottal’ consonant symbol is
used. (Note that the Thai letter representing ‘zero’ consonant and the
-O O vowel are identical.) Vowel length is important in Thai because it
plays a part in determining the tone of a syllable; short vowels are indi-
cated by a single letter in the transcription (e.g. -a, -i, -”, -E) and long
vowels by two letters (e.g. -aa, -uu, -” ”); the diphthongs -ua, -ia, -¨a are
2.3
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2
The writing
system
14
regarded as long vowels. The following table lists the vowel symbols in
alphabetical order:
Live syllables and dead syllables
Thai syllables are either live or dead. A live syllable (kham pen) ends
with either a long vowel, or an m, n, N, w, or y sound; a dead syllable
(kham taay) ends with either a short vowel, or a p, t, or k sound:
Live syllables: maa duu wan ram kûN aw khaˇ ay
.· e ·v ·· a‰ + –a· z·a
Dead syllables: tó kà dù ráp cùt bOŸ Ok
‘eΩ aΩ e ·u .e uaa
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2.4
Live syllables
and dead
syllables
15
a -OO –aΩ -´
Ω -a –Ω -e
-a- –· -aw
· -ua –·Ω -O
· -aa – -´´
· -am –ƒa -ia
-i –ƒaΩ -ia
ƒ -ii –a -Áa
∆ -Á — -EE
-ÁÁ — -E

-u —Ω -E
-uu ‘ -oo
– -ee ‘Ω -o
– -e ” -ay
–a -´´y “ -ay
–a -´´

Tone rules
The tone of a syllable is determined by a combination of three different
factors: (i) the type of syllable (live or dead); (ii) the class of the initial
consonant (high, medium or low); and (iii) the length of the vowel (long
or short).
Dead syllables
The following table summarises tone rules for dead syllables with examples:
Live syllables and tone marks
Live syllables with no tone mark are pronounced with a mid tone if the
initial consonant is either low class or mid class, but a rising tone if it
is a high-class consonant.
To represent live syllables with high, falling and low tones (such as the
words tO › N ‘must’ and mây ‘not’), tone marks are used, which are written
above the initial consonant. The two most common tone marks are máy
èek (-

) and máy thoo (-

). Unfortunately for the learner, because of a
radical change in the tone system that occurred centuries ago, these tone
marks do not indicate one specific tone each; again, it is the class of the
initial consonant which determines how the tone mark will be interpreted.
2.5.2
2.5.1
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2
The writing
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16
Initial Short Long
consonant vowel vowel
Low class HIGH TONE FALLING TONE
·a rák .·a mâak
Mid class LOW TONE LOW TONE
ee tìt u·r bàat
High class LOW TONE LOW TONE
zu khàp aau sOŸ Op
The following table summarises rules for live syllables with examples:
Two further tone marks, máy trii (-

) and máy càttawaa (-
˝
) are also used,
although they are much less common. The former always produces a high
tone, the latter, always a rising tone.
‘eΩ –uuzƒ‡ –a
tó pépsîi kée
–e˝ƒa· .˝· a˝·a–eƒ˝a·
dı ˇaw caˇ a kuˇay tı ˇaw
Silent initial consonants: ≠ and a
When the high-class consonant ≠ occurs before the low-class consonants,
+. v. .. ·. a. ¡. ·. a, it is silent but has the effect of transforming the
low-class consonants into high-class consonants; such words then follow
the tone rules for words with initial high-class consonants (2.5.1, 2.5.2):
≠ae ≠aae ≠vƒ ≠¡+ ≠v∆‡+
yùt lOŸOt nı ˇi yı ˇN nÁŸ N
The mid-class consonant a occurs silently before the low-class consonant
a and has the effect of transforming the low-class consonant into a mid-
class consonant. There are only four words in this category, all of which
are pronounced with a low tone:
aa·a aa‡· aa‡·+ aa‡
yàak yàa yàaN yùu
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2.5
Tone rules
17
Initial (no tone máy èek máy thoo
consonant mark)
Low class MID TONE FALLING TONE HIGH TONE
.· maa “.‡ mây .‰· máa
Mid class MID TONE LOW TONE FALLING TONE
e·. taam e‡a tOŸ O e‰a+ tO^ N
High class RISING TONE LOW TONE FALLING TONE
za khO‡ O “z‡ khày z‰·+ khâaN
Consonant clusters
Consonant clusters occur only at the beginning of a syllable in Thai. In syl-
lables beginning with a consonant cluster, the class of the first consonant
in the cluster is used for determining the tone of the syllable. The follow-
ing chart summarises possible consonant cluster sounds with examples:
kr- (a·aa krOŸOk) kl- (”aa‰ klây) kw- (a·‰·+ kwâaN)
khr- (”e· khray) khl- (ea‰·a khláay) khw- (z·· khwaˇ a)
tr- (e··. trùat)
pr- (u··u pràap) pl- (uaa plùk)
phr- (n·Ω phrá) phl- (na·e phlâat)
Unwritten vowels
Monosyllables
Syllables consisting of two consonants with no written vowel symbol are
pronounced with an inherent o vowel sound:
ev aa .u ≠a ≠.e
khon yók còp hòk mòt
Two-syllable words
Many two-syllable words in Thai have an unwritten a vowel in the first
syllable. The first syllable is unstressed and pronounced with a mid tone
in normal speech; the tone of the second syllable is determined by the
second consonant in the word (i.e. the initial consonant of the second
syllable), unless that consonant is either +. v. .. ·. a. ·. .. a, in
which case the first consonant ‘over-rules’ it and determines the tone:
au·a aa·v as·n ava eaa
sabaay sathaˇ an saphâap sanùk talòk
There are a small number of words beginning with the letters u·-, in
which the unwritten vowel sound is O:
u·™r u·–·a u·a·· u·≠·· u·‘se
bOrisàt bOriween bOrikaan bOrihaˇ an bOriphôok
2.5.5.2
2.5.5.1
2.5.5
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2
The writing
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18
Miscellaneous
Mismatch between spelling and pronunciation
Overall, the match between spelling and pronunciation in Thai is remark-
ably close; if you know the rules, you can almost guarantee that you will
be able to read a word correctly. However, two common types of mismatch
between spelling and normal pronunciation, are:
1 Tone suggested by the spelling is not reflected in pronunciation
Words written with rising tones but pronounced with high tones:
–z· (he, she, they) written khaˇ w but pronounced kháw
av (I) written chaˇ n but pronounced chán
“≠. (question particle) written maˇ y but pronounced máy
Words written with falling tones but pronounced with low tones:
u·Ω‘azv (advantage) written prayôot but pronounced prayòot
u·Ω‘ae (sentence) written prayôok but pronounced prayòok
u·Ω·e (history) written prawát but pronounced prawàt
2 Vowel length in the written form is not reflected in pronunciation
Words written with long vowels but pronounced with short vowels:
e‰a+ (must) written tO ^ O N but pronounced tO ^ N
–+v (money) written N ´´n but pronounced N ´n
r‡·v (you) written thâan but pronounced thân
Words written with short vowels but pronounced with long vowels:
“e‰ (can, able to) written dây but pronounced dâay
–a‰· (nine) written kâw but pronounced kâaw
“.‰ (wood) written máy but pronounced máay
2.6.1
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2.6
Miscellaneous
19
Linker syllables and double-functioning consonants
A number of words that appear to consist of two syllables are joined by
a linker syllable consisting of the final consonant of the first syllable with
an unwritten a vowel between them:
aau·a eas·n +a“.‰ ··za··
sòkkapròk khunnaphâap phoˇnlamáay râatchakaan
Silenced consonants
Thai words that have been borrowed from Sanskrit, Pali and English
usually try to retain as much of the original spelling as possible; as this
will often produce pronunciations that are impossible or misleading, a
‘killer’ symbol is placed above the redundant consonant to indicate that
it may be ignored:
–uƒa· –ua· .a≠v –a·· a·rea
bia b´´ cOOn saˇ w aathít
Sometimes the ‘killer’ sign, called kaaran in Thai, cancels out not only
the consonant above which it appears, but also the one immediately
preceding it:
.vr· a·ae·
can sàat
Sometimes, even though there is no kaaran sign, the final consonant is
not pronounced:
ue· a.e·
bàt samàk
Silent final vowels
A number of words of Indic origin are spelt with a final short vowel
which is not pronounced:
z·e ¡·e –≠e
châat yâat hèet
2.6.4
2.6.3
2.6.2
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The writing
system
20
Irregular ·
The letter ·, normally pronounced as an inital r and final n, occurs in a
number of irregular combinations:

These two letters together at the beginning of a word behave like low
class s:
r··u r··a r·+
sâap saay soN

The letter · is not pronounced in words that begin with these two letters:
a·‰·+ a··+ a·Ω
sâaN suˇaN sà
Final ·
As a final consonant the letter · is normally prounced n; in words where
there is no immediately preceding written vowel, it is pronounced O On:
n· ve· aΩe·
phOOn nakhOOn lakhOOn
··
When the letters ·· occur at the end of a syllable, they are pronounced
an; if they are followed by a final consonant they are pronounced a:
a·· u··ra a··. n··e
saˇ n banthúk kam phák
.·+
The letter · is ignored in the pronunciation of the word .·+ (ciN).
2.6.5.5
2.6.5.4
2.6.5.3
2.6.5.2
2.6.5.1
2.6.5
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2.6
Miscellaneous
21
The symbols · and |
The symbol · indicates the abbreviation of a word and occurs most
commonly in the word kruNthêep, the Thai name for Bangkok. The symbol
| indicates the reduplication of the preceding word:
a·+–rn· –n‡av| –aa|
kruNthêep phÁfl an phÁfl an lék lék
Consonants . . . or what?
The four symbols below are listed in dictionaries as if they were conso-
nants. Despite this, Thais tend to think of the Thai alphabet as having
44 consonants, including 2 obsolete consonants in addition to the 42
listed in 2.1, but excluding the symbols below.
• •π ; ;π
rÁ rÁÁ lÁ lÁÁ
The first symbol occurs in only a very small number of words (but
including ‘English’ where it has the value ri), while the latter three are
unlikely to be encountered.
a+a•™ aNkrìt English
•e rÁ ⁄ duu season
2.6.7
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The writing
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22
Nouns can be divided into two broad categories: proper nouns and
common nouns.
Proper nouns
Proper nouns refer to unique things, such as personal names, place names
and names of institutions.
Personal names
Names of individuals follow the same order as in English, with the personal
name preceding the family name. People are addressed, referred to and
known by their personal name rather than their family name; family
names are used primarily for administrative purposes. Most Thais will
also have a nickname, by which they will be known within the family
and among friends.
The polite title khun is used before the personal name, and sometimes
the nickname, to address both males and females of similar or higher
status. Thus, Mr Suchart Boonsoong and Mrs Yupha Saibua will be
known as khun suchâat and khun yuphaa respectively. Thais will often
use khun followed by the surname when addressing Westerners in formal
situations.
Place names
Individual place names, names of rivers, mountains and other geographical
features, institutions, organisations, buildings, and so on, follow the noun
3.1.2
3.1.1
3.1
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Chapter 3
Nouns, classifiers and
noun phrases
identifying the type of place; an exception is Thailand’s oldest university,
Chulalongkorn University, which deliberately reverses the order:
caNwàt nakhOOn phanom
.+≠·eve·nv.
Nakhorn Phanom Province
phâak iisaˇ an
s·eaƒa·v
North Eastern Region
mEfl E náam câw phrayaa
—.‡v‰·–.‰·n·Ωa·
Chao Phraya River
mÁaN thay
–.a+“ra
Thailand
thanoˇn sukhuˇmwít
avvaz.·r
Sukhumwit Road
sanaˇ am bin dOOn mÁaN
av·.uveav–.a+
Don Muang Airport
mahaˇ awítthayaalay thammasàat
.≠··ra·aac··.a·ae·
Thammasat University
culaaloNkOOn mahaˇ awítthayaalay
.u·a+a·a.≠··ra·aa
Chulalongkorn University
Common nouns
Common nouns are traditionally divided into concrete nouns, which are
observable, such as ‘house’, and abstract nouns, which are not, such as
‘love’.
Common nouns in Thai have a single fixed form. Unlike many European
languages, no suffix is added to indicate plural or to show whether the
noun is the grammatical subject or object in a sentence; nor are nouns
3.2
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3
Nouns,
classifiers and
noun phrases
24
classified by gender. The word ph¨ › an thus means either ‘friend’ or ‘friends’,
depending on the context. Usually the context provides sufficient infor-
mation for there to be no confusion. When it is necessary to be more
specific, numbers or indefinite quantifier words, such as many, every, a
few, can be used; a very small number of nouns may be reduplicated as
a means of indicating plurality:
phoˇm pay kàp phÁfl an
+.“uau–n‡av
I went with a friend/friends.
phoˇm pay kàp phÁfl an sO‡ O N khon
+.“uau–n‡avaa+ev
I went with two friends.
phoˇm pay kàp phÁfl an laˇ ay khon
+.“uau–n‡av≠a·aev
I went with several friends.
phoˇm pay kàp phÁfl an phÁfl an
+.“uau–n‡av|
I went with friends.
Making new nouns
Common nouns make up the largest part of the language’s vocabulary
and are an ever-growing category. New nouns have, and continue to,
come into the language through borrowing from other languages and
from the Thai language’s own means of generating new words, chiefly
the process of compounding.
Borrowings
The Thai lexicon includes a considerable number of loan words, borrowed
over the centuries from Khmer (Cambodian), the classical Indian lan-
guages, Sanskrit and Pali and, more recently, English. In some instances a
word of Indic (Sanskrit or Pali) origin is used in preference to a ‘pure’ Thai
word to convey a sense of politeness, refinement or formality:
3.3.1
3.3
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3.3
Making new
nouns
25
Informal Formal
(Thai origin) (Indic origin)
phuˇa +· saˇ amii a·.ƒ husband
mia –.ƒa phanrayaa s··a· wife
huˇa ≠· sı ˇisà aƒ·™Ω head
mÁaN –.a+ prathêet u·Ω–ra country
maˇ a ≠.· sunák avz dog
There has been a huge influx of English borrowings over the past fifty
years, including scientific, technical and business terms and words asso-
ciated with food, dress, arts, sports and other leisure activities. Thais’
pronunciation of English loanwords will depend very much on their level
of education and exposure to English; some English borrowings (e.g.
páttìk, the ‘uneducated’ pronunciation of ‘plastic’, or bOn, the abbrevi-
ated pronunciation of ‘football’) may be scarcely recognisable to an English
native speaker when adapted to the Thai sound system and assigned tones.
Here is just a tiny sample of English words in everyday use in Thai:
kO ⁄ p aaa† golf
phláastìk, páttìk na·aea plastic
fiim †√a. film
satE ⁄ m —ae.u stamp
khOmphiwt´^ ´ ea.n·–ea· computer
fútbOn, bOn †euaa football
ii-mee aƒ–.a email
mOOt´´say .a–ea·“ze motorcycle
Compounds
Compounding involves joining two or more words together to make a
new word. The first word or ‘head noun’ may be followed by either a
‘noun attribute’ or a ‘verb attribute’, which qualifies or restricts the
meaning of the head noun; in some compounds, a verb attribute is followed
by a grammatical object:
3.3.2
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Nouns,
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26
HEAD NOUN + NOUN ATTRIBUTE
rót fay ·a“† train (vehicle + fire)
ráan aahaˇ an ·‰·va·≠·· restaurant (shop + food)
N ´n dÁan –+v–eav salary (money + month)
châN fay fáa z‡·+“††‰· electrician (mechanic + electricity)
HEAD NOUN + VERB (+ OBJECT) ATTRIBUTE
nám khE‡ N v‰·—z+ ice (water + to be hard)
bòt rian ur–·ƒav lesson (text + to study)
kham nE ⁄ nam e·—vΩv· introduction (word + introduce)
khon khàp rót evzu·a driver (person + to drive + car)
khrÁfl aN sák phâa –e·‡a+za+‰· washing machine (machine +
to wash + clothes)
Some common head nouns
A number of head nouns occur either normally or exclusively in com-
pounds; some common examples include the following:
nák (‘one skilled in . . .’) + VERB or NOUN
nák sÁŸ ksaˇ a vaa∆a™· student (sÁŸ ksaˇ a to study)
nák khı ˇan va–zƒav writer (khı ˇan to write)
nák kiilaa vaaƒu· sportsman, athlete (kiilaa sport)
nák thúrákìt vac·a. businessman (thúrákìt business)
nák náNsÁ‡ Áphim va≠v+aan.n journalist (náNsÁ‡ Áphimnewspaper)
phûu (‘one who . . .’) + VERB (but note last two examples
with noun)
phûu yày + ‰”≠¡‡ adult (yày to be big)
phûu chîaw + ‰–zƒ‡a·z·¡ expert (chîaw chaan to be
chaan skilled)
3.3.3.2
3.3.3.1
3.3.3
3.3.2.2
3.3.2.1
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3.3
Making new
nouns
27
phûu ráay + ‰·‰·a criminal (ráay to be bad)
phûu chaay + ‰z·a man (chaay male)
phûu yı ˇng + ‰≠¡+ woman (yı ˇng female)
bay (‘a sheet of paper’) + VERB
bay ráp rOO N ”u·u·a+ guarantee (ráp rOO N to guarantee)
bay saˇ nyaa ”ua¡¡· contract (saˇ nyaa to promise)
bay anúyâat ”uav¡·e permit (anúyâat to permit)
bay khàp khìi ”uzuzƒ‡ driving (khàp khìi to drive)
licence
bay sèt ráp ”u–a·.·u–+v receipt (sèt ráp N ´n finish –
N ´n receive – money)
rooN (‘a large building’) + NOUN or VERB
rooN rót ‘·+·a garage (rót car)
rooN Naan ‘·++·v factory (Naan work)
rooN naˇ N ‘·+≠v+ cinema (naˇ N film, movie)
rooN rEEm ‘·+—·. hotel (rEEm to stay overnight)
rooN rian ‘·+–·ƒav school (rian to study)
kaan (‘matters of . . .’ ) + NOUN; kaan (‘act of . . .’ )
+ VERB
kaan bâan a··u‰·v homework (bâan house, home)
kaan fay fáa a··“††‰· Electricity (fay fáa electricity)
Authority
kaan N ´n a··–+v finance (N ´n money)
kaan mÁaN a··–.a+ politics (mÁaN city, country)
kaan ráksaˇ a a···a™· care, (ráksaˇ a to care for)
preservation
kaan sÁŸ ksaˇ a a··a∆a™· education (sÁŸ ksaˇ a to study)
3.3.3.5
3.3.3.4
3.3.3.3
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28
kaan chûay a··z‡·a–≠aa assistance (chûay lÁ‡ a to assist)
lÁ‡ a
kaan d´´n a··–evr·+ travel (d´´n thaaN to travel)
thaaN
The pattern kaan + VERB in many instances corresponds to the English
gerund, or verbal noun, and it occurs commonly in written Thai:
kaan kin a··av eating (kin to eat)
kaan róp a···u fighting (róp to fight)
kaan rian a··–·ƒav studying (rian to study)
kaan phûut a··n e speaking (phûut to speak)
In normal spoken Thai, however, the English gerund construction is more
naturally conveyed simply by the verb without kaan:
kin taam ráan aahaˇ an phEEN
ave·.·‰·va·≠··—n+
Eating in restaurants is expensive.
rian náNsÁ‡ Á mây sanùk
–·ƒav≠v+aa“.‡ava
Studying is not fun.
phûut phaasaˇ a thay yâak
n es·™·“raa·a
Speaking Thai is difficult.
khwaam (used to form abstract nouns ) + VERB
khwaam rák e··.·a love (rák to love)
khwaam rúu e··.· ‰ knowledge (rúu to know)
khwaam khít e··.ee idea (khít to think)
khwaam saˇ mrèt e··.a·–·. success (saˇ mrèt to complete)
khwaam sùk e··.az happiness (sùk to be happy)
3.3.3.6
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3.3
Making new
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29
thîi (‘person whom one . . . , place where . . . ,
thing which . . .’) + VERB
thîi prÁŸ ksaˇ a rƒ‡u·∆a™· adviser (prÁŸ ksaˇ a to consult)
thîi phÁfl N rƒ‡n∆‡+ benefactor (phÁfl N to depend,
rely on)
thîi rák rƒ‡·a darling (rák to love)
thîi yùu rƒ‡aa‡ address (yùu to live)
thîi tham Naan rƒ‡r·+·v place of (tham Naan to
work work)
thîi nâN rƒ‡v‡+ seat (nâN to sit)
thîi cOŸ Ot rót rƒ‡.ae·a car park (cOŸ Ot rót to park – car)
thîi ralÁ ⁄ k rƒ‡·Ωa∆a souvenir (ralÁ ⁄ k to think of)
thîi cOŸ kradàat rƒ‡–.·Ωa·Ωe·™ paper punch (cOŸ kradàat to punch
holes – paper)
thîi p´Ÿ ´t khùat rƒ‡–u√ez·e bottle (p´Ÿ´t khùat to open
opener – bottle)
Co-ordinate compounds
Two or more nouns can occur together to make a new noun in a ‘co-
ordinate compound’ where the second noun does not modify the first:
phOfl O mEfl E n‡a—.‡ parents (father – mother)
phîi nO ⁄ O N nƒ‡v‰a+ brothers and sisters (older sibling – younger
sibling)
sÁfl a phâa –a‰a+‰· clothes (upper garment – lower garment)
Often such compounds involve a four-syllable pattern, which may involve
one or more of the following features: duplication of the first and third
elements, internal rhyme, alliteration or the insertion of a meaningless
syllable to preserve the rhythm.
pùu yâa taa yaay u ‡a‡·e·a·a grandparents
(paternal grandfather – paternal grandmother – maternal
grandfather – maternal grandmother)
3.3.4
3.3.3.7
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30
chaaw rây chaaw naa z··“·‡z··v· farmers
(people – dry rice field – people – wet rice field)
chaaw khaˇ w chaaw dOOy z··–z·z··eaa mountain people
(people – hill – people – mountain)
nám phák nám rEEN v‰·nav‰·—·+ one’s own effort/labour
(water – rest – water – energy)
khruu baa aacaan e· u·a·.··a teachers
(teacher – rhyming nonsense syllable – teacher)
wát waa aaraam ·e··a···. wats/temples
(temple – alliterative/rhyming nonsense syllable – temple buildings)
Noun phrases and classifiers
When a noun is accompanied by one or more modifying words, such as
‘three cars’, ‘that car’ or ‘the red car’, it is called a noun phrase. Noun
phrases in Thai frequently involve the use of a class of words called clas-
sifiers.
Classifiers are an obligatory component of noun phrases containing
numerals. In both English and Thai, uncountable nouns, such as rice,
beer and silk may be counted by the kilo, the bottle or the metre; in
Thai these measure words are regarded as classifiers. Thai differs from
English in that it uses classifiers for countable nouns such as ‘friends’,
‘dogs’ and ‘books’, where English simply places the number before the
noun. A rare exception in English is ‘cattle’ which are counted by the
‘head’; ‘head’ functions like a Thai classifier. Every noun in Thai is counted
by a specific classifier; thus khon is used for counting people, tua for
animals and lêm for books:
phÁfl an sO‡ O N khon
–n‡avaa+ev
two friends (friends – two – classifier)
maˇ a hâa tua
≠.·≠‰·e·
five dogs (dogs – five – classifier)
náNsÁ‡ Á sìp lêm
≠v+aaau–a‡.
ten books (books – ten – classifier)
3.4
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3.4
Noun
phrases and
classifiers
31
Some of the most common classifiers, and the nouns they are used with,
are:
an av small objects
baan u·v doors, windows, mirrors
bay ”u fruit, eggs, leaves, cups, bowls, slips of paper,
documents
chabàp auu letters, newspapers, documents
chanít zve types, kinds, sorts (of things)
chín z‰v pieces (of cake, meat, cloth, work)
chút ze sets of things
chÁfl ak –zaa elephants
dOŸ Ok eaa flowers, keys
duaN e·+ stamps, stars, lamps, lights, hearts
fOO N †a+ eggs
hE ŸN —≠‡+ places
hOŸ O ≠‡a packages, bundles
hOfl N ≠‰a+ rooms
khabuan zu·v trains, processions
khan ev vehicles, spoons, forks
khon ev people (except monks and royalty)
khOfl O z‰a items, clauses, points (e.g. in a contract or
formal statement)
khûu e‡ pairs (e.g. shoes, socks, married couples, but
not trousers)
khrÁfl aN –e·‡a+ telephones, TVs, radios, computers, etc.
lam a· boats, aeroplanes
laˇ N ≠a+ houses
lêm –a‡. books, knives
lOŸ Ot ≠aae light bulbs, tubes (e.g. toothpaste)
lûuk aa fruit, balls
mét –.e seeds, pills, buttons
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32
muan .·v cigarettes, cigars
múan .‰·v cassettes, videos, reels of film, rolls of paper
oN a+e members of royalty, Buddha images
phE Ÿ n —+‡v flat objects, sheets of paper, records
rûup · u pictures, monks
rÁan –·av clocks, watches
rÁfl aN –·‡a+ stories
saˇ ay a·a bus routes, railway lines, roads
sên –a‰v long, thin items; strands of hair, necklaces,
noodles
sîi zƒ‡ teeth
tôn e‰v trees, plants
tua e· animals, chairs, tables, items of clothing,
including trousers
yàaN aa‡·+ types, kinds, sorts (of things)
In addition, measure words such as kilo, inch and month, and containers
such as bottle, bowl and bag also function as classifiers.
Classifiers occur not only with cardinal numbers, but also with other
quantifiers (ordinal numbers, indefinite quantifiers and ‘how many?’),
demonstratives (‘this’, ‘that’, ‘these’, ‘those’ and ‘which?’) and adjectives.
Word order in noun phrases
The following list is not exhaustive but covers the most common patterns
of noun phrase:
NOUN + CARDINAL NUMBER + CLASSIFIER
For cardinal numbers, see 13.1.
lûuk saˇ am khon
a aa·.ev
three children
3.5.1
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3.5
Word order
in noun
phrases
33
bâan sìi laˇ N
u‰·vaƒ‡≠a+
four houses
náNsÁ‡ Á hòk lêm
≠v+aa≠a–a‡.
six books
The word n¨ ‚ N (one) can occur either before the classifier or after it; when
it occurs before the classifier it functions as the numeral ‘one’, and when
it occurs after the classifier it can be treated as the indefinite article ‘a’,
describing the noun:
lûuk nÁŸ N khon
a a≠v∆‡+ev
one child
lûuk khon nÁŸ N
a aev≠v∆‡+
a child
NOUN + QUANTIFIER + CLASSIFIER
For quantifiers, see 13.12; note that some quantifiers do not occur with
classifiers.
faràN baaN khon
!·‡+u·+ev
some ‘farangs’ (Westerners)
plaa thúk chanít
ua·razve
every kind of fish
còtmaˇ ay mây kìi chabàp
.e≠.·a“.‡aƒ‡auu
not many letters
NOUN + CLASSIFIER + ORDINAL NUMBER
For ordinal numbers, see 13.3.
lûuk khon thîi saˇ am
a aevrƒ‡a·.
the third child
3.5.3
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Nouns,
classifiers and
noun phrases
34
bâan laˇ N thîi sO‡ O N
u‰·v≠a+rƒ‡aa+
the second house
náNsÁ‡ Á lêm rEfl Ek
≠v+aa–a‡.—·a
the first book
NOUN + CLASSIFIER + DEMONSTRATIVE
Demonstratives are words like níi (‘this/these’), nán (‘that/those’), nóon
(‘that/those over there’) and the question word naˇ y? (‘which?’):
lûuk khon níi
a aevvƒ‰
this child
sÁfl a tua nán
–a‰ae·v‰v
that blouse
bâan laˇ N nóon
u‰ ·v≠a +‘v‰ v
that house over there
náNsÁ‡ Á lêm naˇ y?
≠v+aa–a‡.“≠v
which book?
The noun is often dropped in spoken Thai when the context is unambig-
uous, as in the response below:
aw sÁfl a tua naˇ y?
–a·–a‰ae·“≠v
Which blouse do you want?
– tua nán
– e·v‰v
– That one.
The classifier is also often dropped in spoken Thai:
sÁfl a nán mây suˇ ay
–a‰av‰v“.‡a·a
That blouse isn’t pretty.
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3.5
Word order
in noun
phrases
35
NOUN + CARDINAL NUMBER + CLASSIFIER
+ DEMONSTRATIVE
lûuk saˇ am khon níi
a aa·.evvƒ‰
these three children
sÁfl a sO‡ O N tua nán
–a‰aaa+e·v‰v
those two blouses
NOUN + ADJECTIVE
aahaˇ an phèt
a·≠··–+e
spicy food
náNsÁ‡ Á kàw
≠v+aa–a‡·
an old book
bâan yày
u‰·v”≠¡‡
a big house
NOUN + ADJECTIVE + CLASSIFIER + DEMONSTRATIVE
náNsÁ‡ Á kàw lêm nán
≠v+aa–a‡·–a‡.v‰v
that old book
bâan yày laˇ N nán
u‰·v”≠¡‡≠a+v‰v
that big house
NOUN + ADJECTIVE + CARDINAL NUMBER +
CLASSIFIER (+ DEMONSTRATIVE)
náNsÁ‡ Á kàw sO‡ O N lêm (níi)
≠v+aa–a‡·aa+–a‡.(vƒ‰,
(these) two old books
3.5.8
3.5.7
3.5.6
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Nouns,
classifiers and
noun phrases
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bâan yày hâa laˇ N (nán)
u‰·v”≠¡‡≠‰·≠a+(v‰v,
(those) five big houses
NOUN + ADJECTIVE + CLASSIFIER + ORDINAL NUMBER
náNsÁ‡ Á kàw lêm thîi sO‡ O N
≠v+aa–a‡·–a‡.rƒ‡aa+
the second old book
bâan yày laˇ N thîi saˇ am
u‰·v”≠¡‡≠a+rƒ‡a·.
the third big house
NOUN + CLASSIFIER + ADJECTIVE
This pattern is used to distinguish the noun referred to from other members
of the same class:
sÁfl a tua mày
–a‰ae·”≠.‡
the new shirt
náNsÁ‡ Á lêm kàw
≠v+aa–a‡.–a‡·
the old book
NOUN + NOUN
Some nouns can be used adjectivally to modify the preceding noun:
tamrùat phûu sOŸ Op suˇan
e···.+ ‰aaua·v
the investigating police officer
(policeman – one who – investigate)
khâarâatchakaan chán phûu yày
z‰···za··z‰v+ ‰”≠¡‡
a high-ranking civil servant
(civil servant – rank – senior person)
3.5.11
3.5.10
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3.5
Word order
in noun
phrases
37
NOUN + (khO‡ O N) + POSSESSOR
In possessive phrases, khO ‹ O N (‘of’) is optional and is very frequently
omitted:
bâan (khO‡ O N) chán
u‰·v(za+,av
my house
lûuk (khO‡ O N) kháw
a a(za+,–z·
his child
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Nouns,
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38
Personal pronouns: basics
Thai has many more personal pronouns than English; age, social status,
gender, the relationship between the speakers, the formality of the situ-
ation and individual personality all play a part in helping a Thai to decide
the most appropriate way to refer to him/herself and address and refer
to others in any situation.
Kin terms (aunt, older brother), status/occupation terms (teacher, doctor)
and personal names or nicknames are also commonly used as personal
pronouns.
As a starting point for learners, the personal pronoun system can be
simplified to the following:
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Chapter 4
Pronouns
phoˇm +. I/me (male)
chán av I/me (female; informal)
dichán eav I/me (female; formal)
raw –·· we/us
khun ea you (sing. and plur.)
thân r‡·v you (sing. and plur.); he/him, she/her,
they/them. To address or refer to people of
significantly higher social status
kháw –z· he/him; she/her; they/them
man .v it
Note that male and female speakers use a different word for ‘I/me’, while
a single third person pronoun in Thai covers ‘he/him’, ‘she/her’, ‘they/
them’. Usage of these and other pronouns is discussed in more detail in
the next section.
Pronouns have a single form for subject and object:
phoˇm chOfl Op kháw
+.zau–z·
I like him/her/them.
kháw chOfl Op phoˇm
–z·zau+.
He/she/they like(s) me.
The plural reference of a pronoun can be clarified or made explicit by
(a) a number or other quantifier expression or (b) the pluralizer word
phûak (‘group’):
raw saˇ am khon
–··a·.ev
the three of us
khun tháN sO‡ O N (khon)
ear‰+aa+(ev,
the two/both of you
kháw tháN laˇ ay
–z·r‰+≠a·a
all of them
phûak raw
n·a–··
we, us, ‘us lot’
Pronouns are frequently omitted when it is clear from the context who
is speaking, being addressed or being referred to:
pay phrûN níi
“un·‡+vƒ‰
I’m/we’re/he’s/she’s/they’re going tomorrow. (lit. go tomorrow)
chOfl Op máy?
zau“≠.
Do you/do they/does he/she like it? (lit. like + question particle)
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4
Pronouns
40
In these and many of the other examples in this book, an arbitrary choice
of pronoun is supplied in the English translation. Since pronouns reflect
relative status and intimacy, a speaker can, by omission, avoid the possi-
bility of using an inappropriate pronoun. But the omission of pronouns
is not simply a strategy for the cautious to avoid linguistic faux pas; it
is also a means of denying or avoiding the behavioural or attitudinal
expectations of intimacy or deference implicit in the use of any pronoun.
More personal pronouns
Thais will use a much wider range of pronouns than those given in the
previous section. Some of these are given below with an indication of
whether they are specifically male (M) or female (F) pronouns and the
context in which they are used; certain first person pronouns are normally
‘paired’ with a specific second person pronoun. Note that some pronouns
(e.g. thân and thEE) function as both second and third person pronouns:
phoˇm +. M 1st person; general pronoun that
can be used in most situations,
ranging from polite to intimate; not
used with young children.
kraphoˇm a·Ω+. M 1st person; highly deferential.
dichán eav F 1st person; very formal, often
avoided because it creates distance
between speaker and addressee.
chán av M/F 1st person; commonly used by
female speakers as a less formal,
more friendly variant of dichán; also
used by males as an expression of
intimacy, when it is paired with th´´,
and when speaking to children.
khâaphacâw z‰·n–.‰· M/F 1st person pronoun used formally in
public statements and official
documents.
raw –·· M /F 1st person plural; also used as 1st
person singular pronoun in informal
speech by both males and females.
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4.1
Personal
pronouns:
basics
41
nuˇu ≠v M/F 1st/2nd person pronoun used by
children talking to adults; literally
means ‘rat’; used by girls and young
women to superiors, for example,
female students to teachers,
secretaries to bosses, etc.
kuu a M/F 1st person pronoun used mainly by
males as a male-bonding pronoun in
informal situations, such as drinking
and brothel visits; also used to show
anger; paired with mÁN (.∆+).
úa a· M 1st person pronoun, from Teochiu
dialect of Chinese; used mainly by
males with close friends as an
informal pronoun; paired with lÁ ⁄ Á
(a‰a).
khâa z‰· M 1st person pronoun; used mainly
by males with close friends as an
informal pronoun; paired with
eN (–a+).
ay “a M/F 1st person pronoun; from English ‘I’;
infomal, paired with yuu (a ).
kan av M 1st person pronoun; used among
close male friends; paired with kEE
(—a).
khun ea M/F 2nd person, sing. and plur.; polite,
formal use among equals; also used
as a polite title before names, kin
terms and certain occupations.
thân r‡·v M/F 2nd/3rd person, sing. and plur.; to
address or refer to people of
significantly higher social status; also
used as a deferential title with certain
high status positions.
th´´ –ca M/F 2nd/3rd person, sing. and plur.; as a
2nd person pronoun it is paired with
chán and signals a relationship of
closeness; as a 3rd person pronoun it
usually refers to a female.
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4
Pronouns
42
kháw –z· M/F 3rd person, sing. and plur.; also a 1st
person pronoun, used among girls
and between husband and wife, when
it is paired with tua (e·).
kEE —a M/F 3rd person, sing. and plur.; also as a
2nd person intimate pronoun among
members of the same sex, when it is
paired with chán (F) or kan (M).
man .v – ‘it’; regarded as unrefined and often
avoided in polite, formal speech and
writing; used widely in informal
situations – including to refer to
people, either derogatively or
familiarly.
Kin terms as personal pronouns
Kin terms are commonly used as pronouns. A father, for example, will
refer to himself as phO › O (‘father’) rather than phoˇ m (‘I’) when talking to
his son and address his son as lûuk (‘child’) rather than khun (‘you’):
phOfl O mây chOfl Op
n‡a“.‡zau
I (father speaking) don’t like it.
lûuk pay naˇ y?
a a“u“≠v
Where are you (parent addressing child) going?
Kin terms can be used as first, second or third person pronouns; thus,
depending on the context, the sentence phO › O maw l” ⁄ ”w can mean (a) I
(father speaking) am drunk; (b) You (addressing father) are drunk; or (c)
He (referring to father) is drunk.
The use of kin terms extends to include those who are not blood rela-
tions; by addressing an elderly man as luN (‘uncle’) or a friend or colleague
as phîi (‘older brother/sister’) the speaker immediately creates an atmos-
phere of congeniality. Thus phîi has a particularly wide range of use,
which includes wives addressing their husbands, service-industry workers
addressing customers and complete strangers striking up a conversation
with someone older.
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4.1
Personal
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43
Kin terms are often followed by personal names or nicknames (see 4.1.3).
They can also be preceded by the polite title khun as a sign of further
respect; thus children may address and refer to their parents as khun
phO › O and khun m” › ” (or collectively, as khun phO › O khun m” › ”) and address
a younger friend of their father as khun aa (‘uncle/aunt’).
The kin terms most commonly used as personal pronouns are:
phOfl O n‡a father
mEfl E —.‡ mother
phîi nƒ‡ older brother/sister
nO ⁄ O N v‰a+ younger brother/sister
lûuk aa child
laˇ an ≠a·v grandchild; niece/nephew
pâa u‰· aunt (older sister of parents)
luN a+ uncle (older brother of parents)
náa v‰· aunt/uncle (younger brother/sister of mother)
aa a· aunt/uncle (younger brother/sister of father)
pùu u‡ grandfather (father’s father)
yâa a‡· grandmother (father’s mother)
taa e· grandfather (mother’s father)
yaay a·a grandmother (mother’s mother)
Personal names as personal pronouns
Personal names or nicknames are also commonly used as personal
pronouns. Using one’s name or more commonly, nickname instead of an
‘I’ word is characteristic of female speech but much less common among
men. When used as second or third person pronouns, names and nick-
names can be preceded by khun or a kin term, such as phîi, as a sign
of deference:
tOfl y mây sâap khâ
e‰aa“.‡r··ue‡Ω
I (Toi speaking) don’t know.
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4
Pronouns
44
khun suwannii wâaN máy?
eaa···aƒ·‡·+“≠.
Are you (addressing Suwannee) free?
khun ûan klàp bâan lE ⁄ Ew
eaa‰·vaauu‰·v—a‰·
(Khun) Uan has gone home.
phîi sù ca pay dûay máy?
nƒ‡a.Ω“ue‰·a“≠.
Is (older sister) Su going too?
Occupation and status terms as personal pronouns
A number of occupation terms are commonly used instead of pronouns.
In the medical and education worlds the following occupation terms are
used not only as second or third person pronouns, when addressing or
referring to individuals, but also as first person pronouns to mean ‘I’:
aacaan a·.··a teacher, university lecturer
khruu e· teacher
mO‡ O ≠.a doctor
phayabaan na·u·a nurse
Note that when addressing teachers or doctors, the polite title khun
commonly precedes khruu and mO ‹ O.
Taxi drivers, however, do not refer to themselves as th” ⁄ ksîi; the following
occupation terms are used only as second and third person pronouns:
krapaˇ w a·Ω–u˝· bus conductor
saˇ amlO ⁄ O a·.a‰a pedicab driver
thE ⁄ ksîi —razƒ‡ taxi driver
túk túk eaea motorized pedicab driver
The occupants of certain high-ranking positions, such as ambassadors,
director generals, rectors, ministers and prime ministers are often addressed
and referred to using the deferential title thân before their position, or
an abbreviated form of it:
thân thûut r‡·vr e Ambassador
thân àthíbOdii r‡·vacueƒ Director General
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4.1
Personal
pronouns:
basics
45
thân àthíkaan r‡·vaca··· (University) Rector
thân rátthamontrii r‡·v·¡.ve·ƒ Minister
thân naayók r‡·vv·aa· Prime Minister
Monks and monarchs: sacred pronouns
When speaking to monks or royalty, further complicated sets of pronouns
are used, which vary according the ecclesiastical or royal rank of the indi-
vidual. The learner needs to be aware that an ordinary monk will address
a non-monk as yoom and will refer to himself as àattamaa. The non-
monk should use the polite formal first person pronouns phoˇ m, (males)
or dichán (females) and address or refer to the monk as luˇ aN phO › O or
luˇ aN taa (for older monks), luˇ aN phîi or luˇ aN náa (for younger monks),
or simply by the deferential second person pronoun, thân:
àattamaa a·e.· I (monk speaking)
yoom ‘a. you (monk speaking)
luˇaN phOfl O ≠a·+n‡a you/he (layman addressing/referring to a monk)
luˇaN phîi ≠a·+nƒ‡ you/he (layman addressing/referring to a monk)
Using the complex system of royal pronouns correctly is a daunting
prospect even for the vast majority of educated Thais. At the simplest
level, one should refer to oneself as khâaphraphútthacâw (‘Your Majesty’s
servant’) when addressing the King or other high-ranking members of
royalty, and use tâayfàalaO O Nthúliiphrabàat as a second person pronoun
to the King and tâayfàalaO O Nphrabàat to other high-ranking members of
royalty; both terms can be translated as ‘dust under sole of royal foot’.
Members of royalty, unlike monks, do not use special pronouns when
talking to ordinary people.
khâaphraphútthacâw
z‰·n·Ωnrc–.‰·
I (to King)
tâayfàalaOO Nthúliiphrabàat
”e‰!‡·aΩaa+caƒn·Ωu·r
you (to King)
tâayfàalaOO Nphrabàat
”e‰!‡·aΩaa+n·Ωu·r
you (to high-ranking royalty)
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4
Pronouns
46
Reflexive pronouns
The reflexive pronoun, tua (‘body’) is used with first, second and third
persons. It occurs in such verbs as:
ciam tua –.ƒa.e· to be self-effacing
khaˇ ay tua z·ae· to sell oneself
khayaˇ ay tua za·ae· to expand
khO‡ O tua zae· to excuse oneself
lên tua –a‡ve· to play hard to get
lÁÁm tua a.e· to forget oneself
pràp tua u·ue· to adapt oneself
rúu tua · ‰e· to be aware
san´‡ ´ tua –avae· to put oneself forward
sı ˇa tua –aƒae· to lose one’s virginity
sı ˇa salà tua –aƒaaaΩe· to sacrifice oneself
sOfl On tua z‡ave· to hide oneself
tE ŸN tua —e‡+e· to get dressed
triam tua –e·ƒa.e· to prepare oneself
thOŸ Om tua a‡a.e· to be self-effacing
thÁ‡ Á tua aae· to be aloof
The verb ‘to kill oneself/commit suicide’ is irregular, translating literally
as ‘kill – body/self – dead’:
khâa tua taay r‡·e·e·a to commit suicide
For a smaller category of verbs, the reflexive pronoun must be followed
by the emphatic pronoun eeN (‘self’):
chûay tua eeN z‡·ae·–a+ to help oneself
duu lEE tua eeN e —ae·–a+ to look after oneself
mân cay tua eeN .‡v”.e·–a+ to be self-confident
mOO N tua eeN .a+e·–a+ to look at oneself
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4.2
Reflexive
pronouns
47
phuum cay tua eeN s .”.e·–a+ to be proud of oneself
phÁfl N tua eeN n∆‡+e·–a+ to rely on oneself
thaˇ am tua eeN a·.e·–a+ to ask oneself
wâat rûup tua eeN ··e· ue·–a+ to draw a picture of oneself
The idea of doing something ‘by oneself’ uses either dûay (‘by’) tua eeN
or dûay ton eeN; the latter is less common in speech and carries a slightly
formal or literary flavour:
phoˇm sOfl Om rót dûay tua eeN
+.z‡a.·ae‰·ae·–a+
I mended the car by myself.
raw tham dûay tua eeN
–··r·e‰·ae·–a+
We did it by ourselves.
kháw rian dûay ton eeN
–z·–·ƒave‰·aev–a+
He studied by himself.
Emphatic pronoun
The emphatic pronoun eeN (‘self’) is used with first, second and third
persons; it occurs in the following patterns, each conveying a slightly
different shade of emphasis:
PERSONAL PRONOUN + eeN + VERB
phoˇm eeN tham
+.–a+r·
I myself did it.
PERSONAL PRONOUN + VERB + eeN
phoˇm tham eeN
+.r·–a+
I did it myself.
4.3.2
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Pronouns
48
PERSONAL PRONOUN + eeN + pen khon + VERB
phoˇm eeN pen khon tham
+.–a+–uvevr·
I myself was the one who did it.
tua + PERSONAL PRONOUN + eeN + VERB
tua phoˇm eeN tham
e·+.–a+r·
I myself did it.
eeN also occurs after demonstratives to convey the sense of ‘the very same
(one)’, ‘precisely’:
phÁfl an khon níi eeN
–n‡avevvƒ‰–a+
this very friend
wan nán eeN
·vv‰v–a+
that very day
dı ˇaw níi eeN
–eƒ˝a·vƒ‰–a+
right now
saˇ am rO ⁄ Oy bàat thâwnán eeN
a·.·‰aau·r–r‡·v‰v–a+
just three hundred baht
Reciprocal: ‘each other’
The reciprocal pronoun ‘each other/one another’ is expressed by the
pattern SUBJECT + VERB (PHRASE) + kan (‘together’):
kháw rák kan
–z··aav
They love each other.
raw tOfl N chûay kan
–··e‰a+z‡·aav
We must help one another.
4.4
4.3.4
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4.4
Reciprocal:
‘each other’
49
Possessive pronouns
The possessive pronouns ‘mine’, ‘yours’, ‘his’, etc. are formed using khO ‹ O N
(‘of’) + PERSONAL PRONOUN:
khO‡ O N chán
za+av
Mine.
khO‡ O N khun suˇay
za+eaa·a
Yours is pretty.
rót nán khO‡ O N kháw
·av‰vza+–z·
That car is his.
Demonstrative pronouns
There are three demonstrative pronouns, nîi (‘this one’), nân (‘that one’)
and nôon – sometimes pronounced nûun – (‘that one over there’):
nîi mây suˇay
vƒ‡“.‡a·a
This one isn’t pretty.
nôon khO‡ O N khray?
‘v‡vza+”e·
Whose is that one over there?
Demonstrative pronouns also occur in these common idiomatic expres-
sions:
nîi yaN Nay
vƒ‡a+“+
Here you are (when giving someone something).
nân ná sì
v‡vvΩa
Exactly! That’s right!
tE ŸE nân lE Ÿ
—e‡v‡v—≠aΩ
even so; nevertheless
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Pronouns
50
Interrogative pronouns
For the use of interrogative pronouns (listed below) in questions, see 12.2:
khray? ”e· who?
aray? aΩ“· what?
mÁfl arày? –.‡a“· when?
thîi naˇ y? rƒ‡“≠v where?
naˇ y? “≠v which?
yaN Nay? aa‡·+“· how?
thâwrày? –r‡·“· how much?
Indefinite pronouns
Interrogative pronouns also act as the indefinite pronouns, ‘somebody’,
‘something’, ‘somewhere’, etc.
‘Somebody’, ‘anybody’, ‘nobody’
khray as an indefinite pronoun means ‘somebody’, ‘anybody’, ‘whoever’;
mây mii khray (‘there is not anyone’) means ‘nobody’:
phoˇm khuy kàp khray khon nÁŸ N
+.eaau”e·ev≠v∆‡+
I chatted to somebody.
chán mây dây phop khray
av“.‡“e‰nu”e·
I didn’t meet anybody.
mii khray ca kin máy?
.ƒ”e·.Ωav“≠.
Is anybody going to eat?
khray sèt pay dâay
”e·–a·.“u“e‰
Whoever is finished can go.
4.8.1
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4.8
Indefinite
pronouns
51
mây mii khray rúu
“.‡.ƒ”e·· ‰
Nobody knows.
‘Something’, ‘anything’, ‘nothing’
aray as an indefinite pronoun means ‘something’, ‘anything’, ‘whatever’,
mây mii aray (‘there is not anything’) means ‘nothing’:
kháw yàak sÁ ⁄ Á aray baaN yàaN
–z·aa·az‰aaΩ“·u·+aa‡·+
She wants to buy something.
khun yàak kin aray máy?
eaaa·aavaΩ“·“≠.
Do you want to eat anything?
phoˇm mây dây phûut aray
+.“.‡“e‰neaΩ“·
I didn’t say anything.
mây mii aray nâa soˇn cay
“.‡.ƒaΩ“·v‡·av”.
There is nothing interesting.
‘Whenever’
m¨ › arày as an indefinite pronoun means ‘whenever’; it can occur either
before or after the verb in the first clause:
kin mÁfl arày kOfl thO ⁄ O N sı ˇa
av–.‡a“·ar‰a+–aƒa
Whenever I eat it, I get diarrhoea.
mÁfl arày wâaN thoo maa haˇ a
–.‡a“··‡·+‘r·.·≠·
Whenever you are free, phone me.
‘Somewhere’, ‘anywhere’, ‘nowhere’
thîi naˇ y as an indefinite pronoun means ‘somewhere’, ‘anywhere’, ‘wher-
ever’; note that when it immediately follows the verb pay (‘to go’) the
word thîi is frequently dropped:
4.8.4
4.8.3
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4
Pronouns
52
chán yàak pay yùu thîi naˇ y thîi Nîap Nîap
avaa·a“uaa ‡rƒ‡“≠vrƒ‡–+ƒau |
I want to go and live somewhere quietish.
yàak pay naˇ y máy?
aa·a“u“≠v“≠.
Do you want to go anywhere?
mây yàak pay naˇ y
“.‡aa·a“u“≠v
I don’t want to go anywhere.
‘Whichever’
naˇ y as an indefinite pronoun means ‘whichever one’; it always follows a
classifier and normally occurs with kO › dâay (4.8.7):
phoˇm ca sÁ ⁄ Á an naˇ y kOfl dâay thîi mây phEEN
+..Ωz‰aav“≠va“e‰rƒ‡“.‡—n+
I’ll buy whichever one is not expensive.
‘However’
yaNNay as an indefinite pronoun means ‘however’, ‘whatever way’; it
always follows a verb:
tham yaN Nay kOfl phlâat thúk thii
r·aa‡·+“·ana·erarƒ
However I do it, I always make a mistake.
Indefinite pronouns with kO^ dâay
Indefinite pronouns occur before kO › dâay to show amenability or indif-
ference, as in expressions such as ‘whoever/whenever/whatever you like’.
Note that the vowel in dâay is long although it is written in Thai script
as a short vowel:
sàN aray kOfl dâay
a‡+aΩ“·a“e‰
Order whatever you like.
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4.8
Indefinite
pronouns
53
bOŸ Ok khray kOfl dâay
uaa”e·a“e‰
Tell whoever you like.
raw phóp kan mÁfl arày kOfl dâay
–··nuav–.‡a“·a“e‰
We’ll meet whenever you like.
raw pay naˇ y kOfl dâay
–··“u“≠va“e‰
We can go anywhere you like.
sÁ ⁄ Á an naˇ y kOfl dâay
z‰aav“≠va“e‰
Buy whichever one you like.
kin yaN Nay kOfl dâay
avaa‡·+“·a“e‰
You can eat it however you like.
hây thâwrày kOfl dâay
”≠‰–r‡·“·a“e‰
You can give however much you like.
Relative pronouns
A single relative pronoun thîi is used to refer to people, places and things:
kháw pen khon thîi càay
–z·–uvevrƒ‡.‡·a
He is the one who paid.
bâan thîi kháw yùu lék
u‰·vrƒ‡–z·aa‡–aa
The house where they live is small.
klûay thîi kháw sÁ ⁄ Á phEEN
aa‰·arƒ‡–z·z‰a—n+
The bananas which she bought are expensive.
s¨ › N can be used interchangeably with thîi but it is a rather formal-sounding
word and much less common in spoken Thai:
cháaN sÁfl N mii sO‡ O N praphêet . . .
z‰·+z∆‡+.ƒaa+u·Ω–sr . . .
Elephants, of which there are two kinds, . . .
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4
Pronouns
54
an also functions rather like a relative pronoun, in a formal, stylised
linking of noun and adjective (or stative verb); it cannot link a noun and
an action verb:
rót an suˇay Naam
·aava·a+·.
a beautiful car
lôok an kwâaN yày
‘aaava·‰·+”≠¡‡
the wide world
Naan an nàk naˇ a
+·vav≠va≠v·
a heavy task
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4.9
Relative
pronouns
55
Thai is a verb-oriented language, often using verbs where English uses
nouns (3.3.3.5) or prepositions. Verbs have a single form: they are not
inflected for number or tense. Thus pay can mean ‘go’, ‘went’, ‘will go’,
etc.; ambiguity can be avoided by the addition of time expressions, such
as ‘yesterday’ or ‘next week’ or auxiliary verbs and particles (5.3), but
often the context alone is sufficient to clarify the situation. A common
feature of Thai is verb serialization (5.13).
The verb ‘to be’
Thai uses several different verbs to translate English ‘is/are’, ‘was/were’,
etc; the most important are pen, kh¨ ¨, mii and yùu.
pen
When pen means ‘to be’ it is always followed by a noun or noun phrase;
it cannot be followed by an adjective (see 5.2):
kháw pen phÁfl an
–z·–uv–n‡av
He is a friend.
mE^ E pen khon thay
—.‡–uvev“ra
My mother is Thai.
phîi saˇ aw pen khruu
nƒ‡a··–uve·
Her sister is a teacher.
5.1.1
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Chapter 5
Verbs
When pen means ‘to be’, unlike other verbs, it cannot be negated by
placing the negative word mây immediately before it. Instead, the nega-
tive form ‘is not’ is either mây chây or mây dây pen; of these, the former
is neutral in tone, while the latter conveys the sense of contradicting a
spoken or unspoken assumption:
kháw mây chây khon ameerikan
–z·“.‡”z‡eva–.·av
He isn’t American.
mây chây phoˇm
“.‡”z‡+.
It wasn’t me.
kháw mây dây pen phÁfl an
–z·“.‡“e‰–uv–n‡av
He’s not a friend.
For a summary of different usages of pen, see Appendix 2.
khÁÁ
kh¨ ¨ means ‘is equal to’ or ‘namely’ and it is used when giving expla-
nations, clarifications and definitions; it is also used as a hesitation device.
kh¨ ¨ does not occur in the negative:
saˇ am bùak kàp sìi khÁÁ cèt
a·.u·aauaƒ‡ea–.e
Three plus four is seven.
mii panhaˇ a saˇ am yàaN khÁÁ . . .
.ƒu¡≠·a·.aa‡·+ea . . .
There are three problems, namely . . .
kham mÁaN khÁÁ phaasaˇ a thîi khon chiaNmày phûut
e·–.a+eas·™·rƒ‡ev–zƒa+”≠.‡n e
‘Kham Muang’ is the language people in Chiangmai speak.
khÁÁ yàaN níi ná . . .
eaaa‡·+vƒ‰vΩ
It’s like this, right?
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5.1
The verb
‘to be’
57
In some instances, such as introductions and identifying people in
photographs, pen and kh¨ ¨ are interchangeable:
nîi khÁÁ/pen saˇ amii chán
vƒ‡eaa·.ƒ
This is my husband.
soˇmchaay pen/khÁÁ khray?
a.z·aea”e·
Who is Somchai?
Note, however, that pen, not kh¨ ¨, is used in the contrastive construc-
tion mây chây . . ., pen . . . (‘it’s not . . ., it’s . . .’):
mây chây yàaN nán, pen yàaN níi
“.‡”z‡aa‡·+v‰v –uvaa‡·+vƒ‰
It’s not like that, it’s like this.
mây chây fEEn pen nO ⁄ O N saˇ aw
“.‡”z‡—†v –uvv‰a+a··
She is not his girlfriend. She is his younger sister.
mii
mii (‘to have’) is also used to translate ‘there is/there are’; often, espe-
cially in written Thai, it occurs after the topic (9.1):
mii nák rian sìi rO ⁄ Oy khon
.ƒva–·ƒavaƒ‡·‰aaev
There are four hundred pupils.
mây mii weelaa
“.‡.ƒ–·a·
There isn’t time.
khon thay thîi phûut phaasaˇ a faràNsèet dâay dii mii nO ⁄ Oy
ev“rarƒ‡nes·™·!·‡+–aa“e‰eƒ.ƒv‰aa
There are few Thais who can speak French well.
(people – Thai – who – speak – language – French – can – well –
there – are – few)
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5
Verbs
58
yùu
yùu (‘to be situated at’) is used to describe the location of things:
bâan khun yùu thîi naˇ y?
u‰·veaaa‡rƒ‡“≠v
Where is your house?
yùu nay tûu yen
aa‡”ve‰–av
It’s in the fridge.
Stative verbs
Adjectives in Thai also function as stative verbs (verbs which describe a
state rather than an action). Thus lék is both the adjective ‘small’ and
the verb ‘to be small’:
bâan lék
u‰·v–aa
a small house/The house is small.
sÁfl a suˇay
–a‰aa·a
a pretty blouse/The blouse is pretty.
aahaˇ an phEEN
a·≠··—n+
expensive food/The food is expensive.
Adjectives occur only rarely with the verb pen (‘to be’); the following
idiomatic expressions are exceptional:
pen hùaN –uv≠‡·+ to be concerned
pen sòot –uv‘ae to be single, unmarried
pen yày –uv”≠¡‡ to be in charge of
Verb compounds
Many verbs, such as t” ‚ N Naan (‘to get married’), are made up of two
words and are called verb compounds. Verb compounds in Thai can
consist of (a) VERB + NOUN; (b) NOUN + VERB; or (c) VERB + VERB:
5.3
5.2
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5.3
Verb
compounds
59
VERB + NOUN
khâw cay –z‰·”. to understand (to enter + heart)
dii cay eƒ”. to be happy (good + heart)
tE ŸN Naan —e‡++·v to marry/be married (to arrange + work/party)
tham Naan r·+·v to work (to do + work)
NOUN + VERB
cay dii ”.eƒ to be kind (heart + good)
cay yen ”.–av to be calm (heart + cool)
pàak ráay u·a·‰·a to be malicious (mouth + bad)
huˇa khE‡ N ≠·—z+ to be stubborn (head + hard)
VERB + VERB
plìan plEEN –uaƒ‡av—ua+ to change (change + change)
prìap thîap –u·ƒau–rƒau to compare (compare + compare)
òt yàak aeaa·a to be starving (go without + want)
duu lEE e —a to look after (see + watch)
tòk loN eaa+ to agree (fall + descend)
d´´n lên –ev–a‡v to go for a walk (walk + play)
phûut lên n e–a‡v to joke (speak + play)
Verb compounds are negated by the pattern mây + VERB COMPOUND
(11.1):
phoˇm mây prìap thîap
+.“.‡–u·ƒau–rƒau
I’m not comparing.
Resultative verbs
A number of verbs, such as nO On làp ‘to sleep’ (lie down + sleep) and
mO O N heˇn ‘to see’ (look at + see) resemble verb compounds as they consist
5.4
5.3.3
5.3.2
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5
Verbs
60
of two verbs. They differ in that the second verb describes a state that
results from the action of the first verb; thus, sleep results from lying
down and seeing from looking. Verb compounds and verb + resultative
verb constructions are negated differently (11.1, 11.2).
làp and heˇn occur as resultative verbs only with nO On and mO O N
respectively. Other verbs have a much less restricted role as resultative
verbs. These include the completive verbs, sèt (‘to finish’), còp (‘to
complete’), mòt (‘to be all used up/gone’), the directional verbs kh¨ › n
(‘to rise’), loN (‘to descend’), khâw (‘to enter’) and O ‚ Ok (‘to leave’) (see
5.5), and words such as than (‘to be in time’) and thùuk (‘to be correct,
accurate’):
chán tham aahaˇ an sèt lE ⁄ Ew
avr·a·≠··–a·.—a‰·
I’ve finished cooking.
kháw àan náNsÁ‡ Á còp lE ⁄ Ew
–z·a‡·v≠v+aa.u—a‰·
He’s finished the book.
phoˇm cháy N´n mòt lE ⁄ Ew
+.”z‰–+v≠.e—a‰·
I’ve spent all my money.
khun ca pay than máy?
ea.Ω“urv“≠.
Will you get there in time?
Resultative verbs are negated by the pattern, VERB (PHRASE) + mây +
RESULTATIVE VERB (11.2):
chán mOO N aray mây heˇ n
av.a+aΩ“·“.‡–≠v
I can’t see anything.
Directional verbs
The verbs pay (‘to go’) and maa (‘to come’) are used after a number of
verbs or verb phrases as ‘direction markers’ to indicate whether the action
of the verb is directed towards or away from the speaker. They commonly
follow such verbs as dEEn (‘to walk’), klàp (‘to return’), yáay (‘to move
home’), thoo(rasàp) (‘to telephone’), aw/phaa (‘to take’), plìan (‘to
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5.5
Directional
verbs
61
change’), and sòN (‘to send’). Some verbs conveying a sense of loss, such
as haˇ ay (‘to disappear’) and l¨ ¨m (‘to forget’) occur only with pay:
raw yáay maa yùu kruNthêep tâNtE ŸE chán yaN dèk
–··a‰·a.·aa ‡a·+–rn·e‰+—e‡ava+–ea
We moved (here) to Bangkok when I was still a child.
wan saˇ w nâa raw ca khàp rót pay huˇa hı ˇn
·v–a··≠v‰·–··.Ωzu·a“u≠·≠v
Next Saturday we’ll drive to Hua Hin.
phrûN níi kháw ca aw náNsÁ‡ Á maa hây duu
n·‡+vƒ‰–z·.Ω–a·≠v+aa.·”≠‰e
Tomorrow he’ll bring the book to show me.
khun ca phaa lûuk saˇ aw pay dûay l´‡ ´?
ea.Ωn·a aa··“ue‰·a≠·a
You’re taking your daughter with you, then?
chán lÁÁm pay lE ⁄ Ew
ava.“u—a‰·
I’ve forgotten.
mÁfl a cháaw níi chán thoo(rasàp) pay khuy kàp phîi saˇ aw
–.‡a–z‰·vƒ‰av‘r·(anr,“ueaaunƒ‡a··
I phoned your sister this morning.
Note, however, that in the expression, ‘I’ll ring you back’, the directional
verb is maa:
yen yen chán ca thoo(rasàp) maa mày
–av | av.Ω‘r·(anr,.·”≠.‡
I’ll ring you back in the evening.
pay and maa sometimes occur in the pattern VERB + pay + VERB + maa,
where the same verb is repeated, to convey the idea of the action occur-
ring repetitively back and forth:
phoˇm d´´n pay d´´n maa sìp naathii
+.–ev“u–ev.·auv·rƒ
I walked back and forth for ten minutes.
raw khuy pay khuy maa tháN khÁÁn
–··ea“uea.·r‰+ev
We chatted (back and forth) all night long.
kháw chOfl Op plìan pay plìan maa
–z·zau–uaƒ‡av“u–uaƒ‡av.·
He likes chopping and changing.
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Verbs
62
Other common directional verbs are kh¨ › n (‘to rise’), loN (‘to descend’),
khâw (‘to enter’) and O ‚ Ok (‘to leave’):
kháw piin khÁfl n tônmáay
–z·u≈vz∆‰ve‰v“.‰
He climbed up the tree.
chán wîN loN banday
av·‡+a+uv“e
I ran down the stairs.
raw d´´n khâw hOfl N
–··–ev–z‰·≠‰a+
We entered the room.
kháw rîip OŸ Ok pay
–z··ƒuaaa“u
He hurried out.
In negative sentences directional verbs are not negated; note, how-
ever, that kh¨ › n, loN, khâw and O ‚ Ok also function as resultative verbs
(11.2):
kháw yók mây khÁfl n
–z·aa“.‡z∆‰v
He can’t lift it.
chán kin mây loN
avav“.‡a+
I can’t eat it.
phoˇm phûut mây OŸOk
+.n e“.‡aaa
I can’t put it into words.
phoˇm sày mây khâw
+.”a‡“.‡–z‰·
I can’t put it in.
Modal verbs
Modal verbs are auxiliary verbs which express such ideas as possibility,
probability, ability, necessity, volition and obligation. Most Thai modal
verbs can be followed by the particle ca; they are negated according to
one of three different patterns (11.3).
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5.6
Modal verbs
63
Possibility and probability
The main modal verbs used for expressing possibility and probability are:
àat (ca) a·.(.Ω, may/might
khoN (ca) e+(.Ω, will probably, sure to
yOfl m (ca) a‡a.(.Ω, likely to
mák (ca) .a(.Ω, tends to, usually
heˇ n (ca) –≠v(.Ω, seems that
They all occur before the main verb and are negated by the pattern
MODAL VERB (+ ca) + mây + VERB (PHRASE):
raw àat (ca) pay duu naˇ N
–··a·..Ω“ue ≠v+
We may go to see a film.
kháw khoN (ca) mây maa
–z·e+(.Ω,“.‡.·
He probably won’t come.
Ability and permission
The word ‘can’ can be translated by three Thai modal verbs – dâay, pen
and waˇ y. All three verbs occur after the main verb and are negated by
the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + mây + MODAL VERB.
VERB (PHRASE) + dâay
dâay conveys the sense of both ability and permission:
raw klàp maa phrûN níi dâay
–··aau.·n·‡ +vƒ‰“e‰
We can come back tomorrow.
phoˇm chûay kháw mây dâay
+.z‡·a–z·“.‡“e‰
I can’t help her.
khO‡ O yÁÁm rót khun dâay máy?
zaa.·aea“e‰“≠.
Can I borrow your car?
5.6.2.1
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The following idomatic expressions are also commonly used when talking
about possibility:
pen pay dâay –uv“u“e‰ It’s possible.
pen pay mây dâay –uv“u“.‡“e‰ It’s impossible.
pen pay dâay máy? –uv“u“e‰“≠. Is it possible?
Note that dâay, although written with a short vowel in Thai, is pronounced
with a long vowel.
VERB (PHRASE) + pen
pen conveys the sense of knowing how to do something:
kháw phûut phaasaˇ a thay pen
–z·n es·™·“ra–uv
He speaks/can speak Thai.
phoˇm tham aahaˇ an mây pen
+.r·a·≠··“.‡–uv
I can’t cook.
khun khàp rót pen máy?
eazu·a–uv“≠.
Can you drive?
VERB (PHRASE) + waˇ y
waˇ y conveys the sense of being physically able to do something:
klay pay chán d´´n mây waˇ y
“aa“u av–ev“.‡“≠·
It’s too far. I can’t walk.
rawaN nàk ná yók waˇ y máy?
·Ω·+≠vavΩ aa“≠·“≠.
Be careful, it’s heavy. Can you lift it?
Necessity: ‘must’ and ‘need’
Necessity can be expressed by the following modal verbs which all occur
before the main verb:
(ca) tOfl N (.Ω,e‰a+ must
5.6.3
5.6.2.3
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5.6
Modal verbs
65
tOfl Nkaan (ca) e‰a+a··(.Ω, need
campen (ca) .·–uv(.Ω, necessary to
campen tOfl N .·–uve‰a+ necessary to
tO › Nkaan (ca), campen (ca) and campen tO › N are negated by the pattern
mây + MODAL VERB + VERB (PHRASE).
(ca) tO › N can be negated in two ways, but with different meanings: (a)
(ca) mây tO › N + VERB (PHRASE) (‘there is no need to . . .’); and (b) (ca)
tO › N mây + VERB (PHRASE) (‘must not . . .’):
khun tOfl N chûay kháw nOŸ y
eae‰a+z‡·a–z·≠v‡aa
You must help him a bit.
raw tOfl N mây lÁÁm
–··e‰a+“.‡a.
We must not forget.
phoˇm mây tOfl N pay
+.“.‡e‰a+“u
There’s no need for me to go/I don’t need to go.
mây tOfl N lOŸ k
“.‡e‰a+≠·aa
There’s no need. (when declining an offer)
mây campen
“.‡.·–uv
It’s not necessary.
campen tOfl N tham hây sèt wan níi
.·–uve‰a+r·”≠‰–a·.·vvƒ‰
It’s necessary to finish it today.
khun mây campen tOfl N càay N ´n
ea“.‡.·–uve‰a+.‡·a–+v
There’s no need for you to pay any money.
Obligation
Obligation is expressed by khuan (ca) (‘should/ought’) or nâa (ca) (‘should/
ought’) before the main verb. Both are most commonly negated by the
pattern mây + MODAL VERB (+ ca) + VERB (PHRASE):
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khun khuan ca bO Ÿ Ok phoˇm lûaN nâa
eae··.Ωuaa+.a‡·+≠v‰·
You should’ve told me in advance.
raw mây nâa ca klàp dÁŸ k
–··“.‡v‡·.Ωaaue∆a
We ought not to return late.
‘want to’
The idea of wanting to do something is expressed by yàak (ca) (‘want
to, would like to’) which occurs before the main verb. Negative sentences
follow the pattern mây + yàak (ca) + VERB (PHRASE):
chán yàak (ca) klàp bâan
avaa·a(.Ω,aauu‰·v
I’d like to go home.
kháw mây yàak khuy kàp phoˇm
–z·“.‡aa·aeaau+.
She doesn’t want to talk to me.
Time and aspect
Whether an action occurs in the future or the past (time), and whether
it is a completed, continuous, or habitual action (aspect), can, when neces-
sary, be clarified by using auxiliary verbs or particles.
Future actions: ca + VERB (PHRASE)
Actions that occur in the future can be described using the pattern
ca + VERB (PHRASE):
phrûN níi kháw ca mây maa
n·‡+vƒ‰–z·.Ω“.‡.·
Tomorrow he won’t come.
raw ca pay kOŸ samuˇy
–··.Ω“u–a·Ωa.a
We shall go to Koh Samui.
5.7.1
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67
Completed actions: VERB (PHRASE) + l´ EEw
Attained states: STATIVE VERB + l´ EEw
Completed actions can be described by the pattern VERB (PHRASE) +
l” ⁄ ”w (‘already’):
kháw pay tham Naan lE ⁄ Ew
–z·“ur·+·v—a‰·
He has gone to work.
raw kin khâaw lE ⁄ Ew
–··avz‰··—a‰·
We have eaten already.
rót mee maa lE ⁄ Ew
·a–.a.·—a‰·
The train has arrived/Here comes the train.
l” ⁄ ”w occurs with stative verbs to indicate that the specified state or condi-
tion has been attained:
thùuk lE ⁄ Ew
a a—a‰·
That’s correct.
phOO lE ⁄ Ew
na—a‰·
That’s enough.
dii lE ⁄ Ew
eƒ—a‰·
That’s fine.
Note that some non-stative verbs also occur with l” ⁄ ”w to convey the
sense of a state being attained:
khâw cay lE ⁄ Ew
–z‰·”.—a‰·
(Now) I understand.
foˇn tòk lE ⁄ Ew
!vea—a‰·
It’s (started) raining.
5.7.2
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Continuous actions: kamlaN + VERB (PHRASE) + yùu
Continuous actions, whether in the present or past, can be described by
the pattern kamlaN + VERB (PHRASE) + yùu:
chán kamlaN àan náNsÁ‡ Á yùu
ava·a+a‡·v≠v+aaaa‡
I am/was reading.
Alternatively, either yùu or kamlaN may be dropped:
kamlaN + VERB (PHRASE)
raw kamlaN kin khâaw
–··a·a+avz‰··
We are/were eating.
VERB (PHRASE) + yùu
kháw duu thii wii yùu
–z·e rƒ·ƒaa ‡
He is/was watching TV.
Actions about to happen: kamlaN ca + VERB (PHRASE)
Actions about to happen, whether in the immediate future or when
narrating events in the past, are described by the pattern kamlaN ca +
VERB (PHRASE):
mEfl E kamlaN ca triam aahaˇ an
—.‡a·a+.Ω–e·ƒa.a·≠··
Mum is/was about to prepare the food.
raw kamlaN ca kin khâaw
–··a·a+.Ωavz‰··
We are/were about to eat.
phoˇm kamlaN ca pay
+.a·a+.Ω“u
I am/was about to go.
5.7.4
5.7.3.2
5.7.3.1
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69
Actions that have just happened: phˆ ´ N + VERB (PHRASE)
Actions that have just happened are described by the pattern phE › N + VERB
(PHRASE):
chán ph´^ N sÁ ⁄ Á rót mày
av–n‡+z‰a·a”≠.‡
I have just bought a new car.
phoˇm ph´^ N heˇ n kháw
+.–n‡+–≠v–z·
I have just seen him.
kháw ph´^ N rúu
–z·–n‡+· ‰
He has just found out/learned.
Single and habitual actions in the past: kh´´y + VERB
(PHRASE)
The pattern khEEy + VERB (PHRASE) is used to describe an action that
(a) has occurred on at least one occasion in the past, or (b) that has
occurred habitually in the past; it can occur with l” ⁄ ”w for added emphasis.
When preceded by the negative word mây it means ‘never’ and often
occurs in the pattern mây khEEy . . . maa kO ‚ On (‘never . . . before’):
chán kh´´y pay thîaw chiaNmày
av–ea“u–rƒ‡a·–zƒa+”≠.‡
I’ve been to Chiangmai.
phoˇm kh´´y duu lE ⁄ Ew
+.–eae–—a‰·
I’ve seen it already
raw kh´´y yùu thîi kruNthêep
–··–eaaa ‡rƒ‡a·+–rn·
We used to live in Bangkok.
chán mây kh´´y kin thurian
av“.‡–eaavr–·ƒav
I’ve never eaten durian.
phoˇm mây kh´´y heˇ n maa kO Ÿ On
+.“.‡–ea–≠v.·a‡av
I’ve never seen it before.
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When khEEy occurs in questions, it means ‘have you ever . . .?’; a ‘yes’
answer is khEEy, a ‘no’ answer, mây khEEy:
kh´´y pay thîaw phuukèt máy?
–ea“u–rƒ‡a·s–ae“≠.
Have you ever been to Phuket?
kh´´y/mây kh´´y
–eat“.‡–ea
Yes/No.
Negative past tense: mây dây + VERB (PHRASE)
The pattern mây dây + VERB (PHRASE) is used to describe actions that
did not take place in the past; it cannot be used with stative verbs:
raw mây dây pay
–··“.‡“e‰“u
We didn’t go.
chán mây dây bO Ÿ Ok kháw
av“.‡“e‰uaa–z·
I didn’t tell him.
Note that it should not be assumed that the positive past tense is formed
by dây + VERB (PHRASE); this pattern occurs only rarely.
For other uses of mây dây + VERB (PHRASE), see 5.1.1, 11.4.
past continuous tense: VERB (PHRASE) + maa + (dâay) +
TIME EXPRESSION + l´ EEw
Actions that began in the past and continue through to the present can
be described by the pattern, VERB (PHRASE) + maa + (dâay) + TIME
EXPRESSION + l” ⁄ ”w:
raw nâN rót fay maa (dâay) sO‡ O N chûamooN lE ⁄ Ew
–··v‡+·a“†.·(“e‰,aa+z‡·‘.+—a‰·
We have been sitting on the train for two hours.
kháw rian phaasaˇ a thay maa (dâay) laˇ ay pii lE ⁄ Ew
–z·–·ƒavs·™·“ra.·(“e‰,≠a·au≈—a‰·
He has been studying Thai for many years.
For use of dâay to express duration of time, see Appendix 2.
5.7.8
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Changed states: STATIVE VERB + khˆ Án/loN
The verbs kh¨ › n (‘to ascend’) and loN (‘to descend’) are used with pairs
of contrasting stative verbs to indicate an increase or decrease in state;
they are similar to English ‘up’ in ‘heat up’, ‘speed up’, etc. and ‘down’
in ‘cool down’, ‘slow down’, etc.
ûan khÁfl n a‰·vz∆‰v to get fatter phO‡ Om loN +a.a+ to slim
down
rew khÁfl n –··z∆‰v to speed up cháa loN z‰·a+ to slow
down
dii khÁfl n eƒz∆‰v to improve yEfl E loN —a‡a+ to worsen
mâak khÁfl n .·az∆‰v to increase nO ⁄ y loN v‰aaa+ to decrease
Note that kh¨ › n and loN also occur with verbs of motion as direction
markers (5.5).
VERB (PHRASE) + wáy
The verb wáy occurs after a verb of action, or verb phrase, to convey
the idea that the action is being done for future use or reference:
chán ca kèp wáy kin phrûN níi
av.Ω–au“·‰avn·‡+vƒ‰
I’ll keep it to eat tomorrow.
fàak khO‡ O N wáy thîi nîi dâay máy?
!·aza+“·‰rƒ‡vƒ‡“e‰“≠.
Can I leave my things here?
raw cOO N tuˇa wáy lE ⁄ Ew
–··.a+e˝·“·‰—a‰·
We’ve booked tickets already.
kháw sÁ ⁄ Á wáy àan wan laˇ N
–z·z‰a“·‰a‡·v·v≠a+
He bought it to read another day.
aw wáy wan laˇ N
–a·“·‰·v≠a+
Let’s put it off to another day.
5.7.10
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VERB (PHRASE) + aw
The verb aw occurs after a verb of action or verb phrase to convey the
idea that the subject is doing something for himself; often aw is followed
by wáy. The beginner is best advised to simply memorise examples from
the speech of native speakers rather than to attempt to create sentences
of their own using this pattern.
phoˇm triam aw wáy lE ⁄ Ew
+.–e·ƒa.–a·“·‰—a‰·
I’ve prepared things.
khun kèp aw wáy lE ⁄ Ew chây máy?
ea–au–a·“·‰—a‰·”z‡“≠.
You’ve kept it, right?
chán khít aw eeN
avee–a·–a+
I thought so myself.
daw aw sí khá
–e·–a·zeΩ
Have a guess!
VERB (PHRASE) + sˇıa/sá
sı ˇa, often shortened to sá, occurs widely after a verb phrase; it cannot
be translated and is extremely difficult for the foreign learner to use
correctly other than in pre-memorised expressions. One sense of sıˇa/sá is
‘too bad it happened that way’:
kháw maa saˇ ay pay sá lE ⁄ Ew
–z·.·a·a“u–aƒa—a‰·
He came too late.
raw àat ca rúucàk kan dii k´´n pay sá lE ⁄ Ew
–··a·..Ω· ‰.aaveƒ–av“u–aƒa—a‰·
Maybe we know each other too well.
kham wâa sı ˇa khâw cay yâak sá dûay
e··‡· –aƒa –z‰·”.a·a–aƒae‰·a
The word sı ˇa is difficult to understand.
5.7.12
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5.7
Time and
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It also occurs in the pattern m¨ › arày ca + VERB (PHRASE) + sá thii, to
show irritation or impatience that something has not happened:
mÁfl arày ca sèt sá thii?
–.‡a“·.Ω–a·.–aƒarƒ
When are you going to be finished?
mÁfl arày foˇn ca yùt tòk sá thii?
–.‡a“·!v.Ω≠aeea–aƒarƒ
When will it stop raining?
Passives
The passive construction is used much less commonly in Thai than in
English. It is generally restricted to sentences with a negative connota-
tion, where the subject is a victim of something unpleasant, such as being
beaten, fined, robbed, arrested, criticised, gossiped about, cheated,
attacked, shot, and so on. The passive is formed using the passive-marker
thùuk, in the pattern SUBJECT + thùuk + (AGENT) + VERB (PHRASE):
chán thùuk yuN kàt
avaaa+ae
I’ve been bitten by a mosquito.
maalii thùuk rót chon
.·aƒa a·azv
Malee was hit by a car.
kháw thùuk tamrùat càp
–z·a ae···..u
He was arrested by a policeman.
raw thùuk khamooy
–··a az‘.a
We were robbed.
phÁfl an thùuk yiN taay
–n‡ava aa+e·a
My friend was shot dead.
Much less common than thùuk, but used identically is the passive-marker
doon:
kháw doon tii
–z·‘eveƒ
He was beaten.
5.8
English passive sentences that carry a neutral or positive connotation can
often be rendered by the pattern SUBJECT + dây ráp (‘received’) + VERB
(PHRASE):
raw dây ráp ch´´n pay . . .
–··“e‰·u–z¡“u . . .
We were invited to . . .
phoˇm dây ráp anúyâat . . .
+.“e‰·uav¡·e . . .
I was permitted to . . .
kháw dây ráp lÁfl ak pen . . .
–z·“e‰·u–aaa–uv . . .
He was chosen to be . . .
The pattern SUBJECT + dây ráp + NOUN is also commonly translated
by the passive in English:
kháw dây ráp ìtthíphon càak . . .
–z·“e‰·uarcna.·a . . .
He was influenced by . . .
kháw dây ráp kaan sÁŸ ksaˇ a càak ameerikaa
–z·“e‰·ua··a∆a™·.·aa–.·a·
He was educated in America.
khOfl O san´‡ ´ dây ráp khwaam heˇ n chOfl Op
z‰a–ava“e‰·ue··.–≠vzau
The proposal was approved.
English passive expressions like ‘it is well known that . . .’, ‘it is gener-
ally accepted that . . .’, and so on are formed using the pattern pen thîi +
VERB + kan + wâa . . .:
pen thîi sâap kan dii wâa . . .
–uvrƒ‡r··uaveƒ·‡· . . .
It is well known that . . .
pen thîi yOOm ráp kan dooy thûa pay wâa . . .
–uvrƒ‡aa.·uav‘ear‡·“u·‡· . . .
It is generally accepted that . . .
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5.8
Passives
75
Verbs of utterance, mental activity and perception
with wâa
Verbs of utterance (‘say, whisper, call’, etc.), mental activity (‘think,
remember, hope’, etc.) and perception (‘see, understand, know’, etc.) are
followed by wâa + SUBORDINATE CLAUSE. wâa is similar in function
to English ‘that’ (say that, think that, know that), but unlike ‘that’, which
is optional in English, wâa should, at least in the early stages of learning,
be regarded as compulsory:
khít wâa ca klàp phrûN níi
ee·‡·.Ωaaun·‡+vƒ‰
I think (that) I’ll return tomorrow.
waˇ N wâa ca mây phèt k´´n pay
≠·+·‡·.Ω“.‡–+e–av“u
I hope (that) it’s not too spicy.
rúusÁŸ k wâa mây mOŸ
· ‰a∆a·‡·“.‡–≠.·Ω
I feel (that) it’s not appropriate.
Some of the most common verbs that are followed by wâa are:
bOŸ Ok uaa to say, tell
cam dâay .·“e‰ to remember
chÁfl a –z‡a to believe
dây yin “e‰av to hear
heˇ n –≠v to see, think
klua aa· to be afraid
khâw cay –z‰·”. to understand
khít ee to think
nEfl E cay —v‡”. to be certain
pen hùaN –uv≠‡·+ to be concerned, worried
phûut ne to say, speak
rúu · ‰ to know (facts) (informal)
rúusÁŸ k · ‰a∆a to feel
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5
Verbs
76
sâap r··u to know (facts) (formal)
soˇ Nsaˇ y a+aa to suspect
waˇ N ≠·+ to hope
For further examples of the use of wâa see 9.3 and 12.4.
Verbs of emotion with thîi
Verbs of emotion (‘to be angry, sorry, excited’, etc.) are generally followed
by thîi + SUBORDINATE CLAUSE. thîi is similar in function to English
‘that’ (sorry that, angry that, happy that), but unlike ‘that’, which is
optional in English, thîi is compulsory:
phoˇm sı ˇa cay thîi mây dây pay
+.–aƒa”.rƒ‡“.‡“e‰“u
I’m sorry (that) I didn’t go.
kháw kròot thîi chán sÁ ⁄ Á
–z·‘a·crƒ‡avz‰a
He’s angry (that) I bought it.
raw dii cay thîi nâa rO ⁄ On phàan pay lE ⁄ Ew
–··eƒ”.rƒ‡≠v‰··‰av+‡·v“u—a‰·
We’re pleased (that) the hot season is over.
Causatives
Causative constructions in Thai are formed using either (a) tham+ VERB;
(b) hây + VERB (PHRASE); or (c) tham hây + VERB (PHRASE). The
nature of of the subject (whether it is human or non-human) and object
(whether it is animate or inanimate), and the degree of intention, deter-
mine the appropriate construction.
SUBJECT (human or non-human) + tham+ (inanimate
OBJECT) + VERB
tham (‘to make, do’) combines with a number of verbs, such as tòk (‘to
fall’) and haˇ ay (‘to disappear’) to express unintended causation:
kháw tham thûay tòk
–z·r·a‰·aea
She dropped the cup.
5.11.1
5.11
5.10
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5.11
Causatives
77
chán tham náNsÁ‡ Á haˇ ay
avr·≠v+aa≠·a
I’ve lost the book.
Some common examples of verbs which occur in this pattern are:
tham . . . tòk (to fall) r· . . . ea to drop something
tham . . . tE ŸEk (to be broken) r· . . . —ea to break something
tham . . . pÁfl an (to be dirty) r· . . . –u‰avto make something dirty
tham . . . sı ˇa (to be spoiled) r· . . . –aƒa to spoil something
tham . . . lòn (to fall) r· . . . ≠a‡v to make something fall off
tham . . . lùt (to slip loose) r· . . . ≠ae to let something slip
tham . . . hòk (to spill) r· . . . ≠a to spill something
tham . . . hàk (to break off) r· . . . ≠a to make something break
off
SUBJECT (human) + hây + (animate OBJECT) + VERB
(PHRASE)
hây can convey a range of meanings, from the zero coercion of ‘to let
someone do something’, to the more forceful ‘to have someone do some-
thing’ and ‘to make someone do something’:
mEfl E hây phoˇm rian banchii
—.‡”≠‰+.–·ƒavu¡zƒ
My mother had me study accountancy.
kháw hây chán klàp maa dÁan nâa
–z·”≠‰avaau.·–eav≠v‰·
They got me to come back next month.
phOfl O hây lûuk pay dûay
n‡a”≠‰a a“ue‰·a
Father let his children go with him.
hây occurs as the first element in a number of common compound verbs
which convey a sense of causation:
hây . . . duu (let/have + see) ”≠‰ . . . e to show
hây . . . k´Ÿ´t (let/have + happen) ”≠‰ . . . –ae to cause, create
hây . . . châw (let/have + rent) ”≠‰ . . . –z‡· to let
hây . . . yÁÁm (let/have + borrow) ”≠‰ . . . a. to lend
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5
Verbs
78
hây kháw duu nOŸ y
”≠‰–z·e ≠v‡aa
Show him/let him see.
raw hây phÁfl an châw bâan raw
–··”≠‰–n‡av–z‡·u‰·v–··
We let our house to a friend.
phoˇm mây hây lûuk yÁÁm rót
+.“.‡”≠‰a aa.·a
I don’t let my children borrow my car.
hây may be preceded by another verb specifying the method of causing
someone to do something (e.g. by requesting, telling, ordering, etc.).
Verbs which commonly precede hây include bO ‚ Ok (‘to tell’), khO ‹ O (‘to
request’), yO Om (‘to allow’), anúyâat (‘to allow’), sàN (‘to order’),
yàak (‘to want to’) and t¨an (‘to warn’). Word order in such con-
structions is SUBJECT (human) + SPECIFYING VERB + hây + (animate
OBJECT) + VERB (PHRASE):
phoˇm bO Ÿ Ok hây kháw sÁ ⁄ Á
+.uaa”≠‰–z·z‰a
I told him to buy it.
kháw khO‡ O hây chán pay ráp
–z·za”≠‰av“u·u
He asked me to go and collect him.
raw yàak hây khun klàp maa rew rew
–··aa·a”≠‰eaaau.·–·· |
We want you to come back soon.
chán tÁan hây khun maa kOŸOn weelaa
av–eav”≠‰ea.·a‡av–·a·
I warned you to come early.
Note, however, the order of object and hây can be reversed with the
verbs bO ‚ Ok (‘to tell’), khO ‹ O (‘to request’), anúyâat (‘to allow’), sàN (‘to
order’) and t¨an (‘to warn’):
phoˇm bOŸ Ok kháw hây sÁ ⁄ Á
+.uaa–z·”≠‰z‰a
I told him to buy it.
kháw khO‡ O chán hây pay ráp
–z·zaav”≠‰“u·u
He asked me to go and collect him.
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5.11
Causatives
79
SUBJECT (human or non-human) + tham
hây + (OBJECT) + VERB (PHRASE)
This pattern conveys a sense of clear intention, co-ercion or non-accidental
causation by the subject:
câw nâathîi tham hây phoˇm sı ˇa weelaa mâak
–.‰·≠v‰·rƒ‡r·”≠‰+.–aƒa–·a·.·a
The official made me waste a lot of time.
aakàat ùn ùn tham hây kháw rúusÁŸ k sabaay
a·a·aa‡v | r·”≠‰–z·· ‰a∆aau·a
Warm weather makes her feel good.
trùat kaan bâan tham hây khruu pùat huˇa
e··.a··u‰·vr·”≠‰e· u·e≠·
Marking homework gives the teacher a headache.
For negative causatives, see 11.9.
‘To give’: direct and indirect objects
The order of objects with the verb hây (‘to give’) is SUBJECT + hây +
DIRECT OBJECT (+ k” ‚ ”) + INDIRECT OBJECT. The preposition k” ‚ ”
(‘to, for’) is frequently omitted, and in some instances, such as ‘Have you
fed the dog yet?’, it must be omitted:
chán hây náNsÁ‡ Á (kE ŸE) kháw
av”≠‰≠v+aa(—a‡,–z·
I gave him the book.
phOfl O hây N´n (kE ŸE) lûuk
n‡a”≠‰–+v(—a‡,aa
The father gave his children money.
khun hây aahaˇ an maˇ a rÁ ⁄ yaN?
ea”≠‰a·≠··≠.·≠·aa+
Have you fed the dog yet? (you – give – food – dog – yet?)
If the direct object is quantified, the quantifier follows the indirect object:
chán hây náNsÁ‡ Á (kE ŸE) kháw saˇam lêm
av”≠‰≠v+aa(—a‡,–z·a·.–a‡.
I gave him three books.
5.12
5.11.3
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5
Verbs
80
If the direct object is qualified (e.g. by a relative clause), the qualifier
follows the direct object, but the preposition k” ‚ ” becomes obligatory:
chán hây náNsÁ‡ Á thîi chán chOfl Op kE Ÿ E kháw
av”≠‰≠v+aarƒ‡avzau—a‡—z·
I gave him books which I like.
phOfl O hây N ´n hâa phan bàat nán kE Ÿ E lûuk
n‡a”≠‰–+v≠‰·nvu·rv‰v—a‡aa
The father gave his children the five thousand baht.
The indirect object (i.e. me) in sentences like ‘he taught me Thai’, ‘she
passed me the letter’ and ‘they brought me flowers’ follows the pattern,
VERB + DIRECT OBJECT + hây + INDIRECT OBJECT:
kháw sO‡ On phaasaˇ a thay hây phoˇm
–z·aavs·™·“ra”≠‰+.
He taught me Thai.
kháw sòN còtmaˇ ay maa hây phoˇm
–z·a‡+.e≠.·a.·”≠‰+.
She passed me the letter.
kháw aw dOŸ Okmáay maa hây phoˇm
–z·–a·eaa“.‰.·”≠‰+.
They brought me flowers.
Verb serialization
Verb serialization, in which a number of verbs sharing the same subject
follow one after the other, with no intervening conjunctions or preposi-
tions, is extremely common in Thai; and for beginners, learning to ‘string’
two or three verbs together comfortably is a key strategy in trying to
reproduce authentic-sounding Thai. A random glance through examples
in this book will show just how prevalent such patterns are.
Serial verb constructions can describe a sequence of consecutive actions:
kháw pay sÁ ⁄ Á maa kin
–z·“uz‰a.·av
(he – go – buy – come – eat)
He went out to buy something and brought it back to eat.
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5.13
Verb
serialization
81
Or a number of simultaneous actions:
kháw rîip wîN khâam pay
–z··ƒu·‡+z‰·.“u
(he – hurry – run – cross – go)
He hurriedly ran across.
Many learners understandably panic at the sight of a long string of verbs
such as this, which seems at first sight to be an awesome serial verb
construction:
tOfl N rîip klàp pay rîak hây maa bOŸ Ok
e‰a+·ƒuaau“u–·ƒaa”≠‰.·uaa
must – hurry – return – go – summon – cause – come – tell
The problem in sentences like this is not so much the verbs that appear
as the pronouns that have been omitted; once these are restored – or
understood from the context – it becomes apparent that it is not one
single serial verb construction and things become much more manage-
able:
(khun) tOfl N rîip klàp pay rîak hây (kháw) maa bOŸ Ok (chán)
(ea,e‰a+·ƒuaau“u–·ƒaa”≠‰(–z·,.·uaa(av,
(you) – must – hurry – return – go – summon – cause – (him) – come
– tell – (me)
You must hurry back and summon him to come and tell me.
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5
Verbs
82
As mentioned in the previous chapter, the categories ‘verb’ and ‘adjec-
tive’ overlap in Thai and many of the words that are considered to be
adjectives in English are called stative verbs when describing Thai. For
simplicity, however, the term ‘adjective’ is used throughout this chapter.
Adjectives do not occur with the verb pen (‘to be’) (5.1.1); they follow
the noun they modify and in noun phrases they often occur with a clas-
sifier. The most common patterns of noun phrase in which an adjective
occurs are listed in 3.5.6–3.5.10.
When a noun is modified by two adjectives (e.g. a large, red book) the
normal word order in Thai is NOUN + ADJECTIVE + CLASSIFIER +
ADJECTIVE:
náNsÁ‡ Á sı ˇi dEEN lêm yày
≠v+aaaƒ—e+–a‡.”≠¡‡
the large, red book (book – red – classifier – big)
saˇ aw suˇay khon ruay
a··a·aev··a
the beautiful, rich girl (girl – beautiful – classifier – rich)
maˇ a kE ŸE tua sı ˇi dam
≠.·—a‡e·aƒe·
the old, black dog (dog – old – classifier – black)
In this pattern, the first adjective identifies the general category (red books,
beautiful girls, old dogs) while the classifier + second adjective specifies
the individual case.
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Chapter 6
Adjectives (stative verbs)
and adjectival constructions
Compound adjectives
As with nouns and verbs, compounding is a common way of creating
new adjectives. The most productive adjectival prefixes are cay (‘heart’),
nâa (‘worthy of’) and khîi (‘having the characteristic of’); of more limited
usage are châN (‘given to/good at’) and huˇ a (‘head’). cay (‘heart’) also
occurs as an adjectival suffix.
cay dii ”.eƒ kind (heart + good)
cay yen ”.–av calm (heart + cool)
cay rO ⁄ On ”.·‰av impatient, impetuous (heart + hot)
cay khEfl Ep ”.—eu narrow-minded (heart + narrow)
nâa soˇn cay v‡·av”. interesting (soˇn cay – to be interested in)
nâa bÁŸ a v‡·–u‡a boring (bÁŸ a – to be bored)
nâa lÁÁm v‡·a. forgettable (lÁÁm – to forget)
nâa klua v‡·aa· frightening (klua – to be afraid)
khîi kìat zƒ‰–aƒa. lazy (kìat does not exist in isolation )
khîi aay zƒ‰a·a shy (aay – to be embarrassed)
khîi lÁÁm zƒ‰a. forgetful (lÁÁm – to forget)
khîi nı ˇaw zƒ‰–≠vƒa· mean, stingy (nı ˇaw – to be sticky)
châN phûut z‡·+ne talkative ( phûut – to speak)
châN khít z‡·+ee given to thinking (khít – to think)
châN saˇ Nkèet z‡·+a+–ae observant (saˇ Nkèet – to observe)
châN thı ˇaN z‡·+–aƒa+ argumentative (thı ˇaN – to argue)
huˇa dii ≠·eƒ clever (head + good)
huˇa khE‡ N ≠·—z+ stubborn, headstrong (head + hard)
huˇa suˇuN ≠·a+ pretentious (head + high)
huˇa nOfl Ok ≠·vaa educated abroad (head + outside)
huˇa kàw ≠·–a‡· conservative, old-fashioned (head + old)
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6
Adjectives
and adjectival
constructions
84
phOO cay na”. satisfied (enough + heart)
klûm cay aa‰.”. depressed (gloomy + heart)
sabaay cay au·a”. happy (well/happy + heart)
nàk cay ≠va”. worried (heavy + heart)
Another common stylistic feature of Thai is the use of two adjectives of
identical or similar meaning. Common examples include:
kàw kE ŸE –a‡·—a‡ old (old + old)
suˇay Naam a·a+·. beautiful (beautiful + beautiful)
wâaN plàaw ·‡·+–ua‡· vacant, empty (vacant + empty)
yâak con a·a.v poor (difficult + poor)
yày too ”≠¡‡‘e big (big + big)
y´ ⁄ yE ⁄ –aaΩ–aΩ many (many + many)
Modification of adjectives
The meaning of adjectives can be modified by the addition of words such
as ‘not’, ‘very’, ‘rather’, ‘somewhat’, and so on. A few adjectival modi-
fiers occur before the adjective, while the majority occur after the adjective:
MODIFIER + ADJECTIVE
khOfl On khâaN ca e‡avz‰·+.Ω rather
mây “.‡ not
mây khOfl y . . . thâwrày “.‡e‡aa . . . –r‡·“· not very
bâan mây khOfl y yày thâwrày
u‰·v“.‡e‡aa”≠¡‡–r‡·“·
The house isn’t very big.
ADJECTIVE + MODIFIER
ca taay .Ωe·a very (informal)
caN .+ really
ciN ciN .·+ | truly
6.2.2
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6.2
Modification
of adjectives
85
dii eƒ nice and . . .
k´´n pay –av“u too
kwàa a·‡· more
khÁfl n z∆‰v increasingly
loN a+ decreasingly
lÁ‡ a k´´n –≠aa–av excessively
mâak .·a very
mÁ‡ an kan –≠.avav fairly
nák va very
pay nOŸ y “u≠v‡aa a little bit too
phOO na enough
phOO cháy na”z‰ enough
phOO (phOO) kan na (|, av equally
phOO soˇmkhuan naa.e·· enough
thâw (thâw) kan –r‡· (|, av equally
thii diaw rƒ–eƒa· indeed
thîi sùt rƒ‡ae most
phaasaˇ a phoˇm mây dii phOO
s·™·+.“.‡eƒna
My language isn’t good enough.
Two modifiers can modify the same adjective:
khOfl On khâaN ca phEEN pay nOŸ y
e‡avz‰·+.Ω—n+“u≠v‡aa
a little too much on the expensive side
hOfl N níi ùn dii ciN ciN
≠‰a+vƒ‰a‡veƒ.·+ |
This room is really nice and warm.
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6
Adjectives
and adjectival
constructions
86
Special intensifiers
Certain adjectives are followed by specific intensifiers, which in the absence
of a suitable equivalent in English (e.g. brand new, pitch black, fast asleep,
etc.), can be translated as ‘very’. Such intensifiers, used in moderation,
can add a more lively flavour to descriptions and are a useful addition
to the more advanced learner’s vocabulary. Note that some adjectives
(e.g. cold, red) have more than one specific intensifier, while some specific
intensifiers can be used with more than one adjective.
General
asleep làp + puˇy ≠auu˝a
bewildered NoN + ték ++–ea
big yày + b´^´ r´^´/ ”≠¡‡–u‰a–·‡at
mahÁŸ maa .≠∆.·
bright sawàaN + câa a·‡·+.‰·
dark mÁfl Át + tÁ ⁄ t tÁ‡ Á .ee∆‰ee˝a
dull, insipid cÁŸ Át + chÁfl Át .eze
clear saˇ y + cE‡ Ew ”a—.˝·
cold yen + cíap/chìap –av–.ƒaut–aƒau
correct thùuk + peˇ N/pé a a–u˝+t–uΩ
crazy bâa + chamát u‰·z.e
crowded nEfl n + îat —v‡v–a‰ƒae
different tàaN kan + líp láp e‡·+avauau
dry hEfl EN + NE‡ E tE‡ E —≠‰+—≠+˝—e˝
equal thâw kan + píap/pé –r‡·av–u≈aut–uΩ
expensive phEEN + líp lîw —n+aua‡·
far klay + líp lîw “aaaua‡·
hàaN + líp lîw ≠‡·+aua‡·
fat ûan + pı ˇi a‰·vu≈˝
fast rew + cı ˇi/prÁ‡ Á/rîi –··.ƒ˝tu·˝at·ƒ‡
6.3.1
6.3
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6.3
Special
intensifiers
87
flat bEEn + tE ⁄ Et tE‡ E/tE‡ E —uv—ee—e˝t—e˝
frequent, in thìi + yíp aƒ‡au
close succession
full tem+ îat/prìi/prEfl E –e.–aƒ‰aetu·ƒ‡t—u·‰
full (food) ìm+ tÁfl Á a‡.e‰a
hard khE‡ N + paˇ N —z+u˝+
heavy nàk + Áfl N ≠vaa∆‰+
hot rO ⁄ On + cı ˇi ·‰av.ƒ˝
humid, moist chûm+ chàm z‡.a‡·
identical mÁ‡ an kan + píap/pé –≠.avav–u≈aut–uΩ
lost haˇ ay + tO‡ Om ≠·ae˝a.
loud daN + prE‡ E/lân e+—u·˝ta‡v
modern than samaˇ y + cíap rva.a–.ƒau
new mày + ìam ”≠.‡–aƒ‡a.
old kàw + Nâk –a‡·+‡a
pointed lE‡ Em+ píap —≠a.–u≈au
round klom+ dìk aa.ea
sharp khom+ krìp e.a·u
silent Nîap + krìp –+ƒaua·u
similar mÁ‡ an + píap/pé –≠.av–u≈aut–uΩ
mÁ‡ an kan + dé/dík –≠.avav–eΩtea
skilful khlOfl N + prÁ‡ Á ea‡a+u·˝a
small lék + kacít rít/ –aaaΩ.e·et
kacı ˇw rı ˇw/kacOfl Oy rOfl Oy aΩ.˝··˝·taΩ.‰aa·‡aa
straight troN + pheˇ N/peˇ N/pé e·+–++t–u˝+t–uΩ
stupid Nôo + chamát ‘+‡z.e
tall suˇuN + príit a +u·ƒe
suˇuN + líp lîw a +aua‡·
thick naˇ a + pÁ ⁄ k/t´Ÿ ≠v·uat–eaΩ
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Adjectives
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88
tight kháp + pÁ‡ N euu˝+
urgent dùan + cı ˇi e‡·v.ƒ˝
Colours
black dam+ pı ˇi e·u≈˝
dam+ khlàp e·zau
green khı ˇaw + khacii –zƒa·z.ƒ
khı ˇaw + prE‡ E –zƒa·—u·˝
khı ˇaw + Á‡ Á –zƒa·a˝a
red dEEN + cE ⁄ Et —e+—.e
dEEN + cE‡ E —e+—.˝˝
dEEN + prE ⁄ Et —e+—u·e
white khaˇ aw + cúa z··.·Ω
khaˇ aw + cúak z··.·a
yellow lÁ‡ aN + O‡ Oy –≠aa+a˝aa
lÁ‡ aN + prE ⁄ Et –≠aa+—u·e
lÁ‡ aN + cO‡ Oy –≠aa+.˝aa
Flavours
bitter khoˇm+ pı ˇi z.u≈˝
bland cÁŸ Át + chÁfl Át .eze
salty khem+ pı ˇi –e.u≈˝
sour prîaw + cíit –u·ƒ‰a·.ƒe
spicy phèt + cı ˇi –+e.ƒ˝
sweet waˇ an + cíap ≠··v–.ƒau
waˇ an + cO‡ Oy ≠··v.˝aa
waˇ an + chàm ≠··va‡·
Reduplication
Reduplication (the repetition of a word, either in part or full) is another
common means of modifying the meaning of adjectives in Thai. The two
6.4
6.3.3
6.3.2
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6.4
Reduplication
89
main forms of adjectival reduplication are simple repetition of the adjec-
tive and repetition of the adjective with tonal change.
Simple repetition of the adjective
One function of this type of reduplication is to make the meaning less
precise, corresponding approximately to the adjectival suffix -ish in
English:
sı ˇi dEEN dEEN aƒ—e+ | a reddish colour
bâan lék lék u‰·v–aa | a smallish house
aahaˇ an phèt phèt a·≠··–+e | spicy-ish food
This type of reduplication sometimes indicates that the preceding noun
is plural:
phûu yı ˇN suˇay suˇay + ‰≠¡+a·a | pretty girls
náNsÁ‡ Á dii dii ≠v+aaeƒ | good books
Repetition of adjective with tonal change
The meaning of an adjective is intensified by reduplication when the first
element is pronounced with an exaggerated high tone, regardless of the
normal tone of the word; this exaggerated high tone is particularly
apparent when reduplicating a word with a high tone like rO ⁄ On (‘hot’)
where the first element is pitched considerably higher and is usually accom-
panied by an exaggerated lengthening of the vowel. This type of
reduplication tends to be a feature of female rather than male speech:
arO ⁄ y arOŸ y a·aa a·‡aa Ever so tasty!
bÁ ⁄ a bÁŸ a –ua –u‡a So bored!
phE ⁄ EN phEEN —n+ —n+ Really expensive!
Sometimes the reduplication adds a third element, with the exaggerated
high tone on the middle syllable:
dii díi dii eƒ eƒ eƒ So good!
6.4.2
6.4.1
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Adjectives
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90
Comparison of adjectives
The basic comparative construction employs the pattern ADJECTIVE +
kwàa (‘more than’):
khâaw nâa pèt arOŸ y kwàa
z‰··≠v‰·–uea·‡aaa·‡·
Duck rice is tastier.
rót tooyootâa thùuk kwàa rót bens
·a‘e‘ae‰·a aa·‡··a–uvz
Toyotas are cheaper than Mercedes.
khâa khrÁfl aN bin phEEN kwàa pii thîi lE ⁄ Ew
e‡·–e·‡a+uv—n+a·‡·u≈r…‡—a‰·
The air fare is more expensive than last year.
câaN khon tham dii kwàa tham eeN
.‰·+evr·eƒa·‡·r·–a+
Paying someone to do it is better than doing it yourself.
Degrees of comparison
The basic comparative construction, ADJECTIVE + kwàa, can be modi-
fied by the addition of degree adverbs, such as mâak (‘much, a lot’), yE ⁄
(‘much, a lot’), nítnO ‚ y (‘a little’):
sanùk kwàa y´ ⁄
avaa·‡·–aaΩ
a lot more fun
klay kwàa nítnOŸ y
“aaa·‡·ve≠v‡aa
a little bit further
phEEN kwàa sO‡ O N thâw
—n+a·‡·aa+–r‡·
twice as expensive
6.5.1
6.5
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6.5
Comparison
of adjectives
91
Equal comparisons
X + ADJECTIVE + thâw kàp (‘as much as’) + Y
This is the most common pattern and is used both for numerically quan-
tifiable and non-quantifiable comparisons:
lûuk suˇuN thâw kàp phOfl O
a aa+–r‡·aun‡a
The son is as tall as his father.
nakhOOn phanom klay thâw kàp nO‡ O Nkhaay
ve·nv.“aa–r‡·au≠va+e·a
Nakhorn Phanom is as far as Nongkhai.
pay rót fay thùuk thâw kàp pay rót mee
“u·a“†a a–r‡·au“u·a–.a
Going by train is as cheap as going by bus.
X + kàp (‘with’) + Y + ADJECTIVE + thâw (thâw) kan/ phOO
(phOO) kan (‘equally’)
This pattern is a variation on 6.5.2.1:
phOfl O kàp lûuk suˇuN thâw kan
n‡aaua aa +–r‡·av
Father and son are as tall as each other.
nakhOOn phanom kàp nO‡ O Nkhaay klay thâw kan
ve·nv.au≠va+e·a“aa–r‡·av
Nakhorn Phanom and Nongkhai are as far as one another.
pay rót fay kàp pay rót mee thùuk thâw kan
“u·a“†au“u·a–.aaa–r‡·av
Going by train and going by bus are as cheap as each other.
X + ADJECTIVE + mÁ‡ an (‘similar’) + Y
Non-quantifiable adjectives can also occur in this pattern.
lûuk saˇ aw suˇay mÁ‡ an mEfl E
a aa··a·a–≠.av—.‡
The daughter is as beautiful as her mother.
6.5.2.3
6.5.2.2
6.5.2.1
6.5.2
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Adjectives
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92
aahaˇ an ciin arOŸ y mÁ‡ an aahaˇ an thay
a·≠··.ƒva·‡aa–≠.ava·≠··“ra
Chinese food is as tasty as Thai food.
While the pattern X + kàp (‘with’) + Y + ADJECTIVE + m¨ ‹ an kan is
possible, it is ambiguous since . . . m¨ ‹ an kan can mean ‘fairly . . .’ and is
therefore best avoided:
mEfl E kàp lûuk saˇ aw suˇay mÁ‡ an kan
—.‡aua aa··a·a–≠.avav
Mother and daughter are as beautiful as each other.
or
Mother and daughter are fairly good looking.
X + ADJECTIVE + mây phE ⁄ E (‘not lose to’) + Y
plaa prîaw waˇ an arOŸ y mây phE ⁄ E kEEN kày
ua·–u·ƒ‰a·≠··va·‡aa“.‡—n‰—a+“a‡
The sweet and sour fish is as tasty as the chicken curry.
lûuk saˇ aw pàak ráay mây phE ⁄ E mˆ EE
a aa··u·a·‰·a“.‡—n‰—.‡
The daughter has as sharp a tongue as her mother.
Interrogative comparisons
Questions involving comparisons follow the pattern QUESTION WORD +
ADJECTIVE + kwàa kan?:
thîi naˇ y klay kwàa kan?
rƒ‡“≠v“aaa·‡·av
Which is further?
khray kèN kwàa kan?
”e·–a‡+a·‡·av
Who is the cleverer?
lêm naˇ y thùuk kwàa kan?
–a‡.“≠va aa·‡·av
Which book is cheaper?
6.5.3
6.5.2.4
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6.5
Comparison
of adjectives
93
Negative comparisons
Basic negative comparison can be made by the pattern X + sûu + Y + mây
dâay (‘X can’t beat Y’):
aahaˇ an faràN sûu aahaˇ an thay mây dâay
a·≠··!·‡+a ‰a·≠··“ra“.‡“e‰
Western food isn’t as good as/can’t beat Thai food.
More specific negative comparisons using adjectives (e.g. Western food is
not as spicy as Thai food) are often reversed to produce a positive compar-
ison (Thai food is spicier than Western food).
Excessives
Excessive (‘too . . .’) constructions follow the pattern ADJECTIVE + (kEEn)
pay (‘too much’) with kEEn frequently omitted, especially in conversa-
tional Thai:
klay (k´´n) pay
“aa(–av,“u
It’s too far.
rOO N tháaw kháp (k´´n) pay
·a+–r‰·eu(–av,“u
The shoes are too tight.
This pattern, with kEEn normally omitted, can be modified by the addi-
tion of the degree adverbs (7.6), nO ‚ y (‘a little’), nítnO ‚ y (‘a little bit’) or
mâak (‘a lot’):
klay pay nOŸ y
“aa“u≠v‡aa
a little too far
cháa pay nítnOŸ y
z‰·“uve≠v‡aa
a little bit too late
phEEN pay mâak*
—n+“u.·a
much too expensive
6.5.5
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6
Adjectives
and adjectival
constructions
94
*In response to the question, ph” ” N pay r¨ ⁄ plàaw? ‘Is it too expensive?;
as an initiating sentence, ‘That’s much too expensive’, the normal word
order would be ph” ” N mâak pay.
Superlatives
Superlative constructions follow the pattern ADJECTIVE + thîi sùt
(‘most’):
th´´ pen nák rO ⁄ O N daN thîi sùt khO‡ O N thay
–ca–uvva·‰a+e+rƒ‡aeza+“ra
She is Thailand’s most famous singer.
an naˇ y thùuk thîi sùt?
av“≠va arƒ‡ae
Which is the cheapest one?
mây bOŸ Ok dii thîi sùt
“.‡uaaeƒrƒ‡ae
Best not to tell.
thîi saˇ mkhan thîi sùt khÁÁ . . .
rƒ‡a·e¡rƒ‡aeea . . .
The most important thing is . . .
6.5.6
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6.5
Comparison
of adjectives
95
Adverbs of manner
Adverbs of manner are indistinguishable in form from adjectives; thus dii
means both ‘good’ and ‘well’ and cháa both ‘slow’ and ‘slowly’.
For simplicity, the term ‘adjective’ is used in this chapter when describing
the structure of adverbial phrases.
Verbs are modified according to the following main patterns:
1 VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE
2 VERB (PHRASE) + REDUPLICATED ADJECTIVE
3 VERB (PHRASE) + ADVERBIAL PHRASE
4 VERB (PHRASE) + dây + ADJECTIVE
5 VERB (PHRASE) + hây + ADJECTIVE
VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE
In the simplest adverbial constructions, the verb or verb phrase is followed
by an adjective:
kháw d´´n cháa
–z·–evz‰·
He walks slowly.
khun phûut chát
ean eze
You speak clearly.
khun khàp rót rew
eazu·a–··
You drive quickly.
7.1.1
7.1
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Chapter 7
Adverbs and adverbial
constructions
kháw càt hOfl N suˇay
–z·.e≠‰a+a·a
She arranged the room nicely.
VERB (PHRASE) + REDUPLICATED ADJECTIVE
As noted in the previous chapter (6.4), reduplication often moderates the
meaning of an adjective:
kháw sÁ ⁄ Á thùuk thùuk
–z·z‰aa a |
He bought cheap(ish)ly.
kháw d´´n cháa cháa
–z·–evz‰· |
He walks slow(ish)ly.
chán ca pay rew rew níi
av.Ω“u–·· | vƒ‰
I’m going shortly.
Reduplication is also commonly used in commands, either with or without
hây (see 7.1.5); commands can be made more polite by the addition of
nO ‚ y at the end:
maa rew rew
.·–·· |
Come quickly!
yùu Nîap Nîap
aa‡–+ƒau |
Stay quiet!
phûut daN daN nOŸ y
n ee+ | ≠v‡aa
Speak up!
Sometimes, however, it is difficult to distinguish any real difference in
meaning between a single and reduplicated form; in cases where the redu-
plicated form is preferred, it seems to be because it creates a rhythm that
is more pleasing to the ear:
chán klìat ciN ciN
av–aaƒae.·+ |
I really hate him.
7.1.2
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7.1
Adverbs of
manner
97
yùu klây klây
aa ‡”aa‰ |
It’s nearby.
Reduplication, sometimes with a different vowel in the second syllable,
is also used as an onomatopoeic device, to imitate, for example, sounds
of laughter, rain and animal cries:
kháw huˇa rO ⁄ khík khík
–z·≠·–··Ωea|
She giggled.
mEEw rO ⁄ O N míaw míaw
—.··‰a+–.ƒa· |
The cat miaowed.
foˇn tòk sı ˇaN pOŸ pE Ÿ
!vea–aƒa+–u·Ω—uΩ
The rain pitter-pattered.
VERB (PHRASE) + ADVERBIAL PHRASE
Another common way of forming adverbial constructions involves the
use of ‘adverb formers’ of which the most common are yàaN (‘like, as’),
dooy (‘by’), dûay (‘with’) and pen (‘is, as’); yàaN is followed by a verb
or verb phrase, dooy by a verb or noun phrase, and dûay and pen by a
noun phrase:
VERB (PHRASE) + yàaN + VERB (PHRASE)
kháw phûut yàaN mây suphâap
–z·n eaa‡·+“.‡as·n
He spoke impolitely.
kháw yím yàaN mii khwaam sùk
–z·a‰.aa‡·+.ƒe··.az
She smiled happily.
VERB (PHRASE) + dooy + VERB PHRASE
kháw phûut dooy mây khít kOŸOn
–z·n e‘ea“.‡eea‡av
He spoke without thinking.
7.1.3.2
7.1.3.1
7.1.3
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7
Adverbs and
adverbial
constructions
98
kháw yOOm ráp kham wicaan dâay dooy Nâay
–z·aa.·ue··.··a“e‰‘ea+‡·a
He could accept the criticism readily/easily.
kháw tham dooy mây waˇ N phoˇn tOŸ Op thEEn
–z·r·‘ea“.‡≠·++aeau—rv
He did it without hope of anything in return.
raw tham eeN dâay dooy mây tOfl N phÁfl N khon ÁŸ Án
–··r·–a+“e‰‘ea“.‡e‰a+n∆‡+eva‡v
We can do it ourselves without having to depend on other people.
For examples of VERB (PHRASE) + dooy + NOUN PHRASE, see 8.4.
VERB (PHRASE) + dûay + NOUN PHRASE
kháw tham Naan dûay khwaam yâak lambàak
–z·r·+·ve‰·ae··.a·aa·u·a
He worked with difficulty.
For further examples, see 8.4.
VERB (PHRASE) + pen + NOUN PHRASE
kháw càay N ´n pen wan wan
–z·.‡·a–+v–uv·v |
They pay daily.
kháw bE ŸEN pen chín lék lék
–z·—u‡+–uvz‰v–aa |
She divided it into small pieces.
VERB (PHRASE) + dâay + ADJECTIVE
When describing how well someone can do something, the adjective
follows the auxiliary verb dâay:
kháw phûut dâay khlOfl N
–z·n e“e‰ea‡a+
He speaks fluently.
khun khı ˇan dâay suˇay
ea–zƒav“e‰a·a
You write nicely.
7.1.4
7.1.3.4
7.1.3.3
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7.1
Adverbs of
manner
99
mˆ EE tham aahaˇ an dâay arOŸ y
—.‡r·a·≠··“e‰a·‡aa
Mum is a good cook. (‘cooks food tastily’)
VERB (PHRASE) + hây + ADJECTIVE
When giving commands as to how someone should do something, the
causative verb hây can be used before the adjective:
kin hây mòt
av”≠‰≠.e
Eat everything up!
tham hây sèt
r·”≠‰–a·.
Finish it off!
tE ŸN tua hây rîaprO ⁄ Oy
—e‡+e·”≠‰–·ƒau·‰aa
Dress respectably!
khı ˇan hây dii
–zƒav”≠‰eƒ
Write nicely!
Modification of adverbs
Adverbs are modified in the same way as adjectives (see 6.2). A small
number of modifiers occur in the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + MODIFIER +
ADJECTIVE:
phoˇm rian mây kEN
+.–·ƒav“.‡–a‡+
I don’t do well in my studies.
kháw phûut mây khOfl y chát
–z·n e“.‡e‡aaze
He doesn’t speak very clearly.
tham aahaˇ an khOfl On khâaN ca sanùk
r·a·≠··e‡avz‰·+.Ωava
Cooking is quite fun.
7.2
7.1.5
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7
Adverbs and
adverbial
constructions
100
Other adverbial modifiers follow the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + ADJEC-
TIVE + MODIFIER:
khun phûut rew mâak
ean e–··.·a
You speak very quickly.
kháw tE ŸN tua rîaprO ⁄ Oy khÁfl n
–z·—e‡+e·–·ƒau·‰aaz∆‰v
He dresses more respectably.
Comparison of adverbs
The comparison of adverbs follows the same pattern as that of adjectives
(6.5), but with a verb preceding the adjective.
The basic comparative form is VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + kwàa:
khun tham aahaˇ an arOŸ y kwàa chán
ear·a·≠··a·‡aaa·‡·av
You are a better cook than me. (you – make food – more tasty than –
me)
kháw phûut thay dâay chát kwàa phoˇm
–z·n e“ra“e‰zea·‡·+.
He speaks Thai more clearly than me.
Equal comparisons can be expressed as follows.
X + VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + thâw kàp + Y
chán rian nàk thâw kàp phîi
av–·ƒav≠va–r‡·aunƒ‡
I study as hard as my sister.
X + kàp + Y + VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + thâw (thâw)
kan/phOO (phOO) kan
chán kàp phîi rian nàk thâw (thâw) kan
avaunƒ‡–·ƒav≠va–r‡· (|, av
I and my sister study as hard as each another.
7.3.1.2
7.3.1.1
7.3.1
7.3
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7.3
Comparison
of adverbs
101
X + VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + mÁ‡ an + Y
lûuk saˇ aw tE ŸN tua suˇay mÁ‡ an daaraa naˇ N
a aa··—e‡+e·a·a–≠.ave···≠v+
Her daughter dresses as beautifully as a film star.
The excessive construction is VERB
(PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + (kEEn) pay:
khun phûut rew (k´´n) pay
eane–··(–av,“u
You speak too quickly.
The superlative construction is VERB
(PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + thîi sùt:
th´´ rO ⁄ O N phrO ⁄ thîi sùt
–ca·‰a+–n··Ωrƒ‡ae
She is the best singer.
‘As . . . as possible’
The ‘as . . . as possible’ construction can be expressed in two ways, the
first involving the repetition of the adjective and the second using the
verb tham (‘to do’) instead of the repeated adjective.
VERB (PHRASE) + yàaN + ADJECTIVE + thîi sùt + (thâw)
thîi ca + ADJECTIVE + dâay
kháw wîN yàaN rew thîi sùt (thâw) thîi ca rew dây
–z··‡+aa‡·+–··rƒ‡ae(–r‡·,rƒ‡.Ω–··“e‰
He ran as quickly as possible.
VERB (PHRASE) + yàaN + ADJECTIVE + thîi sùt + (thâw) thîi
ca + tham+ dâay
phoˇm ca tham yàaN dii thîi sùt (thâw) thîi ca tham dâay
+..Ωr·aa‡·+eƒrƒ‡ae(–r‡·,rƒ‡.Ωr·“e‰
I shall do it as well as possible.
7.3.4.2
7.3.4.1
7.3.4
7.3.3
7.3.2
7.3.1.3
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7
Adverbs and
adverbial
constructions
102
Adverbs of time
Since verbs do not indicate tense in Thai, adverbs and adverbials (adverb
phrases) are essential to specify when events take place.
Common adverbials of time include:
Present: dı ˇaw níi (–eƒ˝a·vƒ‰) now, at this moment
tOOn níi (eavvƒ‰) now
pàtcuban níi (u..uvvƒ‰) nowadays
thúk wan níi (ra·vvƒ‰) these days
Past: mÁfl a kOŸOn (–.‡aa‡av) before, formerly
tOOn nán (eavv‰v) at that time
mÁfl a kîi níi (–.‡aaƒ‰vƒ‰) a minute ago
Future: phrûN níi (n·‡+vƒ‰) tomorrow
wan laˇ N (·v≠a+) another day, some other day
khráN nâa (e·‰+≠v‰·) next time
These adverbial phrases can occur either before or after the verb phrase:
tOOn níi kháw mây wâaN
eavvƒ‰–z·“.‡·‡·+
He is not free at the moment.
mÁfl a kOŸ On chán mây chOfl Op
–.‡aa‡avav“.‡zau
Before, I did not like it.
phoˇm pay yîam wan laˇ N
+.“u–aƒ‡a.·v≠a+
I’ll go to visit her another day.
A more extensive list of time expressions appears in 14.7.
Two important adverbs of time which do have a fixed position are yaN
(‘still’) and l” ⁄ ”w (‘already’). yaN occurs immediately before the verb or
verb phrase and l” ⁄ ”w immediately after:
chán yaN hı ˇw
ava+≠·
I’m still hungry.
7.4
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7.4
Adverbs of
time
103
kháw pay lE ⁄ Ew
–z·“u—a‰·
He’s already gone.
Adverbs of frequency
The following adverbs of frequency occur only after a verb or verb phrase:
bOŸ y bOŸ y u‡aa | often
sam´‡ ´ –a.a always
rÁfl ay rÁfl ay –·‡aa | continuously
pen pracam –uvu·Ω.· regularly
pen rayá rayá –uv·ΩaΩ | periodically
raw pay thîaw mÁaN thay bOŸ y bOŸ y
–··“u–rƒ‡a·–.a+“rau‡aa |
We visit Thailand often.
kháw tham aahaˇ an phèt sam´‡ ´
–z·r·a·≠··–+e–a.a
She always makes spicy food.
chán pay haˇ a mO‡ O pen rayá rayá
av“u≠·≠.a–uv·ΩaΩ |
I go to see the doctor periodically.
The words thammadaa (‘normally, usually’) and pòkkati (‘normally,
usually’) both occur more commonly at the beginning of a clause or
sentence:
thammadaa phoˇm mây kin lâw
c··.e·+.“.‡av–≠a‰·
Normally I don’t drink alcohol.
pòkkatì mii khon mâak
uae.ƒev.·a
Usually there are a lot of people.
Other expressions of frequency, such as baaN khráN (‘sometimes’), thúk
wan (‘daily’), aathít la sO ‹ O N khráN (‘twice a week’), can occur either before
the subject of a sentence or at the end of a sentence:
7.5
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7
Adverbs and
adverbial
constructions
104
baaN khráN chán rúusÁŸ k bÁŸ a
u·+e·‰+av· ‰a∆a–u‡a
Sometimes I feel bored.
chán rúusÁŸ k bÁŸ a baaN khráN
av· ‰a∆a–u‡au·+e·‰+
I feel bored sometimes.
Adverbs of degree
The following adverbs of degree occur only after a verb or verb phrase:
mâak .·a a lot, very much, really
bâaN u‰·+ somewhat
mÁ‡ an kan –≠.avav somewhat; fairly/reasonably
nítnOŸ y ve≠v‡aa a little (bit)
nOŸ y ≠v‡aa a little
kháw maw mâak
–z·–.·.·a
He’s really drunk.
chán hı ˇw nítnOŸ y
av≠·ve≠v‡aa
I’m a bit hungry.
thon nOŸ y ná
rv≠v‡aavΩ
Be a little patient!
m¨ ‹ an kan is widely used to express qualified or polite agreement or enthu-
siasm – although this usage is curiously ignored in most dictionaries. It
commonly occurs in the pattern kO › O . . . + VERB (PHRASE) + m¨ ‹ an kan
when a negative response would be tactless:
aacaan sO‡ On dii máy?
a·.··aaaveƒ“≠.
Is he a good teacher?
– kOfl O . . . dii mÁ‡ an kan
– a . . . eƒ–≠.avav
– Well . . . yes.
7.6
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7.6
Adverbs of
degree
105
While mâak and nítnO ‚ y also occur as quantifiers (13.12), it is important
to distinguish between the adverb bâaN and the similar-sounding quanti-
fier, baaN; the fact that both are often glossed as ‘some’ in dictionaries
is a common source of confusion for the learner.
As a quantifier, baaN (‘some’) is always followed by a classifier, although
it is not always preceded by a noun:
chán chOfl Op kin aahaˇ an khEŸ Ek baaN yàaN
avzauava·≠··—zau·+aa‡·+
I like some kinds of Indian food.
baaN khon dii baaN khon mây dii
u·+eveƒ u·+ev“.‡eƒ
Some people are good, some are bad.
bâaN normally modifies a verb and conveys the sense of ‘to some extent’
or ‘somewhat’; it also occurs with Wh- questions, where it anticipates a
plural answer (12.2.13). bâaN never occurs with classifiers:
kháw phûut phaasaˇ a thay dâay bâaN
–z·nes·™·“ra“e‰u‰·+
He speaks some Thai.
phoˇm lên dâay bâaN
+.–a‡v“e‰u‰·+
I can play a bit/somewhat.
chán yàak pay kin aahaˇ an khE ŸEk bâaN
avaa·a“uava·≠··—zau‰·+
I’d like to eat some Indian food.
kháw phûut ciN bâaN mây ciN bâaN
–z·n e.·+u‰·+ “.‡.·+u‰·+
(he – speak – true – somewhat, not – true – somewhat)
Some of what he says is true, some isn’t.
hàt phûut khwaam ciN bâaN sí
≠en ee··..·+u‰·+z
(practise – speak – truth – somewhat – command particle)
Try telling the truth!
khun phóp kàp khray bâaN?
eanuau”e·u‰·+
Who did you meet?
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7
Adverbs and
adverbial
constructions
106
One curious usage of bâaN is in the expression bâaN kO › . . . bâaN kO › . . .
(‘some . . . and some . . .’), which is identical in meaning to baaN khon:
bâaN kOfl dii bâaN kOfl mây dii
u‰·+aeƒ u‰·+a“.‡eƒ
Some people are good, some are bad.
bâaN kOfl chOfl Op bâaN kOfl mây chOfl Op
u‰·+azau u‰·+a“.‡zau
Some like it, some don’t.
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7.6
Adverbs of
degree
107
An important function of prepositions is to indicate location. This chapter
introduces the major location markers and then looks at a few of the
different ways of dealing with the English prepositions ‘to’ , ‘for’ , ‘by’ ,
‘with’ and ‘from’.
Location: thîi and yùu
The most basic location words are formed using the preposition thîi (‘at’)
followed by the demonstratives, nîi, nân or nôon:
thîi nîi rƒ‡vƒ‡ here
thîi nân rƒƒ‡v‡v there
thîi nôon rƒ‡‘v‡v over there
In a simple sentence stating the location of something, thîi follows the
verb yùu (‘to be situated at’):
yùu thîi nîi
aa‡rƒ‡vƒ‡
Here it is/It’s here.
bâan yùu thîi nôon
u‰·vaa ‡rƒ‡‘v‡v
The house is over there.
thîi is optional after the verb yùu, and frequently omitted:
chán yùu mÁaN thay naan
avaa‡–.a+“rav·v
I have lived in Thailand a long time.
8.1
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Chapter 8
Location markers and
other prepositions
kháw yùu bâan tOOn yen
–z·aa ‡u‰·veav–av
He is at home in the evenings.
khâN + PREPOSITION
The following prepositions can all be prefixed by khâN (‘side’):
nay ”v in
nOfl Ok vaa outside of
bon uv on, on top of; upstairs
lâaN a‡·+ underneath; downstairs
nâa ≠v‰· in front of
laˇ N ≠a+ behind
khâaN z‰·+ by the side of
However, when a noun or noun phrase follows the preposition, khâN is
usually dropped:
yùu nay rót
aa ‡”v·a
It’s in the car.
yùu laˇ N bâan
aa ‡≠a+u‰·v
It’s behind the house.
But if no noun follows the preposition, khâN cannot be dropped:
yùu khâN nOfl Ok
aa ‡z‰·+vaa
It’s outside.
yùu khâN bon
aa ‡z‰·+uv
It’s on top/upstairs.
Note that as a prefix khâN is written with a long vowel symbol but
pronounced with a short vowel.
8.1.1
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8.1
Location:
thîi and yùu
109
phaay + PREPOSITION
Several of the prepositions above (8.1.1) can be prefixed by phaay (‘side,
part’):
phaay nay s·a”v within, internal
phaay nOfl Ok s·avaa outside, external
phaay tâay s·a”e‰ under, inferior position
phaay nâa s·a≠v‰· ahead, in the future
phaay laˇ N s·a≠a+ afterwards, later on
phaay nay cèt wan
s·a”v–.e·v
within seven days
phaay tâay ìtthíphon khO‡ O N kháw
s·a”e‰arcnaza+–z·
under his influence
thaaN + right/left
thaaN (‘way’) prefixes the words for sáay (‘left’) and khwaˇ a (‘right’) when
describing locations; m¨ ¨ (‘hand’) may optionally be added to the end of
the phrase:
yùu thaaN khwaˇ a
aa ‡r·+z··
It’s on the right.
yùu thaaN sáay mÁÁ
aa‡r·+z‰·a.a
It’s on the left-hand side.
Non-prefixed prepositions
Common location prepositions which do not take any prefix include:
rawàaN ·Ω≠·‡·+ between
klay “aa far
klây ”aa‰ near
8.1.4
8.1.3
8.1.2
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8
Location
markers and
other
prepositions
110
troN khâam e·+z‰·. opposite
rim ·. on the edge of
taam e·. along
‘To’
Neither motion towards a place (I went to Thailand), nor indirect object
with ‘to give’ (see 5.12) require prepositions in Thai; speaking to someone,
uses the preposition kàp (‘with’):
phoˇm d´´n thaaN pay mÁaN thay
+.–evr·+“u–.a+“ra
I travelled to Thailand.
kháw hây náNsÁ‡ Á chán
–z·”≠‰≠v+aaav
He gave the book to me.
chán yàak ca phûut kàp kháw
avaa·a.Ωn eau–z·
I’d like to speak to him.
‘For’
The Thai words most commonly used to translate ‘for’ are hây, ph¨ › a,
saˇ mràp and sùan. While the distinctions are sometimes elusive and there
is some overlap in usage, some broad principles can be applied.
hây
hây is used to express the idea of doing something for somebody, or
getting someone to do something for you:
phoˇm sÁ ⁄ Á náNsÁ‡ Á hây khun
+.z‰a≠v+aa”≠‰ea
I bought a book for you.
phoˇm ca bOŸ Ok (kháw) hây (khun)
+..Ωuaa(–z·,”≠‰(ea,
I’ll tell him for you.
chûay pìt pratuu hây (chán) nOŸ y
z‡·au√eu·Ωe ”≠‰(av,≠v‡aa
Please shut the door for me.
8.3.1.1
8.3
8.2
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8.3
‘For’
111
phÁfl a
ph¨ › a can be translated as ‘for the sake of’ and often conveys an idea of
altruism or self-sacrifice. Note also, low-tone ph¨ ‚ a which is used when
inviting someone to do something on one’s behalf in expressions like
‘Have one (e.g. a beer) for me’:
thúk sìN thúk yàaN phoˇm tham phÁfl a khun
raa‡+raaa‡·++.r·–n‡aea
Everything I do is for you.
chán tham Naan phÁfl a anaakhót khO‡ O N raw
avr·+·v–n‡aav·eeza+–··
I am working for our future.
kháw sı ˇa salà tua phÁfl a prathêet châat
–z·–aƒaaaΩe·–n‡au·Ω–raz·e
He sacrificed himself for the nation.
raw sÁ ⁄ Á aahaˇ an phÁfl a bOOrícàak
–··z‰aa·≠··–n‡au·.·e
We bought food for donating.
kin phÁŸ a dûay ná
av–+‡ae‰·avΩ
Eat some for me, too, OK?
saˇ mràp
saˇ mràp means both ‘for’ and, at the beginning of a sentence, ‘as for’, ‘as
far as . . . is concerned’:
nîi saˇ mràp khun
vƒ‡a·≠·uea
This is for you.
saˇ mràp aahaˇ an yen raw ca pay kin khâN nOfl Ok
a·≠·ua·≠··–av–··.Ω“uavz‰·+vaa
As far as the evening meal is concerned, we will eat out.
sùan
sùan also means ‘as for’ and is used to introduce a statement:
sùan phoˇm khít wâa mây dii l´´y
a‡·v+. ee·‡·“.‡eƒ–aa
As for me, I don’t think it is good at all.
8.3.1.4
8.3.1.3
8.3.1.2
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8
Location
markers and
other
prepositions
112
Two other common uses of ‘for’ in English are to express duration of
time (I have studied Thai for three years) and to give reasons (I am angry
with him for gossiping about me). Duration of time requires no prepo-
sition in Thai (14.7.5); reason clauses are introduced by thîi:
phoˇm rian phaasaˇ a thay saˇ am pii lE ⁄ Ew
+.–·ƒavs·™·“raa·.u≈—a‰·
I have studied Thai for three years.
raw pay sO‡ O N wan thâwnán
–··“uaa+·v–r‡·v‰v
We are only going for three days.
chán kròot kháw thîi (kháw) ninthaa chán
av‘a·c–z·rƒ‡(–z·,vvr·av
I am angry with him for gossiping about me.
khO‡ Othôot thîi phoˇm maa cháa
za‘r™rƒ‡+..·z‰·
I am sorry that I’m late.
‘By’
The two Thai words most commonly used to translate ‘by’ are dooy and
dûay; both are used to indicate the means of doing something:
chán pay dooy rót mee*
av“u‘ea·a–.a
I went by bus.
raw bin pay mÁaN thai dooy saˇ ay kaan bin thay
–··uv“u–.a+“ra‘eaa·aa··uv“ra
We flew to Thailand by Thai Airways.
khun tham dûay/dooy wíthii naˇ y
ear·e‰·at‘ea·cƒ“≠v
How did you do it? (you – do – by – method – which?)
khun tham dûay mÁÁ l´‡ ´?
ear·e‰·a.a≠·a
You did it by hand, then?
*Note, however, that while dooy can be used with all means of trans-
portation, in practice it is commonly avoided. Instead, travelling
somewhere as a passenger in a vehicle is expressed by the pattern nâN
(‘to sit’) + VEHICLE + pay/maa + PLACE:
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8.4
‘By’
113
chán nâN rót mee pay chiaNmày
avv‡+·a–.a“u–zƒa+”≠.‡
I went to Chiangmai by bus.
To indicate that someone drove the vehicle, nâN is replaced by an appro-
priate verb meaning ‘to drive’ – khàp (for cars), khìi (for motorcycles,
horses, bicycles) or thìip (for pedal trishaws):
phoˇm khàp rót maa
avzu·a.·
I came by car (as the driver)/I drove here.
raw khìi mOOt´´say pay huˇa hı ˇn
–··zƒ‡.a–ea·“ze“u≠·≠v
We went to Hua Hin by motorcycle/We motorcycled to Hua Hin.
‘By’ in English is also used to indicate (i) the agent in a passive sentence
(He was hit by a car: 5.8); (ii) place (It is by the television); and (iii)
time limitation (I must finish by Friday). As a location word, ‘by’ can be
translated as klây klây (‘near’) or khâN khâaN (‘next to, beside’); time
limit can be conveyed by kO ‚ On (‘before’) or phaay nay (‘within’):
yùu klây klây/khâN khâaN thii wii
aa ‡”aa‰ | tz‰·+ | rƒ·ƒ
It is by the TV.
chán tOfl N tham hây sèt kOŸ On/phaay nay wan sùk
ave‰a+r·”≠‰–a·.a‡avts·a”v·vaa·
I have to finish it by Friday.
‘With’
‘With’ in English is used mainly to indicate (i) accompaniment (I went
with a friend) and (ii) instrument (She hit her husband with a stick).
Accompaniment, in Thai, is conveyed by kàp:
chán pay kàp phÁfl an
av“uau–n‡av
I went with a friend.
Instrument is less clear-cut. dûay can be used in the pattern SUBJECT +
VERB (PHRASE) + dûay + INSTRUMENT, but it often sounds unnatural;
instead, many native speakers favour the pattern SUBJECT + cháy (to
use) + INSTRUMENT + VERB (PHRASE):
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8
Location
markers and
other
prepositions
114
th´´ cháy máy tii phuˇa
–ca”z‰“.‰eƒ+·
She hit her husband with a stick/She used a stick to hit . . .
raw tOfl N cháy mÁÁ kin
–··e‰a+”z‰.aav
We shall have to eat with our hands.
And kàp is also sometimes used to indicate instrument in the expressions
heˇ n kàp taa (‘to see with one’s own eyes’) and faN kàp huˇ u (‘to hear
with one’s own ears’).
‘From’
‘From’ can most frequently be translated by càak:
kháw maa càak chiaNmày
–z·.·.·a–zƒa+”≠.‡
He comes from Chiangmai.
chán dây còtmaˇ ay càak mEfl E
av“e‰.e≠.·a.·a—.‡
I got a letter from my mother.
raw nâN rót mee càak huˇa hı ˇn pay kruNthêep
–··v‡+·a–.a.·a≠·≠v“ua·+–rn·
We went from Hua Hin to Bangkok by bus.
When ‘from’ identifies the beginning of a period of time, tâNt” ‚ ” (‘since’)
is used, either in the pattern tâNt” ‚ ” + TIME WORD + th¨ ‹ N (‘till’) + TIME
WORD, or tâNt” ‚ ” + TIME WORD + maa:
tâNtE ŸE cháaw thÁ‡ N yen
e‰+–e‡–z‰·a∆+–av
from morning till evening
tâNtE ŸE pii sO‡ O N phan hâa rO ⁄ Oy sìi sìp maa
e‰+—e‡u≈ -ee- .·
from the year 2540/since 2540
tâNtE ŸE wan nán maa
e‰+—e‡·vv‰v.·
from that day
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8.6
‘From’
115
Word order and topicalisation
Word order in a sentence generally follows the pattern SUBJECT +
VERB + OBJECT:
subject verb object
phOfl O sÁ ⁄ Á rót
n‡a z‰a ·a
Father bought a car
chán rák khun
av ·a ea
I love you
In spoken Thai it is common for the subject noun to be followed imme-
diately by its pronoun; the beginner needs to be alert to distinguish this
noun-pronoun apposition from similar-looking possessive phrases (3.5.12):
phOfl O kháw sÁ ⁄ Á rót
n‡a–z·z‰a·a
(father – he – buy – car)
Father bought a car.
khruu kháw mây maa
e· –z·“.‡.·
(teacher – he – not – come)
The teacher didn’t come.
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Chapter 9
Clauses and sentences
rót man tìt
·a.vee
(cars – they – stuck)
The traffic is jammed.
However, either subject or object, or even both, may be omitted when
they are understood from the context. In the following sentence, for
example, neither subject, direct object nor indirect object are stated, leaving
just a ‘string’ of four verbs (5.13):
tOfl N rîip pay sÁ ⁄ Á hây
e‰a+·ƒu“uz‰a”≠‰
(must – hurry – go – buy – give)
I must rush off and buy some for her.
Another common pattern, known as topicalisation, involves placing a
word or phrase other than the subject at the beginning of the sentence,
so that it becomes the ‘topic’ of the sentence (i.e. what the sentence is
‘about’).
sÁfl a kàw ca aw pay bOricàak phrûN níi
–a‰a–a‡·.Ω–a·“uu·.·en·‡+vƒ‰
(clothes – old – will – take – donate – tomorrow)
I’ll give away the old clothes tomorrow.
aahaˇ an thîi lÁ‡ a raw ca kin phrûN níi
a·≠··rƒ‡–≠aa–··.Ωavn·‡+vƒ‰
(food – which – remains – we – will – eat – tomorrow)
We’ll eat the food that is left over tomorrow.
faràN thîi tE ŸN Naan kàp khon thay dı ˇaw níi mii y´⁄
!·‡+rƒ‡—e‡++·vauev“ra–eƒ˝a·vƒ‰.ƒ–aaΩ
(Westerners – who – marry – with – Thais – now – there are –
many)
Now there are lots of Westerners who are married to Thais.
phûuyı ˇN khon nán (phoˇm) khít wâa pen khon yîipùn
+ ‰≠¡+evv‰v(+.,ee·‡·–uvev¡ƒ‡u‡v
(girl – classifier – that – (I) – think – that – is – person – Japanese)
I think that girl is Japanese.
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9.1
Word order
and
topicalisation
117
In spoken Thai, the particle nâ/nâa is often used at the end of the topic
phrase (10.3.1.5).
In written Thai, the topic is often introduced by sùan (‘as for’), saˇ mràp
(‘as for’) or r¨ › aN (‘about, concerning’); the end of a long topic clause is
often marked by nán and the verb in the following clause introduced by
kO › (‘so, therefore, well, then’):
sùan ahaˇ an kaan kin kàp thîi phák kOfl cháy dâay
a‡·va·≠··a··avaurƒ‡naa”z‰“e
As for the food and accommodation, it was alright.
(as for – food – eating – with – place to stay – well, then –
acceptable)
náNsÁ‡ Á thîi phoˇm àan yùu nán nâa bÁŸ a ciN ciN
≠v+aarƒ‡+.a‡·vaa ‡v‰vv‡·–u‡a.·+ |
The book I’m reading is really boring.
Subordinate clauses
Subordinate clauses frequently occur before the main clause. Some subor-
dinate and main clauses are linked by paired conjunctions, one at the
beginning of each clause. kO › (see 9.1), although often optional, is used
extensively in introducing the main clause. Some common examples of
paired conjunctions are:
thâa (hàak wâa) . . . kOfl . . . if . . . then . . . (9.2.1)
kaan thîi . . . kOfl . . . the fact that . . ., so . . . (9.2.2)
thÁ‡ N mE ⁄ E wâa . . . tE ŸE . . . although . . ., but . . . (9.2.3)
nOfl Ok càak (nán lE ⁄ Ew) . . . yaN . . . apart from (that) . . ., still . . .
(9.2.5)
phOO . . . púp . . . no sooner . . . than . . . (9.2.6)
. . . púp . . . páp no sooner . . . than . . . (9.2.6)
9.2
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9
Clauses and
sentences
118
Conditional clauses: ‘if’
Conditional sentences can be formed by the pattern, thâa . . . kO › + VERB
(‘If . . . then . . .’); alternative words for ‘if’ are thâa hàak wâa, hàak wâa,
hàak t” ‚ ” wâa:
thâa hàak wâa foˇ n tòk chán kOfl (ca) mây pay
a‰·≠·a·‡·!veaava(.Ω,“.‡“u
If it rains, I’m not going/If it had rained, I wouldn’t have gone, etc.
Often, however, the ‘if’ word is omitted, and in abrupt speech, even kO › ,
too:
foˇn tòk (kOfl ) mây pay
!vea(a,“.‡“u
If it rains, I’m not going/If it had rained, I wouldn’t have gone, etc.
The conditional clause and main clause may be linked by lá kO › (or lá
kO › O, with a lengthened vowel on the second syllable), in which case the
verb normally follows:
(thâa khun) mây rîip lá kOfl O mây than
(a‰·ea,“.‡·ƒuaΩa“.‡rv
If you don’t hurry, you won’t be in time.
Reason clauses: ‘the fact that/because’
Reason clauses commonly involve the expression, kaan thîi (‘the fact
that’), which can be used in two patterns.
kaan thîi . . . kO › + phrO ⁄ wâa . . . (‘The fact that . . . is
because . . .’)
In this pattern, the consequence is stated first and the reason or cause
given in the second clause:
kaan thîi phoˇm klàp dÁŸ k kOfl phrO ⁄ wâa pay thîaw kàp phÁfl an
a··rƒ‡+.aaue∆aa–n··Ω·‡·“u–rƒ‡a·au–n‡av
The fact that I’m home late is because I went out with friends.
kaan thîi kháw mây yOOm bin pay kOfl phrO ⁄ wâa kháw klua
a··rƒ‡–z·“.‡aa.uv“ua–n··Ω·‡·–z·aa·
The fact that he won’t agree to fly is because he is scared.
9.2.2.1
9.2.2
9.2.1
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9.2
Subordinate
clauses
119
kaan thîi . . . kO › + VERB (‘the fact that/because . . . so . . .’)
In this pattern, the reason or cause is stated in the first clause and the
consequence or conclusion follows in the second:
kaan thîi foˇn tòk nàk raw kOfl maa cháa nOŸ y
a··rƒ‡!vea≠va–··a.·z‰·≠v‡aa
Because it was raining heavily, we were a bit late.
kaan thîi kháw kin mòt kOfl mây dây maˇ ay khwaam wâa arOŸ y
a··rƒ‡–z·av≠.ea“.‡“e‰≠.·ae··.·‡·a·‡aa
The fact that he ate it all doesn’t mean it tasted good.
In both patterns it is not unusual for kaan to be dropped and the sentence
to begin with thîi:
thîi phoˇm phûut yàaN nán kOfl phrO ⁄ wâa kròot
rƒ‡+.n eaa‡·+v‰va–n··Ω·‡·‘a·c
The fact that I spoke like that was because I was angry.
thîi kháw yaN mây klàp maa chán kOfl tOfl N rOO
rƒ‡–z·a+“.‡aau.·avae‰a+·a
Because he hasn’t come back yet, I shall have to wait.
‘Owing/due to . . .’ sentences, follow a similar pattern but are prefaced
by n¨ › aN càak , or the rather more formal-sounding n¨ › aN (maa) càak kaan
thîi . . . (‘owing to the fact . . .’):
nÁfl aN càak rót tìt mâak kháw kOfl khoN maa cháa
–v‡a+.·a·aee.·a–z·ae+.·z‰·
Due to the heavy traffic jams, he will probably be late.
In written Thai c¨N is commonly used instead of kO › :
kaan thîi yaN mây mii khàaw cÁN mây saˇ amâat bOŸ Ok dâay
a··rƒ‡a+“.‡.ƒz‡··.∆+“.‡a·.··auaa“e‰
Because there is still no news, it is therefore impossible to say.
Concessive clauses: ‘although’
Concessive clauses concede or admit a fact and begin with either (th¨ ‹ N)
m” ⁄ ” wâa (‘although’) or tháN tháN thîi (‘although’); the main clause coun-
ters or contradicts that fact and frequently begins with t” ‚ ” (kO › ) (‘but’):
9.2.3
9.2.2.2
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9
Clauses and
sentences
120
(thÁ‡ N) mE ⁄ E wâa chán sày nám plaa y´ ⁄ tE ŸE (kOfl ) yaN mây arOŸ y
(a∆+,—.‰·‡·av”a‡v‰·ua·–aaΩ—e‡(a,a+“.‡a·‡aa
Although I put a lot of fish sauce in, it still doesn’t taste good.
(thÁ‡ N) mE ⁄ E wâa phoˇm rák kháw tE ŸE kháw (kOfl ) mây rák phoˇm
(a∆+,—.‰·‡·+.·a–z·—e‡–z·(a,“.‡·a+.
Although I love her, she doesn’t love me.
tháN tháN thîi foˇn tòk tE ŸE raw (kOfl ) yaN pay
r‰+ | rƒ‡!vea—e‡–··aa+“u
Although it’s raining, we’re still going.
Another kind of concessive clause is formed by the pattern, mây wâa ca
(‘regardless, no matter’) + VERB + QUESTION WORD; the main clause
may be introduced by kO › :
mây wâa ca phEEN khEfl E naˇ y kOfl yaN rúusÁŸ k khúm
“.‡·‡·.Ω—n+—e‡“≠vaa+· ‰a∆ae‰.
Regardless of how expensive it was, I still think it was worth it.
mây wâa ca d´´n pay naˇ y kOfl ca heˇ n tE ŸE khon nâa bÁfl N
“.‡·‡·.Ω–ev“u“≠va.Ω–≠v—e‡ev≠v‰·u∆‰+
No matter where you walk, you see only people with sullen faces.
mây wâa ca bOŸ Ok kìi khráN kháw kOfl khoN mây yOOm faN
“.‡·‡·.Ωuaaaƒ‡e·‰+–z·ae+“.‡aa.†+
No matter how many times you tell him, he won’t listen.
Purpose clauses: ‘in order to’
Purpose clauses often begin with ph¨ › a (thîi) ca (‘in order to’):
kháw kin aahaˇ an thùuk thùuk phÁfl a (thîi) ca prayàt N´n
–z·ava·≠··a a | –n‡a(rƒ‡,.Ωu·Ω≠ae–+v
He eats cheap food in order to economise.
phoˇm tham yàaN nán phÁfl a (thîi) ca chûay phÁfl an
+.r·aa‡·+v‰v–n‡a(rƒ‡,.Ωz‡·a–n‡av
I did that in order to help a friend.
raw ca d´´n thaaN klaaN khÁÁn phÁfl a ca dây mây sı ˇa weelaa
–··.Ω–evr·+aa·+ev–n‡a.Ω“e‰“.‡–aƒa–·a·
We’ll travel overnight so as not to waste time.
9.2.4
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9.2
Subordinate
clauses
121
Additive clauses: ‘apart from’
A common pattern for giving additional information is nO › Ok càak . . .
l” ⁄ ”w . . . yaN . . . (dûay) (‘apart from . . . still . . . (too)’):
nOfl Ok càak chiaNmày lE ⁄ Ew raw yaN pay thîaw lampaaN dûay
vaa.·a–zƒa+”≠.‡—a‰· –··a+“u–rƒ‡a·a·u·+e‰·a
Apart from Chiangmai, we went to Lampang, too.
nOfl Ok càak ca kin nám man y´ ⁄ lE ⁄ Ew khâa sOfl Om yaN phEEN dûay
vaa.·a.Ωavv‰·.v–aaΩ—a‰· e‡·z‡a.a+—n+e‰·a
Apart from using a lot of petrol, the repair costs are expensive, too.
nOfl Ok càak nán lE ⁄ Ew yaN mii saˇ ahèet ìik laˇ ay yàaN
vaa.·av‰v–a‰· a+.ƒa·–≠eaƒa≠a·aaa‡·+
Apart from that, there are many other reasons.
Time clauses
Some common time clause expressions include:
phOO . . . púp (kOfl ) . . .. na . . . uu(a, . . . no sooner . . .
than . . .
. . . púp . . . . páp . . . uu . . . uu no sooner . . .
than . . .
mÁfl a . . . (kOfl ) . . . . –.‡a . . . (a, . . . when (past) . . .
weelaa . . . (kOfl ) . . . . –·a· . . . (a, . . . when . . .
laˇ N càak thîi . . . (kOfl ) . . . . ≠a+.·arƒ‡ . . . (a, . . . after . . .
kOŸ On thîi . . . (kOfl ) . . . . a‡avrƒ‡ . . . (a, . . . before . . .
khanà thîi . . . (kOfl ) . . . . zaΩrƒ‡ . . . (a, . . . while . . .
tOOn thîi . . . (kOfl ) . . . . eavrƒ‡ . . . (a, . . . while . . .
nay rawàaN thîi . . . (kOfl ) . . . . ”v·Ω≠·‡·+rƒ‡ . . . (a , . . . while . . .
phOO nâN loN nâa thii wii púp kOfl làp
nav‡+a+≠v‰·rƒ·ƒuua≠au
No sooner does he sit down in front of the TV than he falls asleep.
kin púp ìm páp
avuua‡.uu
No sooner do I (start to) eat than I feel full.
9.2.6
9.2.5
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Clauses and
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122
mÁfl a rian náNsÁ‡ Á phoˇm kOfl sùup burìi y´ ⁄
–.‡a–·ƒav≠v+aa+.aauu≠·ƒ‡–aaΩ
When I was a student, I smoked a lot.
kOŸ On thîi ca thO‡ On N´n chán kOfl tôN prÁŸ ksaˇ a kàp fEEn
a‡avrƒ‡.Ωaav–+vavae‰a+u·∆a™·au—†v
Before withdrawing the money, I’ll have to discuss it with my husband.
khanà thîi phoˇm khuy thoorasàp yùu kOfl mii khon maa rîak
zaΩrƒ‡+.ea‘r·anraa‡a.ƒev.·–·ƒaa
While I was chatting on the phone, someone called me.
Direct and indirect speech
Both direct and indirect speech are introduced by wâa (5.9). When
pronouns are omitted in the second clause, direct and indirect speech
become identical in form. wâa plays the role of inverted commas in direct
speech and ‘that’ in indirect speech:
kháw bOŸ Ok wâa (kháw) ca mây pay
–z·uaa·‡·(–z·,.Ω“.‡“u
He said that he’s not going.
kháw bOŸ Ok wâa (phoˇm) ca mây pay
–z·uaa·‡·(+.,.Ω“.‡“u
He said, ‘I’m not going.’
For indirect questions, see 12.4.
Imperatives
A simple verb or verb phrase is the most basic form of command. This can
sound abrupt and is normally softened by adding the mild command parti-
cle sí or thE ‚ at the end of the sentence, or the more insistent particle sîi (10.3).
Commands can be further softened by the use of polite particles (10.1):
duu sí
e z
Look!
pìt pratuu sí khá
u√eu·Ωe zeΩ
Shut the door, please.
9.4
9.3
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9.4
Imperatives
123
Commands can also be expressed by the patterns VERB (PHRASE) +
REDUPLICATED ADJECTIVE (7.1.2) and VERB + hây + ADJECTIVE
(7.1.5):
phûut dii dii
n eeƒ |
Speak nicely!
càt hây rîaprO ⁄ Oy
.e”≠‰–·ƒau·‰aa
Arrange things tidily!
First person imperatives (‘Let’s . . .’) can be expressed by the pattern,
VERB (PHRASE) + thE ‚ E:
pay kin khâN nOfl Ok th´Ÿ´
“uavz‰·+vaa–aaΩ
Let’s go and eat out!
coN is an imperative which appears in written instructions, as for example,
at the top of an examination paper:
coN tOŸ Op kham thaˇ am
.+eaue·a·.
Answer the (following) questions.
See also negative imperatives (11.8) and requesting someone to do/not
do something (15.4.4, 15.4.5).
Exemplification
Examples are commonly enclosed within the ‘wrap-around’ pattern chên
. . . pen tôn (‘for example, . . .’); however, either chên or pen tôn may be
omitted:
tOfl N tham laˇ ay yàaN chên sák phâa huˇ N khâaw tàt yâa pen tôn
e‰a+r·≠a·aaa‡·+–z‡vza+‰· ≠+z‰·· ee≠¡‰·–uve‰v
I have to do lots of things, such as washing, cooking and cutting the
grass.
‘To give an example’ is yók (‘to raise’) tua yàaN (‘example’):
khO‡ O yók tua yàaN nÁŸ N
zaaae·aa‡·+≠v∆‡+
Let me give an example.
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Clauses and
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124
Exclamatory particles
âaw a‰·· Contradicting, chiding; disappointment: Hey!; Oh!
(Is that so?).
é –aΩ Surprise: Eh?; What?
ée –a Thinking or wondering: Ermm . . .
h´^´y –∏‰a Calling attention: Hey! Hold on a minute!
mE‡ E —≠. Surprise: Goodness!
ôo hoo ‘a‰‘∏ Surprise: indignation; Wow! Oh yeah?
Ofl O a‰a Realization: Ah! (Now I understand).
táay e·a Shock, horror: Good Lord! More common in female
speech; variations include táay taay, taay lE ⁄ Ew
and taay ciN.
úy aa Pain or mishap: Ouch!; Oops!
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9.6
Exclamatory
particles
125
Sentence particles occur at the end of an utterance and serve a gram-
matical or communicative function. They can be divided into three main
groups: (a) question particles; (b) polite particles; and (c) mood particles.
Question particles
Question particles are relatively straightforward. They are few in number
and all occur at the end of an utterance to transform it into a question
which requires a ‘yes/no’ answer. They are dealt with in 12.1.
Polite particles
Polite particles are added to the end of an utterance to show respect to
the addressee. The most common are khráp, used by males at the end
of statements and questions, khâ used by females at the end of state-
ments and khá, also used by females, but at the end of questions:
pay naˇ y khráp?
“u“≠ve·u
Where are you going? (male asking)
– klàp bâan khâ
– aauu‰·ve‡Ω
– I’m going home. (female responding)
arOŸ y máy khá?
a·‡aa“≠.eΩ
Is it tasty? (female asking)
– arOŸ y khráp
– a·‡aae·u
– Yes. (male responding)
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Chapter 10
Sentence particles
Polite particles are also used as response particles to mean ‘yes’ or, when
preceded by the negative particle mây, ‘no’.
Polite particles are used after someone’s name to call their attention; the
female particles khá and cá are sometimes pronounced khaˇ a and caˇ a
respectively, the change of tone and vowel-lengthening signalling the
speaker’s closeness or desired closeness to the person she is addressing.
khun mEfl E khaˇ a?
ea—.‡z·
Mummy? (daughter speaking)
– caˇ a
– .˝·
– Yes? (mother responding)
The most common polite particles are as follows.
khráp (e·u)
Used by male speakers only, at the end of both statements and questions
as a sign of politeness; used after a name to attract that person’s atten-
tion; used in isolation as a response when one’s name is called (when the
vowel is often lengthened to khráap); used in isolation as a ‘yes’ response
(12.1.2; 12.1.4); used, often repetitively, to reassure speaker of one’s atten-
tion, for example on the telephone (khráp . . . khráp . . . khráp); used
after mây to mean ‘no’. In Bangkok speech the r is typically lost and
khráp becomes kháp.
khráp phoˇ m (e·u+.)
Used by male speakers only; interchangeable with khráp (above) except
it is not used in isolation with the negative mây; usage has only become
widespread in the last decade or so, and may be just a passing fad. Often
used humorously as a sign of exaggerated deference or politeness.
khá (eΩ)
Used by female speakers only, at the end of questions as a sign of polite-
ness; used after a name to attract that person’s attention; used in isolation
as a response when one’s name is called; used in polite requests after the
particle sí.
10.2.3
10.2.2
10.2.1
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10.2
Polite
particles
127
khâ (e‡Ω)
Used by female speakers only, at the end of statements as a sign of polite-
ness; used in isolation as a response when one’s name is called (when
the vowel is often lengthened to khâa); used in isolation as a ‘yes’ response
(12.1.2; 12.1.4); used to reassure speaker of one’s attention (khâ . . . khâ
. . . khâ) when the vowel may also be lengthened to khâa; used after mây
to mean ‘no’.
khaˇ a (z·)
Used by female speakers only after a name to attract the person’s atten-
tion; can also be used in isolation as a response when one’s name is called.
há?/há (∏Ω)
Used by male speakers as an informal substitute for khráp; used by female
speakers as an informal substitute for khá; male pronunciation is charac-
terised by a distinctive final glottal stop not associated with female usage.
hâ (∏‡Ω)
Used by female speakers as an informal substitute for khâ.
cá (.Ω)
Used by adult male and female speakers at the end of questions when
talking to children, servants or people of markedly lower social status;
used as a ‘sweet-talk’ question particle between males and females or as
a ‘best friends’ question particle between females; used after the name of
a child, servant or inferior to attract that person’s attention; used in polite
requests after the particle sí.
câ (.‰Ω)
Used by adult male and female speakers at the end of a statement when
speaking to children, servants and people of inferior status; between males
and females denotes anything from easy familiarity to ‘sweet talk’; between
females signals ‘best friends talk’; used as a response when one’s name
is called (when the vowel is often lengthened to câa); used in isolation
as a ‘yes’ response; used to reassure speaker of one’s attention (câa . . .
10.2.9
10.2.8
10.2.7
10.2.6
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10
Sentence
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128
câa . . . câa) when the vowel is normally lengthened; used after mây to
mean ‘no’.
caˇ a (.˝·)
Used by older or senior male and female speakers after a younger or
junior person’s name to attract that person’s attention (e.g. parents or
adults calling children); similarly used between equals as a sign of affec-
tion; can also be used in isolation as a response, more typically by females,
when one’s name is called.
wá/wâ/wóoy (·Ωt·‡Ωt‘·‰a)
An impolite or informal particle, used to indicate rudeness, anger and
aggressiveness when speaking to strangers, or intimacy with close friends
of equal status; wá is used with questions and wâ/wóoy with statements;
more common in male speech but can be used by females; it is the particle
favoured by baddies on the big screen, used by drinking friends as the
evening progresses, and the one to snarl in the expression tham aray wá?
(‘What the hell are you doing?’) if you have the misfortune to encounter
an intruder in your house.
yá/yâ (aΩta‡Ω)
An impolite or informal particle, similar to wá/wâ (above), but restricted
in usage to female speakers.
phâyâkhâ (n‡Ωa‡Ωe‡Ω)/pheekhá (–neΩ)
When speaking to royalty, male speakers use phâyâkhâ and female
speakers pheekhá.
Mood particles
Mood particles represent a major obstacle for the serious learner. Their
function is often conveyed in English purely by intonation, so they cannot
easily be translated; to complicate matters, one particle may have several
variant forms, involving a change in tone or vowel length, with each form
reflecting a subtle difference. Many basic language courses deliberately
omit mood particles for the sake of simplicity and it is possible to avoid
10.3
10.2.13
10.2.12
10.2.11
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10.3
Mood
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129
using them and get by quite adequately. But without mood particles,
statements often sound incomplete, abrupt or even impolite. They are
best learnt by imitation; everyday conversation, television, dialogue in
novels and interviews in newspapers and magazines all provide a ready
supply of examples, although the written form of a particle does not
always reflect its normal pronunciation. This section discusses some of
the most common particles; for a more detailed treatment, see Brown
(1969) and Cooke (1989).
dûay (e‰·a)
This particle is typically used in polite requests, apologies and cries for help:
khO‡ Othôot dûay
za‘r™e‰·a
Sorry!
chék bin dûay
–zeuae‰·a
Can I have the bill, please?
chûay dûay
z‡·ae‰·a
Help!
(aΩ)
A contracted form of l” ⁄ ”w (‘already’), one use of lá is to indicate that a
state has been reached (5.7.2):
phOO lá
naaΩ
That’s enough.
thùuk lá
a aaΩ
That’s right/correct.
dii lá
eƒaΩ
That’s fine.
aw lá
–a·aΩ
OK!; Right, then!
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Sentence
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130
It can also be used to indicate that a situation is about to change (prob-
ably representing a contraction of ca . . . l” ⁄ ”w ‘to be about to . . .’):
phoˇm klàp bâan lá
+.aauu‰·vaΩ
I’m going home.
pay lá
“uaΩ
I’m leaving.
ca kin lá
.ΩavaΩ
I’m going to eat.
Another use is with ìik (‘again’) to show mild irritation:
maa ìik lá
.·aƒaaΩ
He’s back again.
soˇmchaay ìik lá
a.z·aaƒaaΩ
It’s Somchai again.
lâ (a‡Ω)
This particle occurs commonly in questions, as a way of pressing for an
answer; in the following two examples, it is common to hear lâ reduced
to â:
thammay lâ?
r·“.a‡Ω
Why?
pay naˇ y lâ?
“u“≠va‡Ω
Where are you going?
Sometimes the particle conveys a sense of irritation, similar to English
‘why on earth . . .?’:
thammay tOfl N pay bOŸ Ok kháw lâ?
r·“.e‰a+“uuaa–z·a‡Ω
Why on earth did you have to go and tell her?
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10.3
Mood
particles
131
aw pay sOfl On wáy thîi naˇ y lâ?
–a·“uz‡av“·‰rƒ‡“≠va‡Ω
Where on earth have you gone and hidden it?
It is also used in the pattern l” ⁄ ”w . . . lâ (‘And how about . . .?, What
about . . .?’) to change the focus or topic of conversation:
lE ⁄ Ew khun lâ?
—a‰·eaa‡Ω
And how about you?
lE ⁄ Ew phrûN níi lâ?
–a‰·n·‡+vƒ‰a‡Ω
And how about tomorrow?
ná (vΩ)
This particle often serves to make a sentence milder or less abrupt by
seeking approval, agreement or compromise. Commands are similarly
made milder and convey a sense of coaxing and urging; ná often corre-
sponds to the use of ‘. . ., OK?’ or ‘. . ., right?’ in English:
pay lá ná
“uaΩvΩ
I’m going now, OK?
chán mây wâa ná
av“.‡·‡·vΩ
I don’t mind, OK?
yàa bOŸ Ok th´´ ná
aa‡·uaa–cavΩ
Don’t tell her, OK?
ná is also used when requesting someone to repeat a piece of informa-
tion, similar to English ‘What was that again?’:
aray ná?
aΩ“·vΩ
Pardon? What was that again?
khray ná?
”e·vΩ
Who was that again?
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10
Sentence
particles
132
khun klàp mÁfl arày ná?
evaau.·–.‡a“·vΩ
When was that again, that you’re going back?
Note also the use of ná as a question particle when seeking agreement
(see 12.1.4).
nâ/nâa (v‡Ωtv‡·)
This particle is used when persuading somebody to do something or
accept an idea when they are reluctant (cf. Come on, . . .):
yàa pay nâa
aa‡·“uv‡·
Oh, come on, don’t go.
It is also used to highlight the topic of a sentence, in much the same way
that some speakers of English use ‘right’:
phûuyı ˇN nâ kOfl pen yàaN nán
+ ‰≠¡+v‡Ωa–uvaa‡·+v‰v
Women, right, are like that.
tOOn khruu sO‡ On yùu nâ phoˇm faN mây rúu rÁfl aN l´´y
eave· aavaa‡v‡Ω+.†+“.‡·‰–·‡a+–aa
When the teacher is teaching, right, I don’t understand a word.
nOŸ y (≠v‡aa)
Polite request particle, basically meaning ‘just a little’; used to minimise
the degree of imposition on the listener; similar in function to thii but
used much more widely; commonly occurs in requests that begin with
khO ‹ O or chûay:
phûut cháa cháa nOŸ y dâay máy?
n ez‰·| ≠v‡aa“e‰“≠.
Could you speak slowly, please?
khO‡ O duu nOŸ y
zae ≠v‡aa
Could I have a look, please?
chûay pìt thii wii nOŸ y
z‡·au√erƒ·ƒ≠v‡aa
Please turn the TV off.
10.3.6
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10.3
Mood
particles
133
Nay (“+)
Often used as a response to a statement or question to show that the
respondent thinks the answer is self-evident:
kháw mây yOOm khâa man
–z·“.‡aa.r‡·.v
He wouldn’t kill it.
– kOfl pen bàap Nay lâ
– a–uvu·u“+a‡Ω
– Well, it’s sinful, of course.
sÁfl a chán haˇ ay pay naˇ y?
–a‰aav≠·a“u“≠v
Where’s my blouse disappeared to?
– nîi Nay yùu troN níi eeN
– vƒ‡“+ aa‡e·+vƒ‰–a+
– Here it is. Right here.
It is also used in the Thai equivalent of ‘here you are’, used when giving
something to someone:
nîi Nay lâ khráp/khâ
vƒ‡“+a‡Ωe·ute‡Ω
Here you are!
rOŸ k/lOŸ k (≠·aa)
Occurs most commonly at the end of negative statements to contradict
the addressee’s statement or belief:
mây tOfl N lOŸ k
“.‡e‰a+≠·aa
There’s no need. (when declining an offer)
phEEN khráp
—n+e·u
It’s expensive.
– mây phEEN lOŸ k khâ
– “.‡–n+≠·aae‡Ω
– No it isn’t.
10.3.8
10.3.7
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Sentence
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134
In positive statements it can convey a qualified or somewhat hesitant
acceptance of the addressee’s statement or belief:
kOfl ciN lOŸ k
a.·+≠·aa
That’s true (but . . .)
kháw phûut thay kèN
–z·n e“ra–a‡+
He speaks Thai well.
– kOfl kèN lOŸ k tE ŸE yaN khı ˇan mây pen
– a–a‡+≠·aa —e‡a+–zƒav“.‡–uv
– Yes . . . but he can’t write yet.
It can also be used to express sarcasm:
pen phOfl O tua yàaN lOŸ k
–uvn‡ae·aa‡·+≠·aa
He’s a model parent!
or mild annoyance:
phoˇm phûut dâay eeN lOŸ k
+.n e“e‰–a+≠·aa
I can speak for myself.
sí/sì/sii/sîi (ztatzƒtzƒ‡)
This particle is most commonly used in commands. When pronounced with
a short vowel and followed by a polite particle it does not convey any sense
of abruptness and is widely used in polite requests (‘Do sit down, please’);
more insistent requests and commands are conveyed when the particle is
pronounced with a falling tone and longer vowel (‘Sit down!’):
ch´´n nâN sí khá
–z¡v‡+zeΩ
Please sit down.
duu sí khráp
e ze·u
Look!, Take a look!
phûut ìik thii sí khá
n eaƒarƒzeΩ
Please say that again.
10.3.9
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10.3
Mood
particles
135
nâN sîi
v‡+zƒ‡
Sit down! (and listen)
pìt pratuu sîi
u√eu·Ωe zƒ‡
Shut the door! (I’ve told you once already)
Another use of this particle is to emphasise a positive response to a ques-
tion:
pay máy?
“u“≠.
Shall we go?
– pay sii
– “uzƒ
– Yes, let’s.
yàak lOO N máy?
aa·aaa+“≠.
Do you want to try it?
– yàak sii
– aa·azƒ
– Yes, I would.
It is also used to contradict negative statements:
kháw khoN mây maa
–z·e+“.‡.·
He probably won’t come.
– maa sii
– .·zƒ
– Oh yes, he will!
chán phûut aNkrìt mây kèN
avn ea+a•™“.‡–a‡+
I don’t speak English well.
– kèN sii
– –a‡+zƒ
– Oh yes, you do!
th´ŸŸ /h´Ÿ (–aet–aaΩt–≠aΩ)
A mild, ‘urging’ particle, used in suggestions, invitations, requests and
mild commands; can often be conveyed in English by ‘you’d/we’d better
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10
Sentence
particles
136
. . .’ , ‘why don’t you/we . . .’, ‘go ahead and . . .’, ‘let’s . . .’, depending
on the context; when it is used to urge someone to do something, a
reason is often given, too; when joint activity is being suggested, it is
often preceded by kan (‘together’); often reduced to hE ‚ in informal speech.
klàp bâan th´Ÿ dÁŸ k lE ⁄ Ew
aauu‰·v–aaΩ e∆a—a‰·
You’d better go home. It’s late.
pay kin kan th´Ÿ
“uavav–aaΩ
Let’s go and eat.
dı ˇaw h´Ÿ
–eƒ˝a·–aaΩ
Steady on!/Not so fast!
thii (rƒ)
Polite request particle, basically meaning ‘just this once’; used to minimise
degree of imposition on listener; similar in function to nO ‚ y but much
more restricted in use; note the idiomatic khO ‹ O thii:
khO‡ Othôot thii
za‘r™rƒ
Sorry!
khO‡ O phûut thii
zan erƒ
Can I say something/get a word in?
chûay pìt thii wii thii
z‡·au√erƒ·ƒrƒ
Please turn the TV off.
khO‡ O thii
zarƒ
Don’t!
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10.3
Mood
particles
137
Negative words in Thai are (a) mây (‘not, no’), widely used in negative
sentences and negative responses to questions; (b) mí, a variant of mây;
(c) yàa (‘don’t’) and (d) hâam (‘to forbid’), both used in negative
commands and prohibitions; (e) plàaw (‘no’), a negative response which
contradicts the assumption in the question; and (f) yaN (‘not yet’), used
only as a negative response to . . . r¨ ⁄ yaN? questions (12.1.6).
Negating main verbs
Verbs are generally negated by the pattern mây + VERB (PHRASE):
chán mây pay
av“.‡“u
I’m not going.
aahaˇ an mây arOŸ y
a·≠··“.‡a·‡aa
The food isn’t tasty.
Verb compounds (5.3) also follow this pattern:
chán mây plìan plEEN
av“.‡–uaƒ‡av—ua+
I’m not changing
chán mây duu lEE kháw
av“.‡e –a—z·
I don’t look after her.
For negation of ‘to be’, see 5.1.
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Chapter 11
Negation
Negating resultative verbs
Combinations of verb + resultative verbs (5.4) are superficially similar to
verb compounds, but are negated by the pattern VERB + (OBJECT) +
mây + RESULTATIVE VERB:
raw nOOn mây làp
–··vav“.‡≠au
We didn’t sleep.
kháw haˇ a mây c´´
–z·≠·“.‡–.a
He can’t find it.
chán khít mây OŸOk
avee“.‡aaa
I can’t work it out.
kháw àan mây khâw cay/mây rúu rÁfl aN
–z·a‡·v“.‡–z‰·”.t“.‡· ‰–·‡a+
He doesn’t understand. (what he is reading)
phoˇm faN mây than
+.†+“.‡rv
I can’t keep up. (they’re speaking too fast)
bOŸ Ok mây thùuk
uaa“.‡a a
It’s hard to say.
chán duu naˇ N mây còp
ave ≠v+“.‡.u
I didn’t see the film through to the end.
lûuk kin khâaw mây mòt
a aavz‰··“.‡≠.e
My kids don’t eat up all their rice.
The word yaN can be added, either immediately before mây, or immedi-
ately before the main verb, to convey the sense that the action has not
yet produced the intended result:
chán duu naˇ N yaN mây còp/chán yaN duu naˇ N mây còp
ave ≠v+a+“.‡.utava+e≠v+“.‡.u
I haven’t yet finished watching the film.
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11.2
Negating
resultative
verbs
139
kháw tham Naan yaN mây sèt/kháw yaN tham Naan mây sèt
–z·r·+·va+“.‡–a·.t–z·a+r·+·v“.‡–a·.
He hasn’t yet finished work.
Negating auxiliary verbs
There are three patterns for negating auxiliary verbs; note that tO › N (must)
can occur in both patterns, but with different meanings:
mây + AUXILIARY VERB + VERB (PHRASE)
A relatively small number of verbs follow this pattern, the most common
being:
kh´´y –ea used to do/be, have ever done/been
khuan (ca) e··(.Ω, should/ought
nâa (ca) v‡·(.Ω, should/ought
yàak (ca) aa·a(.Ω, want to, would like to
tOfl N e‰a+ have to, must
chán mây kh´´y kin
av“.‡–eaav
I’ve never eaten it.
khun mây khuan (ca) sÁ ⁄ Á
ea“.‡e··(.Ω,z‰a
You shouldn’t have bought it.
raw mây yàak (ca) klàp bâan
–··“.‡aa·a(.Ω,aauu‰·v
We don’t want to go home.
khun mây tOfl N bOŸ Ok kháw
ea“.‡e‰a+uaa–z·
You don’t have to tell him/There’s no need to tell him.
AUXILIARY VERB + mây + VERB (PHRASE)
Auxiliary verbs which follow this pattern include:
ca .Ω future time marker
àat (ca) a·.(.Ω, may/might
11.3.2
11.3.1
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11
Negation
140
khoN (ca) e+(.Ω, will probably, sure to
mák (ca) .a(.Ω, tend to, usually
yOfl m (ca) a‡a.(.Ω, likely to
heˇ n ca –≠v.Ω seems that
thEfl Ep (ca) —ru(.Ω, almost, nearly
thâa ca a‰·.Ω might, it could be
thâa thaaN (ca) r‡·r·+(.Ω, look like/as though
duu mÁ‡ an (ca) e –≠.av(.Ω, look like/as though
yOfl m (ca) a‡a.(.Ω, likely to, apt to
tOfl N e‰a+ have to, must
phoˇm àat ca mây pay
+.a·..Ω“.‡“u
I might not go.
khun khoN ca mây soˇn cay
eae+.Ω“.‡av”.
You probably won’t be interested.
kháw mák ca mây chOfl Op
–z·.a.Ω“.‡zau
She usually doesn’t like it.
khun tOfl N mây bOŸ Ok kháw
eae‰a+“.‡uaa–z·
You must not tell him.
VERB (PHRASE) + mây + AUXILIARY VERB
This pattern occurs with the modal verbs expressing ability and permis-
sion, pen, dâay and waˇ y (5.6.2):
kháw phûut thay mây pen
–z·n e“ra“.‡–uv
He can’t speak Thai.
khun pay mây dâay
ea“u“.‡“e‰
You can’t go.
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11.3
Negating
auxiliary
verbs
141
chán thon mây waˇ y
avrv“.‡“≠·
I can’t stand it.
mây dây + VERB (PHRASE)
The pattern, mây dây + VERB (PHRASE) is used in the following cases.
To form a negative past with verbs of motion, action,
utterance, etc.
It is not used with stative verbs or pre-verbs (5.7.7):
raw mây dây sÁ ⁄ Á
–··“.‡“e‰z‰a
We didn’t buy it.
phÁfl an mây dây maa
–n‡av“.‡“e‰.·
My friend didn’t come.
To contradict an assumption
It does not indicate any particular tense and may refer to past or present:
bâan yùu kruNthêep l´‡ ´?
u‰·vaa‡a·+–rn·≠·a
Your house is in Bangkok, then?
– plàaw mây dây yùu kruNthêep
– –ua‡· “.‡“e‰aa ‡a·+–rn·
– No, it’s not in Bangkok.
kháw pen fEEn l´‡ ´?
–z·–uv—†v≠·a
She’s your girlfriend, then?
– plàaw mây dây pen
– –ua‡· “.‡“e‰–uv
– No, she’s not.
11.4.2
11.4.1
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11
Negation
142
khun sO‡ On phaasaˇ a aNkrìt l´‡ ´?
eaaavs·™·a+a•™≠·a
You taught English, then?
– plàaw mây dây sO‡ On
– –ua‡· “.‡“e‰aav
– No, I didn’t.
To negate the verbs chÁfl Á (‘to be named’) and pen (‘to be’).
See 5.1:
kháw mây dây chÁfl Á tOfl y
–z·“.‡“e‰z‡ae‰aa
Her name isn’t Toi.
phoˇm mây dây pen khon ameerikan
+.“.‡“e‰–uveva–.·av
I’m not an American.
mây chây + NOUN
mây chây + NOUN negates phrases consisting of the verb pen (‘to
be’) + NOUN (5.1); it is often interchangeable with mây dây pen + NOUN.
nîi mây chây bâan kháw
vƒ‡“.‡”z‡u‰·v–z·
This isn’t his house.
chán pen khruu mây chây mO‡ O
av–uve· “.‡”z‡≠.a
I’m a teacher, not a doctor.
kháw mây chây phÁfl an
–z·“.‡”z‡–n‡av
He’s not a friend.
‘It is neither . . ., nor . . .’, is expressed by the pattern NOUN 1 + kO › mây
chây + NOUN 2 + kO › mây chE E N:
phàk kOfl mây chây phoˇnlamáay kOfl mây ch´´ N
+aa“.‡”z‡ +a“.‰a“.‡–z+
It’s neither vegetable, nor fruit.
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11.5
mây chây +
NOUN
143
mây mii
mây mii (‘there are not’) is placed before a noun to form the negative
quantifier ‘not any’ and ‘no’:
mây mii rót mee
“.‡.ƒ·a–.a
There aren’t any buses.
mây mii phÁfl an maa yîam chán
“.‡.ƒ–n‡av.·–aƒ‡a.av
No friends came to visit me.
mây mii is also used to negate the indefinite pronouns khray (‘anyone’)
aray (‘anything’) and thîi naˇ y (‘anywhere’):
mây mii khray rúu
“.‡.ƒ”e·· ‰
No one knows.
mây mii aray k´Ÿ´t khÁfl n
“.‡.ƒaΩ“·–aez∆‰v
Nothing happened.
mây mii thîi naˇ y thîi mOŸ
“.‡.ƒrƒ‡“≠vrƒ‡–≠.·Ω
There’s nowhere suitable.
Modifying negatives: intensifying and softening
Negative statements are intensified or softened by using a ‘wrap-around’
construction in which the verb occurs between the negative word and the
modifier: mây + VERB (PHRASE) + INTENSIFIER/SOFTENER.
Common negative intensifiers are:
mây . . . l´´y “.‡ . . . –aa not at all . . .
mây. . . nEfl E “.‡ . . . —v‡ not . . . for sure
mây. . . dèt khàat “.‡ . . . –eez·e absolutely not . . .
chán mây chOfl Op l´´y
av“.‡zau–aa
I don’t like it at all.
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11
Negation
144
kháw mây maa nEfl E
–z·“.‡.·—v‡
He is not coming for sure.
A more elaborate pattern is mây . . . m” ⁄ ” t” ‚ e + CLASSIFIER + diaw (‘not
. . ., not even a single . . .’):
phoˇm mây rúucàk khray mE ⁄ E tE Ÿ e khon diaw
+.“.‡· ‰.a”e·—.‰—e‡ev–eƒa·
I don’t know even a single person.
kháw mây soˇ n cay mE ⁄ E tE Ÿ e nít diaw
–z·“.‡av”.—.‰—e‡ve–eƒa·
He is not even the slightest bit interested.
Common softeners are:
mây (khOfl y) . . . thâwrày “.‡(e‡aa, . . . –r‡·“· not very . . .
mây (khOfl y) . . . nák “.‡(e‡aa, . . . va not very . . .
mây (sûu) . . . nák “.‡(a ‰, . . . va not very . . .
naˇ N mây khOfl y sanùk thâwrày
≠v+“.‡e‡aaava–r‡·“·
The film wasn’t much fun.
mây khO › y also commonly occurs without thâwrày or nák:
chán mây khOfl y chOfl Op
av“.‡e‡aazau
I don’t like it very much.
Negative imperatives
Negative commands follow the pattern, yàa (‘Don’t’) + VERB (PHRASE),
or hâam (‘It’s forbidden to . . .’) + VERB (PHRASE); both can be made
more emphatic (‘absolutely not, under no circumstances, don’t ever . . .’)
by adding pen an khàat or dèt khàat after the verb or verb phrase, or
modified in various other ways by the addition of mood particles (10.3).
See also 15.4.5.
yàa/hâam bOŸ Ok kháw (ná)
aa‡·t≠‰·.uaa–z·(vΩ,
Don’t tell him (right?).
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11.8
Negative
imperatives
145
yàa/hâam thoo maa ìik pen an khàat
aa‡·t≠‰·.‘r·.·aƒa–uvavz·e
Don’t ever, under any circumstances, ring me again.
The pattern, yàa phE › N + VERB (PHRASE) conveys the sense that it is the
wrong time for doing something:
yàa ph´^ N pìt EE ná
aa‡·–n‡+u√e—a·vΩ
Don’t turn the air-conditioning off just yet, OK?
yàa ph´^ N bOŸ Ok kháw ná
aa‡·–n‡+uaa–z·vΩ
Don’t tell him just yet, OK?
yàa ph´^ N
aa‡·–n‡+
Not now!
Negative causatives
Causative constructions (5.11) are negated according to the following
patterns.
SUBJECT (human/non-human) + mây + tham + (inanimate
OBJECT) + VERB
khO‡ O yÁÁm nOŸ y ca mây tham sı ˇa
zaa.≠v‡aa .Ω“.‡r·–aƒa
Can I borrow it? I won’t damage it.
phoˇm mây dây tham tE ŸEk khráp
+.“.‡“e‰r·—eae·u
I didn’t break it.
Note that mây dây is used instead of mây to negate actions in the past
(5.7.7).
SUBJECT (human) + mây + hây + (animate OBJECT) +
VERB (PHRASE)
kháw mây hây phanrayaa tham Naan
–z·“.‡”≠‰s··a·r·+·v
He doesn’t let his wife work.
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11
Negation
146
phOfl O mây hây lûuk klàp bâan dÁŸ k
n‡a“.‡”≠‰a aaauu‰·ve∆a
The father doesn’t let his children come home late.
raw mây dây hây kháw maa
–··“.‡“e‰”≠‰–z·.·
We didn’t let him come.
When hây is preceded by a specifying verb, such as bO ‚ Ok (‘to tell’), the
negative can take two distinct forms and meanings, depending on whether
it is the specifying verb or hây which is being negated.
SUBJECT (human) + specifying verb + mây + hây +
(animate OBJECT) + VERB (PHRASE)
kháw bOŸ Ok mây hây chán cháy N ´n mâak
–z·uaa“.‡”≠‰av”z‰–+v.·a
He told me not to spend a lot of money.
mia tÁan mây hây kháw klàp bâan dÁŸ k
–.ƒa–eav“.‡”≠‰–z·aauu‰·ve∆a
His wife warned him not to come home late.
phOfl O hâam mây hây chán kin lâw
n‡a≠‰·.“.‡”≠‰avav–≠a‰·
My father forbids me to drink alcohol.
huˇa nâa pàtìsèet mây hây phoˇm laa pùay
≠·≠v‰·u¸–ac“.‡”≠‰+.a·u‡·a
My boss refuses to let me take sick leave.
Alternatively, the object can occur after the specifying verb and before
mây hây:
kháw bOŸ Ok chán mây hây cháy N ´n mâak
–z·uaa“.‡”≠‰av”z‰–+v.·a
He told me not to spend a lot of money.
phOfl O hâam chán mây hây kin lâw
n‡a≠‰·.av“.‡”≠‰av–≠a‰·
My father forbids me to drink alcohol.
Note that in negative causative constructions pàtìsèet (‘to refuse’) and
hâam (‘forbid’) occur with mây hây (and not hây on its own), creating
an apparent ‘double negative’ (‘refuse not to let’, ‘forbid not to let’). It
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11.9
Negative
causatives
147
should also be noted that hâam can occur without hây, both in simple
causative sentences and in negative imperatives (11.8):
phOfl O hâam chán kin lâw
n‡a≠‰·.avav–≠a‰·
My father forbids me to drink alcohol.
hâam p´Ÿ´t pratuu
≠‰·.–uƒeu·Ωe
Don’t open the door!
SUBJECT (human) + mây + specifying verb + hây +
(animate OBJECT) + VERB (PHRASE)
mE ^ E mây anúyâat hây lûuk pay rooN rian
—.‡“.‡av¡·e”≠‰a a“u‘·+–·ƒav
The mother does not allow her children to go to school.
chán mây yOOm hây kháw tham yàaN nán
av“.‡aa.”≠‰–z·r·aa‡·+v‰v
I don’t let him do that.
kháw mây dây tÁan hây raw rawaN khamooy
–z·“.‡“e‰‰–eav”≠‰–···Ω·+z‘.a
He didn’t warn us to watch out for burglars.
SUBJECT (human or non-human) + mây + tham hây +
(OBJECT) + VERB (PHRASE)
rót tìt yuN kàt mây tham hây chán dÁŸ at rO ⁄ On
·aeea+ae“.‡r·”≠‰av–eae·‰av
Traffic jams and mosquito bites don’t bother me.
tÁŸ Án saˇ ay mây tham hây pay tham Naan cháa
e‡va·a“.‡r·”≠‰“ur·+·vz‰·
Getting up late doesn’t make me late for work.
Negative questions
Negative questions (‘You didn’t . . . did you?’) are formed according to
the following patterns:
(a) mây + VERB + lE ‹ E?
(b) mây + VERB + chây máy?
(c) SUBJECT + VERB + mây chây lE ‹ E?
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11
Negation
148
Note that the question word máy? (12.1.1) is not used in negative questions.
Negative questions present a problem for English speakers in that yes/no
answers are reversed in Thai: where in English, we say ‘No (I didn’t)’ and
‘Yes (I did)’, Thai has ‘Yes (I didn’t)’ and ‘No (I did)’. In replying to
negative questions, providing additional clarification to a yes/no response
(shown in brackets in the examples) can pre-empt misunderstandings:
khun mây sÁ ⁄ Á l´‡ ´?
ea“.‡z‰a≠·a
You’re not buying it, right?
– khráp (mây sÁ ⁄ Á)/sÁ ⁄ Á sii khâ
– e·u (“.‡z‰a,tz‰aae‡Ω
– No (I’m not)/Yes, I am.
khun mây rúu chây máy?
ea“.‡· ‰”z‡“≠.
You don’t know, right?
– chây (mây rúu)/mây chây (rúu)
– ”z‡ (“.‡· ‰,t“.‡”z‡ (·‰,
– No (I don’t)/Yes (I do).
nîi rót khO‡ O N khun mây chây l´‡ ´?
vƒ‡·aza+ea“.‡”z‡≠·a
This is your car, isn’t it?
– chây (khO‡ O N phoˇm)/mây chây
– ”z‡ (za++.,t“.‡”z‡
– Yes (it’s mine)/No.
For negative why? questions (‘why didn’t you ..?’) see 12.2.7.
Negative conditional clauses
Negative conditional clauses (‘unless, otherwise if . . . not’) are introduced
by mây yàaN nán (‘otherwise’), often shortened to mây yaN nán or mây
Nán, míchànán (‘otherwise’) or simply mây; as in positive conditional
clauses (9.2.1), the word thâa (‘if’) is frequently omitted:
mây yàaN nán raw ca pay ráp
“.‡aa‡·+v‰v–··.Ω“u·u
Otherwise we’ll go and pick (her) up.
míchànán phoˇm mây pay
.aΩv‰v+.“.‡“u
Otherwise I’m not going.
11.11
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11.11
Negative
conditional
clauses
149
mây yàak pay kOfl mây tOfl N
“.‡aa·a“ua“.‡e‰a+
If you don’t want to go, (you) don’t have to.
mây bOŸ Ok kOfl chûay mây dâay
“.‡uaaaz‡·a“.‡“e‰
Unless (you) tell (me), (I) can’t help.
mây chây wan níi kOfl tOfl N pen phrûN níi
“.‡”z‡·vvƒ‰ae‰a+–uvn·‡+vƒ‰
If not today, then it must be tomorrow.
Saying ‘no’
The negative answer to a yes/no question is determined by the question
particle. Thus, for example, a ‘no’ answer to a question that ends in . . .
máy? is mây + VERB (PHRASE) , while for a question ending in . . . l” ⁄ ”w
r¨ ⁄ yaN?, it is yaN. Yes/no answers are dealt with in more detail in 12.1,
but the following table provides a basic summary of the most likely nega-
tive responses:
Questions ending in: NO answer
. . . máy? mây + VERB
. . . l´& ´? mây (+ POLITE PARTICLE)
mây + VERB
plàaw
. . . chây máy? mây chây
mây ch´´ N
. . . lE ⁄ Ew rÁ ⁄ yaN? yaN (+ POLITE PARTICLE)
yaN mây + VERB
. . . rÁ ⁄ plàaw? mây + VERB
plàaw
. . . ná? mây + VERB
11.12
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11
Negation
150
Note also the more qualified ‘no’ response, mây chE E N (‘not really, not
exactly, I wouldn’t say that’):
nâa bÁŸ a mâak máy?
v‡·–u‡a.·a“≠.
Was it very boring?
– kOfl mây ch´´ N
– a“.‡–z+
– Well, not exactly.
Useful negative expressions
mây pen ray “.‡–uv“· never mind!
mây mii thaaN “.‡.ƒr·+ no way!
mây mii wan “.‡.ƒ·v never!
mây mii panhaˇ a “.‡.ƒu¡≠· no problem!; without question
cháy mây dâay ”z‰“.‡“e‰ (it’s) no good
mây pen rÁfl aN “.‡–uv–·‡a+ (it’s) nonsense
mây khâw rÁfl aN “.‡–z‰·–·‡a+ (it’s) irrelevant
mây aw naˇ y “.‡–a·“≠v (it’s) useless, good-for-nothing
pen pay mây dâay –uv“u“.‡“e‰ (it’s) impossible
mây kìaw “.‡–aƒ‡a· (it’s) irrelevant
kháw phûut mây pen rÁfl aN
–z·n e“.‡–uv–·‡a+
He’s talking nonsense.
kháw pen khon mây aw naˇ y
–z·–uvev“.‡–a·“≠v
He’s a good-for-nothing.
Two further negatives: mí and haˇa . . . mây
Two other negative forms to be aware of, which are most likely to be
encountered in written Thai, are mí, a polite, rather formal variant of
11.14
11.13
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11.14
Two further
negatives: mí
and haˇa . . .
mây
151
mây, and the ‘wrap-around’ expression, haˇ a + VERB (PHRASE) + mây,
which can seriously mislead the unsuspecting learner:
kháw tham dooy mí dây waˇ N prayòot aray
–z·r·‘ea.“e‰≠·+u·Ω‘azvaΩ“·
He did it without hoping for any benefit.
kháw haˇ a dây còp mahaˇ awítthayaalay mây
–z·≠·“e‰.u.≠··ra·aa“.‡
He did not graduate from university.
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11
Negation
152
Yes/no questions
Statements are transformed into questions that require a simple yes/no
answer by adding the question particles, máy?, lE ‹ E?, chây máy?, ná?, r¨ ⁄
plàaw? or r¨ ⁄ yaN?, to the end of the statement:
statement question
aahaˇ an yîipùn phEEN aahaˇ an yîipùn phEEN máy?
a·≠··¡ƒ‡u‡v—n+ a·≠··¡ƒ‡u‡v—n+“≠.
Japanese food is expensive. Is Japanese food expensive?
kháw pen phÁfl an kháw pen phÁfl an chây máy?
–z·–uv–n‡av –z·–uv–n‡av”z‡“≠.
He’s a friend. He’s a friend, is he?
There is no single word for ‘yes’ and for ‘no’; the appropriate way of
saying yes/no is determined by the question particle used.
. . . máy? questions
máy? is an information-seeking question particle used in neutral ques-
tions which do not anticipate either a positive or negative response.
Answers to simple máy? questions are formed as follows:
Yes: VERB
No: mây + VERB
klay máy?
“aa“≠.
Is it far?
12.1.1
12.1
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Chapter 12
Questions
– klay/mây klay
– “aat“.‡“aa
– Yes/No.
If the question includes more than one verb, the first verb is normally
used in responses:
yàak pay duu naˇ N máy?
aa·a“ue≠v+“≠.
Would you like to go and see a film?
– yàak/mây yàak
– aa·at“.‡aa·a
– Yes/No.
Although the question particle máy? is written in Thai script as if it had
a rising tone, in normal speech it is pronounced with a high tone. Note
that máy? when used alone does not occur in negative questions (11.10).
. . . l´&´/rÁ& Á? questions
lE ‹ E? is a confirmation-seeking question particle used in questions which
make an assumption and seek confirmation of that assumption. Answers
to lE ‹ E? questions are formed as follows:
Yes: khráp/khâ (+ VERB)
or
VERB + khráp/khâ
No: mây + VERB
or
plàaw + khráp/khâ (+ mây + VERB) *
*Note plàaw conveys a stronger sense of denying the assumption made
in the question; to avoid abruptness, it may be followed by a further
clarifying statement.
kháw chOfl Op l´‡ ´?
–z·zau≠·a
He likes it, does he?
– khráp chOfl Op
– e·u zau
– Yes.
– mây chOfl Op/plàaw khâ mây chOfl Op l´´y
–“.‡zaut–ua‡·e‡Ω “.‡zau–aa
– No./No, he doesn’t like it at all.
12.1.2
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12
Questions
154
lE ‹ E? commonly occurs in negative questions (11.10) and in isolation,
where it means ‘Really?’; it is written in Thai script as if it were pronounced
r¨ ‹ ¨, although this pronunciation is seldom heard.
. . . chây máy? questions
chây máy? questions are similar to lE ‹ E? questions (12.1.2) in that they
seek confirmation of the assumption made in the question. Answers to
chây máy? questions are formed as follows:
Yes: chây
No: mây chây
mEfl E pen khon thay chây máy?
—.‡–uvev“ra”z‡“≠.
Your mother is Thai, isn’t she?
– chây/mây chây
– ”z‡t“.‡”z‡
– Yes/No.
châi máy? also commonly occurs in negative questions (11.10).
. . . ná? questions
ná? is an agreement-seeking question particle used in questions which
invite agreement with the preceding statement (e.g. It’s a nice day today,
isn’t it?), rather than to confirm whether or not the statement is true; it
is commonly used in conversation-initiating questions. (For other uses of
ná, see 10.3.) Answers to ná? questions are formed as follows:
Yes: khráp/khâ
or
VERB + khráp/khâ
No: mây + VERB + khráp/khâ
wan níi rO ⁄ On ná?
·vvƒ‰·‰avvΩ
It’s hot today, isn’t it?
– khâ (khráp)/rO ⁄ On khâ (khráp)
– e‡Ω(e·u,t·‰ave‡Ω(e·u,
– Yes.
mây rO ⁄ On khâ (khráp)
“.‡·‰ave‡Ω(e·u,
– No.
12.1.4
12.1.3
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12.1
Yes/no
questions
155
. . . rÁ ⁄ plàaw? questions
r¨ ⁄ plàaw? questions, although not as brusque as the English translation
(‘. . . or not?’) suggests, demand a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Answers
to r¨ ⁄ plàaw? questions are formed as follows:
If the question refers to the present or future:
Yes: VERB
No: mây + VERB
or
plàaw (+ mây + VERB)
khun ca pay rÁ ⁄ plàaw?
ea.Ω“u≠·a–ua‡·
Are you going (or not)?
– pay/mây pay
– “ut“.‡“u
– Yes/No.
kháw bÁŸ a rÁ ⁄ plàaw?
–z·–u‡a≠·a–ua‡·
Is he bored (or not)?
– bÁŸ a/mây bÁŸ a or plàaw mây bÁŸ a
– –u‡at“.‡–u‡a .. –ua‡· “.‡–u‡a
– Yes/No.
If the question refers to the past, stative verbs (5.2) behave differently to
other verbs:
Yes: VERB + lE ⁄ Ew
or
STATIVE VERB (+ khráp/khâ)
No: mây dây + VERB
or
plàaw + khráp/khâ (+ mây dây + VERB)
or
mây + STATIVE VERB
or
plàaw + khráp/khâ (+ mây + STATIVE VERB)
12.1.5
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12
Questions
156
khun bOŸ Ok kháw rÁ ⁄ plàaw?
eauaa–z·≠·a–ua‡·
Did you tell him (or not)?
– bOŸ Ok lE ⁄ Ew/mây dây bOŸ Ok
– uaa—a‰·t“.‡“e‰uaa
– Yes/No.
khun bÁŸ a rÁ ⁄ plàaw?
ea–u‡a≠·a–ua‡·
Were you bored (or not)?
– bÁŸ a/mây bÁŸ a or plàaw khráp (khâ) mây bÁŸ a.
– –u‡at“.‡–u‡a .. –ua‡·e·u(e‡Ω, “.‡–u‡a
– Yes/No.
As an alternative to r¨ ⁄ plàaw? (‘. . . or not?’) questions can also be formed
using r¨ ⁄ mây?; answers follow the same pattern as for r¨ ⁄ plàaw? questions:
khun ca pay rÁ ⁄ mây?
ea.Ω“u≠·a“.‡
Are you going or not?
Note that r¨ ⁄ in r¨ ⁄ plàaw? and r¨ ⁄ yaN? (12.1.6) is spelt as if it were
pronounced r¨ ‹ ¨.
. . . (lE ⁄ Ew) rÁ ⁄ yaN? questions
(l” ⁄ ”w) r¨ ⁄ yaN? questions ask whether something has happened yet; the
word l” ⁄ ”w (‘already’) is often omitted in spoken Thai. Answers to (l” ⁄ ”w)
r¨ ⁄ yaN? questions are formed as follows, with the negative response yaN
often expanded to avoid sounding too abrupt:
Yes: VERB + lE ⁄ Ew
No: yaN khráp/khâ expanded by
either
yaN mây dây + VERB
or
yaN mây + STATIVE VERB
kin khâaw (lE ⁄ Ew) rÁ ⁄ yaN?
avz‰··(—a‰·,≠·aa+
Have you eaten yet?
– kin lE ⁄ Ew/yaN khráp(khâ) yaN mây dây kin
– av—a‰·ta+e·u(e‡Ω, a+“.‡“e‰av
– Yes/No, I haven’t.
12.1.6
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12.1
Yes/no
questions
157
phOO (lE ⁄ Ew) rÁ ⁄ yaN?
na(—a‰·,≠·aa+
Is that enough?
– phOO lE ⁄ Ew/yaN yaN mây phOO
– na—a‰·ta+ a+“.‡na
– Yes/No.
(l” ⁄ ”w) r¨ ⁄ yaN? questions are also used to ask whether someone is married
or has children:
khun tE ŸN Naan (lE ⁄ Ew) rÁ ⁄ yaN?
ea—e‡++·v(—a‰·,≠·aa+
Are you married?
– tE ŸN lE ⁄ Ew/yaN khráp yaN mây tE ŸN
– —e‡+—a‰·ta+e·u a+“.‡—e‡+
– Yes/No, I’m not.
kháw mii lûuk (lE ⁄ Ew) rÁ ⁄ yaN?
–z·.ƒa a(—a‰·,≠·aa+
Do they have any children?
– mii lE ⁄ Ew/yaN khráp yaN mây mii
– .ƒ—a‰·ta+e·u a+“.‡.ƒ
– Yes/No, they don’t.
Note that r¨ ⁄ is spelt as if it were pronounced r¨ ‹ ¨.
ca . . . rÁ ⁄ yaN ? questions
Superficially similar to (l” ⁄ ”w) r¨ ⁄ yaN? questions (see 12.1.6) are those
that have the pattern ca + VERB + r¨ ⁄ yaN? This construction refers not
to past actions, but conveys the meaning ‘Do you want to . . . yet?’ or
‘Are you ready to . . . yet?’ Answers to ca + VERB + r¨ ⁄ yaN? questions
are formed as follows:
Yes: VERB
or
ca + VERB + lE ⁄ Ew
No: yaN khráp/khâ
or
yaN mây + VERB
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12
Questions
158
ca kin rÁ ⁄ yaN?
.Ωav≠·aa+
Are you ready to eat yet?
– kin or ca kin lE ⁄ Ew/yaN khráp yaN mây kin
– av .. .Ωav—a‰·ta+e·u a+“.‡av
– Yes/No, not yet.
ca klàp bâan rÁ ⁄ yaN?
.Ωaauu‰·v≠·aa+
Are you ready to go home yet?
– klàp or ca klàp lE ⁄ Ew/yaN khâ yaN mây klàp
– aau .. .Ωaau–a‰·ta+e‡Ω a+“.‡aau
– Yes/No, not yet.
Wh- questions
In English the Wh- question words (who?, what?, where?, why?, when?,
which?, how?) normally occur at the beginning of the question. In Thai
the position of some question words varies according to their grammat-
ical function in the sentence, while others have a fixed position.
Most Wh- questions are answered by substituting the response word in
the position in the sentence that the question word occupies.
Many of the Wh- question words also function as indefinite pronouns
(‘anyone’, ‘anything’, etc., see 4.8).
Who? questions
The position of the question word khray? (‘who?’) is determined by
its grammatical function in the sentence; if the question pattern is
VERB + khray?, then the answer will be (VERB) + PERSON, while if the
question is khray? + VERB (PHRASE), the answer will be PERSON+
(VERB (PHRASE)):
khun pay kàp khray?
ea“uau”e·
Who are you going with?
– (pay) kàp phÁfl an
– (“u,au–n‡av
– With a friend.
12.2.1
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12.2
Wh-
questions
159
khray sO‡ On?
”e·aav
Who taught you?
– aacaan maanát (sO‡ On)
– Acharn Manat (did).
– a·.··a.·va(aav,
Whose? questions
Whose? questions are formed by the pattern NOUN+ (khO ‹ O N) + khray
(see also 3.5.12); when there is a preceding noun, khO ‹ O N (‘of’) is often
omitted; if there is no preceding noun, however, it may not be omitted:
bâan (khO‡ O N) khray?
u‰·v(za+,”e·
Whose house?
– bâan (khO‡ O N) raw/khO‡ O N raw
– u‰·v(za+,–··tza+–··
– Our house/Ours.
nîi khO‡ O N khray?
vƒ‡za+”e·
Whose is this?
– khO‡ O N phoˇm
– za++.
– It’s mine.
What? questions
What? questions are formed using the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + aray?
(‘what?’); note, however, that aray? occurs before the aspect marker yùu
(5.7.3) and directional verbs (5.5):
kháw chÁfl Á aray?
–z·z‡aaΩ“·
What’s her name?
– chÁfl Á tO& y
– z‡ae˝aa
– Her name is Toi.
12.2.3
12.2.2
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12
Questions
160
khun tham aray yùu?
ear·aΩ“·aa ‡
What are you doing?
– duu thii wii yùu
– e rƒ·ƒaa‡
– Watching TV.
khun sÁ ⁄ Á aray maa?
eaz‰aaΩ“·.·
What did you buy?
k´Ÿ´t aray khÁfl n?
–aeaΩ“·z∆‰v
What’s happening?
Note also the common idiomatic expression:
aray kan?
aΩ“·av
What’s up?
Some English ‘What?’ questions use yaNNay? (‘How?’) rather than aray
(see 12.2.8).
Which? questions
Which? questions are formed using the pattern VERB + (NOUN) + CLAS-
SIFIER + naˇ y? (‘which?’):
aw náNsÁ‡ Á lêm naˇ y?
–a·≠v+aa–a‡.“≠v
Which book do you want?
– aw lêm nán
– –a·–a‡.v‰v
– I want that one.
khun khuy kàp phûuyı ˇN khon naˇ y?
eaeaau+ ‰≠¡+ev“≠v
Which girl did you chat with?
– (khuy kàp) khon yîipùn
– (eaau,ev¡ƒ‡u‡v
– (I chatted with) the Japanese one.
12.2.4
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12.2
Wh-
questions
161
kháw klàp wan naˇ y?
–z·aau·v“≠v
Which day is he returning?
– (klàp) wan aathít
– (aau,·va·rea
– (He is returning) on Sunday.
Where? questions
Where? questions are formed using the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + thîi
naˇ y? (‘where?’); thîi naˇ y? always occurs at the end of a sentence. Answers
follow the pattern (VERB (PHRASE) +) thîi + LOCATION:
khun phák yùu thîi naˇ y?
eanaaa‡rƒ‡“≠v
Where are you staying?
– (phák yùu) thîi rooN rEEm riinoo
– (naaa ‡,rƒ‡‘·+–·.·ƒ‘v
– (I’m staying) at the Reno Hotel.
kháw k´Ÿ´t thîi naˇ y?
–z·–aerƒ‡“≠v
Where was he born?
– (k´Ÿ´t) thîi kruNthêep
– (–ae,rƒ‡a·+–rn·
– (He was born) in Bangkok.
In both questions and answers, thîi is normally dropped when the
preceding verb is pay (‘to go’) or maa càak (‘to come from’); in spoken
Thai thîi is also often dropped when the preceding verb is yùu (‘to be
situated at’):
pay naˇ y?
“u“≠v
Where are you going?
– pay sÁ ⁄ Á khO‡ O N
– “uz‰aza+
– I’m going shopping.
12.2.5
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12
Questions
162
kháw maa càak naˇ y?
–z·.·.·a“≠v
Where does he come from?
– (maa càak) chiaNmày
– (.·.·a,–zƒa+”≠.‡
– (He comes from) Chiangmai.
bâan yùu naˇ y?
u‰·vaa ‡“≠v
Where is your house?
– yùu thanoˇn sùkhuˇmwít
– aa ‡avvaz.·r
– It’s on Sukhumwit Road.
When? questions
When? questions are formed using the pattern VERB (PHRASE) +
m¨ › arày? (‘when?’); answers follow the pattern VERB (PHRASE) +
EXPRESSION OF TIME. m¨ › arày? normally occurs at the end of a
sentence, but may occur at the beginning for emphatic effect:
khun klàp mÁfl arày?
eaaau–.‡a“·
When are you returning?
– (klàp) aathít nâa
– (aau,a·rea≠v‰·
– (I’m returning) next week.
khun ca bOŸ Ok kháw mÁfl arày?
ea.Ωuaa–z·–.‡a“·
When are you going to tell her?
mÁfl arày khun ca bOŸ Ok kháw?
–.‡a“·ea.Ωuaa–z·
When are you going to tell her?
Why? questions
Why? questions are formed using the basic pattern thammay (‘why?’) +
(SUBJECT) + (th¨ ‹ N) + VERB (PHRASE); the word th¨ ‹ N, a colloquial
variant of c¨N (‘therefore’) is optional but extremely common in spoken
12.2.7
12.2.6
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12.2
Wh-
questions
163
Thai. Negative why? questions (‘Why doesn’t he . . .?’) follow a similar
pattern: thammay + (SUBJECT) + (th¨ ‹ N) + mây (‘not’) + VERB (PHRASE).
Why? questions are answered by phrO ⁄ (wâa) (‘because’) + VERB
(PHRASE):
thammay thÁ‡ N sÁ ⁄ Á?
r·“.a∆+z‰a
Why did you buy it?
– phrO ⁄ (wâa) thùuk
– –n··Ω(·‡·,a a
– Because it was cheap.
thammay kháw thÁ‡ N mây kin?
r·“.–z·a∆+“.‡av
Why didn’t he eat it?
– phrO ⁄ (wâa) phèt pay
– –n··Ω(·‡·,–+e“u
– Because it was too spicy.
thammay? can also occur at the end of the sentence, usually in an informal
context:
bOŸ Ok thammay?
uaar·“.
Why did you tell her?
To ask ‘Why?’ in response to a statement, the final particle lâ? (see10.3.3)
is frequently added:
chán plìan cay lE ⁄ Ew
av–uaƒ‡av”.—a‰·
I’ve changed my mind.
– thammay lâ?
– r·“.a‡Ω
– Why?
How? questions: manner
How? questions in English can be divided into those of manner (‘How
did you get there?’) and those of degree (‘How long is it?’); the latter are
dealt with in 12.2.9.
12.2.8
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12
Questions
164
Questions of manner follow the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + yaNNay?
(‘how?’); yaNNay? is written as if it were spelt yàaNray, but in informal
speech the normal pronunciation yaNNay? may be reduced to simply Nay?.
kin yaN Nay?
avaa‡·+“·
How do you eat it?
khı ˇan yaN Nay?
–zƒavaa‡·+“·
How do you write it?
pen Nay?
–uvaa‡·+“·
How are things?
yaNNay? is sometimes used when English uses ‘What?’:
khun wâa yaN Nay?
ea·‡·aa‡·+“·
What do you think?
khun ca tham yaN Nay?
ea.Ωr·aa‡·+“·
What will you do?
How? questions: degree
Some questions of degree, such as How tall?, How long (in time)?, How
long (in measurement)? and How wide? follow the pattern MEASURE
WORD + thâwrày? (‘how much?’); such questions anticipate a specific
numerical response, such as ‘1.65 metres’, ‘2 hours’, etc.
khun pay naan thâwrày?
ea“uv·v–r‡·“·
How long are you going for?
nàk thâwrày?
≠va–r‡·“·
How heavy is it?
suˇuN thâwrày?
a +–r‡·“·
How tall is it?
12.2.9
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12.2
Wh-
questions
165
How? questions which do not necessarily anticipate a precise numerical
quantification in the response can be formed by the pattern VERB
(PHRASE) + mâak kh” › ” naˇ y? (‘to what extent?’):
bÁŸ a mâak khEfl E naˇ y?
–u‡a.·a—e‡“≠v
How bored were you?
– bÁŸ a mâak ciN ciN
– –u‡a.·a.·+|
– I was really bored.
suˇay mâak khEfl E naˇ y?
a·a.·a—e‡“≠v
How good-looking is she?
– kOfl O . . . suˇay mÁ‡ an kan
– a . . . a·a–≠.avav
– Well . . . quite good-looking.
phEEN mâak khEfl E naˇ y?
—n+.·a—e‡“≠v
How expensive is it?
– phEEN mâak yàaN mây nâa chÁfl a
– —n+.·aaa‡·+“.‡v‡·–z‡a
– Unbelievably expensive.
How much? questions
How much? questions are formed using the pattern VERB (PHRASE) +
thâwrày? (‘how much?’). thâwrày? always occurs at the end of the
question:
nîi thâwrày?
vƒ‡–r‡·“·
How much is this?
khun sÁ ⁄ Á thâwrày?
eaz‰a–r‡·“·
How much did you buy it for?
kháw khaˇ ay bâan thâwrày?
–z·z·au‰·v–r‡·“·
How much did they sell the house for?
12.2.10
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12
Questions
166
Questions which ask ‘how much per . . . ?’, are formed using the pattern
(NOUN +) CLASSIFIER + la thâwrày? (see also 13.11):
sôm loo la thâwrày?
a‰.‘aaΩ–r‡·“·
How much are oranges a kilo?
dÁan la thâwrày?
–eavaΩ–r‡·“·
How much a month?
khon la thâwrày?
evaΩ–r‡·“·
How much per person?
How many? questions
How many? questions follow the pattern VERB + (NOUN) + kìi (‘how
many?’) + CLASSIFIER; the answer normally consists of NUMBER +
CLASSIFIER:
aw kaafEE kìi thûay?
–a·a·—†aƒ‡a‰·a
How many cups of coffee do you want?
– sO‡ O N thûay
– aa+a‰·a
– Two.
mii lûuk kìi khon?
.ƒa aaƒ‡ev
How many children do you have?
– saˇ am khon
– a·.ev
– Three.
pay kìi wan?
“uaƒ‡·v
How many days are you going for?
– cèt wan
– –.e·v
– Seven.
12.2.11
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12.2
Wh-
questions
167
Wh- questions + dii
The pattern VERB (PHRASE) + WH- QUESTION + dii is used for asking
advice:
sÁ ⁄ Á aray dii?
z‰aaΩ“·eƒ
What shall I/we buy?
pay mÁfl arày dii?
“u–.‡a“·eƒ
When shall I/we go?
tham yaN Nay dii?
r·aa‡·+“·eƒ
What shall I/we do?
phûut yaN Nay dii?
n eaa‡·+“·eƒ
How shall I say it?/What shall I say?
Wh- questions + bâaN
The pattern VERB (PHRASE) + WH- QUESTION+ bâaN anticipates a list
of things, people, places, etc. in the response; the list is normally expressed
as X + Y + l” ⁄ ”w kO › (‘and’) + Z:
kháw sÁ ⁄ Á aray bâaN?
–z·z‰aaΩ“·u‰·+
What (plural) did he buy?
– (sÁ ⁄ Á) phàk khı ˇN lE ⁄ Ew kOfl plaa
– (z‰a,+a z+ —a‰·aua·
– (He bought) vegetables, ginger and fish.
khuy kàp khray bâaN?
eaau”e·u‰·+
Who (plural) did you chat with?
– (khuy kàp) nók úut lE ⁄ Ew kOfl cíap
– (eaau,va a e —a‰·a–.ƒau
– (I chatted with) Nok, Oot and Jiap.
khun pay thîaw thîi naˇ y bâaN?
ea“u–rƒ‡a·rƒ‡“≠vu‰·+
Where (plural) did you go?
12.2.13
12.2.12
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12
Questions
168
– (pay thîaw) laaw phamâa lE ⁄ Ew kOfl ciin
– (“u–rƒ‡a·,a·· n.‡· —a‰·a.ƒv
– (I went to) Laos, Burma and China.
The question pen yaNNay bâaN? (‘How are things?’) when used as a
greeting, requires a simple formula response, such as ‘Fine’; it is often
reduced to pen Nay bâaN or pen Nay:
pen yaN Nay bâaN?
–uvaa‡·+“·u‰·+
How are things?
– sabaay dii khráp/khâ
– au·aeƒe·ute‡Ω
– Fine.
How/what about . . .? questions
How/What about . . .? is used as a non-initiating question when the topic
of conversation is defined and the kind of information to be supplied
is understood by both parties; it is formed by the pattern: l” ⁄ ”w +
NOUN + lâ?:
lE ⁄ Ew khun lâ?
—a‰·eaa‡Ω
And how/what about you?
lE ⁄ Ew phÁfl an lâ?
—a‰·–n‡ava‡Ω
And how/what about your friend?
lE ⁄ Ew phrûN níi lâ?
—a‰·n·‡+vƒ‰a‡Ω
And how/what about tomorrow?
Alternative questions
Alternative questions (Do you want tea or coffee?) link two phrases with
r¨ ‹ ¨ (‘or’) which in spoken Thai is normally pronounced r¨ ⁄ :
pay duu naˇ N rÁ ⁄ klàp bâan?
“ue ≠v+≠·aaauu‰·v
Shall we see a film or go home?
12.3
12.2.14
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12.3
Alternative
questions
169
aw nám chaa rÁ ⁄ kaafEE?
–a·v‰·z·≠·aa·—†
Do you want tea or coffee?
To reply to such questions, you repeat the appropriate phrase, e.g. klàp
bâan ‘Go home’; aw kaaf” ” (‘I’ll have coffee’).
A much-contracted form of alternative question common in spoken Thai
is formed by VERB + mây + VERB:
pay mây pay?
“u“.‡“u
Are you going or not? (lit. go – not – go)
sÁ ⁄ Á mây sÁ ⁄ Á?
z‰a“.‡z‰a
Are you going to buy it or not? (lit. buy – not – buy)
These could be expanded using r¨ ⁄ to ca pay r¨ ⁄ ca mây pay? (will – go
– or – will – not – go) and ca s¨ ⁄ ¨ r¨ ⁄ ca mây s¨ ⁄ ¨? (will – buy – or – will
– not – buy).
Indirect questions
Indirect questions are formed by the pattern: SUBJECT + thaˇ am (‘to ask’) +
(DIRECT OBJECT) + wâa (‘that’) + DIRECT QUESTION:
Direct question
ca klàp khÁÁn níi máy?
.Ωaauevvƒ‰“≠.
Will you be back tonight?
Indirect question
kháw thaˇ am wâa ca klàp khÁÁn níi máy?
–z·a·.·‡·.Ωaauevvƒ‰“≠.
He asked if I’d be back tonight.
Direct question
mii fEEn rÁ ⁄ yaN?
.ƒ—†v≠·aa+
Do you have a boyfriend?
Indirect question
phoˇm thaˇ am kháw wâa mii fEEn rÁ ⁄ yaN?
+.a·.–z··‡·.ƒ—†v≠·aa+
I asked her if she had a boyfriend.
For indirect speech, see 5.9, 9.3.
12.4
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12
Questions
170
The most common word for ‘number’ in Thai is lêek. It is commonly
followed by thîi in expressions like ‘number nine’, ‘house number 38’
and so on. It is also often prefixed by maˇ ay. The word bEE, from English
‘number’, has a more restricted usage, most commonly with telephone
numbers and room numbers. camnuan means ‘number’ in the sense of
‘quantity’ or in expressions like ‘a number of my friends’.
lêek faràN –az!·‡+ Arabic numbers
lêek thay –az“ra Thai numbers
lêek khûu –aze ‡ even number
lêek khîi –azeƒ‡ odd number
lêek thîi kâaw –azrƒ‡–a‰· number nine
bâan lêek thîi cèt u‰·v–azrƒ‡–.e house no. 7
maˇ ay lêek thîi sìp ≠.·a–azrƒ‡au number ten
hOfl N b´´ yîi sìp saˇ am
≠‰a+–ua·aƒ‡aua·.
room no. 23
b´´ thoorasàp
–ua·‘r·anr
telephone number
phÁfl an camnuan nÁŸ N
–n‡av.·v·v≠v∆‡+
a number of friends
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Chapter 13
Numbers, measurement
and quantification
Cardinal numbers
Both Thai and Arabic numbers are in common everyday use. Thai script
numerals are identical to those found in the Cambodian script, while the
Lao script employs some but not all of the same number symbols.
0 suˇun ava -
1 nÁŸ N ≠v∆‡+ .
2 sO‡ O N aa+ -
3 saˇ am a·. .
4 sìi aƒ‡ e
5 hâa ≠‰· e
6 hòk ≠a .
7 cèt –.e o
8 pEŸ Et —ue e
9 kâaw –a‰· .
10 sìp au .-
Numbers 12–19 are formed regularly using sìp + UNIT; eleven is irreg-
ular, using èt instead of n¨ ‚ N:
11 sìp èt au–ae ..
12 sìp sO‡ O N auaa+ .-
13 sìp saˇ am aua·. ..
14 sìp sìi auaƒ‡ .e
Multiples of 10 up to 90 use sìp (‘ten’) as a suffix and are regular with
the exception of ‘twenty’, which uses yîi instead of sO ‹ O N:
20 yîi sìp aƒ‡au --
30 saˇ am sìp a·.au .-
40 sìi sìp aƒ‡au e-
50 hâa sìp ≠‰·au e-
60 hòk sìp ≠aau .-
13.1
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13
Numbers,
measurement
and
quantification
172
70 cèt sìp –.eau o-
80 pEŸ Et sìp —ueau e-
90 kâaw sìp –a‰·au .-
Numbers between 10 and 100 are formed in a regular way with the
exception of 21, 31, 41, etc. where the word for ‘one’ is èt and not n¨ ‚ N.
In numbers 21–29, yîi sìp is often contracted to yîip in informal spoken
Thai:
21 yîi sìp èt (yîip èt) aƒ‡au–ae -.
22 yîi sìp sO‡ O N (yîip sO‡ O N) aƒ‡auaa+ --
23 yîi sìp saˇ am (yîip saˇ am) aƒ‡aua·. -.
31 saˇ am sìp èt a·.au–ae ..
32 saˇ am sìp sO‡ O N a·.auaa+ .-
33 saˇ am sìp saˇ am a·.aua·. ..
41 sìi sìp èt aƒ‡au–ae e.
42 sìi sìp sO‡ O N aƒ‡auaa+ e-
51 hâa sìp èt ≠‰·au–ae e.
Numbers from 100 upwards are also formed regularly, but in addition
to words for ‘thousand’ and ‘million’, there are also specific words for
‘ten thousand’ (m¨ ‚ ¨n) and ‘hundred thousand’ (s” ‹ ”n):
100 (nÁŸ N) rO ⁄ Oy (≠v∆‡+, ·‰aa
101 (nÁŸ N) rO ⁄ Oy èt (≠v∆‡+, ·‰aa–ae
102 (nÁŸ N) rO ⁄ Oy sO & O N (≠v∆‡+, ·‰aaaa+
1000 (nÁŸ N) phan (≠v∆‡+, nv
1002 (nÁŸ N) phan (kàp) sO & O N (≠v∆‡+, nv(au,aa+
1200 (nÁŸ N) phan sO & O N (rO ⁄ Oy) (≠v∆‡+, nvaa+(·‰aa,
10,000 (nÁŸ N) mÁŸ Án (≠v∆‡+, ≠.‡v
100,000 (nÁŸ N) sE& En (≠v∆‡+, —av
1,000,000 (nÁŸ N) láan (≠v∆‡+, a‰·v
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13.1
Cardinal
numbers
173
Numbers, including the year, are read as in the following examples; years
may be prefaced by pii (‘year’):
1986 (pii) nÁŸ N phan kâaw rO ⁄ Oy pE ŸEt sìp hòk
2541 (pii) sO‡ O N phan hâa rO ⁄ Oy sìi sìp èt
75,862 cèt mÁŸ Án hâa phan pE ŸEt rO ⁄ Oy hòk sìp sO‡ O N
432,925 sìi sE‡ En saˇ am mÁŸ Án sO‡ O N phan kâaw rO ⁄ Oy yîi sìp hâa
When a cardinal number occurs with a noun, the appropriate classifier
must also be used (3.5.1, 3.5.5, 3.5.8).
Cardinal numbers with sàk and tâN
sàk + CARDINAL NUMBER + CLASSIFIER conveys the sense of ‘as little/
few as’, ‘merely’ or ‘just’, and is often reinforced by thâwnán (‘only’) at
the end of the phrase; sometimes it simply conveys the idea of approxi-
mation. When sàk occurs before a classifier with no number word, it is
understood that ‘one’ has been omitted:
phoˇm pay sàk hâa wan
+.“uaa≠‰··v
I’m going for five days, or so.
raw khuy kan sàk chûamooN thâwnán
–··eaavaaz‡·‘.+–r‡·v‰v
We chatted for just an hour.
raw yàak mii lûuk sàk khon sO‡ O N khon
–··aa·a.ƒa aaaevaa+ev
We’d like to have a child or two.
tâN + CARDINAL NUMBER + CLASSIFIER conveys the idea of ‘as
much/many as’:
kháw khuy kan tâN saˇ am chûamooN
–z·eaave‰+a·.z‡·‘.+
They chatted for as long as three hours.
kháw rian tâN hâa pii lE ⁄ Ew
–z·–·ƒave‰+≠‰·u≈—a‰·
He has studied for as long as five years.
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13
Numbers,
measurement
and
quantification
174
Both sàk and tâN can be used with other, non-numerical quantifier words
such as ‘a little’ and ‘a long time’:
rOO ìik sàk nOŸ y dâay máy?
·aaƒaaa≠v‡aa“e‰“≠.
Can you wait a little longer?
phoˇm mây dây phóp kháw tâN naan
+.“.‡“e‰nu–z·e‰+v·v
I haven’t met him for a long time.
Ordinal numbers
Ordinal numbers in Thai are formed by the pattern, thîi + CARDINAL
NUMBER:
thîi nÁŸ N rƒ‡≠v∆‡+ first
thîi sO‡ O N rƒ‡aa+ second
thîi saˇ am rƒ‡a·. third
When an ordinal number occurs with a noun, the appropriate classifier
must also be used (3.5.3, 3.5.9).
The word r” › ”k also means ‘first’, but in a historical sense rather than in
rank order. It is therefore not always interchangeable with thîi n¨ ‚ N:
khráN thîi nÁŸ N/khráN rEfl Ek
e·‰+rƒ‡≠v∆‡+te·‰+—·a
the first time
But:
raaNwan thîi nÁŸ N
··+·arƒ‡≠v∆‡+
the first (top) prize
raaNwan (khráN) rEfl Ek
··+·a(e·‰+,—·a
the inaugural prize
Note that in the expression thii r” › ”k (‘at first’), the word thii (‘time’) is
a noun, pronounced with a mid-tone, not the location marker thîi (‘at’):
thii rEfl Ek chán mây chOfl Op kháw
rƒ—·aav“.‡zau–z·
At first I didn’t like him.
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13.3
Ordinal
numbers
175
‘Firstly’, ‘secondly’, and so on, used in putting forward numbered points
in a reasoned argument, follow the pattern prakaan (‘item, sort, kind’) +
ORDINAL NUMBER:
prakaan thîi nÁŸ N u·Ωa··rƒ‡≠v∆‡+ firstly
or
prakaan rEfl Ek u·Ωa··—·a
prakaan thîi sO‡ O N u·Ωa··rƒ‡aa+ secondly
prakaan thîi saˇ am u·Ωa··rƒ‡a·. thirdly
Sanskrit numbers
The Sanskrit numbers èek (‘one’), thoo (‘two’) and trii (‘three’) are used
with academic degrees and military ranks, and in the names of tones and
tone marks (2.5.2):
parinyaa èek/thoo/trii
u·¡¡·–aat‘rte·ƒ
PhD/MA, MSc, etc./BA, BSc, etc.
phon (tamrùat) èek/thoo/trii
na(e···.,–aat‘rte·ƒ
(police) general/lieutenant-general/major-general
The word thoo is also used instead of sO ‹ O N when giving telephone numbers,
which are read as if each unit is a single digit:
b´´ thoorasàp thoo sìi hâa – saˇ am thoo kâaw pE ŸEt
telephone number, two four five – three two nine eight
Other Sanskrit numbers appear in the words for ‘decade’, ‘decathlon’ and
‘century’:
thótsawát ra···™ decade
thótsakriithaa raa·ƒ-· decathlon
sàtawát ae···™ century
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Numbers,
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quantification
176
Once, twice . . .
‘Once’, ‘twice’, and so on, are formed using CARDINAL NUMBER +
khráN or hoˇ n, both of which mean ‘time’ or ‘occasion’:
nÁŸ N khráN/hoˇn ≠v∆‡+e·‰+t≠v once, one time
sO‡ O N khráN aa+e·‰+ twice
saˇ am khráN a·.e·‰+ three times
n¨ ‚ N when it occurs after khráN is less emphatic; diaw (‘single’) may be
used after khráN, instead of n¨ ‚ N, for greater emphasis:
khráN nÁŸ N e·‰+≠v∆‡+ once, on one occasion
khráN diaw e·‰+–eƒa· (just) once, on a single occasion
khráN and hoˇ n are also used with ordinal numbers to mean ‘first time’,
‘second time’, and so on:
khráN thîi nÁŸ N e·‰+rƒ‡≠v∆‡+ the first time
or
khráN rEfl Ek e·‰+—·a
khráN thîi sO‡ O N e·‰+rƒ‡aa+ the second time
khráN thîi saˇ am e·‰+rƒ‡a·. the third time
Fractions, decimals, percentages, multiples
Fractions
Fractions, other than ‘half’, are expressed by the pattern sèet (‘numer-
ator’) + NUMBER + sùan (‘denominator’) + NUMBER:
sèet nÁŸ N sùan sìi –a™≠v∆‡+a‡·vaƒ‡ quarter
sèet saˇ am sùan sìi –a™a·.a‡·vaƒ‡ three-quarters
However, in expressions like ‘three-quarters of the population . . .’, saˇ am
nay sìi (three – in – four) is more common:
prachaachon saˇ am nay sìi
u·Ωz·zva·.”vaƒ‡
three-quarters of the population
13.6.1
13.6
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13.6
Fractions,
decimals,
percentages,
multiples
177
khr¨ › N (‘half’) behaves like other number words in occurring after a noun
and before a classifier:
lâw khrÁfl N khùat
–≠a‰·e·∆‡+z·e
half a bottle of whisky
khrÁfl N wan
e·∆‡+·v
half a day
khr¨ › N (‘half’) also occurs after a classifier in the pattern NOUN+
(NUMBER +) CLASSIFIER + khr¨ › N to mean ‘NUMBER and a half’; if no
number word appears, the phrase conveys the idea of ‘one and a half’:
lâw sO‡ O N khùat khrÁfl N
–≠a‰·aa+z·ee·∆‡+
two and a half bottles of whisky
raw pay dÁan khrÁfl N
–··“u–eave·∆‡+
We went for a month and a half.
Decimals
Decimal numbers are read as NUMBER + cùt (‘point’) + NUMBER; deci-
mals behave like other numbers in being followed by a classifier:
sìi cùt hâa
aƒ‡.e≠‰·
4.5
yaaw hòk cùt hâa saˇ am níw
a··≠a.e≠‰·a·.v‰·
6.53 inches long
Percentages
The word pEEsen (‘per cent’) is borrowed directly from English. It is used
in the pattern, NOUN + NUMBER + pEEsen; in sentences, the verb may
occur immediately after the noun or after pEEsen:
13.6.3
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Numbers,
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178
prachaachon sìp cùt hâa p´´sen
u·Ωz·zvau.e≠‰·–ua·–zve
10.5 per cent of the people
nák sÁ! ksaˇ a sOŸ Op tòk saˇ am sìp p´´sen
vaa∆a™·aaueaa·.au–ua·–zve
Thirty per cent of the students failed.
Percentages may also be expressed by the pattern, NOUN + rO ⁄ Oy la (‘per
hundred’) + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER, although this is now less common
than pEEsen.
Multiples
‘X times more . . .’ is expressed by the pattern ADJECTIVE/
ADVERB + kwàa + NUMBER + thâw:
yày kwàa saˇ am thâw
”≠¡‡a·‡·a·.–r‡·
three times bigger
sanùk kwàa phan thâw
avaa·‡·nv–r‡·
a thousand times more fun
Collective numbers
The collective numbers khûu (‘pair’) and loˇ o (‘dozen’) behave like clas-
sifiers and occur in the pattern NOUN + NUMBER + COLLECTIVE
NUMBER:
rOO N tháaw saˇ am khûu
·a+–r‰·a·.e‡
three pairs of shoes
khày khrÁfl N loˇo
“z‡e·∆‡+‘≠a
half a dozen eggs
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13.7
Collective
numbers
179
Some idiomatic expressions involving numbers
s” # ”n (‘one hundred thousand’) or s” # ”n ca or s” # ”n thîi ca is used before
a verb/adjective to mean ‘extremely’, ‘ever so . . .’:
sE‡ En klay
—av“aa
extremely far
sE‡ En ca sanùk
—av.Ωava
ever such fun
rO ⁄ Oy p” ‚ ”t (‘one hundred and eight’) means ‘all kinds of’; it is sometimes
further intensified by the addition of phan (‘thousand’):
panhaˇ a rO ⁄ Oy pE ŸEt (phan) prakaan
u¡≠··‰aa—ue(nv,u·Ωa··
all kinds of problems
hâa rO ⁄ Oy (‘five hundred’), curiously, is added to the word coon (‘bandit,
thief’) but to no other noun; it does not indicate plurality, nor intensify
the scale of thievery, nor reflect the speaker’s attitude:
coon hâa rO ⁄ Oy
‘.·≠‰··‰aa
bandit, thief
saˇ am sìp sO ‹ O N (‘thirty-two’) is used with the word aakaan (‘state, condi-
tion, sign’) in the expression aakaan khróp saˇ am sìp sO ‹ O N (‘to be perfectly
normal’). Literally, it means ‘the full thirty-two conditions’ and is a refer-
ence to the traditional belief that the body comprised thirty-two integral
parts, including hair, teeth, skin, fingernails, limbs and internal organs.
The expression is used to describe newly born children or those escaping
injury in an accident.
aakaan khróp saˇ am sìp sO‡ O N
a·a··e·ua·.auaa+
to be perfectly normal
kâaw (‘nine’) is regarded as lucky because it is identical in pronunciation
(but not spelling) to a part of the word for ‘to progress’ (kâaw nâa):
kâaw –a‰· nine
kâaw nâa a‰··≠v‰· to progress
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180
Measurements
Measurements, such as ‘three metres wide’, ‘two hours long’ and ‘six feet
tall’ follow the pattern TYPE OF MEASUREMENT (i.e. length, weight,
etc.) + NUMBER + UNIT OF MEASUREMENT:
yaaw cèt níw
a··–.ev‰·
seven inches long
nàk hâa sìp kiloo
≠va≠‰·aua‘a
fifty kilos in weight
Area is expressed as NUMBER + taraaN (‘square’) + UNIT OF MEASURE-
MENT:
sìp taraaN méet
aue···+–.e·
ten square metres
Plots of land are normally measured in taraaN waa (square waa; 1 sq.
waa = 4 sq. metres) or rây (rai; 1 rai = 1600 sq. metres or 400 square
waa; 2.53 rai = 1 acre). Note that waa is a linear measurement and is
therefore preceded by taraaN, but rây is itself an area measurement and
thus does not occur with taraaN:
sìi sìp taraaN waa
aƒ‡aue···+··
forty square waa
sìp rây
au“·‡
ten rai
Distances
The distance between two places can be expressed by the pattern PLACE
A + yùu (‘to be located’) + klay càak (‘far from’) + PLACE B + NUMBER +
UNIT OF MEASUREMENT:
huˇa hı ˇn yùu klay càak kruNthêep sO‡ O N rO ⁄ Oy kiloomét
≠·≠vaa ‡“aa.·aa·+–rn· --- a‘a–.e·
Hua Hin is 200 kilometres from Bangkok.
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13.10
Distances
181
hàaN càak (‘far from’) can be used as an alternative to klay càak:
praysanii yùu hàaN càak bâan mây kìi naathii
“u·™aƒaaa‡≠‡·+.·au‰·v“.‡aƒ‡v·rƒ
The post office is a few minutes from my house.
Distribution: ‘per’
Expressions like ‘500 baht per person’, ‘six times per week’ and ‘50 baht
a kilo’ involve the use of la (‘per’); the word order in Thai is the oppo-
site to English (e.g. person – per – 500 baht), with the number expression
occuring after la:
khon la hâa rO ⁄ Oy bàat
evaΩ≠‰··‰aau·r
500 baht per person
aathít la hòk khráN
a·reaaΩ≠ae·‰+
six times a week
loo la hâa sìp bàat
‘aaΩ≠‰·auu·r
50 baht a kilo
Note the idiomatic expressions khon la r¨ › aN (‘a different matter’) and
khon la yàaN (‘a different type’), where khon does not mean ‘person’:
pen khon la rÁfl aN
–uvevaΩ–·‡a+
That’s a different matter.
nîi pen khon la yàaN
vƒ‡–uvevaΩaa‡·+
This is a different kind.
Quantifiers
The following quantifiers occur in the pattern (NOUN+) QUANTIFIER +
CLASSIFIER (3.5.2). They occupy the same position between nouns and
classifiers as cardinal numbers (3.5.1) and can therefore be thought of
as ‘number words’. All, with the exception of mâak, can occur before a
classifier without a preceding noun:
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Numbers,
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182
thúk ra every, all
tE ŸE la —e‡aΩ each
baaN u·+ some
laˇ ay ≠a·a several, many
mây kìi “.‡aƒ‡ not many
nO ⁄ Oy v‰aa few
mâak .·a many
chûaN weelaa laˇ ay dÁan
z‡·+–·a·≠a·a–eav
a period of several/many months
aahaˇ an baaN yàaN
a·≠··u·+aa‡·+
some kinds of food
In phrases involving nO ⁄ Oy (‘few’), the classifier is commonly omitted, while
in phrases involving mâak (‘many’), the classifier is normally omitted:
kháw mii phÁfl an nO ⁄ Oy (khon)
–z·.ƒ–n‡avv‰aa(ev,
He has few friends.
nay sà náam mii plaa mâak (tua)
”va·Ωv‰·.ƒua·.·a(e·,
In the pond there are many fish.
A small number of quantifiers, including yE ⁄ (‘many’), y” ⁄ (‘many’), yE ⁄y” ⁄
(‘many’), mâakmaay (‘many’), nítnO ‚ y (‘a little’), léknO ⁄ Oy (‘few, little’),
follow a noun, but do not occur with classifiers; because mâak only occurs
with a classifier in rather stylised Thai, it can be included with this group:
kháw mii fEEn y´⁄ /yE ⁄ /y´⁄ yE ⁄ /mâakmaay/mâak
–z·.ƒ–†v—aaΩt—aΩt–aaΩ—aΩt.·a.·at.·a
She’s got lots of boyfriends.
sày nám taan nítnOŸ y
”a‡v·‰e·ave≠v‡aa
Put a little sugar in.
mii aahaˇ an lÁ‡ a léknO ⁄ Oy
.ƒa·≠··–≠aa–aav‰aa
There’s a little food left over.
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13.12
Quantifiers
183
The quantifiers mâak and nítnO ‚ y also function as adverbs of degree; the
similarity in both sound and meaning between the quantifier baaN and
the adverb of degree bâaN is often confusing for the learner (7.6).
Negative quantification
Negative quantities (e.g. no brothers and sisters, there isn’t any fish sauce)
are expressed by the pattern mây mii (‘there are not’) + NOUN:
mây mii phîi nO ⁄ O N
“.‡.ƒnƒ‡v‰a+
no brothers and sisters
mây mii nám plaa
“.‡.ƒv‰·ua·
There’s no fish sauce.
Approximation: ‘about’
Approximation is expressed using pramaan or raaw (both of which mean
‘about’) + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER:
nák thOfl N thîaw pramaan rO ⁄ Oy khon
var‡a+–rƒ‡a·u·Ω.·a·‰aaev
about 100 tourists
raaw hòk chûamooN
···≠az‡·‘.+
about six hours
Two consecutive numbers also convey approximation:
sO‡ O N saˇ am wan
aa+a·.·v
two or three days
hâa hòk khon
≠‰·≠aev
five or six people
A range of numbers (from . . . to . . .) is expressed by NUMBER + th¨ ‹ N
(‘to’) + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER:
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Numbers,
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184
sìp thÁ‡ N sìp hâa khon
aua∆+au≠‰·ev
(from) ten to fifteen people
Lower limits can be expressed by yàaN nO ⁄ Oy thîi sut (‘at least’) +
NUMBER + CLASSIFIER:
yàaN nO ⁄ Oy thîi sùt saˇ am wan
aa‡·+v‰aarƒ‡aea·.·v
at least three days
Upper limits (‘at the most’) follow a similar pattern using mâak (‘much’)
instead of nO ⁄ Oy:
yàaN mâak thîi sùt mÁŸ Án bàat
aa‡·+.·arƒ‡ae≠.‡vu·r
at the most 10,000 baht
Restriction: ‘only’
There are several different words for ‘only . . .’ and they can occur in
various combinations:
a NOUN + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER + thâwnán
b NOUN + phiaN + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER (+ thâwnán)
c NOUN + (phiaN) + t” ‚ ” + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER (+ thâwnán)
d NOUN + (phiaN) + kh” › ” + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER (+ thâwnán)
Note, however, that the order, NUMBER + CLASSIFIER is normally
reversed when the number is ‘one’ (see 3.5.1) and the word diaw (‘single’)
is commonly used instead of n¨ ‚ N (‘one’). The use of t” ‚ ” (‘but’) to mean
‘only’ is mirrored in the archaic English usage of ‘but’ in statements like
‘I have but three daughters fair.’
kháw mii lûuk sO‡ O N khon thâwnán
–z·.ƒa aaa+ev–r‡·v‰v
They have only two children.
phoˇm ca kin bia khùat diaw thâwnán
+..Ωav–uƒa·z·e–eƒa·–r‡·v‰v
I’ll have only one beer.
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13.15
Restriction:
‘only’
185
N ´n lÁ‡ a phiaN sìi rO ⁄ Oy bàat (thâwnán)
–+v–≠aa–nƒa+aƒ‡·‰aau·r(–r‡·v‰v,
There is only four hundred baht left.
mii faràN tE ŸE sO‡ O N khon (thâwnán)
.ƒ!·‡+—e‡aa+ev(–r‡·v‰v,
There were only two Westerners.
chán pay thîaw chiaNmày khEfl E saˇ am wan (thâwnán)
av“u–rƒ‡a·–zƒa+”≠.‡—e‡a·.·v(–r‡·v‰v,
I went to Chiangmai for only three days.
‘More than’
‘More than . . .’ is usually expressed using the word kwàa (‘more than,
-er than’); its position in relation to the number and classifier varies.
NOUN + NUMBER + kwàa + CLASSIFIER
This pattern tends to be used when dealing with multiples of ten and
round numbers:
kháw sÁ ⁄ Á sÁfl a rO ⁄ Oy kwàa tua
–z·z‰a–a‰a·‰aaa·‡·e·
She bought more than 100 blouses.
chán dây N ´n dÁan sO‡ O N mÁŸ Án kwàa bàat
av“e‰–+v–eavaa+≠.‡va·‡·u·r
I get a monthly salary of more than 20,000 baht.
raw d´´n thaaN yîi sìp kwàa chûamooN
–··–evr·+aƒ‡aua·‡·z‡·‘.+
We travelled for more than twenty hours.
NOUN + kwàa + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER
This pattern is also used only with large round numbers:
mii tamrùat kwàa rO ⁄ Oy khon
.ƒe···.a·‡··‰aaev
There were more than 100 policemen.
13.16.2
13.16.1
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13
Numbers,
measurement
and
quantification
186
NOUN + mâak kwàa + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER
This pattern can be used generally and with non-round numbers:
náNsÁ‡ Á mâak kwàa sìp hâa lêm
≠v+aa.·aa·‡·au≠‰·–a‡.
more than fifteen books
kháw kin bia mâak kwàa hòk khùat
–z·av–uƒa·.·aa·‡·≠az·e
He drank more than six bottles of beer.
mâak kwàa can be substituted by either kEEn (‘in excess of’) or kEEn
kwàa:
nák rian k´ ´n (kwàa) saˇ am sìp hâa khon
va–·ƒav–av(a·‡·,a·.au≠‰·ev
more than thirty pupils
NOUN + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER + kwàa
This pattern is used to convey the idea of a fraction – but not a whole
unit – more; kwàa is sometimes reduplicated, with the first element
pronounced with a mid-tone and a shortened vowel:
chán rOO sO‡ O N chûamooN kwàa
av·aaa+z‡·‘.+a·‡·
I waited over two hours.
bàay sìi mooN kwa kwàa
u‡·aaƒ‡‘.+a·‡·|
a little after 4 p.m.
Note the difference between
kháw kin bia sO‡ O N khùat kwàa
–z·av–uƒa·aa+z·ea·‡·
He has drunk over two bottles of beer (but not as many as three).
and
kháw kin bia mâak kwàa sO‡ O N khùat
–z·av–uƒa·.·aa·‡·aa+z·e
He has drunk more than two bottles of beer (i.e. at least three).
13.16.4
13.16.3
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13.16
‘More than’
187
‘Less than’
‘Less than . . .’ can be expressed most simply by the pattern (NOUN) +
nO ⁄ Oy kwàa (‘less than’) + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER:
phûu yày nO ⁄ Oy kwàa sìp khon
+ ‰”≠¡‡v‰aaa·‡·auev
less than ten adults
kháw phûut nO ⁄ Oy kwàa hâa naathii
–z·n ev‰aaa·‡·≠‰·v·rƒ
He spoke for less than five minutes.
The negative form of the ‘as many as’ construction (13.18), NOUN+ mây
th¨ ‹ N + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER, is also commonly used to express ‘less
than’:
kháw dây Nen dÁan mây thÁ‡ N mÁŸ Án bàat
–z·“e‰–+v–eav“.‡a∆+≠.‡vu·r
He gets a monthly salary of less than 10,000 baht.
‘As many as’
‘As many as . . .’ or ‘up to . . .’ is expressed by the pattern NOUN + th¨ ‹ N
(‘to reach’) + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER:
mii khon samàk thÁ‡ N phan khon
.ƒeva.e·a∆+nvev
There were as many as a thousand applicants.
For the negative form, see 13.17.
13.18
13.17
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13
Numbers,
measurement
and
quantification
188
Days
Days of the week are normally prefaced by the word wan (‘day’); no
preposition, corresponding to English ‘on’, is used:
Monday wan can ·v.vr·
Tuesday wan aNkhaan ·va+e··
Wednesday wan phút ·vnc
Thursday wan pharÁhàt ·vn•≠a
·
Friday wan sùk ·va a·
Saturday wan saˇ aw ·v–a··
Sunday wan aathít ·va·rea
raw ca klàp wan phút
–··.Ωaau·vnc
We shall return on Wednesday.
*Note the alternative, very formal pronunciation:
wan pharÁhàtsabOOdii ·vn•≠aueƒ
Parts of the day
Words like cháaw (‘morning’) and bàay (‘afternoon’) may optionally be
prefixed with the word tO On (‘a period of time’) to express the idea ‘in
the morning’, ‘in the afternoon’, etc.:
morning (tOOn) cháaw (eav,–z‰·
noon (tOOn) thîaN (wan) (eav,–rƒ‡a+·v
14.2
14.1
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Chapter 14
Time
afternoon (tOOn) bàay (eav,u‡·a
(early) evening (tOOn) yen (eav,–av
night time (tOOn) klaaN khÁÁn (eav,aa·+ev
daytime (tOOn) klaaN wan (eav,aa·+·v
pay cháaw klap yen
“u–z‰·aau–av
We’ll go in the morning and return in the evening.
tOOn bàay chán mây wâaN
eavu‡·aav“.‡·‡·+
I’m not free in the afternoon.
Months
Months with 31 days end in -khom, those with 30 days in -yon and
February ends in -phan. In normal speech, the word d¨an (‘month’) is
often prefixed and the final syllable omitted; no preposition corresponding
to English ‘in’ is used:
January mókkaraakhom .a··e.
February kumphaaphan a.s·nvc
March miinaakhom .ƒv·e.
April meesaˇ ayon –.™·av
May phrÁ ⁄ tsaphaakhom n•™s·e.
June míthunaayon .av·av
July karákkadaakhom a·a¸·e.
August sı ˇNhaˇ akhom a+≠·e.
September kanyaayon ava·av
October tulaakhom ea·e.
November phrÁ ⁄ tsacìkkaayon n•a.a·av
December thanwaakhom cv··e.
kháw pay dÁan sı ˇNhaˇ a
–z·“u–eava+≠··
He’s going in August.
14.3
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14
Time
190
Years
The year is calculated according to the Buddhist Era (B.E.) (phút-
thasàkkaràat, or phO O sO ‹ O for short) which dates from the birth of the
Buddha, 543 years before the birth of Christ. To convert Thai years to
AD (khríttasàkkaràat, or khO O sO ‹ O for short), subtract 543; thus, 2500
B.E is 1957 AD, while 2000 AD is 2543 B.E.
To express the idea that something happened or will happen in a certain
year, the word pii (‘year’) is used before the number; the preposition nay
(‘in’) may preface pii but this is more common in formal written Thai
than in the spoken language:
kháw tE ŸN Naan (nay) pii sO‡ O N phan hâa rO ⁄ Oy yîi sìp èt
–z·—e‡++·v(”v,u≈ -e-.
He got married in 2521 (1978).
Most Thais are also aware of their birth year in the twelve-year cycle in
which each year is named after an animal. This animal term is specific
to the year and is not used to refer to the living creature. The animal
year is normally prefaced by the word pii:
Year of the Rat (1948, 1960 . . .) pii chûat u≈z·e
Year of the Ox (1949, 1961 . . .) pii chaluˇu u≈aa
Year of the Tiger (1950, 1962 . . .) pii khaˇ an u≈z·a
Year of the Rabbit (1951, 1963 . . .) pii thOŸ u≈–a·Ω
Year of the Dragon (1952, 1964 . . .) pii marooN u≈.Ω‘·+
Year of the Snake (1953, 1965 . . .) pii maseˇ N u≈.Ω–a+
Year of the Horse (1954, 1966 . . .) pii mamia u≈.Ω–.ƒa
Year of the Goat (1955, 1967 . . .) pii mamEE u≈.Ω—.
Year of the Monkey (1956, 1968 . . .) pii wOfl Ok u≈·aa
Year of the Cock (1957, 1969 . . .) pii rakaa u≈·Ωa·
Year of the Dog (1958, 1970 . . .) pii cOO u≈.a
Year of the Pig (1959, 1971 . . .) pii kun u≈av
A twelve-year cycle is called rO › Op pii; the ‘completion of five cycles’ (khróp
hâa rO › Op), that is the sixtieth birthday, is traditionally celebrated as a
major milestone in a person’s life.
14.4
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14.4
Years
191
In addition to the Western New Year (pii mày,) both the traditional Thai
New Year (soˇ Nkraan), which occurs on 13 April, and the Chinese New
Year (trùt ciin), in February, are widely celebrated. Thailand adopted the
international convention of beginning the new year on 1 January in 1941.
Dates
Dates are expressed using the pattern wan (‘day’) + ORDINAL
NUMBER + MONTH (+ YEAR):
wan thîi sìp sìi tulaa (sO‡ O N phan hâa rO ⁄ Oy sìp hòk)
·vrƒ‡ .e ea·· (-e..,
14 October (2516)
‘What date . . .?’ questions use the expression, wan thîi thâwrày?:
wan níi (pen) wan thîi thâwrày?
·vvƒ‰(–uv,·vrƒ‡–r‡·“·
What is the date today?
pay wan thîi thâwrày?
“u·vrƒ‡–r‡·“·
What date are you going?
Seasons
There are three seasons in Thailand, the cool season (November to
February), the hot season (March to June) and the rainy season (July
to October). The formal Thai word for ‘season’ is r¨ ⁄ duu but nâa is more
commonly used in speech. ‘Spring/autumn’ literally translate as ‘season –
leaves – burst forth/fall’.
cool season nâa (rÁ ⁄ duu) naˇ aw ≠v‰· (•e , ≠v··
hot season nâa rO ⁄ On ≠v‰··‰av
rainy season nâa foˇn ≠v‰·!v
spring nâa bay máay plì ≠v‰·”u“.‰+a
autumn nâa bay máay rûaN ≠v‰·”u“.‰·‡·+
14.6
14.5
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14
Time
192
Useful expressions of time
In this section common expressions of time are listed at some length
because of some unpredictable irregularities in the patterns. The word
m¨ › a occurs in expressions of past time; where it appears in brackets, it
is optional.
‘Today’, ‘tomorrow’, ‘yesterday’
today wan níi ·vvƒ‰
tomorrow phrûN níi n·‡+vƒ‰
the day after tomorrow marÁÁn .Ω·v
yesterday mÁfl a waan (níi) –.‡a··v(vƒ‰,
the day before yesterday mÁfl a waan sÁÁn(níi) –.‡a··vzv(vƒ‰,
this morning cháaw níi –z‰·vƒ‰
this afternoon bàay níi u‡·avƒ‰
this evening yen níi –avvƒ‰
tonight khÁÁn níi evvƒ‰
yesterday morning cháaw (mÁfl a) waan –z‰·(–.‡a,··v
yesterday afternoon bàay (mÁfl a) waan u‡·a(–.‡a,··v
yesterday evening yen (mÁfl a) waan –av(–.‡a,··v
yesterday night mÁfl a khÁÁn –.‡aev
tomorrow morning phrûN níi cháaw n·‡+vƒ‰–z‰·
tomorrow afternoon phrûN níi bàay n·‡+vƒ‰u‡·a
tomorrow evening phrûN níi yen n·‡+vƒ‰–av
tomorrow night khÁÁn phrûN níi evn·‡+vƒ‰
14.7.1
14.7
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14.7
Useful
expressions
of time
193
‘This’, ‘next’, ‘last . . .’
The words níi (‘this’), nâa (‘next’) and thîi l” ⁄ ”w (‘last’) can occur after
any unit of time. (m¨ › a) . . . may optionally be used with thîi l” ⁄ ”w in ‘last
week/month/year’. pii klaay and (wan) rûN kh¨ › n are fixed expressions:
this week aathít níi a·reavƒ‰
next month dÁan nâa –eav≠v‰·
last year (mÁfl a) pii thîi lE ⁄ Ew (–.‡a,u≈rƒ‡—a‰·
last year pii klaay u≈aa·a
the next day (wan) rûN khÁfl n (·v,·‡+z∆‰v
‘Beginning’, ‘during’, ‘middle’, ‘end’
‘Beginning’: tôn
tôn pii thîi lE ⁄ Ew
e‰vu≈rƒ‡—a‰·
the beginning of last year
‘During’: rawàaN
rawàaN dÁan meesaˇ a
·Ω≠·‡·+–eav–.™··
during April
‘Middle’: klaaN
klaaN dÁan nâa
aa·+–eav≠v‰·
the middle of next month
‘End’: sîn/plaay
sîn/plaay pii níi
a‰vtua·au≈vƒ‰
the end of this year
14.7.3.4
14.7.3.3
14.7.3.2
14.7.3.1
14.7.3
14.7.2
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14
Time
194
‘Ago’, ‘in . . . time’, ‘within’, ‘since’
‘Ago’: (mÁfl a) . . . kOŸ On/thîi lE¤ Ew/maa lE¤ Ew/maa níi
‘Ago’ is normally expressed using (m¨ › a) + NUMBER + UNIT OF TIME +
either kO ‚ On or thîi l” ⁄ ”w or maa l” ⁄ ”w or maa níi, which can be used
interchangeably. Note, however that ‘a moment ago’ is a set phrase which
does not follow this pattern.
(mÁfl a) hâa pii kOŸOn
(–.‡a,≠‰·u≈a‡av
five years ago
(mÁfl a) cèt dÁan thîi lE ⁄ Ew
(–.‡a,–.e–eavrƒ‡—a‰·
seven months ago
(mÁfl a) saˇ am wan maa lE ⁄ Ew
(–.‡a,a·.·v.·—a‰·
three days ago
(mÁfl a) sO‡ O N saˇ am naathii maa níi
(–.‡a,aa+a·.v·rƒ.·vƒ‰
two or three minutes ago
mÁfl a kîi níi (eeN)/mÁfl a takîi níi (eeN)
–.‡aaƒ‰vƒ‰(–a+,t–.‡aeΩaƒ‰vƒ‰(–a+,
(just) a moment ago
‘In . . . time’: ìik
ìik hòk wan
aƒa≠a·v
in six days’ time
‘Within’: phaay nay
phaay nay saˇ am dÁan
s·a”va·.–eav
within three months
‘Since’: tâNtE Ÿ E
tâNtE ŸE mÁfl a waan
e‰+—e‡–.‡a··v
since yesterday
14.7.4.4
14.7.4.3
14.7.4.2
14.7.4.1
14.7.4
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14.7
Useful
expressions
of time
195
Duration of time
Duration of time (I’m going for two weeks) is most commonly expressed
by the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + EXPRESSION OF TIME; there is no
preposition in Thai corresponding to English ‘for’:
phoˇm pay sO‡ O N aathít
+.“uaa+a·rea
I’m going for two weeks.
kháw rian phaasaˇ a thay saˇ am pii
–z·–·ƒavs·™·“raa·.u≈
She studied Thai for 3 years.
Two alternative patterns for expressing duration of time are (a) VERB
(PHRASE) + pen weelaa + EXPRESSION OF TIME; and (b) VERB
(PHRASE) + dâay + EXPRESSION OF TIME; the latter is used only in
the past continuous tense:
kháw ca rian pen weelaa saˇ am pii
–z·.Ω–·ƒav–uv–·a·a·.u≈
He will study for three years.
chán sO‡ On phaasaˇ a aNkrìt (maa) dâay cèt dÁan lE ⁄ Ew
avaavs·™·a+a•™(.·,“e‰–.e–eav—a‰·
I have been teaching English for seven months.
Telling the time
Hours
Telling the time in Thai is complicated by the fact that the hour word,
equivalent to ‘o’clock’ in English, varies according to the time of day
and, with it, the position of the hour number:
tii + NUMBER 1 a.m.–5 a.m.
NUMBER + mooN cháaw 6 a.m.–11 a.m.
bàay + NUMBER + mooN 1 p.m.–4 p.m.
NUMBER + mooN yen 5 p.m.–6 p.m.
NUMBER + thûm 7 p.m.–11 p.m.
14.8.1
14.8
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14
Time
196
The hours from 6a.m. to 11a.m. can be counted using numbers 6–
11 + mooN cháaw, or in an alternative way based on a division of the day
in to six-hour periods, starting from 7 a.m., whereby 8 a.m. becomes ‘2
o’clock in the morning’, 9 a.m. ‘3 o’clock . . .’, and so on:
midnight thîaN khÁÁn –rƒ‡a+ev
1 a.m tii nÁŸ N eƒ≠v∆‡+
2 a.m. tii sO‡ O N eƒaa+
3 a.m. tii saˇ am eƒa·.
4 a.m. tii sìi eƒaƒ‡
5 a.m. tii hâa eƒ≠‰·
6 a.m. hòk mooN cháaw ≠a‘.+–z‰·
7 a.m. cèt mooN cháaw –.e‘.+–z‰·
or mooN cháaw ‘.+–z‰·
8 a.m. pE ŸEt mooN cháaw —ue‘.+–z‰·
or sO‡ O N mooN cháaw aa+‘.+–z‰·
9 a.m. kâaw mooN cháaw –a‰·‘.+–z‰·
or saˇ am mooN cháaw a·.‘.+–z‰·
10 a.m. sìp mooN cháaw au‘.+–z‰·
or sìi mooN cháaw aƒ‡‘.+–z‰·
11 a.m. sìp èt mooN cháaw au–ae‘.+–z‰·
or hâa mooN cháaw ≠‰·‘.+–z‰·
midday thîaN (wan) –rƒ‡a+(·v,
1 p.m. bàay mooN u‡·a‘.+
2 p.m. bàay sO‡ O N mooN u‡·aaa+‘.+
3 p.m. bàay saˇ am mooN u‡·aa·.‘.+
4 p.m. bàay sìi mooN u‡·aaƒ‡‘.+
5 p.m. hâa mooN yen ≠‰·‘.+–av
6 p.m. hòk mooN yen ≠a‘.+–av
7 p.m. thûm nÁŸ N r‡.≠v∆‡+
8 p.m. sO‡ O N thûm aa+r‡.
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14.8
Telling the
time
197
9 p.m. saˇ am thûm a·.r‡.
10 p.m. sìi thûm aƒ‡r‡.
11 p.m. hâa thûm ≠‰·r‡.
Note: tii and bàay appear before the number; tii and thûm do not occur
with mooN.
A traditional way of counting the hours of darkness, still used among
elderly people in Bangkok and in rural areas, uses the word yaam (‘a
3-hour watch period’):
9 p.m. yaam nùN a·.≠v∆‡+
midnight sO‡ O N yaam aa+a·.
3 a.m. saˇ am yaam a·.a·.
Half-hours
Half-past the hour is expressed as HOUR TIME + khr¨ › N (‘half’). For the
hours from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., however, the word cháaw is usually omitted:
3.30 a.m. tii saˇ am khrÁfl N eƒa·.e·∆‡+
7.30 a.m. cE Ÿ t mooN khrÁfl N –.e‘.+e·∆‡+
11.30 a.m. sìp èt mooN khrÁfl N au–ae‘.+e·∆‡+
2.30 p.m. bàay sO‡ O N mooN khrÁfl N u‡·aaa+‘.+e·∆‡+
5.30 p.m. hâa mooN yen khrÁfl N ≠‰·‘.+–ave·∆‡+
10.30 p.m. sìi thûm khrÁfl N aƒ‡r‡.e·∆‡+
Quarter hours and minutes past/to the hour
There is no special word for ‘quarter past’ or ‘quarter to’ the hour.
Minutes past the hour are expressed as HOUR TIME + NUMBER +
naathii (‘minutes’):
10.15 a.m. sìp mooN sìp hâa naathii au‘.+au≠‰·v·rƒ
2.10 p.m. bàay sO‡ O N mooN sìp naathii u‡·aaa+‘.+auv·rƒ
9.15 p.m. saˇ am thûm sìp hâa naathii a·.r‡.au≠‰·v·rƒ
14.8.3
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14
Time
198
Minutes to the hour are expressed as ìik (‘further, more’) + NUMBER
+ naathii (‘minutes’) + HOUR TIME:
10.45 a.m. ìik sìp hâa naathii sìp èt mooN
aƒaau≠‰·v·rƒau–ae‘.+
5.40 p.m. ìik yîi sìp naathii hòk mooN yen
aƒaaƒ‡auv·rƒ≠a‘.+–av
11.55 p.m. ìik hâa naathii thîaN khÁÁn
aƒa≠‰·v·rƒ–rƒ‡a+ev
The 24-hour clock system
In the 24-hour clock system hours are expressed as NUMBER + naalikaa
(‘clock, o’clock’); half-hours are expressed as NUMBER + naalikaa + saˇ am
sìp naathii (‘thirty minutes’):
16.00 sìp hòk naalikaa
au≠av·ua·
20.30 yîi sìp naalikaa saˇ am sìp naathii
aƒ‡auv·ua·a·.auv·rƒ
Asking the time
To ask the time kìi mooN? or weelaa thâwrày? is used; to ask what time
something happens or happened . . . kìi mooN? is used:
kìi mooN lE ⁄ Ew?/weelaa thâwrày lE ⁄ Ew?
aƒ‡‘.+—a‰·t–·a·–r‡·“·—a‰·
What time is it?
rót OŸ Ok kìi mooN?
·aaaaaƒ‡‘.+
What time does the bus leave?
14.8.5
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14.8
Telling the
time
199
Politeness
Politeness can be conveyed verbally in Thai by the appropriate choice of
vocabulary, such as polite final particles (10.2), deferential pronouns (4.1)
and formal vocabulary. As in most languages, the pitch and volume of
voice can also be used to convey politeness. Speaking Thai softly and
undemonstratively can be both a mark of politeness (reflecting the
speaker’s unwillingness to be too assertive) and a sign of authority and
high status (reflecting the speaker’s lack of need to be assertive); the
foreigner who assumes these to be signs of weakness and indecision is
likely to become culturally lost very quickly.
Thanks
The most widely used word for thank you is khO ‚ Op khun. When speaking
to children or subordinates, khO ‚ Op cay may be used instead, and khO ‚ Op
phrakhun when speaking to those of higher social status, or when wishing
to be especially polite. All of these forms can be intensified by adding
mâak (‘much’) or its reduplicated form mâak mâak:
khOŸ Op khun (mâak) khráp/khâ
zauea(.·a,e·ute‡Ω
Thank you (very much).
khOŸ Op phrakhun
zaun·Ωea
Thank you (especially polite and to superiors).
khOŸ Op cay
zau”.
Thank you (to children and subordinates).
15.2
15.1
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Chapter 15
Thai speech conventions
Thanking someone for doing something is expressed by the pattern khO ‚ Op
khun + thîi + VERB (PHRASE):
khOŸOp khun thîi bOŸ Ok lûaN nâa
zauearƒ‡uaaa‡·+≠v‰·
Thank you for telling me in advance.
Thanking someone for something is expressed by the pattern khO ‚ Op
khun + saˇ mràp + NOUN (PHRASE):
khOŸOp khun saˇ mràp thúk sìN thúk yàaN
zaueaa·≠·uraa‡+raaa‡·+
Thank you for everything.
Thanks can be acknowledged (a) silently, with a smile or a nod; (b) by
khráp (male speakers) or khâ (female speakers); or (c) by mây pen ray
(‘never mind; that’s alright; don’t mention it’):
khOŸOp khun mâak khráp
zauea.·ae·u
Thank you very much.
– mây pen ray khâ
– “.‡–uv“·e‡Ω
– That’s alright.
Apologies
The essential word for apologising is khO ‹ Othôot; in informal situations it
is often shortened to ’thôot. In more formal situations, khO ‹ O aphay may
be used, or even more formally, khO ‹ O prathaan thôot. khO ‹ Othôot can be
intensified by mâak mâak or ciN ciN:
khO‡ Othôot khráp/khâ
za‘r™e·ute‡Ω
Sorry; please excuse me.
khO‡ Othôot mâak mâak/ciN ciN
za‘r™.·a|t.·+|
I’m ever so sorry.
khO‡ O aphay
zaasa
Sorry; please excuse me (formal).
khO‡ O prathaan thôot
zau·Ωr·v‘r™
Sorry; please excuse me (very formal).
15.3
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15.3
Apologies
201
In everyday speech, khO ‹ Othôot is commonly followed by the mood parti-
cles thii or dûay ná (10.3); ’thôot thii is used to apologise for tiny errors,
while khO ‹ Othôot dûay ná conveys a stronger sense of apology:
(khO‡ O) thôot thii
(za,‘r™rƒ
Sorry.
khO‡ Othôot dûay ná
za‘r™e‰·avΩ
Sorry.
Apologising for doing something is expressed by the pattern khO ‹ Othôot
thîi + VERB (PHRASE):
khO‡ Othôot thîi rópkuan
za‘r™rƒ‡·ua·v
Sorry for disturbing you.
Note that thîi here has a falling tone and is not to be confused with the
final particle thii in thôot thii.
The expression sıˇa cay (‘I’m sorry’) is an expression of sympathy or regret
rather than an apology (15.6.3).
Polite requests
Requests for information
Basic requests for information can be prefaced by khO ‹ Othôot khráp/khâ
(‘excuse me’) for politeness:
khO‡ Othôot khráp/khâ, rót OŸOk kìi mooN?
za‘r™e·ute‡Ω ·aaaaaƒ‡‘.+
Excuse me, what time does the train leave?
khO‡ Othôot khráp/khâ, praysanii yùu thîi naˇ y?
za‘r™e·ute‡Ω “u·™aƒaaa ‡rƒ‡“≠v
Excuse me, where is the Post Office?
Requests for something
Requests for something are expressed by the pattern khO ‹ O + NOUN
(PHRASE) + (dâay máy)?:
15.4.2
15.4.1
15.4
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15
Thai speech
conventions
202
khO‡ O nám khE‡ N plàaw sO‡ O N kEfl Ew (dâay máy)?
zav‰·—z+–ua‡·aa+—a‰·(“e‰“≠.,
Could I have two glasses of water, please?
If the noun is unquantified (i.e. ‘water’ rather than ‘two glasses of water’),
then it is often followed by nO ‚ y (‘a little’) for politeness:
khO‡ O khâaw nOŸ y (dâay máy)?
zaz‰··≠v‡aa(“e‰“≠.,
Could I have some rice, please?
. . . dâay máy? is an optional additional politeness expression.
Requests to do something oneself
Requests to do something oneself can be expressed by the pattern khO ‹ O +
VERB (PHRASE) + nO ‚ y + (dâay máy)?:
khO‡ O duu nOŸ y?
zae ≠v‡aa
Can I have a look, please?
khO‡ O phûut kàp khun tO‡ y nOŸ y dâay máy?
zan eaueae˝aa≠v‡aa“e‰“≠.
Could I speak to Khun Toi, please?
Requesting someone to do something
Requesting someone to do something for you or someone else is expressed
by the pattern chûay + VERB (PHRASE):
chûay pìt pratuu
z‡·au√eu·Ωe
Please close the door.
chûay . . . requests are often used with the mood particles dûay ná or
nO ‚ y (10.3); . . . dâay máy? (‘could you . . .?’) can also be added at the
end of the sentence for politeness:
chûay pìt pratuu dûay ná dâay máy?
z‡·au√eu·Ωee‰·avΩ“e‰“≠.
Please could you close the door.
chûay pìt pratuu nOŸ y dâay máy?
z‡·au√eu·Ωe ≠v‡aa“e‰“≠.
Please could you close the door.
15.4.4
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15.4
Polite
requests
203
To indicate the beneficiary of the action (i.e. who it is being done for),
the pattern may be expanded to chûay + VERB (PHRASE) + hây (+ BENE-
FICIARY) (+ nO ‚ y):
chûay pìt thii wii hây
z‡·au√erƒ·ƒ”≠‰
Please turn the TV off (for me).
chûay plEE hây kháw nOŸ y
z‡·a—ua”≠‰–z·≠v‡aa
Please translate for him.
chûay sàN aahaˇ an hây (phoˇm) nOŸ y
z‡·aa‡+a·≠··”≠‰(+.,≠v‡aa
Please order food for me.
Two rather more formal words for requesting someone to do something
are karunaa and pròot, both of which can be translated as ‘please’;
karunaa often follows chûay in very formal polite conversation, while
pròot can be heard at the beginning of public announcements:
chûay karunaa bOŸ Ok kháw dûay
z‡·aa·a·uaa–z·e‰·a
Please tell him.
pròot sâap . . .
‘u·er··u
Please be informed that . . .
Both karunaa and pròot also occur commonly on public signs:
karunaa thOŸ Ot rOO N tháaw
a·a·aae·a+–r‰·
Please remove your shoes.
karunaa kòt krìN
a·a·aea·‡+
Please ring the bell.
pròot Nîap
‘u·e–+ƒau
Please be quiet.
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15
Thai speech
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204
Requesting someone not to do something
The least confrontational way to ask someone not to do something is
to use the expression mây tO › N . . . (‘there’s no need to . . .’). More direct
requests employ the negative imperative yàa . . . (‘Don’t . . .’) (11.8) which
can be ‘softened’ by the addition of the mood particle ná (10.3) or made
more tactful, polite and deferential by prefixing the polite request words
chûay, karunaa or, more formally, pròot. hâam . . . (‘to forbid’) is an
unambiguous order rather than a request, commonly found on notices of
prohibition (see also 11.9); in speech, it can be ‘softened’ by the addi-
tion of the particle ná:
mây tOfl N pìt pratuu ná
“.‡e‰a+u√eu·ΩevΩ
There’s no need to shut the door.
chûay yàa pìt pratuu ná
z‡·aaa‡·u√eu·Ωe vΩ
Please don’t shut the door.
karunaa yàa pìt pratuu ná
a·a·aa‡·u√eu·Ωe vΩ
Please don’t shut the door.
yàa pìt pratuu ná
aa‡·u√eu·Ωe vΩ
Don’t shut the door, OK?
hâam pìt pratuu ná
≠‰·.u√eu·Ωe vΩ
Don’t shut the door, OK!
hâam khâw
≠‰·.–z‰·
No Entry!
hâam sùup bùrìi
≠‰·.a uu≠·ƒ‡
No Smoking!
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15.4
Polite
requests
205
Inviting someone to do something
Inviting someone to do something, such as sit down, come in, start eating,
is expressed by the pattern chEEn (‘to invite’) + VERB (PHRASE). The
mood article sí (10.3) is commonly added to chEEn . . . invitations:
ch´´n nâN sí khráp/khá
–z¡v‡+ze·uteΩ
Please sit down.
ch´´n khâaN nay sí khráp/khá
–z¡z‰·+”vze·uteΩ
Please come in.
ch´´n sí khráp/khá
–z¡ze·uteΩ
Carry on; go ahead; after you.
Misunderstandings
Expressing ignorance, uncertainty
Thai cannot use the same verb for knowing facts and knowing people
or places; rúu (informal) or sâap (formal, deferential) mean ‘to know
facts’ while rúucàk means ‘to know or be acquainted with people, places
or things’:
chán mây rúu/sâap
av“.‡· ‰tr··u
I don’t know.
kháw mây rúucàk phoˇm
–z·“.‡·‰.a+.
He doesn’t know me.
mây rúucàk kham wâa . . .
“.‡· ‰.ae··‡· . . .
I don’t know the word . . .
phoˇm mây nEfl E (cay)
+.“.‡—v‡(”.,
I’m not sure.
15.5.1
15.5
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15
Thai speech
conventions
206
Expressing non-comprehension
There are two words for ‘to understand’: khâw cay and rúu r¨ › aN:
phoˇm mây khâw cay
+.“.‡–z‰·”.
I don’t understand.
kháw mây rúu rÁfl aN
–z·“.‡· ‰–·‡a+
He doesn’t understand.
rúu r¨ › aN and khâw cay often occur as resultative verbs (5.4) with faN
(‘to listen’) and àan (‘to read’) in questions like faN rúu r¨ › aN máy? (‘do
you understand (what you hear)?’) and àan rúu r¨ › aN máy? (‘do you under-
stand (what you read)?’). In negative statements the word order is VERB
(PHRASE) + mây + RESULTATIVE VERB (11.2):
kháw faN mây rúu rÁfl aN
–z·†+“.‡· ‰–·‡a+
He doesn’t understand (what he hears).
chán àan mây rúu rÁfl aN
ava‡·v“.‡·‰–·‡a+
I don’t understand (what I read).
than (‘to catch up with’, in time) is also used as a resultative verb with
faN (‘to listen’) to express the idea that non-comprehension is due to the
speaker speaking too quickly:
phoˇm faN (khruu) mây than
+.†+(e· ,“.‡rv
I don’t understand (the teacher) (because he speaks too quickly).
Asking someone to repeat, speak slowly, explain,
translate, spell
aray ná khráp/khá
aΩ“·vΩe·uteΩ
Pardon?
phûut ìik thii dâay máy?
n eaƒarƒ“e‰“≠.
Could you say that again?
15.5.3
15.5.2
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15.5
Misunder-
standings
207
phûut cháa cháa nOŸ y dâay máy?
n ez‰· | ≠v‡aa“e‰“≠.
Could you speak slowly, please?
There are two ways of asking what something means: maˇ ay khwaam wâa
aray? is a request for clarification or an explanation, while pl” ” wâa
aray? seeks a translation:
. . . maˇ ay khwaam wâa aray?
. . . ≠.·ae··.·‡·aΩ“·
What does . . . mean?
. . . plEE wâa aray?
. . . —ua·‡·aΩ“·
What does . . . mean?
. . . phaasaˇ a aNkrìt plEE wâa aray?
. . . s·™·a+•™—ua·‡·aΩ“·
What is . . . in English?
phaasaˇ a aNkrìt plEE wâa aray?
s·™·a+•™—ua·‡·aΩ“·
What is it in English?
phaasaˇ a thay khı ˇan yaN Nay?
s·™·“ra–zƒavaa‡·+“·
How is it written in Thai?
sakòt yaN Nay?
aΩaeaa‡·+“·
How do you spell it?
Socialising
Initial conversations between Thais and foreigners are likely to involve
the exchange of personal information. Westerners tend to find some ques-
tions, like Do you have any brothers and sisters? , surprising and others,
like How much do you earn? or Why haven’t you got any children yet?
irritating, intrusive or downright impolite, as in fact most Thais would.
But these are easily outweighed, for most Westerners, by the Thais’
capacity for saying nice things, such as You speak Thai well!, That’s a
nice dress you’re wearing! or You’re looking handsome today! Westerners,
perhaps unused to a culture of mutual personal compliments, often make
the mistake of taking compliments too literally and, even more often, do
not even consider making a return compliment at the next opportune
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15
Thai speech
conventions
208
moment. Compliments can be accepted with a gracious khO ‚ Op khun
(‘thank you’) or modestly denied mây rO ‚ k khráp/khâ (‘not at all’):
khun phûut thay kèN/chát
ean e“ra–a‡+tze
You speak Thai well/clearly.
– mây rOŸ k khráp/khâ
– “.‡≠·aae·ute‡Ω
– Not at all.
Other typical compliments include:
tE ŸN tua suˇay/lOŸ O
—e‡+e·a·at≠a‡a
You look nice (i.e. are nicely dressed)!
tham aahaˇ an arOŸ y
r·a·≠··a·‡aa
Your cooking tastes good.
Greetings, introductions, farewells
The basic greeting sawàt dii, often abbreviated to ’wàt dii in speech, is
used for both formal and informal greetings regardless of the time of day;
it is often accompanied by a wai, a gesture in which the head is bowed
slightly and the hands held in a prayer-like position, somewhere between
neck and forehead height, depending on the status of the person being
greeted. sawàt dii can also be used when taking leave.
More casual greetings are pay naˇ y? (‘Where are you going?’) and pay
naˇ y maa? (‘Where have you been?’) which do not normally require a
precise answer; in the workplace, thaan khâaw r¨ ⁄ yaN (‘Have you eaten
yet?’) is often more a midday greeting, than an invitation to lunch together:
sawàt dii khráp/khâ
a·aeƒe·ute‡Ω
Hello, good morning/afternoon, etc.; goodbye
sabaay dii l´‡ ´?/pen yaN Nay bâaN?
au·aeƒ≠·at–uvaa‡·+“·u‰·+
How are you?
– sabaay dii/kOfl rÁfl ay rÁfl ay
– au·aeƒta –·‡aa |
– Fine/Same as usual.
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15.6
Socialising
209
pay naˇ y?
“u“≠v
Hello (casual). (lit. Where are you going?)
– pay thîaw
“u–rƒ‡a·
I’m going out.
– pay thúrá
“uc·Ω
I’m going on business.
– mây pay naˇ y
“.‡“u“≠v
I’m not going anywhere.
pay naˇ y maa?
“u“≠v.·
Hello (casual). (lit. Where have you been?)
– pay thîaw maa
“u–rƒ‡a·.·
I’ve been out.
– pay thúrá maa
“uc·Ω.·
I’ve been on business.
– mây dây pay naˇ y
“.‡“e‰“u“≠v
I haven’t been anywhere.
thaan khâaw rÁ ⁄ yaN?
r·vz‰··≠·aa+
Hello (informal, polite). (lit. Have you eaten yet?)
– thaan lE ⁄ Ew/yaN khráp(khâ)
– r·v—a‰·ta+e·u(e‡Ω,
– Yes/No.
khO‡ O nE ⁄ nam hây rúucàk kàp . . .
za—vΩv·”≠‰· ‰.aau . . .
I’d like to introduce you to . . .
yin dii thîi rúucàk
aveƒrƒ‡·‰.a
Pleased to meet you.
pay lá ná/pay kOŸOn
“uaΩvΩt“ua‡av
Goodbye; I’m off now.
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15
Thai speech
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210
Finding out about other people
The basic personal questions below can be prefaced by khO ‹ Othôot khráp/
khâ (‘excuse me’) as a sign of politeness.
chÁfl Á aray?
z‡aaΩ“·
What’s your (first) name?
naam sakun aray?
v·.aaaaΩ“·
What’s your surname?
pen khon châat aray?
–uvevz·eaΩ“·
What nationality are you?
maa càak naˇ y?
.·.·a“≠v
Where do you come from?
thîi . . . troN naˇ y?
rƒ‡ . . . e·+“≠v
Whereabouts in . . .?
maa càak mÁaN/caNwàt aray?
.·.·a–.a+t.+≠·eaΩ“·
Which town/province do you come from?
tham Naan aray?
r·+·vaΩ“·
What (job) do you do?
tham Naan thîi naˇ y?
r·+·vrƒ‡“≠v
Where do you work?
mii phîi nO ⁄ O N máy?
.ƒnƒ‡v‰a+“≠.
Have you got any brothers and sisters?
aayú thâwrày?
a·a–r‡·“·
How old are you?
15.6.2
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15.6
Socialising
211
tE ŸN Naan rÁ⁄ yaN?
—e‡++·v≠·aa+
Are you married?
mii khrOfl Opkhrua rÁ⁄ yaN?
.ƒe·aue··≠·aa+
Are you married? (lit. Do you have a family?)
mii lûuk rÁ⁄ yaN?
.ƒaa≠·aa+
Do you have any children?
Expressing congratulations, sympathy
Congratulations and sympathy can be expressed formally using the
expresssion khO ‹ O sad” ” N . . . (‘I would like to show . . .’) which may be
followed by the final particles dûay ná (10.3):
khO‡ O sadEEN khwaam yin dii (dûay ná)
za—ae+e··.aveƒ(e‰·avΩ,
Congratulations!
khO‡ O sadEEN khwaam sı ˇa cay (dûay ná)
za—ae+e··.–aƒa”.(e‰·avΩ,
I’d like to express my regret/sympathy.
Telephone transactions
The English word ‘hello’, pronounced in a more or less Thai way (hanloˇ o),
is used at the beginning of phone calls; the greeting/farewell sawàt dii/
’wàt dii or, more informally, kh” › ” níi ná (‘That’s all for now’) can be
used at the end of the call:
khO‡ O phûut kàp khun . . . nOŸ y dâay máy?
zan eauea . . . ≠v‡aa“e‰“≠.
Could I speak to . . ., please?
khray phûut khráp/khá?
”e·n ee·uteΩ
Who’s speaking, please?
khun . . . chây máy khráp/khá?
ea . . . ”z‡“≠.e·uteΩ
Is that . . .?
15.6.4
15.6.3
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15
Thai speech
conventions
212
phoˇm/chán . . . phûut khráp/khâ
+.tav . . . n ee·ute‡Ω
This is . . . speaking.
(chûay) phûut daN daN nOŸ y dâay máy?
(z‡·a,n ee+ | ≠v‡aa“e‰“≠.
Could you speak up a little, please?
mây khOfl y dây yin
“.‡e‡aa“e‰av
I can scarcely hear.
rOO sàk khrûu khráp/khâ
·aaae· ‡e·ute‡Ω
Hold on a moment, please.
saˇ ay mây dii
a·a“.‡eƒ
The line’s bad.
saˇ ay mây wâaN
a·a“.‡·‡·+
The line isn’t free.
saˇ ay lùt
a·a≠ae
I got cut off.
khO‡ O tOŸO b´´ . . . ?
zae‡a–ua· . . .
Could I have extension . . ., please?
ca sàN aray máy?
.Ωa‡+aΩ“·“≠.
Do (you) want to leave a message?
chûay bOŸ Ok khun tı ˇm wâa . . .
z‡·auaaeae˝.·‡· . . .
Please tell Khun Tim that . . .
chûay bOŸ Ok khun tı ˇm hây thoo thÁ‡ N chán dûay ná
z‡·auaaeae˝.”≠‰‘r·a∆+ave‰·avΩ
Please tell Khun Tim to ring me back.
khEfl E níi ná
—e‡vƒ‰vΩ
That’s all for now.
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15.6
Socialising
213
lE ⁄ Ew ca thoo maa mày
—a‰· .Ω‘r·.·”≠.‡
I’ll ring back later.
yen yen ca thoo maa mày
–av| .Ω‘r·.·”≠.‡
I’ll ring back this evening.
khO‡ Othôot thoo phìt b´´
za‘r™ ‘r·+e–ua·
Sorry, I’ve got the wrong number.
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15
Thai speech
conventions
214
There are many different ways of Romanising Thai. The system used
throughout this book is based on one devised by the American linguist,
Mary Haas. This system is widely used in university departments where
Thai is taught and in the linguistic literature on Thai. As well as learning
unfamiliar symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet, such as E, ”,
¨, etc., the learner also has to recognise that ph and th are not pronounced
like the initial consonant sound in ‘phobia’ and ‘thin’. To avoid such prob-
lems, some materials (e.g. Teach Yourself Thai, Robertson’s Practical
English-Thai Dictionary) use non-technical systems of Romanisation,
attempting to represent unfamiliar Thai sounds with combinations of let-
ters such as ‘-air-o’, ‘dt’ and ‘eu-a’. Librarians and historians generally pre-
fer the Library of Congress system, which, unlike systems used in
language-learning, does not attempt to represent tone.
This is how an article entitled ‘The turning point in Thai literature’ would
be Romanised according to three different systems:
≠·–aƒ‰a·za+···aeeƒ“ra
Essential Grammar (EG) huˇ a líaw khO ‹ O N wannakhadii thay
Teach Yourself Thai (TYT) hoˇ o-a lée-o koˇ rng wun-na-ka-dee tai
Library of Congress (LC) hu¯ a lı¯eo kho˛ ¯ ng wannakhadı¯ thai
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Appendix 1
Romanisation systems
Essential Teach Yourself Library of
Grammar Thai Congress
initial final initial final initial final
CONSONANTS
a k k g k k k
z kh k k k kh k
e kh k k k kh k
r kh k k k kh k
+ N N ng ng ng ng
. c t j t cˇh t
a ch t ch t ch t
z ch t ch t ch t
z s t s t s t
a ch t ch t ch t
¡ y n y n y n
¸ d t d t d t
¸ t t dt t t t
¡ th t t t th t
- th t t t th t
a th t t t th t
a n n n n n n
e d t d t d t
e t t dt t t t
a th t t t th t
r th t t t th t
c th t t t th t
v n n n n n n
u b p b p b p
u p p bp p b p
+ ph p p p ph p
! f p f p f p
n ph p p p ph p
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Appendix 1
Romanisation
systems
216
† f p f p f p
s ph p p p ph p
. m m m m m m
a y y y y y y
· r n r n r n
a l n l n l n
· w w w w w w
a s t s t s t
™ s t s t s t
a s t s t s t
≠ h – h – h –
u l n l n l n
a – – – – – –
∏ h – h – h –
VOWELS
EG TYT LC EG TYT LC
a -OO -or -o˛¯ –aΩ -´ -er -œ
Ω -a -a -a –Ω -e -e -e
-a- -u- -a –· -aw -ao -ao
· -ua -oo-a -u¯a –·Ω -O -or -o˛
· -aa -ah -a¯ – -´´ -er -œ¯
· -am -um -am –ƒa -ia -ee-a -ı ¯a
-i -i -i –ƒaΩ -ia -ee-a -ia
ƒ -ii -ee -ı ¯ –a -Áa -eu-a -u¯’a
∆ -Á -eu -u’ — -EE -air -æ¯
-ÁÁ -eu -u¯’ — -E -air -æ

-u -OO -u —Ω -E -air -æ
-uu -oo -u¯ ‘ -oo -oh -o¯
– -ee -ay -e¯ ‘Ω -o -o -o
– -e -e -e ” -ay -ai -ai
–a ´´y -er-ee -œ¯ i “ -ay -ai -ai
–a -´´ -er -œ¯
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Appendix 1
Romanisation
systems
217

The verbs, hây, dây/dâay and pen often seem confusing to the learner
because each has several quite different meanings. This section summarises
and cross-references the main patterns in which they are likely to be
encountered.
hây
(a) SUBJECT + hây + DIRECT OBJECT + INDIRECT OBJECT (5.12)
As a main verb, hây means ‘to give’:
kháw hây N ´n chán
–z·”≠‰–+vav
He gave me money.
(b) SUBJECT + hây + INDIRECT OBJECT + VERB (PHRASE) (5.11)
As a causative verb, hây means ‘to let (someone do something)’ or ‘to
have (someone do something)’:
kháw hây chán klàp bâan
–z·”≠‰avaauu‰·v
He let me/had me go home.
(c) SUBJECT + VERB + hây + OBJECT + VERB (PHRASE) (5.11)
The manner of causation (e.g. telling, wanting, permitting someone to do
something) can be specified by an appropriate verb preceding hây:
chán yàak hây khun chûay nOŸ y
avaa·a”≠‰eaz‡·a≠v‡aa
I’d like you to help me a bit.
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Appendix 2
The verbs hây, dây/dâay
and pen: a summary
(d) SUBJECT + tham+ hây + OBJECT + VERB (PHRASE) (5.11)
This pattern conveys a sense of intention or coercion on the part of the
subject:
rÁfl aN bE ŸEp níi tham hây phoˇm ramkhaan sam´‡ ´
–·‡a+—uuvƒ‰r·”≠‰+.··e·¡–a.a
This kind of thing always makes me annoyed.
(e) SUBJECT + VERB (PHRASE) + hây + INDIRECT OBJECT (8.3)
To convey the idea that the action is being carried out for the benefit of
someone:
phoˇm sÁ ⁄ Á hây khun
+.z‰a”≠‰ea
I bought it for you.
(f) VERB (PHRASE) + hây + ADJECTIVE (7.1.5; 9.4)
As an adverb-marker in imperatives:
phûut hây chát nOŸ y
n e”≠‰ze≠v‡aa
Speak clearly, please!
dây/dâay
Note that dây and dâay are spelt identically but the pronunciation varies
according to its position in the sentence.
(a) dây + NOUN
As a main verb dây means ‘to get’:
khun dây N ´n dÁan thâwrày?
ea“e‰–+v–eav–r‡·“·
How much salary do you get?
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Appendix 2
The verbs
hây, dây/dâay
and pen: a
summary
219
(b) dây + VERB (PHRASE)
As an auxiliary verb before the main verb, dây means ‘to get to do some-
thing’:
chán ca dây pay thîaw laaw
av.Ω“e‰“u–rƒ‡a·a··
I’ll get to visit Laos.
(c) VERB (PHRASE) + dâay (5.6.2)
As an auxiliary verb after a verb or verb phrase, dâay means ‘can, able to’:
raw pay phrûN níi mây dâay
–··“un·‡+vƒ‰“.‡“e‰
We can’t go tomorrow.
(d) VERB (PHRASE) + dâay + ADJECTIVE (7.1.4)
As an adverb-marker after the verb or verb phrase and before an adjective:
kháw phûut thay dâay dii
–z·ne“ra“e‰eƒ
He speaks Thai well.
(e) mây dây + VERB (PHRASE)
To indicate negative past (5.7.7):
raw mây dây pay
–··“.‡“e‰“u
We didn’t go.
or to contradict or correct a preceding statement or assumption (11.4):
kháw mây dây pen khon aNkrìt
–z·“.‡“e‰–uveva+a•™
He’s not English.
(f) INDEFINITE PRONOUN + kO^ dâay (4.8.7); VERB
(PHRASE)/NOUN + kO^ dâay
To show amenability, a lack of preference or indifference:
khun pay mÁfl arày kOfl dâay
ea“u–.‡a“·a“e‰
You can go whenever you like.
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Appendix 2
The verbs
hây, dây/dâay
and pen: a
summary
220
wan níi kOfl dâay phrûN níi kOfl dâay
·vvƒ‰a“e‰ n·‡+vƒ‰a“e‰
Today is OK, tomorrow is OK.
pay kOfl dâay mây pay kOfl dâay
“ua“e‰ “.‡“ua“e‰
Going is fine by me, not going is fine, too.
(g) VERB (PHRASE) + (maa) + dâay + TIME EXPRESSION (14.7.5)
To express duration of time (for . . .) for actions that began in the past
and continue through to the present (5.7.8):
chán tham Naan thîi kruNthêep (maa) dâay laˇ ay pii lE ⁄ Ew
avr·+·vrƒ‡a·+–rn·(.·,“e‰≠a·au≈—a‰·
I have been working in Bangkok for several years.
pen
(a) pen + NOUN (5.1.1)
As the verb ‘to be’, it cannot normally be followed by an adjective (5.2);
the negative is either mây chây + NOUN, or mây dây pen + NOUN:
kháw pen phÁfl an
–z·–uv–n‡av
He’s a friend.
(b) VERB (PHRASE) + pen (5.6.2)
As an auxiliary post-verb, meaning ‘to know how to do something’:
kháw wâay náam pen
–z··‡·av‰·–uv
He can swim.
(c) VERB (PHRASE) + pen + NOUN (PHRASE) (7.1.3)
As an adverb-marker:
kháw càay pen N ´n sòt
–z·.‡·a–uv–+vae
They paid in cash.
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Appendix 2
The verbs
hây, dây/dâay
and pen: a
summary
221
(d) VERB (PHRASE) + pen + EXPRESSION OF TIME (14.7.5)
To express duration of time:
kháw yùu thîi nîi pen weelaa naan
–z·aa‡rƒ‡vƒ‡–uv–·a·v·v
He’s been here a long time.
(e) pen + DISEASE
Where English uses ‘to have’ or ‘to get’ with diseases and illnesses, Thai
uses pen:
khun pen wàt chây máy?
ea–uv≠·e”z‡“≠.
You’ve got a cold, haven’t you?
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Appendix 2
The verbs
hây, dây/dâay
and pen: a
summary
222
Adjectives in Thai occur after the nouns they describe; they do not occur
with the verb ‘to be’. Adjectives also function as stative verbs; thus,
dii is both the adjective ‘good’ and the stative verb ‘to be good’.
Adjectives and adverbs often take the same form in Thai; thus dii is
both the adjective ‘good’ and the adverb ‘well’.
Adverbs often occur after verbs. They can describe an action, where they
often take the same form as adjectives, or the whole sentence.
Aspect is concerned with whether the action of a verb is complete, ongoing
or habitual; it is marked in Thai by auxiliary verbs.
Auxiliary verbs only occur with other verbs; Thai auxiliaries include
modal verbs and time and aspect markers.
Causative verbs in Thai convey a range of meanings including
allowing something to happen, causing something to happen, either
intentionally or unintentionally, and compelling someone to do some-
thing.
Classifiers are attributed to every noun and are used primarily, but not
exclusively, in noun phrases involving numbers, such as ‘three daugh-
ters’, ‘four glasses of orange juice’, and so on.
Compounds are combinations of two words to make a new word.
Compounding is an important derivational process in Thai in creating
nouns, adjectives and verbs.
Concessive clauses concede a point which is then often countered in the
following clause. In English they usually begin with ‘although’; in Thai,
the following clause is usually introduced by ‘but’.
Conditional clauses commonly begin with ‘if’ and state a condition under
which the following clause holds true. In Thai the ‘if’ word is often
omitted.
Consonant class Thai consonants are divided into three classes – low,
mid and high; the class of the initial consonant in a syllable will play
a part in determining the tone of the syllable.
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Glossary
Consonant clusters are combinations of two consonant sounds, such as
pl-, khw-, pr-; in Thai they occur only at the beginning of a syllable.
The class of the first consonant in the cluster plays a part in deter-
mining the tone of the syllable.
Dead syllables are one of two types of syllable in Thai (see also live sylla-
bles); dead syllables are those which end in either in a p, t or k stop
consonant or a short vowel.
Demonstratives are words like ‘this’ and ‘that’. Thai demonstrative pro-
nouns and demonstrative adjectives are distinguished by tone, pronouns
having a falling tone and adjectives a high tone.
Diphthongs are glides from one ‘pure’ vowel sound to another.
Directional verbs occur after a verb (phrase) to indicate the direction of
the action in relation to the speaker.
Intensifiers modify adjectives and adverbs expressing the degree to which
that quality is present (e.g. very, fairly, hardly); many adjectives in
Thai take their own specific intensifier (cf. pitch black).
Live syllables are one of two types of syllable in Thai (see also dead
syllables); live syllables are those which end in either an m, n, N, w,
or y sound or a long vowel.
Modal verbs express possibility, probability, ability, necessity, volition
and obligation. Most, but not all, Thai modals occur before a verb
(phrase); modals are not all negated in the same way.
Noun phrases consist of a noun modified by one or more modifying
words, such as numbers, demonstratives or adjectives. Classifiers play
an important role in noun phrases in Thai.
Personal pronouns Thai has a much more complex system of personal
pronouns than English; choice of the appropriate pronoun is deter-
mined not only by gender and number, but also by age, social status,
context and personality; kin terms, status/occupation terms, personal
names and nicknames are commonly used as pronouns; pronouns are
also commonly omitted.
Quantifiers are words like ‘all’, ‘some’, ‘many’ and ‘every’. In Thai noun
phrases some quantifiers behave like numbers and others like adjec-
tives.
Reduplication, most commonly involving the repetition of an adjective
or an adverb, can serve a number of functions, including making
the meaning less precise, intensifying the meaning and signalling an
imperative; a small number of nouns can be pluralised by reduplica-
tion.
Resultative verbs occur after another verb to describe the state that results
from the action of the first verb (cf. I shot him dead).
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Glossary
224
Sentence particles occur at the end of an utterance. They include ques-
tion particles, which serve a grammatical function, and polite particles,
mood particles and exclamatory particles, which have a communica-
tive function.
Stative verbs describe a state rather than an action. Adjectives in Thai
also function as stative verbs.
Subordinate clauses are dependent on the main clause in a sentence. They
include concessive, conditional, purpose, reason and relative clauses.
Tone The pitch assigned to each syllable. Standard Thai has five tones
– mid, high, low, rising and falling.
Topicalization involves placing a word or phrase other than the subject
at the beginning of the sentence in order to highlight it and make it
the ‘topic’ of the sentence.
Unreleased consonants occur when the airstream is closed to make the
sound, but not re-opened; the final ‘p’ in English ‘yep!’ is commonly
pronounced as an unreleased consonant. The final stop consonants in
Thai (p, t, k) are unreleased.
Verb phrase This consists of a verb and optionally, its objects (direct and
indirect) and any modifying adverb. In this book, the convention VERB
(PHRASE) is used extensively to mean ‘verb or verb phrase’.
Verb serialization is an extremely common feature of Thai in which a
number of verbs sharing the same subject follow one another with no
intervening conjunctions or prepositions.
Wh- questions are questions which begin with wh- in English: who?,
whose?, what?, which?, where?, when?, why? How? is also normally
included in this category.
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Glossary
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Abramson, A.S. (ed.) (1997) Southeast Asian Linguistic Studies in Honour
of Vichin Panupong, Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University Press.
Angkab Palakornkul (1972) ‘A socio-linguistic study of pronominal
strategy in spoken Bangkok Thai’, unpublished PhD diss. University
of Texas, Austin.
Anthony, E.M. et al. (1967, 1970) Foundations of Thai, 2 vols, Ann
Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press; Washington, DC: US Office
of Education.
Brown, J.M. (1967–69) AUA Language Center Thai Course, 3 vols,
Bangkok: American University Alumni Language Center.
—— (1979) AUA Language Center Thai Course: Reading and Writing,
2 vols, Bangkok: American University Alumni Language Center.
Campbell, R.N. (1969) Noun Substitutes in Modern Thai: A Study in
Pronominality, Mouton: The Hague.
Campbell, S. and Chuan Shaweewongse (1957) Fundamentals of the Thai
Language, Bangkok: S Bunyasiribhandu.
Chamberlain, J.R. (ed.) (1991) The Ram Khamhaeng Controversy:
Collected Papers, Bangkok: Siam Society.
Cooke, J.R. (1968) Pronominal Reference in Thai, Burmese and
Vietnamese, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
—— (1989) Thai Sentence Particles and Other Topics, Canberra:
Australian National University.
Delouche, G. (1991) Méthode de Thaï, 2 vols Paris: L’Asiathèque.
Diller, A. (1985) ‘High and low Thai: views from within’, in D. Bradley
(ed.) Language Policy, Language Planning and Sociolinguistics in South-
East Asia, Canberra: Australian National University.
—— (1991) ‘What makes Central Thai a National Language?’, in C.J.
Reynolds (ed.) National Identity and Its Defenders: Thailand, 1939–
1989, Victoria, Australia: Monash University, Centre of Southeast
Asian Studies.
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Bibliography and
further reading
Domnern Garden and Sathienpong Wannapok (1994) Thai–English
Dictionary, Bangkok: Amarin Printing and Publishing pcl.
Gething, T.W., Harris, J.G. and Pranee Kullavanijaya (eds) (1976) Tai
Linguistics in Honor of Fang-Kuei Li, Bangkok: Chulalongkorn
University Press.
Haas, M. (1964) Thai–English Student’s Dictionary, Stanford, CA:
Stanford University Press.
Haas, M. and Heng R. Subhanka (1945–48) Spoken Thai, New York:
Henry Holt.
Harris, J.G. and Chamberlain, J.R. (eds) (1975) Studies in Tai Linguistics
in Honor of William J. Gedney, Bangkok: Central Institute of English
Language, Office of State Universities.
Huffman, F.E. (1986) Bibliography and Index of Mainland Southeast
Asian Languages and Linguistics, New Haven and London: Yale
University Press.
Kuo, W. (1982) Teaching Grammar of Thai, Berkeley, CA: Centre for
South and Southeast Asia Studies.
McFarland, G. B. (1944) Thai-English Dictionary, Stanford, CA: Stanford
University Press.
Manas Chitakasem and Smyth, D.A. (1984) Linguaphone Thai Course,
London: Linguaphone Institute.
Noss, R. (1964) Thai Reference Grammar, Washington, DC: Foreign
Service Institute.
Palmer, A. (1974) Small Talk, Bangkok: American University Alumni
Language Center.
—— (1977) Getting Help with Your Thai, Bangkok: American University
Alumni Language Center.
Robertson, R. (1969) Robertson’s Practical English-Thai Dictionary,
Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle.
Ru’angdet Pankhu’ankhat (1997) Phasasat phasa thay (Thai Linguistics),
Salaya, Nakhorn Pathom: Mahidol University, Institute of Language
and Culture for Rural Development.
Smalley, W.A. (1994) Linguistic Diversity and National Unity: Language
Ecology in Thailand, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
Smyth, D.A. (1995) Teach Yourself Thai, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
Thianchai Iamwaramet (1993) A New Thai Dictionary with Bilingual
Explanation, Bangkok: Ruam San.
Vichin Panupong (1970) Inter-sentence Relations in Modern Conversa-
tional Thai, Bangkok: The Siam Society.
Voravudhi Chirasombutti and Diller, A. (1999) ‘Who am “I” in Thai? –
The Thai first person: self-reference or gendered self?’, in P.A. Jackson
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Bibliography
and further
reading
228
and N.M. Cook (eds) Genders and Sexualities in Modern Thailand,
Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books.
Yates, W. and Absorn Tryon (1970) Thai Basic Course, 2 vols,
Washington, DC: Foreign Service Institute.
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Bibliography
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ability 64
abstract nouns 28–9
additive clauses 122
address, terms of 23, 39
adjectives (stative verbs) 83–95
comparison 91–5
intensifiers 87
modification 85
superlatives 95
adverbial phrases 98
adverbs 96–107
comparison 101–2
degree 105
frequency 104
manner 96
modification 100
time 103
although 120
apart from 122
apologies 201
approximation 184
as ... as possible 102
as many as ... 188
aw: verb (phrase) + aw 73
baaN 106, 182
bâaN 106, 168
because 119, 163
by 113
ca + verb (phrase) 67
ca . . . r¨ ⁄ yaN? 158
cá/câ/caˇ a 128–9
càak 115
cay 84
châN 84
. . . chây máy? 155
classifiers 31
with adjectives 36–7
with cardinal numbers 33, 36
with demonstratives 35–6
with quantifiers 34
with ordinal numbers 34, 37
comparison
adjectives 91–5
adverbs 101–2
degrees of comparison 91
equal comparisons 92–3
interrogative comparisons
93
negative comparisons 94
of quantities 186–8
compounds
adjectival 84
nouns 26–31
verbs 59–60
concessive clauses 120
conditional clauses 119
negative conditionals 149
congratulations 212
consonants
classes 14
clusters 6, 18
double-functioning 20
final 6, 12–13
initial 5, 12–13, 17
names 12–13
pronunciation 5–6
silenced 20
written form 12–13, 22
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Index
dates 192
dây/dâay 53–4, 64, 71, 99, 142–3,
196
summary 219–21
days of the week 189
parts of the day 189
dead syllables 15–16
decimals 178
diphthongs, pronunciation 7–9
direct and indirect speech 123
distances 181
distribution 182
dooy 98, 113
dûay 99, 113–14, 130
excessives 94
exclamatory particles 125
exemplification 124
for 111–13, 196
from 115
fractions 177
future actions 67
give 80–1
greetings/farewells 209–10
há?/há/hâ 128
haˇ a . . . mây 151–2
hâam 145, 147–8, 205
hây 77–81, 100, 111
summary 218–19
how?
(manner) 164
(degree) 165
how about? 169
how many? 167
how much? 166
however (whatever way) 53
huˇ a 84
imperatives 97, 100, 123, 135–7
in order to 121
indirect object 80
indirect questions 170
indirect speech 123
introductions 210
inviting somone to do something 206
kaan 28
kaan thîi 119–20
kamlaN + verb (phrase) 69
kamlaN ca + verb (phrase) 69
kàp 111, 114
khá/khâ/khaˇ a 127–8
khâN 109
khE Ey + verb (phrase) 70
khîi 84
khon la 182
khO ‹ O N 38
khráp 127
khráp phoˇ m 127
kh¨ ¨ 57
khwaam 29
kin terms 43–4
kO › 118
. . . kO › dâay 53
. . . kO › mây chây . . . kO › mây chE E N
143
lá/la 130
lâ 131
less than 188
. . . lE‹ E/r¨ ‹ ¨? 154
. . . l”⁄ ”w 68, 71, 156–8
. . . l”⁄ ”w kO › . . . 168
. . . (l”⁄ ”w) r¨ ⁄ yaN? 157
live syllables 15–17
location 108–11
lO ‚ k/rO ‚k 134–5
. . . máy? 153
mây + verb (phrase) 138
mây chây 143, 155
mây chE E N 143, 151
mây dây + verb (phrase) 71,
142–3
mây mii 144
measurements 181
mí 151
mii 58
misunderstandings 206–8
ignorance, uncertainty 206
non-comprehension 207
months 190
more than 186–7
multiples 179
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Index
232
. . . ná? mood particle 132,
question particle 155
nâ/nâa mood particle 133
nâa 84
nák 27
names
personal 23, 44
place 23
necessity 65
negation 138–52
auxiliary verbs 140–2
main verbs 138
modifying negatives 144–5
negative causatives 146–8
negative comparisons 94
negative conditional clauses 149
negative expressions 151
negative imperatives 145–6
negative past tense 71
negative questions 148–9
resultative verbs 139
no 150, 153–9
noun phrases 31–8
nouns 23–38
abstract 28–9
borrowings 25
common 24
proper 23
numbers 171–88
cardinal numbers 172
collective numbers 179
fractions, decimals, percentages,
multiples 177–9
idiomatic expressions 180
ordinal numbers 175
Sanskrit numbers 176
nO ‚ y 133
Nay 134
obligation 66
occupation terms as pronouns 45
once 177
only 185
otherwise 149
particles 126–37
exclamatory 125
mood particles 129–37
polite particles 126–9
question particles 126, 153–9
passives 74
pen 56, 65, 99, 196
summary 221–2
per 182
percentages 178
phaay 110
phE› N + verb (phrase) 70
phûu 27
ph¨ ›a 112
ph¨ ›a thîi ca 121
politeness 200
possession 38, 50
possibility 64
prepositions 108–15
probability 64
pronouns 39–55
demonstrative 50
emphatic 48
indefinite 51–4
interrogative 51
kin terms 43
occupation terms 45
omission of 40
personal 39–43
possessive 50
reciprocal 49
reflexive 47
relative 49
sacred 46
pronunciation 5–10
purpose clauses 121
quantification 171–88
quantifiers 182–4
negative quantification 184
questions 153–70
alternative questions 169
asking the time 199
indirect questions 170
negative questions 148–9
WH- questions 159–69
WH- questions + bâaN 168
WH- questions + dii 168
yes/no questions 153–9
reason clauses 119–20
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Index
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reduplication 25, 89, 97
relative clauses 54
requests/requesting 202–6
for information 202
for something 202
someone to do something 203–4
someone not to do something 205
to do something oneself 203
romanisation 215–7
rO ‚k/lO ‚ k 134–5
rooN 28
r¨ ⁄ 169
. . . r¨ ⁄ plàaw? 156
. . . (l”⁄ ”w) r¨ ⁄ yaN? 157
ca . . . r¨ ⁄ yaN? 158
sàk (+ cardinal number) 174
saˇ mràp 112
seasons 192
sí/sì/sii/sîi 135–6
sıˇa/sá: verb (phrase) + sıˇa/sá 73
socialising 208–14
somebody 51
something 52
somewhere 52
spelling irregularities 19, 21
stress 10
subordinate clauses 76–7, 118
sùan 112
sympathy 212
tâN (+ cardinal number) 174
tâNt” ‚ ” 115
telephone transactions 212–4
thaaN 110
thanks 200
thE‚/hE‚ 136
thii 137
thîi 30, 54, 77, 108, 119
time 189–99
adverbs of time 103
telling the time 196–9
time clauses 122
useful expressions 193–6
to 111
too 94
tone 9
change 10
marks 16–17
rules 16–18
topicalization 117
tO › N 65–6, 140–1
twice 177
verbs 56–82
causatives 77–80
directional verbs 61–3
modal verbs 63–7
resultative verbs 60, 139
serialization 81
stative verbs 59, 8, 72, 156
time and aspect 67–74
to be 56–9
vowels 7–9
silent final 20
unwritten 18
written form 14–15
wá/wâ/wóoy 129
wâa 76, 123, 170
wáy: verb (phrase) + wáy 72
waˇ y: verb (phrase) + waˇ y 65
want to 67
what? 160
when? 163
whenever 52
where? 162
which? 161
whichever 53
who? 159
whoever 51
whose? 160
why? 163
with 114
word order 116–18
writing system 11–22
yá/yâ 129
yàa 145–6, 205
yàa phE› N 146
yàaN 98
years 191
yes 153–9
yùu 59, 69, 108
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Thai
An Essential Grammar

This is a concise and user-friendly guide to the basic structures of the language. Grammatical forms are demonstrated through examples, given in both Thai script and romanised transliteration, with clear, jargon-free explanations. It is designed for use both by students taking a taught course in Thai and for independent learners, and includes guidance on pronunciation, speech conventions and the Thai writing system as well as grammar. Topics include: • • • • • Sentence particles Negation Questions Numerals and quantification Location markers and prepositions

With numerous examples bringing grammar to life, this unique reference work will prove invaluable to all students looking to master the grammar of Thai. David Smyth is Lecturer in Thai at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Routledge Essential Grammars The following titles are available in the Essential Grammars series: Chinese Danish Dutch English Finnish Georgian: A Learner’s Grammar Hungarian Modern Hebrew Norwegian Polish Portuguese Swedish Urdu Other titles of related interest published by Routledge: Colloquial Thai By John Moore and Saowalak Rodchue

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1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

Thai
An Essential Grammar

David Smyth

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& F r n cis G a

London and New York

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mechanical. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. “To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www. or other means. including photocopying and recording.” © 2002 David Smyth All rights reserved. 2005. now known or hereafter invented.co.eBookstore.First published 2002 by Routledge 11 New Fetter Lane.uk. New York. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic. NY 10001 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library.tandf. or in any information storage or retrieval system. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN 0-203-99504-X Master e-book ISBN ISBN 0–415–22614–7 (pbk) ISBN 0–415–22613–9 (hbk) 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . without permission in writing from the publishers. London EC4P 4EE Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 29 West 35th Street.

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 For Manas Chitakasem .

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3 2.1 1. classifiers and noun phrases 3.2 2.3 1.2 1.6 Consonants Consonants by class Vowels Live syllables and dead syllables Tone rules Miscellaneous 11 11 14 14 15 16 19 Chapter 3 Nouns.1 2.4 2.2 Proper nouns Common nouns 23 23 24 vii .5 2.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Contents Preface Introduction Thai and its speakers Romanisation Learning Thai Dictionaries Linguistic literature on Thai xiii 1 1 2 2 3 3 Chapter 1 Pronunciation 1.1 3.4 Consonants Vowels and diphthongs Tones Stress 5 5 7 9 10 Chapter 2 The writing system 2.

12 5.3 3.9 5.4 3.4 6.2 5.2 6.6 4.7 5.8 4.1 4.11 5.10 5.4 4.5 Compound adjectives Modification of adjectives Special intensifiers Reduplication Comparison of adjectives viii 25 1111 31 2 33 3 4 5 39 6 39 7 47 8 48 9 49 1011 50 1 50 12111 51 3 51 4 54 5 6 7 56 8 56 9 59 20111 59 1 60 2 61 3 63 4 67 5 74 6 7 76 8 77 9 77 30111 80 1 81 2 3 4 5 83 6 84 7 85 8 87 9 89 40 91 41111 .3 6.4 5.1 6. mental activity and perception with wâa Verbs of emotion with thîi Causatives ‘To give’: direct and indirect objects Verb serialization Chapter 6 Adjectives (stative verbs) and adjectival constructions 6.5 Making new nouns Noun phrases and classifiers Word order in noun phrases Chapter 4 Pronouns 4.5 4.8 5.2 4.13 The verb ‘to be’ Stative verbs Verb compounds Resultative verbs Directional verbs Modal verbs Time and aspect Passives Verbs of utterance.1 5.3 4.6 5.Contents 3.7 4.3 5.9 Personal pronouns: basics Reflexive pronouns Emphatic pronoun Reciprocal: ‘each other’ Possessive pronouns Demonstrative pronouns Interrogative pronouns Indefinite pronouns Relative pronouns Chapter 5 Verbs 5.5 5.

4 11.1 11.2 11.6 Location: thîi and yùu ‘To’ ‘For’ ‘By’ ‘With’ ‘From’ 108 111 111 113 114 115 Chapter 9 Clauses and sentences 9.6 Word order and topicalisation Subordinate clauses Direct and indirect speech Imperatives Exemplification Exclamatory particles 116 116 118 123 123 124 125 Chapter 10 10.4 9.5 7.3 11.3 7.7 Negation 138 138 139 140 142 143 144 144 Negating main verbs Negating resultative verbs Negating auxiliary verbs mây dây + VERB (PHRASE) mây chây + NOUN mây mii Modifying negatives: intensifying and softening ix .5 11.6 Adverbs of manner Modification of adverbs Comparison of adverbs Adverbs of time Adverbs of frequency Adverbs of degree 96 96 100 101 103 104 105 Contents Chapter 8 Location markers and other prepositions 108 8.3 Sentence particles 126 126 126 129 Question particles Polite particles Mood particles Chapter 11 11.1 9.3 8.5 9.6 11.1 10.3 9.1 8.5 8.4 7.2 7.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Chapter 7 Adverbs and adverbial constructions 7.2 10.4 8.1 7.2 8.2 9.

16 13.14 Negative imperatives Negative causatives Negative questions Negative conditional clauses Saying ‘no’ Useful negative expressions Two further negatives: mí and haa .10 11.2 13.4 13. twice .3 12.11 13.6 13.1 13.15 13.4 Yes/no questions Wh.14 13.questions Alternative questions Indirect questions 153 153 159 169 170 Chapter 13 Numbers.9 11.17 13.1 12.13 13.18 Cardinal numbers Cardinal numbers with sàk and tâN Ordinal numbers Sanskrit numbers Once.11 11.2 12.7 13. . decimals.12 13. . Fractions.3 13.8 13.12 11.13 11.10 13. multiples Collective numbers Some idiomatic expressions involving numbers Measurements Distances Distribution: ‘per’ Quantifiers Negative quantification Approximation: ‘about’ Restriction: ‘only’ ‘More than’ ‘Less than’ ‘As many as’ 171 172 174 175 176 177 177 179 180 181 181 182 182 184 184 185 186 188 188 x 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . measurement and quantification 13.9 13. percentages.5 13.Contents 11. . . mây ˇ 145 146 148 149 150 151 151 Chapter 12 Questions 12.8 11.

2 15.2 14.1 15.5 15.4 15.4 14.8 Time 189 189 189 190 191 192 192 193 196 Contents Days Parts of the day Months Years Dates Seasons Useful expressions of time Telling the time Chapter 15 15.1 14.5 14.3 15.3 14.7 14.6 14.6 Thai speech conventions 200 200 200 201 202 206 208 Politeness Thanks Apologies Polite requests Misunderstandings Socialising Appendix 1 Romanisation systems Appendix 2 The verbs hây.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Chapter 14 14. dây/dâay and pen: a summary Glossary Bibliography and further reading Index 215 218 223 227 231 xi .

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I am also grateful to Walaiporn Tantikanangkul. to all those authors listed in the bibliography (and many others. for their careful checking of the draft manuscript and their numerous constructive suggestions for improving the text. let alone completed. who did much to arouse my curiosity about language in general and Thai in particular. formerly Lecturer in Tai at the School of Oriental and African Studies. with charm. entirely my own responsibility. their input has been invaluable. without the help and encouragement of many people. Andrew Simpson and Justin Watkins for some very practical guidance. for his unstinting support and encouragement since my first faltering forays into Thai. University of London.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Preface This volume aims to fill a long-felt need. for a detailed descriptive grammar which is accessible to the ordinary learner with little or no knowledge of linguistic terminology. it should prove a useful reference source that may be used in conjunction with any introductory language course. Bee. Errors. and to those students of Thai who each year ask new and searching questions and fill me with fresh resolve not to have to bluff my way through the following year. it is to him that this book is dedicated with respect and affection. Manas Chitakasem. too numerous to mention). over the years. colleague and friend for nearly thirty years. For beginners. among both teachers and students of Thai. xiii . to the late Peter J. This book could not have been attempted. my teacher. however. omissions and other shortcomings that may remain are. I am indebted to all those Thais who. Finally. Vantana Cornwell and Routledge’s anonymous reviewer from Australia. over a period of many years. for more advanced learners. my greatest debt of gratitude is to Manas Chitakasem. grace and tact have helped me to improve my knowledge of their language. I am especially grateful to Sujinda Khantayalongkoch. it will hopefully clarify grey areas in their knowledge and provide some further insight into the language.

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .

Thai has no noun or verb inflections: a noun has a single form. From the eighth century AD Tai speakers began to migrate westwards and southwestwards into what is present-day Thailand. Thai is the national language of Thailand. present and future time can be conveyed by a single verb form. which also includes Lao. even closely related Tai languages are often mutually unintelligible because of phonological and lexical differences. the formality of the situation and the degree of intimacy between speakers. age. from northern Vietnam to northern India. a high percentage of polysyllabic words are foreign borrowings. Much of the original Thai lexicon is monosyllabic. 1 . Thai. Distinct regional dialects of Thai are spoken in the north. Like many other South-East Asian languages. with the meaning of each syllable determined by the pitch at which it is pronounced. which reflects gender. high.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Introduction Thai and its speakers Thai (formerly called ‘Siamese’) is a member of the Tai family of languages which are spoken by an estimated 70 million people dispersed over a wide area of Asia. with no distinction between singular and plural. Tai speakers were once thought to have originated from China and migrated southwards. low. with nearly 50 million first-language speakers. social status. while past. is the most important language in the Tai family. but the language of the Central Region is regarded as the standard and is used both in schools and for official purposes throughout the country. Thai is a tonal language. Standard Thai has five tones – mid. Shan (spoken in northern Burma) and some 15 million speakers in southwestern China. Despite common structural features. but today the border area between northern Vietnam and China’s Guangxi province is regarded as a more likely origin. rising and falling. Thai has a complex pronoun system. Sanskrit and Pali. northeast and south of the country. particularly from the classical Indian languages.

authorship is now attributed to ‘the editors of Marketing Media Associates Co. would almost certainly do so in a quite unsystematic way. the average Thai. Fundamentals of the Thai Language (1957) by Stuart Campbell and Chuan Shaweewongse (although in the most recent reprint. and Teach Yourself Thai (1995) by David Smyth. both works include cassettes/CDs. but other works produced by AUA. The Linguaphone Thai Course (1984) by Manas Chitakasem and David Smyth. Of earlier materials. The system used in this book is based on the phonemic transcription devised by the American scholar. including Brown’s AUA Language Center Thai Course: Reading and Writing (1979).Introduction Romanisation There is no universally recognised system for romanising Thai and Thais can neither write their language in the Western alphabet nor easily read Westerners’ romanisations of Thai. is designed for classroom use with a native speaker. both equip the learner with the necessary grammar and vocabulary to deal with a range of everyday situations and provide a structured introduction to the script. and Adrian Palmer’s imaginative dialogue books. has long provided the Bangkok 2 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . librarians another and the Royal Thai Institute yet another. When romanising Thai. Learning Thai A number of readily available Thai courses can be used in conjunction with this grammar. Marvin Brown. commercially published courses often avoid transcriptions that use symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet. although dated in places. Ltd.’). Small Talk (1974) and Getting Help with Your Thai (1977) are well worth consulting. Mary Haas. Marvin Brown’s AUA Thai course materials. Foundations of Thai (1968) by Edward Anthony et al. which offers many valuable insights into the language. The system appears in full in Appendix 1. prepared by J.. Spoken Thai (1945–8) by Mary Haas and Heng Subhanka. and Thai Basic Course (1970) by Warren G. The AUA Language Center Thai Course (1967). While this system is widely used in the linguistic literature on Thai and academic writing on Thailand. in the early 1940s and slightly modified in J. linguists use one system. is an extremely solid work. if called upon to romanise Thai words.. Yates and Absorn Tryon likewise provide very thorough introductions to the language with comprehensive grammar notes. rather than self-tuition.

most of which is catalogued in Franklin E. but it does require a prior knowledge of Thai script. McFarland’s Thai-English Dictionary (1944). Two impressive recent works. it is addressed to those with a background in linguistics. A particularly useful feature for the learner is that for every noun the appropriate classifier is indicated. is a detailed and insightful descriptive grammar that no serious student of Thai can fail to benefit from. Linguistic literature on Thai There is a rich English-language literature on many aspects of Thai linguistics. by contrast. Robertson’s Practical English-Thai Dictionary (1969) is an invaluable pocket-sized aid for the beginner. Two substantial books on Thai grammar addressed to English speakers are Thai Reference Grammar (1964) by Richard Noss and Teaching of Thai Grammar (1982) by William Kuo. Huffman’s Bibliography and Index of Mainland Southeast Asian Languages and Linguistics (1986). Linguistic literature on Thai Dictionaries The most useful dictionary for the learner is Thai-English Student’s Dictionary (1964) compiled by Mary Haas. based on his doctoral thesis. is a much more down-to-earth workbook for practising key structures. Kuo’s book. Much of this literature is in the form of unpublished doctoral theses written in American university linguistics departments during the 1970s 3 . for it contains many words of Sanskrit origin and extensive listings of flora and fauna not found in the Haas volume. George B.500 common English words in both romanised transcription and Thai script. Each Thai script entry is followed by a phonemic transcription and English gloss. but do reflect more up-to-date usage. which gives Thai equivalents of about 2. are Domnern and Sathienpong’s ThaiEnglish Dictionary (1994) and Thianchai Iamwaramet’s A New Thai Dictionary with Bilingual Explanation (1993).1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 expatriate with a sound introduction to the language. although dated. and its use of linguistic terminology is at best bewildering and at times simply intimidating for the majority of beginners. many of the entries also include well-chosen examples of everyday usage. however. which do not include pronunciation guides. remains a valuable reference work for the more advanced student of Thai. Noss’s book. despite its traditional grammar-translation approach.

Anthony Diller’s essays on levels of language use (1985) and the role of Central Thai as a national language (1991) and William A. most notably William J. include contributions which the serious learner can benefit from.Introduction and 1980s and therefore not readily available. regional dialects and minority languages. Fang-Kuei Li (1976) and Vichin Panupong (1997). a masterful study of the relationship between the national language. 4 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . Gedney (1975). Smalley’s Linguistic Diversity and National Unity: Language Ecology in Thailand (1994). A number of collections of essays produced to honour leading scholars of Thai. are accessible to the layman and offer invaluable insights into the language and language situation in Thailand.

l. caan (à¿ô) plate k similar to g in get e.g.1 1. The Thai sound system also includes a small number of consonant and vowel sounds which have no close equivalent in English. however.g. N aan (Ü¿ô) work t similar to t in stop e. phaasa a (°¿™¿) language ˇ p similar to p in spin e. the following consonants. An example of the sound in a word is given for confirmation with a Thai native speaker.g. taam (ï¿¢) to follow th similar to th in Thailand e. y. a close equivalent sound in standard British English. m. The lists of consonant and vowel sounds in this section include.1. b. w.g. need further clarification: kh similar to kh in khakhi e. khày (“Ň) egg c similar to j in jar e. r. s.g. kày (“ć) chicken N similar to ng in singer e.g.1 Consonants Initial consonants The consonants d.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Chapter 1 Pronunciation Thai differs radically from English and other European languages in being a tone language. pay (“ú) to go ch similar to ch in chart e. 1.g. n. thay (“ó£) Thai ph similar to p in part e. f.g. chaay (ä¿£) male 5 .g. where possible. h are similar to English. In tone languages the meaning of a syllable is determined by the pitch at which it is pronounced.

1 Pronunciation

6

Many Thais find it difficult to produce an initial r and will substitute l. 1111 Thus rúu (‘to know’) is often pronounced lúu. 2 3 4 1.1.2 Final consonants 5 6 A Thai syllable can end in two types of consonant sounds: 7 (a) the stops -p, -t, -k 8 9 The final stop consonants are unreleased. Unreleased stops are produced 1011 when the airstream is closed to make the sound, but not re-opened, so 1 that no air is released. Examples in English include the ‘p’ in the casual 12111 pronunciation of ‘yep!’ and the ‘t’ in ‘rat’ when ‘rat trap’ is said quickly. 3 Beginners sometimes find it difficult to hear the difference between words 4 like rák (‘to love’), rát (‘to bind’) and ráp (‘to receive’), while in attempt5 ing to reproduce these sounds, they may inadvertently ‘release’ the final 6 consonant. 7 (b) the nasals -m, -n, -N 8 9 These sounds are familiar from English and present no problem. 20111 1 2 1.1.3 Consonant clusters 3 The following consonant clusters exist in Thai; they occur only at the 4 beginning of a word: 5 6 kr- as in kruN (ħÀÜ) city 7 kl- as in klay (“Ķ) far 8 9 kw- as in kwâaN (Ä®‰¿Ü) wide 30111 khr- as in khray (”ɧ) who? 1 2 khl- as in khláay (ɶ‰¿£) to resemble 3 khw- as in khwa a (Å®¿) right ˇ 4 5 pr- as in pratuu (ú§ΩïÃ) door 6 pl- as in plaa (ú¶¿) fish 7 8 phr- as in phrá (ü§Ω) monk 9 phl- as in phlâat (ü¶¿î) to miss, fail 40 N (ï§Ü) straight tr- as in tro 41111

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

In everyday speech many Thais will omit the second consonant in a cluster:

khray (”ɧ) ‘who?’ becomes khay

plaa (ú¶¿) ‘fish’ becomes paa

1.2 Vowels and diphthongs

pratuu (ú§ΩïÃ) ‘door’ becomes patuu

A more radical transformation, associated with Bangkok working-class speech, is the change of initial khw- to f-:

khwa a (Å®¿) ‘right’ becomes fa a ˇ ˇ khwaam sùk (É®¿¢´ÀÅ) ‘happiness’ becomes faam sùk

1.2

Vowels and diphthongs

Thai distinguishes between short and long vowels. Short vowels are transcribed with a single letter (e.g. -a, -e, -E, etc.) and long vowels with two letters (e.g. -aa, -ee, -ii, etc.). Diphthongs (combinations of two vowel sounds) are similarly distinguished by length. Short diphthongs are represented by a single letter followed by w or y (e.g. -aw, -Oy, -uy, etc.); long diphthongs are represented by either two different letters (e.g. -ia, -¨a, -ua, etc.) or two similar letters followed by w or y (e.g -aaw, -””w, -EEy, etc.). Learners are likely to experience some difficulty in hearing and producing differences between the short and long diphthongs -aw/-aaw and -ay/-aay:

raw khâw tay sa y ˇ

(“ï) (”´)

(–ʼn¿)

(–§¿)

we to enter liver clear

raaw khâaw taay sa ay ˇ

(ʼn¿®) (´¿£)

(§¿®)

about rice to die late morning

(ï¿£)

When reading Thai script it is essential to be able to distinguish between long and short vowel symbols, as vowel length influences tone (see Chapter 2):

-a -aa -e

similar to e in let e.g. dèk (–îªÄ) child

similar to a in father e.g. maa (¢¿) to come
7

similar to u in run e.g. yaN (£æÜ) still

1 Pronunciation

-ee -´ -´´ -E -EE -i -ii -O -OO -o -oo -u -uu -Á -ÁÁ -ia -ua -Á a -iaw -uay -Áay -uy -ooy -´´y -Oy -OO y

8

-ay

1111 2 similar to er in number e.g. N´n (–ܬô) money 3 4 similar to er in her e.g. c´´ (–àØ) to meet 5 short vowel, similar to air in hair e.g. khE‡ N (—ŪÜ) hard 6 7 long vowel, similar to air in hair e.g. mEfl E (—¢‡) mother 8 similar to i in bin e.g. bin (õ¬ô) to fly 9 similar to ee in fee e.g. mii (¢ƒ) to have 1011 1 short vowel, similar to or in corn e.g. tOfl N (ï‰ØÜ) must 12111 long vowel, similar to or in corn e.g. bOŸO k (õØÄ) to say 3 4 similar to o in Ron e.g. con (àô) poor 5 similar to o in go e.g. too (‘ï) big 6 7 similar to oo in book e.g. yúk (£ÀÉ) era 8 similar to oo in coo e.g. rúu (§Ã‰) to know 9 short vowel, with no equivalent in English; e.g. nÁŸ N (≠ô∆‡Ü) one 20111 1 long vowel, with no equivalent in English; e.g. mÁÁ (¢»Ø) hand 2 3 similar to ear in hear e.g. sı a (–´ƒ£) to lose ˇ 4 similar to oer in doer e.g. rúa (§æ‰®) fence 5 6 long diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. bÁŸ a (–õ»‡Ø) 7 bored 8 similar to io in Rio e.g. diaw (–®) single 9 similar to oué in roué e.g. ruay (§®£) rich 30111 1 diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. nÁŸ ay (–≠ô»‡Ø£) tired 2 similar to ewy in chewy e.g. khuy (ÉÀ£) to chat 3 long diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. dooy (‘î£) by 4 5 long diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. n´´y (–ô£) 6 butter 7 8 similar to oy in boy e.g. bOŸ y (õ‡Ø£) often 9 similar to oy in boy e.g. rO⁄O y (§‰Ø£) hundred 40 41111 short diphthong, similar to ai in Thai e.g. thay (“ó£) Thai

similar to ay in may e.g. thee (–ó) to pour

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

-aay -iw -ew

long diphthong, similar to ai in Thai e.g. taay (ï¿£) dead similar to ue in hue e.g. hı w (≠¬®) hungry ˇ short diphthong, similar to ayo in Mayo e.g. rew (–§ª®) fast

1.3 Tones

-eew long diphthong, similar to ayo in Mayo e.g. leew (–¶®) bad -Ew -EEw -aw

short diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. thE‡ w (—ñ®) row long diphthong with no equivalent in English; e.g. lE⁄E w (—¶‰®) already short diphthong, similar to ao in Lao e.g. raw (–§¿) we

-aaw long diphthong, similar to ao in Lao e.g. raaw (§¿®) about

1.3

Tones

Each syllable in Thai is pronounced with a specific tone. Standard Thai has five different tones, which are represented in the transcription system by an accent over the first vowel in the syllable. They are mid tone (no accent), high tone ( ), low tone ( ), rising tone ( ) and falling tone ( ). ⁄ ‚ ‹ › a Mid tone (sıaN saaman): normal voice pitch: ˇ ˇ

pay (“ú) to go
b

maa (¢¿) to come sÁ⁄Á (㻉Ø) to buy càak (à¿Ä) from

phEEN (—üÜ) expensive lék (–¶ªÄ) small yày (”≠ç‡) big

High tone (sıaN trii): higher than normal voice pitch: ˇ

rót (§ñ) car
c

Low tone (sıaN èek): lower than normal voice pitch: ˇ

sìp (´¬õ) ten
d

Rising tone (sıaN càttawaa): starting from a lower than normal voice ˇ pitch with a distinctive rising contour:

khO‡ ON (ÅØÜ) of
e

su (´®£) pretty ˇay

phO‡ O m (ùØ¢) thin

Falling tone (sıaN thoo): starting from a higher than normal voice ˇ pitch with a distinctive falling contour:

thîi (óƒ‡) at

chO^O p (äØõ) to like

phûut (üÃî) to speak
9

1 Pronunciation

1.3.1

Tone change

There are a few common words which have a different tone in normal conversation to when pronounced slowly and deliberately in isolation. For example, kháw (–Å¿) ‘he, she, they’, chán (âæô) ‘I’ and máy (“≠¢) (question particle) are all pronounced with a high tone in normal conversation but a rising tone when pronounced in isolation. In one form of adjectival reduplication (see 6.4), the first element is pronounced with a high tone for the purpose of emphasis or intensification:

súay su (´Á®£´®£) so beautiful! ˇay
In certain situations tones may also change; the unstressed first syllable in a two-syllable word is usually pronounced with a mid tone (see 1.4), while when two syllables with rising tones follow one another, the first is often pronounced as a high tone:

su (´®£) beautiful ˇay

ˇ sO⁄O N sa am khon (´ØÜ´¿¢Éô) two or three people

náN sÁ‡ Á (≠ôæÜ´»Ø) book

1.4

Stress

In words of two syllables, unlike in English, it is the second syllable which is stressed. When the vowel in the first syllable is -a, it is normally reduced to -E and in normal speech the tone is mid:

pratuu~pr´tuu (ú§ΩïÃ) door

sadùak~s´dùak (´Ωî®Ä) convenient

When the vowel -aa occurs in both the first and second syllable, it is commonly shortened in the first syllable:

phaasa a~phasaa (°¿™¿) language ˇ ˇ

aaha an~aha an (Ø¿≠¿§) food ˇ ˇ

10

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

Chapter 2

The writing system

Thai is written in a unique script. This has evolved from a script which originated in South India and was introduced into mainland South-East Asia during the fourth or fifth century AD. The neighbouring Lao and Cambodian scripts bear some close similarities to Thai. The first recorded example of Thai writing is widely believed to be a stone inscription found by the future King Mongkut (Rama IV, 1851–68) at Sukhothai in 1833, and dated 1283 AD. In this inscription, the author, King Ramkhamhaeng, records that he actually devised the script. In recent years there has been lively debate in academic circles about its authenticity; much of this can be found in Chamberlain (1991). The Thai writing system is alphabetic. It is written across the page from left to right with no spaces between words; when spaces are used, they serve as punctuation markers, instead of commas or full stops. There is generally a close match between spelling and pronunciation. The following sections outline the key features of the Thai writing system:

2.1

Consonants

The Thai alphabet has forty-two consonants which are arranged according to the traditional Indian alphabetic order, beginning with velar stops, then palatals, dentals, bilabials and finally, sonorants. All consonants are pronounced with an inherent -OO vowel sound. Each consonant has a name, rather like ‘a-for-apple, b-for-bat’, which children learn in school. For the foreign learner, knowing these names can be useful when asking how to spell a word, but is not necessary for learning to read. Many consonant symbols change their pronunciation at the end of a word because of the very limited number of final consonant sounds that exist 11

2 The writing system

in Thai (1.1.2); thus, the letters representing initial kh, c, ch, d, th, b, ph, s and f sounds are each channelled into one of just three possible sounds – k, p, t – when they occur at the end of a word. The following table lists the consonants in dictionary order with their names and pronunciations, both as initial and as final consonants:

Name

Initial kOO kày (chicken) khO‡ O khày (egg) khOO khwaay (buffalo) khOO rakhaN (bell) k kh kh kh N c ch ch s ch y d t th th th n d t th th th n b p ph

Final k k k k N t t t t t n t t t t t n t t t t t n p p p

12

Ä Å É Ö Ü à â ä ã å ç é è ê ë í ì î ï ñ ó ò ô õ ú ù

NOO Nuu (snake) cOO caan (plate) chO‡ O chìN (small cymbals) chOO cháaN (elephant) sOO sôo (chain) chOO (ka)ch´´ (tree) yOO yı N (girl) ˇ dOO chádaa (theatrical crown) tOO patàk (goad) thO‡ O thaan (base) ˇ thOO monthoo (Indra’s Queen) thOO thâw (old person) nOO neen (novice) dOO dèk (child) tOO tàw (turtle) thO‡ O thuN (bag) ˇ thOO thahaan (soldier) ˇ thOO thoN (flag) nOO nuu (mouse) ˇ bOO bay máay (leaf) pOO plaa (fish) phO‡ O phÁfl N (bee)

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

û ü † ° ¢ £ § ¶ ® © ™ ´ ≠ Æ Ø ∏
*See 2.3.

fO‡ O faa (lid) ˇ phOO phaan (tray) fOO fan (tooth) phOO samphaw (sailing ship) ˇ mOO máa (horse) yOO yák (giant) rOO rÁ a (boat) lOO liN (monkey) wOO wE‡ En (ring) sO‡ O sa alaa (pavilion) ˇ sO‡ O rÁsı i (ascetic) ˇ sO‡ O sÁ‡ a (tiger) hO‡ O hìip (box) lOO culaa (kite)

f ph f ph m y r l w s s s h l ‘zero’* h

p p p p m y n n w t t t n -

2.1 Consonants

OO àaN (bowl) hOO nók hûuk (owl)

The following table summarises the representation of final consonant sounds; although there are theoretically fifteen ways of writing a final -t sound, less than half of these are likely to be encountered in normal usage.

Final consonant sound -p -t -k -m -n -N -y -w

Thai consonant symbol

õ î Ä ¢ ô Ü £ ®

úü°† ïéèàñêóòëäã©™´ ÅÉÖ -¡ ì秶Æ

13

they can appear after.) Vowel length is important in Thai because it plays a part in determining the tone of a syllable.2 The writing system 2. -uu. or below a consonant. When a word begins with a vowel sound. -E) and long vowels by two letters (e. The class of the initial consonant is one factor in determining the tone of a word or syllable. -i. and even surrounding the consonant on three sides. Low class: ô n ¢ ä ò m ch th Ü ã s § r ¶ l £ y f ® w É N ó y ü n † kh Ö ° í ph th ç Æ l ì ∏ h ph kh å Mid class: ë à c ch th t Ä k î d ï t õ b ú p Ø é ê th è t zero d High class: Å kh â ch ñ th ù ph û f ©´™ ≠ s h 2. above.g. the diphthongs -ua. before. -a. -ia. a dash is used to indicate the position of the consonant. the easiest way to do this is to memorise the shorter lists of mid-class and high-class consonants so that everything not on those lists can be assumed to be low class.2 Consonants by class Thai consonants are divided into three classes: high. in the following table.3 Vowels 14 Vowel symbols can only be written in combination with a preceding consonant. -”. -¨a are 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .g. the ‘zero’ or ‘glottal’ consonant symbol is used. -aa. (Note that the Thai letter representing ‘zero’ consonant and the -OO vowel are identical. short vowels are indicated by a single letter in the transcription (e. -””). the learner has to memorise the class of each consonant. In order to be able to read. mid and low.

t. or a p. or an m.2. A live syllable (kham pen) ends with either a long vowel. The following table lists the vowel symbols in alphabetical order: 2. or y sound. N. n. or k sound: Live syllables: Dead syllables: – 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 regarded as long vowels. w. a dead syllable (kham taay) ends with either a short vowel.4 Live syllables and dead syllables Thai syllables are either live or dead.4 Live syllables and dead syllables -Ø -Ω -æ -æ® -¿ -¡ -¬ -ƒ -∆ -» -à ––-ª –-£ –-Ø -OO -a -a-ua -aa -am -i -ii -Á -ÁÁ -u -uu -ee -e -´´y -´´ –-ØΩ –-Ω –-¿ –-¿Ω –-¬ –-ƒ£ –-ƒ£Ω –-»Ø ——-ª —-Ω ‘‘-Ω ”“- -´ -e -aw -O -´´ -ia -ia -Áa -EE -E -E -oo -o -ay -ay ¢¿ tó maa duu îà ®æô îÀ wan §¡ ram ĉÀÜ kûN aw –Ø¿ Å¿£ kha ay ˇ ‘ïÁΩ kà ÄΩ dù §æõ ráp àÀî cùt bOŸO k õØÄ 15 .

2 Live syllables and tone marks Live syllables with no tone mark are pronounced with a mid tone if the initial consonant is either low class or mid class. 2. medium or low). 16 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .2 The writing system 2. it is the class of the initial consonant which determines how the tone mark will be interpreted. The two most common tone marks are máy èek (-‡) and máy thoo (-‰ ). and (iii) the length of the vowel (long or short). these tone marks do not indicate one specific tone each.1 Dead syllables The following table summarises tone rules for dead syllables with examples: Initial consonant Low class Short vowel HIGH TONE Long vowel §æÄ rák ï¬î tìt ¢¿Ä mâak õ¿ó bàat ´Øõ sOŸOp FALLING TONE Mid class LOW TONE LOW TONE High class Åæõ khàp LOW TONE LOW TONE 2.5. again. falling and low tones (such as the words tO›N ‘must’ and mây ‘not’). To represent live syllables with high.5. because of a radical change in the tone system that occurred centuries ago.5 Tone rules The tone of a syllable is determined by a combination of three different factors: (i) the type of syllable (live or dead). tone marks are used. (ii) the class of the initial consonant (high. which are written above the initial consonant. Unfortunately for the learner. but a rising tone if it is a high-class consonant.

§. Ü. such words then follow the tone rules for words with initial high-class consonants (2.5.5.3 à˝¿ ca a ˇ Ä˝®£–ïƒ˝£® ku tı aw ˇay ˇ Silent initial consonants: ≠ and Ø When the high-class consonant ≠ occurs before the low-class consonants. ®.5 Tone rules Initial consonant Low class (no tone mark) MID TONE máy èek máy thoo ¢¿ maa “¢‡ mây ï‡Ø tOŸ O FALLING TONE ¢‰¿ máa ï‰ØÜ tO^ N HIGH TONE Mid class ï¿¢ taam ÅØ khO‡ O MID TONE LOW TONE FALLING TONE High class RISING TONE “Ň khày LOW TONE ʼn¿Ü khâaN FALLING TONE Two further tone marks.5.1. ô. although they are much less common. ‘ïÁΩ tó –úÁúデ pépsîi –ÄÁ kée –î˝ƒ£® dı aw ˇ 2. the latter. There are only four words in this category. The former always produces a high tone. all of which are pronounced with a low tone: Ø£¿Ä yàak Ø£‡¿ yàa yàaN Ø£‡¿Ü أÇ yùu 17 . ç. 2. ¢. always a rising tone. máy trii (-Á ) and máy càttawaa (-˝ ) are also used.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 The following table summarises rules for live syllables with examples: 2. £. ¶.2): ≠£Àî ≠¶Øî ≠ôƒ yùt lOŸOt nı i ˇ yı N ˇ ≠ç¬Ü nÁŸ N ≠ô∆‡Ü The mid-class consonant Ø occurs silently before the low-class consonant £ and has the effect of transforming the low-class consonant into a midclass consonant. it is silent but has the effect of transforming the low-class consonants into high-class consonants.

e.(ɶ‰¿£ khláay) pl. the tone of the second syllable is determined by the second consonant in the word (i.(ü§Ω phrá) phl.5. the class of the first consonant in the cluster is used for determining the tone of the syllable.2 £Ä yók àõ còp ≠Ä hòk ≠¢î mòt Two-syllable words Many two-syllable words in Thai have an unwritten a vowel in the first syllable. or ¶.5.(”Ķ‰ klây) kw.2 The writing system 2.5. ®.(燐à trùat) khl.(ħØÄ krOŸO k) khr. §.(ú§¿õ pràap) phr.(ú¶ÀÄ plùk) kl. ¢.(Å®¿ khwa a) ˇ pr. the initial consonant of the second syllable). In syllables beginning with a consonant cluster.(Ä®‰¿Ü kwâaN) khw.5.4 Consonant clusters Consonant clusters occur only at the beginning of a syllable in Thai. ô. £.(”ɧ khray) tr.5. in which case the first consonant ‘over-rules’ it and determines the tone: ´õ¿£ sabaay ´ñ¿ô satha an ˇ ´°¿ü saphâap ´ôÀÄ sanùk ï¶Ä talòk There are a small number of words beginning with the letters which the unwritten vowel sound is O: õ§-.(ü¶¿î phlâat) 2.5 2.5. The following chart summarises possible consonant cluster sounds with examples: kr. in õ§¬™æó 18 bO risàt bO riween õ§¬–®ì bO rikaan õ§¬Ä¿§ bO riha an ˇ õ§¬≠¿§ bO riphôok õ§¬‘°É 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . unless that consonant is either Ü. The first syllable is unstressed and pronounced with a mid tone in normal speech.1 Unwritten vowels Monosyllables Syllables consisting of two consonants with no written vowel symbol are pronounced with an inherent o vowel sound: Éô khon 2.

able to) written dây but pronounced dâay –ĉ¿ (nine) written kâw but pronounced kâaw “¢‰ (wood) written máy but pronounced máay 19 . the match between spelling and pronunciation in Thai is remarkably close.1 Miscellaneous Mismatch between spelling and pronunciation 2.6. two common types of mismatch between spelling and normal pronunciation.6 Miscellaneous Overall.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 2. she. they) written khaw but pronounced kháw ˇ âæô (I) written chan but pronounced chán ˇ “≠¢ (question particle) written may but pronounced máy ˇ Words written with falling tones but pronounced with low tones: ú§Ω‘£äô^ (advantage) written prayôot but pronounced prayòot ú§Ω‘£É (sentence) written prayôok but pronounced prayòok ú§Ω®æï¬ (history) written prawát but pronounced prawàt 2 Vowel length in the written form is not reflected in pronunciation Words written with long vowels but pronounced with short vowels: ï‰ØÜ (must) written tO^O N but pronounced tO^N –ܬô (money) written N´´n but pronounced N´n ó‡¿ô (you) written thâan but pronounced thân Words written with short vowels but pronounced with long vowels: “î‰ (can. you can almost guarantee that you will be able to read a word correctly. are: 1 Tone suggested by the spelling is not reflected in pronunciation Words written with rising tones but pronounced with high tones: –Å¿ (he. if you know the rules. However.6 2.

Pali and English usually try to retain as much of the original spelling as possible.2 Linker syllables and double-functioning consonants A number of words that appear to consist of two syllables are joined by a linker syllable consisting of the final consonant of the first syllable with an unwritten a vowel between them: ´Äú§Ä sòkkapròk ÉÀì°¿ü khunnaphâap ù¶“¢‰ pho ˇnlamáay §¿äÄ¿§ râatchakaan 2. but also the one immediately preceding it: àæôó§^ can ©¿´ï§^ sàat Sometimes.6. a ‘killer’ symbol is placed above the redundant consonant to indicate that it may be ignored: –õƒ£§^ bia b´´ –õا^ cOO n àØ≠^ô –´¿§^ sa w ˇ Ø¿ó¬ï£^ aathít Sometimes the ‘killer’ sign. the final consonant is not pronounced: õæï§ bàt ´¢æɧ samàk 2. cancels out not only the consonant above which it appears. as this will often produce pronunciations that are impossible or misleading.2 The writing system 2.4 Silent final vowels A number of words of Indic origin are spelt with a final short vowel which is not pronounced: ä¿ï¬ châat 20 ç¿ï¬ yâat –≠ïÀ hèet 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .6.3 Silenced consonants Thai words that have been borrowed from Sanskrit.6. called kaaran in Thai. even though there is no kaaran sign.

21 .6.6 Miscellaneous The letter §.6.5.6.5.5 Irregular § 2.4 nakhOO n ôɧ lakhOO n -§§ õ§§óÀÄ banthúk When the letters §§ occur at the end of a syllable. it is pronounced OOn: ü§ phOO n 2.5 ħ§¢ kam ü§§É phák à§¬Ü The letter § is ignored in the pronunciation of the word à§¬Ü (ciN). if they are followed by a final consonant they are pronounced a: ´§§ sa n ˇ 2.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 2.6. in words where there is no immediately preceding written vowel.5.1 ó§ó§¿£ saay These two letters together at the beginning of a word behave like low class s: ó§¿õ sâap 2.5.2 soN ó§Ü ´§The letter § is not pronounced in words that begin with these two letters: ´§‰¿Ü ´§®Ü ´§Ω sâaN su N ˇa sà 2. normally pronounced as an inital r and final n.6. occurs in a number of irregular combinations: 2.5. they are pronounced an.6.3 Final § ¶Ωɧ As a final consonant the letter § is normally prounced n.

6 The symbols | and & The symbol | indicates the abbreviation of a word and occurs most commonly in the word kruNthêep.6. . ØæÜÄ•™ •îà aN krìt rÁ⁄duu English season 22 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . the Thai name for Bangkok. Despite this. while the latter three are unlikely to be encountered.1. but excluding the symbols below. including 2 obsolete consonants in addition to the 42 listed in 2.7 Consonants .2 The writing system 2. Thais tend to think of the Thai alphabet as having 44 consonants. The symbol & indicates the reduplication of the preceding word: ħÀÜ–óü| kruN thêep phÁfl an phÁfl an –ü»‡Øô& –¶ªÄ& lék lék 2.6. . • rÁ rÁÁ •π lÁ ß ßπ lÁÁ The first symbol occurs in only a very small number of words (but including ‘English’ where it has the value ri). or what? The four symbols below are listed in dictionaries as if they were consonants.

and so on. by which they will be known within the family and among friends. 3. Thus. with the personal name preceding the family name.1. Thais will often use khun followed by the surname when addressing Westerners in formal situations. The polite title khun is used before the personal name. such as personal names. institutions. names of rivers.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Chapter 3 Nouns.1 Proper nouns Proper nouns refer to unique things. 3.2 Place names Individual place names. buildings. 3. place names and names of institutions.1 Personal names Names of individuals follow the same order as in English. classifiers and noun phrases Nouns can be divided into two broad categories: proper nouns and common nouns. follow the noun 23 . and sometimes the nickname. organisations. People are addressed. referred to and known by their personal name rather than their family name.1. Mr Suchart Boonsoong and Mrs Yupha Saibua will be known as khun suchâat and khun yuphaa respectively. mountains and other geographical features. Most Thais will also have a nickname. to address both males and females of similar or higher status. family names are used primarily for administrative purposes.

classifiers and noun phrases 24 identifying the type of place. no suffix is added to indicate plural or to show whether the 40 noun is the grammatical subject or object in a sentence. which deliberately reverses the order: 2 3 caN wàt nakhOO n phanom 4 àæÜ≠®æîôɧüô¢ 5 Nakhorn Phanom Province 6 7 phâak iisa an ˇ 8 °¿É؃´¿ô 9 North Eastern Region 1011 mEfl E náam câw phrayaa 1 —¢‡ô‰¡–à‰¿ü§Ω£¿ 12111 Chao Phraya River 3 4 mÁaN thay 5 –¢»ØÜ“ó£ 6 Thailand 7 thano sukhu ˇn ˇmwít 8 ñôô´ÀÅÀ¢®¬ó 9 Sukhumwit Road 20111 1 sana am bin dOO n mÁ aN ˇ 2 ´ô¿¢õ¬ôîØô–¢»ØÜ 3 Don Muang Airport 4 5 maha awítthayaalay thammasàat ˇ 6 ¢≠¿®¬ó£¿¶æ£ò§§¢©¿´ï§^ 7 Thammasat University 8 ˇ culaaloN kOO n maha awítthayaalay 9 àÀÆ¿¶Üħì^¢≠¿®¬ó£¿¶æ£ 30111 Chulalongkorn University 1 2 3 3. such as 7 ‘love’. and abstract nouns. which are 6 observable. 8 Common nouns in Thai have a single fixed form. 1111 Chulalongkorn University. nor are nouns 41111 . which are not. Unlike many European 9 languages.3 Nouns. such as ‘house’.2 Common nouns 4 5 Common nouns are traditionally divided into concrete nouns. an exception is Thailand’s oldest university.

1 Borrowings The Thai lexicon includes a considerable number of loan words. come into the language through borrowing from other languages and from the Thai language’s own means of generating new words. such as many.3. Sanskrit and Pali and. pho pay kàp phÁfl an sO‡ ON khon ˇm ù¢“úÄæõ–ü»‡Øô´ØÜÉô I went with two friends. a few. The word ph¨›an thus means either ‘friend’ or ‘friends’. pho pay kàp phÁfl an phÁfl an ˇm I went with friends.3 Making new nouns Common nouns make up the largest part of the language’s vocabulary and are an ever-growing category. ˇ pho pay kàp phÁfl an la ay khon ˇm ù¢“úÄæõ–ü»‡Øô≠¶¿£Éô ù¢“úÄæõ–ü»‡Øô& I went with several friends. borrowed over the centuries from Khmer (Cambodian).1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 classified by gender. more recently. 3. English. and continue to. the classical Indian languages. numbers or indefinite quantifier words. refinement or formality: 25 . every. depending on the context. In some instances a word of Indic (Sanskrit or Pali) origin is used in preference to a ‘pure’ Thai word to convey a sense of politeness.3 Making new nouns pho pay kàp phÁfl an ˇm ù¢“úÄæõ–ü»‡Øô I went with a friend/friends. a very small number of nouns may be reduplicated as a means of indicating plurality: 3. Usually the context provides sufficient information for there to be no confusion. When it is necessary to be more specific. New nouns have. can be used. 3. chiefly the process of compounding.

in some compounds. including scientific.g. sports and other leisure activities. the ‘uneducated’ pronunciation of ‘plastic’. a verb attribute is followed by a grammatical object: 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .3 Nouns. which qualifies or restricts the meaning of the head noun. Here is just a tiny sample of English words in everyday use in Thai: ⁄ kO p phláastìk. arts. bO n ii-mee mOO t´´say Äض^† ü¶¿´ï¬Ä †√¶^¢ —´ï¢ú^ ÉØ¢ü¬®–ïا^ †Àïõض ؃–¢¶^ ¢Ø–ïا^“ãÉ^ golf plastic film stamp computer football email motorcycle 3. classifiers and noun phrases Informal (Thai origin) phu ˇa mia hu ˇa mÁaN ma a ˇ Formal (Indic origin) sa amii ˇ phanrayaa sı isà ˇ prathêet sunák ùæ® –¢ƒ£ ≠æ® –¢»ØÜ ≠¢¿ ´¿¢ƒ °§§£¿ ©ƒ§™Ω ú§Ω–ó© ´ÀôæÅ husband wife head country dog There has been a huge influx of English borrowings over the past fifty years.2 Compounds 26 Compounding involves joining two or more words together to make a new word. páttìk. the abbreviated pronunciation of ‘football’) may be scarcely recognisable to an English native speaker when adapted to the Thai sound system and assigned tones. some English borrowings (e. páttìk fiim ⁄ satE m khOmphiwt´^ ´ fútbO n. dress. Thais’ pronunciation of English loanwords will depend very much on their level of education and exposure to English.3. technical and business terms and words associated with food. or bOn. The first word or ‘head noun’ may be followed by either a ‘noun attribute’ or a ‘verb attribute’.

2 phûu (‘one who .1 nák (‘one skilled in .3.3. . . athlete (kiilaa sport) ôæÄòÀ§Ä¬à businessman (thúrákìt business) ôæÄ≠ôæÜ´»Øü¬¢ü^ journalist (náNsÁ‡ Áphim newspaper) 3.3 Making new nouns 3.3.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 3. some common examples include the following: 3.2 HEAD NOUN + VERB (+ OBJECT) ATTRIBUTE nám khE‡ N bòt rian ice (water + to be hard) lesson (text + to study) introduction (word + introduce) driver (person + to drive + car) washing machine (machine + to wash + clothes) ⁄ kham nE nam khon khàp rót khrÁfl aN sák phâa 3. . .2.2.3.’) + VERB or NOUN nák sÁŸ ksa a ˇ nák khı an ˇ nák kiilaa nák thúrákìt nák náN sÁ‡ Áphim ôæÄ©∆Ä™¿ student (sÁŸ ksa a to study) ˇ ôæĖŃ£ô writer (khı an to write) ˇ ôæÄăƿ sportsman.1 HEAD NOUN + NOUN ATTRIBUTE rót fay ráan aaha an ˇ N´n dÁan châN fay fáa §ñ“† §‰¿ôØ¿≠¿§ –ܬô–î»Øô 䇿ܓ††‰¿ ô‰¡—ÅªÜ õ󖧃£ô É¡—ôΩô¡ ÉôÅæõ§ñ –ɧ»‡ØÜãæÄù‰¿ train (vehicle + fire) restaurant (shop + food) salary (money + month) electrician (mechanic + electricity) 3.3.’) + VERB (but note last two examples with noun) phûu yày phûu chîaw chaan ùÉ”≠ç‡ ùÉ–䃇£®ä¿ç adult expert (yày to be big) (chîaw chaan to be skilled) 27 .3.3.3 Some common head nouns A number of head nouns occur either normally or exclusively in compounds.

. movie) ˇ rooN na N 4 5 ‘§Ü—§¢ hotel (rEEm to stay overnight) rooN rEEm 6 ‘§Ü–§ƒ£ô school (rian to study) rooN rian 7 8 9 3. home) 2 3 (fay fáa electricity) kaan fay fáa Ä¿§“††‰¿ Electricity 4 Authority 5 kaan N´n Ä¿§–ܬô finance (N´n money) 6 7 Ä¿§–¢»ØÜ politics (mÁaN city.’ ) + NOUN.3.4 rooN (‘a large building’) + NOUN or VERB 20111 rooN rót ‘§Ü§ñ garage (rót car) 1 2 ‘§ÜÜ¿ô factory (N aan work) rooN N aan 3 ˇ ‘§Ü≠ôæÜ cinema (na N film. .3.’ ) 30111 + VERB 1 kaan bâan Ä¿§õ‰¿ô homework (bâan house.3.3.3 Nouns. ˇ 9 preservation 40 41111 kaan sÁŸ ksa a Ä¿§©∆Ä™¿ education ˇ (sÁŸ ksa a to study) ˇ phûu ráay ùɧ‰¿£ ùÉ俣 ùÉ≠ç¬Ü criminal (ráay to be bad) . kaan (‘act of .3.3.3 bay (‘a sheet of paper’) + VERB 7 8 ”õ§æõ§ØÜ guarantee (ráp rOON to guarantee) bay ráp rOON 9 ”õ´æçç¿ contract (sa nyaa to promise) ˇ bay sa nyaa ˇ 1011 1 ”õØôÀç¿ï permit (anúyâat to permit) bay anúyâat 12111 bay khàp khìi ”õÅæõч driving (khàp khìi to drive) 3 licence 4 ”õ–´§ªà§æõ–ܬô receipt (sèt ráp N´n finish – 5 bay sèt ráp 6 N´n receive – money) 7 8 9 3. country) kaan mÁaN 8 (ráksa a to care for) ˇ kaan ráksa a Ä¿§§æÄ™¿ care. . classifiers and noun phrases 28 1111 2 phûu chaay man (chaay male) 3 4 woman (yı ng female) ˇ phûu yı ng ˇ 5 6 3.5 kaan (‘matters of . .

3 Making new nouns The pattern kaan + VERB in many instances corresponds to the English gerund. the English gerund construction is more naturally conveyed simply by the verb without kaan: kin taam ráan aaha an phEEN ˇ Ĭôï¿¢§‰¿ôØ¿≠¿§—üÜ –§ƒ£ô≠ôæÜ´»Ø“¢‡´ôÀÄ üÃî°¿™¿“ó££¿Ä Eating in restaurants is expensive.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 kaan chûay lÁ‡ a kaan d´´n thaaN Ä¿§ä‡®£–≠¶»Ø Ä¿§–î¬ôó¿Ü assistance travel (chûay lÁ‡ a to assist) (d´´n thaaN to travel) 3. rian náN sÁ‡ Á mây sanùk Studying is not fun.3. phûut phaasa a thay yâak ˇ Speaking Thai is difficult. and it occurs commonly in written Thai: kaan kin kaan róp kaan rian kaan phûut Ä¿§Ä¬ô Ä¿§§õ Ä¿§–§ƒ£ô Ä¿§üÃî eating fighting studying speaking (kin to eat) (róp to fight) (rian to study) (phûut to speak) In normal spoken Thai. or verbal noun.6 khwaam (used to form abstract nouns ) + VERB khwaam rák khwaam rúu khwaam khít khwaam sa mrèt ˇ khwaam sùk É®¿¢§æÄ É®¿¢§Ã‰ É®¿¢É¬î É®¿¢´¡–§ªà É®¿¢´ÀÅ love knowledge idea success happiness (rák to love) (rúu to know) (khít to think) (sa mrèt to complete) ˇ (sùk to be happy) 29 . 3. however.3.

thing which . . place where .7 thîi (‘person whom one .4 Co-ordinate compounds Two or more nouns can occur together to make a new noun in a ‘coordinate compound’ where the second noun does not modify the first: phOfl O mEfl E phîi nO⁄ON sÁfl a phâa ü‡Ø—¢‡ üƒ‡ô‰ØÜ –´»‰Øù‰¿ parents (father – mother) brothers and sisters (older sibling – younger sibling) clothes (upper garment – lower garment) Often such compounds involve a four-syllable pattern. . internal rhyme. rely on) (rák to love) (yùu to live) (tham N aan to work) (nâN to sit) (cOŸO t rót to park – car) (ralÁ⁄k to think of) paper punch (cOŸ kradàat to punch holes – paper) bottle opener (p´Ÿ´t khùat to open – bottle) 3. classifiers and noun phrases 3.3 Nouns. . . which may involve one or more of the following features: duplication of the first and third elements. . .3. .’) + VERB ˇ thîi prÁŸ ksa a thîi phÁfl N thîi rák thîi yùu thîi tham N aan thîi nâN thîi cOŸ O t rót thîi ralÁ⁄k thîi cOŸ kradàat thîi p´Ÿ´t khùat óƒ‡ú§∆Ä™¿ óƒ‡ü∆‡Ü 󃇧æÄ óƒ‡Ø£Ã‡ óƒ‡ó¡Ü¿ô óƒ‡ôæ‡Ü óƒ‡àØî§ñ 󃇧Ω¶∆Ä óƒ‡–à¿ΩħΩî¿™ 󃇖ú√îÅ®î adviser benefactor darling address place of work seat car park souvenir (prÁŸ ksa a to consult) ˇ (phÁfl N to depend. . 30 pùu yâa taa yaay úÇ£‡¿ï¿£¿£ grandparents (paternal grandfather – paternal grandmother – maternal grandfather – maternal grandmother) 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .3.3. alliteration or the insertion of a meaningless syllable to preserve the rhythm.

where English simply places the number before the noun. Noun phrases in Thai frequently involve the use of a class of words called classifiers. ‘that car’ or ‘the red car’.4 Noun phrases and classifiers ô‰¡üæÄô‰¡—§Ü nám phák nám rEEN (water – rest – water – energy) khruu baa aacaan ɧÃõ¿Ø¿à¿§£^ teachers (teacher – rhyming nonsense syllable – teacher) wát waa aaraam ®æؿ§¿¢ wats/temples (temple – alliterative/rhyming nonsense syllable – temple buildings) 3. such as rice. the bottle or the metre. Thai differs from English in that it uses classifiers for countable nouns such as ‘friends’. thus khon is used for counting people. ‘head’ functions like a Thai classifier. it is called a noun phrase. Every noun in Thai is counted by a specific classifier. tua for animals and lêm for books: phÁfl an sO‡ ON khon –ü»‡Øô´ØÜÉô ≠¢¿≠‰¿ïæ® two friends (friends – two – classifier) ma a hâa tua ˇ five dogs (dogs – five – classifier) náN sÁ‡ Á sìp lêm ≠ôæÜ´»Ø´¬õ–¶‡¢ ten books (books – ten – classifier) 31 . uncountable nouns.4 Noun phrases and classifiers When a noun is accompanied by one or more modifying words. beer and silk may be counted by the kilo. Classifiers are an obligatory component of noun phrases containing numerals.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 chaaw rây chaaw naa ä¿®“§‡ä¿®ô¿ farmers (people – dry rice field – people – wet rice field) chaaw kha w chaaw dOO y ä¿®–Å¿ä¿®îØ£ ˇ (people – hill – people – mountain) mountain people one’s own effort/labour 3. such as ‘three cars’. in Thai these measure words are regarded as classifiers. In both English and Thai. ‘dogs’ and ‘books’. A rare exception in English is ‘cattle’ which are counted by the ‘head’.

spoons. documents 9 äô¬î types. forks 6 khon Éô people (except monks and royalty) 7 khOfl O Å‰Ø items. stars. TVs.g. 7 documents 8 chabàp âõæõ letters. newspapers. aeroplanes lam 5 la N ˇ ≠¶æÜ houses 6 lêm –¶‡¢ books. 1111 are: 2 3 an Øæô small objects 4 õ¿ô doors. eggs. in a contract or 8 formal statement) 9 30111 ÉÇ pairs (e.g.g. meat. classifiers and noun phrases 32 Some of the most common classifiers. points (e. computers. but khûu 1 not trousers) 2 khrÁfl aN –ɧ»‡ØÜ telephones. buttons mét 41111 . leaves. shoes. balls 40 –¢ªî seeds. sorts (of things) chanít 1011 1 chín 䬉ô pieces (of cake. work) 12111 chút äÀî sets of things 3 4 chÁfl ak –ä»ØÄ elephants 5 dOŸ O k îØÄ flowers. hearts duaN 7 8 fOON †ØÜ eggs 9 hEŸN —≠‡Ü places 20111 hOŸ O ≠‡Ø packages. clauses. knives 7 8 lOŸ O t ≠¶Øî light bulbs. windows. processions 4 5 khan Éæô vehicles. married couples. socks.3 Nouns. toothpaste) 9 lûuk ¶ÃÄ fruit. keys 6 î®Ü stamps. pills. cups. mirrors baan 5 6 bay ”õ fruit. bundles 1 2 ≠‰ØÜ rooms hOfl N 3 khabuan Åõ®ô trains. etc. bowls. tubes (e. cloth. lights. slips of paper. 3 4 ¶¡ boats. and the nouns they are used with. kinds. lamps. radios.

records pictures. cigars cassettes. noodles teeth trees. 3. chairs.1. ‘that’. railway lines. bowl and bag also function as classifiers. watches stories bus routes. tables. reels of film. lûuk saam khon ˇ ¶ÃÄ´¿¢Éô three children 33 . inch and month. monks clocks. kinds.1 NOUN + CARDINAL NUMBER + CLASSIFIER For cardinal numbers. and containers such as bottle. strands of hair. indefinite quantifiers and ‘how many?’). items of clothing.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 muan múan oN phEŸ n rûup rÁan rÁfl aN saay ˇ sên sîi tôn tua yàaN ¢®ô ¢‰®ô ØÜÉ^ —ù‡ô §Ãú –§»Øô –§»‡ØÜ ´¿£ –´‰ô デ ï‰ô ïæ® Ø£‡¿Ü cigarettes. Buddha images flat objects. including trousers types. ‘those’ and ‘which?’) and adjectives.5 Word order in noun phrases In addition. roads long. sorts (of things) 3. videos. necklaces.5. measure words such as kilo. plants animals. rolls of paper members of royalty. but also with other quantifiers (ordinal numbers.5 Word order in noun phrases The following list is not exhaustive but covers the most common patterns of noun phrase: 3. demonstratives (‘this’. Classifiers occur not only with cardinal numbers. thin items. ‘these’. sheets of paper. see 13.

12. see 13. lûuk khon thîi saam ˇ 34 ¶ÃÄÉô󃇴¿¢ the third child 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . see 13.2 NOUN + QUANTIFIER + CLASSIFIER For quantifiers. and when it occurs after the classifier it can be treated as the indefinite article ‘a’. faràN baaN khon û§æ‡Üõ¿ÜÉô some ‘farangs’ (Westerners) plaa thúk chanít ú¶¿óÀÄäô¬î every kind of fish còtmaay mây kìi chabàp ˇ àî≠¢¿£“¢‡Äƒ‡âõæõ 3.3 not many letters NOUN + CLASSIFIER + ORDINAL NUMBER For ordinal numbers.5. when it occurs before the classifier it functions as the numeral ‘one’. classifiers and noun phrases bâan sìi laN ˇ õ‰¿ô´ƒ‡≠¶æÜ four houses náN sÁ‡ Á hòk lêm ≠ôæÜ´»Ø≠Ä–¶‡¢ six books The word n¨‚N (one) can occur either before the classifier or after it.3 Nouns.3.5. describing the noun: lûuk nÁŸ N khon ¶ÃÄ≠ô∆‡ÜÉô one child lûuk khon nÁŸ N ¶ÃÄÉô≠ô∆‡Ü a child 3. note that some quantifiers do not occur with classifiers.

Which blouse do you want? The classifier is also often dropped in spoken Thai: sÁfl a nán mây suay ˇ –´»‰Øôæ‰ô“¢‡´®£ That blouse isn’t pretty. nán (‘that/those’). as in the response below: aw sÁfl a tua nay? ˇ –Ø¿–´»‰Øï殓≠ô – tua nán – ïæ®ôæ‰ô – That one.5 Word order in noun phrases ≠ôæÜ´»Ø–¶‡¢—§Ä the first book 3.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 bâan laN thîi sO‡ ON ˇ õ‰¿ô≠¶æÜ󃇴ØÜ the second house náN sÁ‡ Á lêm rEfl E k 3.4 NOUN + CLASSIFIER + DEMONSTRATIVE Demonstratives are words like níi (‘this/these’).5. 35 . nóon (‘that/those over there’) and the question word nay? (‘which?’): ˇ lûuk khon níi ¶ÃÄÉôôƒ‰ this child sÁfl a tua nán –´»‰Øïæ®ôæ‰ô that blouse bâan laN nóon ˇ õ‰¿ô≠¶æÜ‘ô‰ô that house over there ˇ náN sÁ‡ Á lêm nay? ≠ôæÜ´»Ø–¶‡¢“≠ô which book? The noun is often dropped in spoken Thai when the context is unambiguous.

5.5 NOUN + CARDINAL NUMBER + CLASSIFIER + DEMONSTRATIVE lûuk saam khon níi ˇ ¶ÃÄ´¿¢Éôôƒ‰ these three children sÁfl a sO‡ ON tua nán –´»‰Ø´ØÜïæ®ôæ‰ô 3.7 an old book bâan yày a big house NOUN + ADJECTIVE + CLASSIFIER + DEMONSTRATIVE náNsÁ‡ Á kàw lêm nán ≠ôæÜ´»Ø–ć¿–¶‡¢ôæ‰ô that old book bâan yày laN nán ˇ õ‰¿ô”≠ç‡≠¶æÜôæ‰ô that big house 3.3 Nouns.5.5. classifiers and noun phrases 3.5.6 those two blouses NOUN + ADJECTIVE aahaan phèt ˇ Ø¿≠¿§–ùªî spicy food náN sÁ‡ Á kàw ≠ôæÜ´»Ø–ć¿ õ‰¿ô”≠ç‡ 3.8 NOUN + ADJECTIVE + CARDINAL NUMBER + CLASSIFIER (+ DEMONSTRATIVE) náN sÁ‡ Á kàw sO‡ ON lêm (níi) 36 ≠ôæÜ´»Ø–ć¿´ØÜ–¶‡¢(ôƒ‰) (these) two old books 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .

10 NOUN + CLASSIFIER + ADJECTIVE This pattern is used to distinguish the noun referred to from other members of the same class: sÁfl a tua mày –´»‰Øïæ®”≠¢‡ the new shirt náN sÁ‡ Á lêm kàw ≠ôæÜ´»Ø–¶‡¢–ć¿ the old book 3.5.5 Word order in noun phrases 3.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 bâan yày hâa laN (nán) ˇ õ‰¿ô”≠ç‡≠‰¿≠¶æÜ(ôæ‰ô) (those) five big houses 3.9 NOUN + ADJECTIVE + CLASSIFIER + ORDINAL NUMBER náN sÁ‡ Á kàw lêm thîi sO‡ ON ≠ôæÜ´»Ø–ć¿–¶‡¢óƒ‡´ØÜ õ‰¿ô”≠ç‡≠¶æÜ󃇴¿¢ the second old book bâan yày laN thîi saam ˇ ˇ the third big house 3.11 NOUN + NOUN Some nouns can be used adjectivally to modify the preceding noun: tamrùat phûu sOŸO p su ˇan ®àùÉ´Øõ´®ô the investigating police officer (policeman – one who – investigate) khâarâatchakaan chán phûu yày ʼn¿§¿äÄ¿§äæ‰ôùÉ”≠ç‡ a high-ranking civil servant (civil servant – rank – senior person) 37 .5.5.

khO‹ON (‘of’) is optional and is very frequently 3 4 omitted: 5 bâan (khO‡ ON) chán 6 õ‰¿ô(ÅØÜ)âæô 7 my house 8 9 lûuk (khO‡ ON) kháw 1011 ¶ÃÄ(ÅØÜ)–Å¿ 1 his child 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 3.5.3 Nouns.12 NOUN + (khO‡ ON ) + POSSESSOR . classifiers and noun phrases 38 1111 2 In possessive phrases.

age.). gender. they/them. doctor) and personal names or nicknames are also commonly used as personal pronouns.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Chapter 4 Pronouns 4. status/occupation terms (teacher. the formality of the situation and individual personality all play a part in helping a Thai to decide the most appropriate way to refer to him/herself and address and refer to others in any situation. social status. older brother). formal) we/us you (sing. the relationship between the speakers. and plur.) you (sing. As a starting point for learners. and plur. To address or refer to people of significantly higher social status he/him.1 Personal pronouns: basics Thai has many more personal pronouns than English. she/her. she/her. Kin terms (aunt. informal) I/me (female. the personal pronoun system can be simplified to the following: pho ˇm chán dichán raw khun thân ù¢ âæô î¬âæô –§¿ ÉÀì ó‡¿ô –Å¿ ¢æô I/me (male) I/me (female. they/them it 39 kháw man . he/him.

‘us lot’ 30111 1 Pronouns are frequently omitted when it is clear from the context who 2 is speaking. being addressed or being referred to: 3 pay phrûN níi 4 5 “úü§À‡Üôƒ‰ 6 I’m/we’re/he’s/she’s/they’re going tomorrow. ‘she/her’. 9 1011 ˇm kháw chOfl O p pho 1 –Å¿äØõù¢ 12111 He/she/they like(s) me. us. (lit.4 Pronouns Note that male and female speakers use a different word for ‘I/me’. ‘they/ them’. while a single third person pronoun in Thai covers ‘he/him’. 3 The plural reference of a pronoun can be clarified or made explicit by 4 (a) a number or other quantifier expression or (b) the pluralizer word 5 phûak (‘group’): 6 7 raw saam khon ˇ 8 –§¿´¿¢Éô 9 the three of us 20111 khun tháN sO‡ ON (khon) 1 ÉÀìóæ‰Ü´ØÜ(Éô) 2 the two/both of you 3 4 kháw tháN laay ˇ 5 –Å¿óæ‰Ü≠¶¿£ 6 all of them 7 phûak raw 8 ü®Ä–§¿ 9 we. like + question particle) 40 41111 . go tomorrow) 7 chOfl O p máy? 8 äØõ“≠¢ 9 Do you/do they/does he/she like it? (lit. 40 1111 2 3 4 5 Pronouns have a single form for subject and object: 6 pho chOfl O p kháw ˇm 7 ù¢äØõ–Å¿ 8 I like him/her/them. Usage of these and other pronouns is discussed in more detail in the next section.

ranging from polite to intimate. also used as 1st person singular pronoun in informal speech by both males and females. when it is paired with th´´. more friendly variant of dichán. Some of these are given below with an indication of whether they are specifically male (M) or female (F) pronouns and the context in which they are used. krapho ˇm dichán M F chán khâaphacâw ʼn¿ü–à‰¿ –§¿ M/F 1st person.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 In these and many of the other examples in this book. Note that some pronouns (e. certain first person pronouns are normally ‘paired’ with a specific second person pronoun. 41 raw . an arbitrary choice of pronoun is supplied in the English translation. M /F 1st person plural. 4. highly deferential. and when speaking to children. avoid the possibility of using an inappropriate pronoun. general pronoun that can be used in most situations. by omission. also used by males as an expression of intimacy.1 Personal pronouns: basics 4. it is also a means of denying or avoiding the behavioural or attitudinal expectations of intimacy or deference implicit in the use of any pronoun. 1st person. thân and thEE) function as both second and third person pronouns: pho ˇm ù¢ ħΩù¢ î¬âæô âæô M 1st person.1. often avoided because it creates distance between speaker and addressee. But the omission of pronouns is not simply a strategy for the cautious to avoid linguistic faux pas. Since pronouns reflect relative status and intimacy.g. 1st person. very formal. a speaker can. M/F 1st person pronoun used formally in public statements and official documents. not used with young children.1 More personal pronouns Thais will use a much wider range of pronouns than those given in the previous section. commonly used by female speakers as a less formal.

M 1st person pronoun. kin terms and certain occupations. for example. formal use among equals. M/F 2nd/3rd person. paired with eN (–تÜ). also used as a polite title before names. M/F 1st person pronoun. literally means ‘rat’. used mainly by males with close friends as an informal pronoun. from English ‘I’. also used to show anger. paired with kEE (—Ä). 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . secretaries to bosses. M 1st person pronoun.. paired with mÁN (¢∆Ü). used among close male friends. female students to teachers. M/F 2nd person.. as a 3rd person pronoun it usually refers to a female. used by girls and young women to superiors. paired with lÁ⁄Á (¶»‰Ø).. sing. such as drinking and brothel visits. polite. and plur. and plur. M/F 2nd/3rd person. and plur. sing. M 1st person pronoun. sing. paired with yuu (£Ã).4 Pronouns nu ˇu ≠ôà kuu Äà úa ØæÁ® khâa ʼn¿ “Ø Äæô ÉÀì ó‡¿ô ay kan khun thân th´´ –òØ 42 M/F 1st/2nd person pronoun used by children talking to adults. also used as a deferential title with certain high status positions. used mainly by males with close friends as an informal pronoun. etc. from Teochiu dialect of Chinese. infomal. as a 2nd person pronoun it is paired with chán and signals a relationship of closeness. M/F 1st person pronoun used mainly by males as a male-bonding pronoun in informal situations. to address or refer to people of significantly higher social status.

regarded as unrefined and often avoided in polite. either derogatively or familiarly. when it is paired with chán (F) or kan (M). used among girls and between husband and wife.. service-industry workers addressing customers and complete strangers striking up a conversation with someone older. for example. also as a 2nd person intimate pronoun among members of the same sex. will refer to himself as phO›O (‘father’) rather than phom (‘I’) when talking to ˇ his son and address his son as lûuk (‘child’) rather than khun (‘you’): phOfl O mây chOfl O p ü‡Ø“¢‡äØõ ¶ÃÄ“ú“≠ô I (father speaking) don’t like it. depending on the context. which includes wives addressing their husbands. A father. (b) You (addressing father) are drunk. used widely in informal situations – including to refer to people.2 Kin terms as personal pronouns Kin terms are commonly used as pronouns.. lûuk pay nay? ˇ Where are you (parent addressing child) going? Kin terms can be used as first. by addressing an elderly man as luN (‘uncle’) or a friend or colleague as phîi (‘older brother/sister’) the speaker immediately creates an atmosphere of congeniality. 43 . M/F 3rd person. or (c) He (referring to father) is drunk.1. when it is paired with tua (ïæ®). thus. the sentence phO›O maw l”⁄”w can mean (a) I (father speaking) am drunk. second or third person pronouns. sing. also a 1st person pronoun. The use of kin terms extends to include those who are not blood relations.1 Personal pronouns: basics kEE man 4. and plur. and plur.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 kháw –Å¿ —Ä ¢æô M/F 3rd person. – ‘it’. 4. sing. Thus phîi has a particularly wide range of use. formal speech and writing.

3 Personal names as personal pronouns Personal names or nicknames are also commonly used as personal pronouns. as khun phO›O khun m”›”) and address a younger friend of their father as khun aa (‘uncle/aunt’). They can also be preceded by the polite title khun as a sign of further respect. thus children may address and refer to their parents as khun phO›O and khun m”›” (or collectively. as a sign of deference: tOfl y mây sâap khâ ï‰Ø£“¢‡ó§¿õɇΩ 44 I (Toi speaking) don’t know.1. The kin terms most commonly used as personal pronouns are: phOfl O mEfl E phîi ⁄ nO O N lûuk laan ˇ pâa luN náa aa pùu yâa taa yaay ü‡Ø —¢‡ üƒ‡ ô‰ØÜ ¶ÃÄ ≠¶¿ô ú‰¿ ¶ÀÜ ô‰¿ Ø¿ úÇ £‡¿ ï¿ £¿£ father mother older brother/sister younger brother/sister child grandchild. names and nicknames can be preceded by khun or a kin term.1. When used as second or third person pronouns.4 Pronouns Kin terms are often followed by personal names or nicknames (see 4. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . Using one’s name or more commonly. niece/nephew aunt (older sister of parents) uncle (older brother of parents) aunt/uncle (younger brother/sister of mother) aunt/uncle (younger brother/sister of father) grandfather (father’s father) grandmother (father’s mother) grandfather (mother’s father) grandmother (mother’s mother) 4. such as phîi. nickname instead of an ‘I’ word is characteristic of female speech but much less common among men.3).

such as ambassadors.4 (Khun) Uan has gone home. university lecturer teacher doctor nurse Note that when addressing teachers or doctors. but also as first person pronouns to mean ‘I’: aacaan khruu mO‡ O phayabaan ؿ࿧£^ ɧà ≠¢Ø ü£¿õ¿¶ teacher.1 Personal pronouns: basics ⁄ khun ûan klàp bâan lE E w ÉÀì؉®ôĶæõõ‰¿ô—¶‰® üƒ‡´ÀàΩ“ú£“≠¢ 4. phîi sù ca pay dûay máy? Is (older sister) Su going too? Occupation and status terms as personal pronouns A number of occupation terms are commonly used instead of pronouns. director generals. Taxi drivers. the polite title khun commonly precedes khruu and mO‹O. do not refer to themselves as th”⁄ksîi.1.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 khun suwannii wâaN máy? ÉÀì´À®§§ìƒ®‡¿Ü“≠¢ Are you (addressing Suwannee) free? 4. or an abbreviated form of it: thân thûut thân àthíbO dii ó‡¿ôóÃï ó‡¿ôØò¬õîƒ Ambassador Director General 45 . ministers and prime ministers are often addressed and referred to using the deferential title thân before their position. In the medical and education worlds the following occupation terms are used not only as second or third person pronouns. when addressing or referring to individuals. however. rectors. the following occupation terms are used only as second and third person pronouns: krapaw ˇ saamlO⁄O ˇ thE⁄ksîi túk túk ħΩ–ú˝¿ ´¿¢¶‰Ø —óªÄデ ïÀÁÄïÀÁÄ bus conductor pedicab driver taxi driver motorized pedicab driver The occupants of certain high-ranking positions.

further complicated sets of pronouns are used. thân: àattamaa yoom lu N phOfl O ˇa lu N phîi ˇa ؿ ‘£¢ ≠¶®Üü‡Ø ≠¶®Üüƒ‡ I (monk speaking) you (monk speaking) you/he (layman addressing/referring to a monk) you/he (layman addressing/referring to a monk) Using the complex system of royal pronouns correctly is a daunting prospect even for the vast majority of educated Thais. ˇaN ˇaN ˇ or simply by the deferential second person pronoun. lu phîi or luaN náa (for younger monks). one should refer to oneself as khâaphraphútthacâw (‘Your Majesty’s servant’) when addressing the King or other high-ranking members of royalty. At the simplest level. both terms can be translated as ‘dust under sole of royal foot’. The nonmonk should use the polite formal first person pronouns phom. (males) ˇ or dichán (females) and address or refer to the monk as lu phO›O or ˇaN lu taa (for older monks).4 Pronouns thân àthíkaan thân rátthamontrii thân naayók ó‡¿ôØò¬Ä¿§| ó‡¿ô§æê¢ô遼 ó‡¿ôô¿£Ä| (University) Rector Minister Prime Minister 4. do not use special pronouns when talking to ordinary people. and use tâayfàalaOONthúliiphrabàat as a second person pronoun to the King and tâayfàalaOONphrabàat to other high-ranking members of royalty. Members of royalty. The learner needs to be aware that an ordinary monk will address a non-monk as yoom and will refer to himself as àattamaa.1. which vary according the ecclesiastical or royal rank of the individual. unlike monks. khâaphraphútthacâw ʼn¿ü§ΩüÀóò–à‰¿ I (to King) tâayfàalaOON thúliiphrabàat ”ï‰û‡¿¶ΩØØÜòÀ¶ƒü§Ωõ¿ó you (to King) tâayfàalaOON phrabàat ”ï‰û‡¿¶ΩØØÜü§Ωõ¿ó 46 you (to high-ranking royalty) 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .5 Monks and monarchs: sacred pronouns When speaking to monks or royalty.

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 4. tua (‘body’) is used with first. the reflexive pronoun must be followed by the emphatic pronoun eeN (‘self’): chûay tua eeN duu lEE tua eeN mân cay tua eeN mOON tua eeN 䇮£ïæ®–ØÜ î׶ïæ®–ØÜ ¢æ‡ô”àïæ®–ØÜ ¢ØÜïæ®–ØÜ to help oneself to look after oneself to be self-confident to look at oneself 47 .2 Reflexive pronouns The reflexive pronoun. second and third persons. It occurs in such verbs as: ciam tua khaay tua ˇ khayaay tua ˇ khO‡ O tua lên tua lÁÁm tua pràp tua rúu tua san´‡ ´ tua sı a tua ˇ sı a salà tua ˇ sOfl O n tua tEŸN tua triam tua thOŸ O m tua thÁ‡ Á tua –àƒ£¢ïæ® Å¿£ïæ® Å£¿£ïæ® ÅØïæ® –¶‡ôïæ® ¶»¢ïæ® ú§æõïæ® §Ã‰ïæ® –´ôØïæ® –´ƒ£ïæ® –´ƒ£´¶Ωïæ® ã‡Øôïæ® —ï‡Üïæ® –遼£¢ïæ® ñ‡Ø¢ïæ® ñ»Øïæ® Ö‡¿ïæ®ï¿£ to be self-effacing to sell oneself to expand to excuse oneself to play hard to get to forget oneself to adapt oneself to be aware to put oneself forward to lose one’s virginity to sacrifice oneself to hide oneself to get dressed to prepare oneself to be self-effacing to be aloof The verb ‘to kill oneself/commit suicide’ is irregular. translating literally as ‘kill – body/self – dead’: khâa tua taay to commit suicide For a smaller category of verbs.2 Reflexive pronouns 4.

raw tham dûay tua eeN We did it by ourselves. each conveying a slightly different shade of emphasis: 4.3.3 Emphatic pronoun The emphatic pronoun eeN (‘self’) is used with first. kháw rian dûay ton eeN –Å¿–§ƒ£ô£ïô–ØÜ He studied by himself.2 pho tham eeN ˇm ù¢ó¡–ØÜ 48 I did it myself. 4.4 Pronouns phuum cay tua eeN phÁfl N tua eeN thaam tua eeN ˇ wâat rûup tua eeN °Ã¢¬”àïæ®–ØÜ ü∆‡Üïæ®–ØÜ ñ¿¢ïæ®–ØÜ ®¿î§Ãúïæ®–ØÜ to be proud of oneself to rely on oneself to ask oneself to draw a picture of oneself The idea of doing something ‘by oneself’ uses either dûay (‘by’) tua eeN or dûay ton eeN.3. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . it occurs in the following patterns. second and third persons. the latter is less common in speech and carries a slightly formal or literary flavour: pho sOfl O m rót dûay tua eeN ˇm ù¢ã‡Ø¢§ñ£ïæ®–ØÜ –§¿ó¡î‰®£ïæ®–ØÜ I mended the car by myself. PERSONAL PRONOUN + VERB + eeN 4.1 PERSONAL PRONOUN + eeN + VERB ù¢–ØÜó¡ pho eeN tham ˇm I myself did it.

4 Reciprocal: ‘each other’ The reciprocal pronoun ‘each other/one another’ is expressed by the pattern SUBJECT + VERB (PHRASE) + kan (‘together’): kháw rák kan –Å¿§æÄÄæô They love each other.3. raw tOfl N chûay kan –§¿ï‰ØÜ䇮£Äæô We must help one another.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 4. 4.4 tua + PERSONAL PRONOUN + eeN + VERB tua pho eeN tham ˇm ïæ®ù¢–ØÜó¡ I myself did it.3. 49 . eeN also occurs after demonstratives to convey the sense of ‘the very same (one)’.4 Reciprocal: ‘each other’ ù¢–ØÜ–úªôÉôó¡ I myself was the one who did it.3 PERSONAL PRONOUN + eeN + pen khon + VERB pho eeN pen khon tham ˇm 4. ‘precisely’: phÁfl an khon níi eeN –ü»‡ØôÉôôƒ‰–ØÜ ®æôôæ‰ô–ØÜ this very friend wan nán eeN that very day dı aw níi eeN ˇ –îƒ˝£®ôƒ‰–ØÜ right now saam rO⁄O y bàat thâwnán eeN ˇ ´¿¢§‰Ø£õ¿ó–ó‡¿ôæ‰ô–ØÜ just three hundred baht 4.

etc. nevertheless 4. 5 6 nôon khO‡ ON khray? 7 ‘ô‡ôÅØܔɧ 8 Whose is that one over there? 9 Demonstrative pronouns also occur in these common idiomatic expres. are formed using khO‹ON 3 4 (‘of’) + PERSONAL PRONOUN: 5 khO‡ ON chán 6 ÅØÜâæô 7 Mine. 5 nân ná sì 6 ôæ‡ôôΩ´¬ 7 Exactly! That’s right! 8 9 tEŸE nân lEŸ 40 —ï‡ôæ‡ô—≠¶Ω 41111 even so.5 Possessive pronouns . 12111 rót nán khO‡ ON kháw 3 §ñôæ‰ôÅØÜ–Å¿ 4 That car is his. ‘yours’. nân (‘that one’) 20111 1 and nôon – sometimes pronounced nûun – (‘that one over there’): 2 nîi mây su ˇay 3 ôƒ‡“¢‡´®£ 4 This one isn’t pretty.6 Demonstrative pronouns 9 There are three demonstrative pronouns.4 Pronouns 50 1111 2 The possessive pronouns ‘mine’. nîi (‘this one’). 5 6 7 8 4.30111 sions: 1 2 nîi yaNN ay 3 ôƒ‡£æÜ“Ü 4 Here you are (when giving someone something). 8 9 khO‡ ON khun su ˇay 1011 ÅØÜÉÀì´®£ 1 Yours is pretty. ‘his’.

‘somewhere’. etc. see 12. ‘somebody’.8 Indefinite pronouns Interrogative pronouns also act as the indefinite pronouns.8. ‘anybody’.2: khray? aray? mÁfl arày? thîi nay? ˇ nay? ˇ yaNN ay? thâwrày? ”ɧ ØΩ“§ –¢»‡Ø“§ 󃇓≠ô “≠ô Ø£‡¿Ü“§ –󇿓§ who? what? when? where? which? how? how much? 4. ‘something’.7 Interrogative pronouns 4.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 4. chán mây dây phop khray I didn’t meet anybody. ‘anybody’. 51 . mii khray ca kin máy? Is anybody going to eat? khray sèt pay dâay Whoever is finished can go. ‘whoever’.8 Indefinite pronouns For the use of interrogative pronouns (listed below) in questions. ‘nobody’ khray as an indefinite pronoun means ‘somebody’. mây mii khray (‘there is not anyone’) means ‘nobody’: pho khuy kàp khray khon nÁŸ N ˇm ù¢ÉÀ£Äæõ”ɧÉô≠ô∆‡Ü âæô“¢‡“î‰üõ”ɧ ¢ƒ”ɧàΩĬô“≠¢ ”ɧ–´§ªà“ú“î‰ I chatted to somebody.1 ‘Somebody’. 4.

I get diarrhoea. ‘Somewhere’. ‘anywhere’. phone me.8. ‘anywhere’. ‘wherˇ ever’.2 Nobody knows.3 There is nothing interesting. ‘nowhere’ 52 thîi nay as an indefinite pronoun means ‘somewhere’. ‘anything’. ‘anything’. it can occur either before or after the verb in the first clause: kin mÁfl arày kOfl thO⁄O N sı a ˇ Ĭô–¢»‡Ø“§Äªó‰ØÜ–´ƒ£ Whenever I eat it. ‘whatever’. mÁfl arày wâaN thoo maa haa ˇ –¢»‡Ø“§®‡¿Ü‘󧢿≠¿ 4.4 Whenever you are free. note that when it immediately follows the verb pay (‘to go’) the word thîi is frequently dropped: 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .4 Pronouns mây mii khray rúu “¢‡¢ƒ”ɧ§Ã‰ 4. ‘Something’. mây mii aray (‘there is not anything’) means ‘nothing’: kháw yàak sÁ⁄Á aray baaN yàaN –Å¿Ø£¿Ä㻉ØØΩ“§õ¿ÜØ£‡¿Ü ÉÀìØ£¿ÄĬôØΩ“§“≠¢ ù¢“¢‡“î‰üÃîØΩ“§ She wants to buy something. ‘Whenever’ m¨›arày as an indefinite pronoun means ‘whenever’. ‘nothing’ aray as an indefinite pronoun means ‘something’. khun yàak kin aray máy? Do you want to eat anything? pho mây dây phûut aray ˇm I didn’t say anything. mây mii aray nâa so cay ˇn “¢‡¢ƒØΩ“§ô‡¿´ô”à 4.8.8.

4. Ø£¿Ä“ú“≠ô“≠¢ “¢‡Ø£¿Ä“ú“≠ô Do you want to go anywhere? mây yàak pay nay ˇ I don’t want to go anywhere. 53 . 4.8. Note that the vowel in dâay is long although it is written in Thai script as a short vowel: sàN aray kOfl dâay ´æ‡ÜØΩ“§Äª“î‰ Order whatever you like.8. as in expressions such as ‘whoever/whenever/whatever you like’.5 ‘Whichever’ na as an indefinite pronoun means ‘whichever one’. ‘whatever way’.8. it always follows a ˇy classifier and normally occurs with kO› dâay (4. 4.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 chán yàak pay yùu thîi nay thîi N îap N îap ˇ âæôØ£¿Ä“úأÇ󃇓≠ô󃇖܃£õ & yàak pay nay máy? ˇ 4. it always follows a verb: tham yaNN ay kOfl phlâat thúk thii ó¡Ø£‡¿Ü“§Äªü¶¿îóÀÄóƒ However I do it.6 ‘However’ yaNNay as an indefinite pronoun means ‘however’.7): ⁄ pho ca sÁ Á an nay kOfl dâay thîi mây phEEN ˇm ˇ ù¢àΩ㻉ØØæô“≠ôĪ“î‰óƒ‡“¢‡—üÜ I’ll buy whichever one is not expensive.8.8 Indefinite pronouns I want to go and live somewhere quietish. I always make a mistake.7 Indefinite pronouns with kO^ dâay Indefinite pronouns occur before kO› dâay to show amenability or indifference.

. 4 5 kin yaNN ay kOfl dâay 6 ĬôØ£‡¿Ü“§Äª“î‰ 7 You can eat it however you like. . .4 Pronouns 54 1111 2 Tell whoever you like. 8 hây thâwrày kOfl dâay 9 ”≠‰–󇿓§Äª“î‰ 20111 You can give however much you like. 6 s¨›N can be used interchangeably with thîi but it is a rather formal-sounding 7 word and much less common in spoken Thai: 8 cháaN sÁfl N mii sO‡ ON praphêet . bOŸO k khray kOfl dâay õØĔɧĪ“î‰ . places and things: 5 6 kháw pen khon thîi càay 7 –Å¿–úªôÉôóƒ‡à‡¿£ 8 He is the one who paid. of which there are two kinds. . 41111 Elephants.9 Relative pronouns 4 A single relative pronoun thîi is used to refer to people. 9 40 䉿Üã∆‡Ü¢ƒ´ØÜú§Ω–°ó . 1 2 3 4. 1 ˇ sÁ⁄Á an nay kOfl dâay 12111 㻉ØØæô“≠ôĪ“î‰ 3 Buy whichever one you like. . 2 3 klûay thîi kháw sÁ⁄Á phEEN 4 Ķ‰®£óƒ‡–ſ㻉ؗüÜ 5 The bananas which she bought are expensive. 3 4 raw phóp kan mÁfl arày kOfl dâay 5 –§¿üõÄæô–¢»‡Ø“§Äª“î‰ 6 We’ll meet whenever you like. . . 9 bâan thîi kháw yùu lék 30111 õ‰¿ô󃇖ſأÇ–¶ªÄ 1 The house where they live is small. 7 raw pay nay kOfl dâay ˇ 8 9 –§¿“ú“≠ôĪ“î‰ 1011 We can go anywhere you like.

in a formal. it cannot link a noun and an action verb: 4.9 Relative pronouns rót an su N aam ˇay §ñØæô´®£Ü¿¢ a beautiful car lôok an kwâaN yày ‘¶ÄØæôÄ®‰¿Ü”≠ç‡ the wide world Ü¿ôØæô≠ôæÄ≠ô¿ a heavy task N aan an nàk naa ˇ 55 .1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 an also functions rather like a relative pronoun. stylised linking of noun and adjective (or stative verb).

1. mE^E pen khon thay —¢‡–úªôÉô“ó£ üƒ‡´¿®–úªôɧà 56 My mother is Thai. etc. it cannot be followed by an adjective (see 5.Chapter 5 Verbs Thai is a verb-oriented language.3).3. often using verbs where English uses nouns (3. phîi saaw pen khruu ˇ Her sister is a teacher. 5. etc. A common feature of Thai is verb serialization (5. Verbs have a single form: they are not inflected for number or tense. mii and yùu.3. such as ‘yesterday’ or ‘next week’ or auxiliary verbs and particles (5. 5. ambiguity can be avoided by the addition of time expressions. kh¨¨. ‘went’. Thus pay can mean ‘go’.1 The verb ‘to be’ Thai uses several different verbs to translate English ‘is/are’.13).2): kháw pen phÁfl an –Å¿–úªô–ü»‡Øô He is a friend. ‘will go’. ‘was/were’..5) or prepositions.1 pen When pen means ‘to be’ it is always followed by a noun or noun phrase. the most important are pen. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . but often the context alone is sufficient to clarify the situation.

5. . “¢‡”ä‡ù¢ It wasn’t me. . it cannot be negated by placing the negative word mây immediately before it. kh¨¨ does not occur in the negative: saam bùak kàp sìi khÁÁ cèt ˇ ´¿¢õ®ÄÄæõ´ƒ‡É»Ø–àªî Three plus four is seven. namely . clarifications and definitions. Instead. kháw mây dây pen phÁfl an –Å¿“¢‡“úªô–ü»‡Øô He’s not a friend. .1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 When pen means ‘to be’. ˇ ˇ ¢ƒúæç≠¿´¿¢Ø£‡¿ÜÉ»Ø . while the latter conveys the sense of contradicting a spoken or unspoken assumption: 5. . . see Appendix 2. ‘Kham Muang’ is the language people in Chiangmai speak. . . . the negative form ‘is not’ is either mây chây or mây dây pen. mii panhaa saam yàaN khÁÁ .2 khÁÁ kh¨¨ means ‘is equal to’ or ‘namely’ and it is used when giving explanations. There are three problems. For a summary of different usages of pen. É»ØØ£‡¿Üôƒ‰ôΩ» It’s like this.1. unlike other verbs. right? 57 . of these.1 The verb ‘to be’ kháw mây chây khon ameerikan –Å¿“¢‡”ä‡ÉôØ–¢§¬Äæô mây chây pho ˇm He isn’t American. it is also used as a hesitation device. ˇ kham mÁaN khÁÁ phaasaa thîi khon chiaN mày phûut É¡–¢»ØÜɻذ¿™¿óƒ‡Éô–䃣ܔ≠¢‡üî à khÁÁ yàaN níi ná . the former is neutral in tone.

is used in the contrastive construc1 tion mây chây . pen and kh¨¨ are interchangeable: 2 3 nîi khÁÁ/pen saamii chán ˇ 4 ôƒ‡É»Ø´¿¢ƒ 5 This is my husband.1. such as introductions and identifying people in 1111 photographs. . that pen.3 mii 2 3 mii (‘to have’) is also used to translate ‘there is/there are’. (‘it’s not . it’s like this.. not kh¨¨. . it occurs after the topic (9. pen yàaN níi 3 “¢‡”ä‡Ø£‡¿Üôæ‰ô –úªôØ£‡¿Üôƒ‰ 4 It’s not like that. . 5 6 mây chây fEEn pen nO⁄ON saaw ˇ 7 “¢‡”䇗†ô –úªôô‰ØÜ´¿® 8 She is not his girlfriend. . She is his younger sister. . often. 5 (people – Thai – who – speak – language – French – can – well – 6 there – are – few) 7 8 9 40 41111 . pen . 8 9 mây mii weelaa 30111 “¢‡¢ƒ–®¶¿ 1 There isn’t time. 2 khon thay thîi phûut phaasaa faràN sèet dâay dii mii nO ⁄O y ˇ 3 Éô“ó£óƒ‡üÃî°¿™¿û§æ‡Ü–©´“î‰îƒ¢ƒô‰Ø£ 4 There are few Thais who can speak French well. however. .1): 5 mii nák rian sìi rO ⁄O y khon 6 ¢ƒôæÄ–§ƒ£ô´ƒ‡§‰Ø£Éô 7 There are four hundred pupils.’): 12111 mây chây yàaN nán. it’s . 9 20111 1 5.5 Verbs 58 In some instances. 6 so ˇmchaay pen/khÁÁ khray? 7 ´¢ä¿£É»Ø”ɧ 8 Who is Somchai? 9 1011 Note. .. . espe4 cially in written Thai.

unmarried to be in charge of 5.3 Verb compounds yùu (‘to be situated at’) is used to describe the location of things: bâan khun yùu thîi nay? ˇ õ‰¿ôÉÀìأÇ󃇓≠ô أÇ”ôïÉ–£ªô 5.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 5.1. ˇay sÁfl a su a pretty blouse/The blouse is pretty. the following idiomatic expressions are exceptional: pen hùaN pen sòot pen yày –úªô≠‡®Ü –úªô‘´î –úªô”≠ç‡ to be concerned to be single. are made up of two words and are called verb compounds. aahaan phEEN ˇ Ø¿≠¿§—üÜ expensive food/The food is expensive. or (c) VERB + VERB: 59 . Stative verbs Adjectives in Thai also function as stative verbs (verbs which describe a state rather than an action). Adjectives occur only rarely with the verb pen (‘to be’). Verb compounds in Thai can consist of (a) VERB + NOUN.4 yùu 5. Thus lék is both the adjective ‘small’ and the verb ‘to be small’: bâan lék õ‰¿ô–¶ªÄ –´»‰Ø´®£ a small house/The house is small.3 Verb compounds Many verbs. (b) NOUN + VERB.2 Where is your house? yùu nay tûu yen It’s in the fridge. such as t”‚N Naan (‘to get married’).

1 VERB + NOUN khâw cay dii cay tEŸN N aan tham N aan 5. 5.2 –ʼn¿”à îƒ”à —ï‡ÜÜ¿ô ó¡Ü¿ô ”àîƒ ”à–£ªô ú¿Ä§‰¿£ ≠æ®—ÅªÜ to understand (to enter + heart) to be happy (good + heart) to marry/be married (to arrange + work/party) to work (to do + work) NOUN + VERB to be kind (heart + good) to be calm (heart + cool) to be malicious (mouth + bad) to be stubborn (head + hard) cay dii cay yen pàak ráay hu khE‡ N ˇa 5.3 VERB + VERB plìan plEEN prìap thîap òt yàak duu lEE tòk loN d´´ n lên phûut lên –ú¶ƒ‡£ô—ú¶Ü –ú§ƒ£õ–óƒ£õ ØîØ£¿Ä î׶ ïÄ¶Ü –î¬ô–¶‡ô üÃî–¶‡ô to change (change + change) to compare (compare + compare) to be starving (go without + want) to look after (see + watch) to agree (fall + descend) to go for a walk (walk + play) to joke (speak + play) Verb compounds are negated by the pattern mây + VERB COMPOUND (11.4 Resultative verbs 60 A number of verbs.1): pho mây prìap thîap ˇm ù¢“¢‡–ú§ƒ£õ–óƒ£õ I’m not comparing. such as nOOn làp ‘to sleep’ (lie down + sleep) and mOON hen ‘to see’ (look at + see) resemble verb compounds as they consist ˇ 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .3.5 Verbs 5.3.3.

thus. They differ in that the second verb describes a state that results from the action of the first verb. the directional verbs kh¨›n (‘to rise’). sleep results from lying down and seeing from looking. VERB (PHRASE) + mây + RESULTATIVE VERB (11.2): chán mOON aray mây he n ˇ âæô¢ØÜØΩ“§“¢‡–≠ªô I can’t see anything. còp (‘to complete’).1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 of two verbs. Other verbs have a much less restricted role as resultative verbs. khâw (‘to enter’) and O‚Ok (‘to leave’) (see 5. làp and hen occur as resultative verbs only with nOOn and mOON ˇ respectively. thoo(rasàp) (‘to telephone’). mòt (‘to be all used up/gone’).5). 5. sèt (‘to finish’). klàp (‘to return’). pho cháy N´n mòt lE⁄Ew ˇm I’ve spent all my money. 11. These include the completive verbs.1. yáay (‘to move home’). khun ca pay than máy? Will you get there in time? Resultative verbs are negated by the pattern.5 Directional verbs The verbs pay (‘to go’) and maa (‘to come’) are used after a number of verbs or verb phrases as ‘direction markers’ to indicate whether the action of the verb is directed towards or away from the speaker.5 Directional verbs chán tham aahaan sèt lE⁄Ew ˇ âæôó¡Ø¿≠¿§–´§ªà—¶‰® I’ve finished cooking. aw/phaa (‘to take’). They commonly follow such verbs as dEEn (‘to walk’). accurate’): 5.2). kháw àan náN sÁ‡ Á còp lE⁄Ew –ſ؇¿ô≠ôæÜ´»Øàõ—¶‰® ù¢”䉖ܬô≠¢î—¶‰® ÉÀìàΩ“úóæô“≠¢ He’s finished the book. and words such as than (‘to be in time’) and thùuk (‘to be correct. plìan (‘to 61 . Verb compounds and verb + resultative verb constructions are negated differently (11. loN (‘to descend’).

to convey the idea of the action occur. that in the expression. 30111 where the same verb is repeated.5 Verbs 62 change’). and sòN (‘to send’). . then? 6 7 ⁄ chán lÁÁm pay lE Ew 8 âæô¶»¢“ú—¶‰® 9 I’ve forgotten. 6 raw khuy pay khuy maa tháN khÁÁn 7 –§¿ÉÀ£“úÉÀ£¢¿óæ‰ÜÉ»ô 8 We chatted (back and forth) all night long. 3 Note. 9 kháw chOfl Op plìan pay plìan maa 40 41111 –Å¿äØõ–ú¶ƒ‡£ô“ú–ú¶ƒ‡£ô¢¿ He likes chopping and changing.1 ring repetitively back and forth: 2 3 pho d´´ n pay d´´ n maa sìp naathii ˇm 4 ù¢–î¬ô“ú–î¬ô¢¿´¬õô¿óƒ 5 I walked back and forth for ten minutes. 20111 ˇ mÁfl a cháaw níi chán thoo(rasàp) pay khuy kàp phîi saaw 1 –¢»‡Ø–䉿ôƒ‰âæô‘ó§(©æüó^)“úÉÀ£Äæõüƒ‡´¿® 2 I phoned your sister this morning. 9 1011 phrûN níi kháw ca aw náN sÁ‡ Á maa hây duu 1 ü§‡ÀÜôƒ‰–Å¿àΩ–Ø¿≠ôæÜ´»Ø¢¿”≠‰îà 12111 Tomorrow he’ll bring the book to show me. 9 pay and maa sometimes occur in the pattern VERB + pay + VERB + maa. however. 3 khun ca phaa lûuk saaw pay dûay l´‡ ´? ˇ 4 ÉÀìàΩü¿¶ÃÄ´¿®“ú£≠§»Ø 5 You’re taking your daughter with you. the directional 4 verb is maa: 5 6 yen yen chán ca thoo(rasàp) maa mày 7 –£ªô & âæôàΩ‘ó§(©æüó^)¢¿”≠¢‡ 8 I’ll ring you back in the evening. Some verbs conveying a sense of loss. ‘I’ll ring you back’. such 1111 as ha (‘to disappear’) and l¨¨m (‘to forget’) occur only with pay: ˇay 2 3 raw yáay maa yùu kruN thêep tâN tEŸE chán yaN dèk 4 –§¿£‰¿£¢¿Ø£Ã‡Ä§ÀÜ–óü|ïæ‰Ü—ï‡âæô£æÜ–îªÄ 5 We moved (here) to Bangkok when I was still a child. 6 wan saw nâa raw ca khàp rót pay hu hı n ˇ ˇa ˇ 7 ®æô–´¿§^≠ô‰¿–§¿àΩÅæõ§ñ“ú≠æ®≠¬ô 8 Next Saturday we’ll drive to Hua Hin.

loN.2): kháw yók mây khÁfl n –Å¿£Ä“¢‡Å∆‰ô âæôĬô“¢‡¶Ü He can’t lift it.6 Modal verbs kháw piin khÁfl n tônmáay –Å¿ú≈ôÅ∆‰ôï‰ô“¢‰ âæô®¬‡Ü¶Üõæô“î He climbed up the tree. however. pho phûut mây OŸOk ˇm ù¢üÃî“¢‡ØØÄ ù¢”´‡“¢‡–ʼn¿ I can’t put it into words. In negative sentences directional verbs are not negated. ability. 5. probability.6 Modal verbs Modal verbs are auxiliary verbs which express such ideas as possibility. pho sày mây khâw ˇm I can’t put it in. khâw and O‚Ok also function as resultative verbs (11.3). they are negated according to one of three different patterns (11. volition and obligation. loN (‘to descend’). chán wîN loN banday I ran down the stairs. chán kin mây loN I can’t eat it.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Other common directional verbs are kh¨›n (‘to rise’). kháw rîip OŸOk pay He hurried out. note. that kh¨›n. 63 . khâw (‘to enter’) and O‚Ok (‘to leave’): 5. necessity. Most Thai modal verbs can be followed by the particle ca. raw d´´ n khâw hOfl N –§¿–î¬ô–ʼn¿≠‰ØÜ –Å¿§ƒõØØÄ“ú We entered the room.

2 Ability and permission The word ‘can’ can be translated by three Thai modal verbs – dâay. kháw khoN (ca) mây maa He probably won’t come. pho chûay kháw mây dâay ˇm I can’t help her. the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + mây + MODAL VERB. 5.6.6. 5. usually seems that They all occur before the main verb and are negated by the pattern MODAL VERB (+ ca) + mây + VERB (PHRASE): raw àat (ca) pay duu naN ˇ –§¿Ø¿ààΩ“úîÃ≠ôæÜ –Å¿ÉÜ(àΩ)“¢‡¢¿ We may go to see a film.1 Possibility and probability The main modal verbs used for expressing possibility and probability are: àat (ca) khoN (ca) yOfl m (ca) mák (ca) he n (ca) ˇ Ø¿à(àΩ) ÉÜ(àΩ) £‡Ø¢(àΩ) ¢æÄ(àΩ) –≠ªô(àΩ) may/might will probably. khO‡ O yÁÁm rót khun dâay máy? ÅØ£»¢§ñÉÀì“≠¢ 64 Can I borrow your car? 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .6. sure to likely to tends to.1 VERB (PHRASE) + dâay dâay conveys the sense of both ability and permission: raw klàp maa phrûN níi dâay –§¿Ä¶æõ¢¿ü§‡ÀÜôƒ‰“î‰ ù¢ä‡®£–Å¿“¢‡“î‰ We can come back tomorrow.2.5 Verbs 5. pen and wa All three verbs occur after the main verb and are negated by ˇy.

3 Necessity: ‘must’ and ‘need’ Necessity can be expressed by the following modal verbs which all occur before the main verb: (ca) tOfl N (àΩ)ï‰ØÜ must 65 . is pronounced with a long vowel.6. I can’t walk. ˇ rawaN nàk ná yók way máy? §Ω®æÜ≠ôæÄôΩ £Ä“≠®“≠¢ Be careful. It’s impossible. pho tham aahaan mây pen ˇm ˇ khun khàp rót pen máy? ÉÀìÅæõ§ñ–úªô“≠¢ Can you drive? 5.6 Modal verbs pen pay dâay pen pay mây dâay pen pay dâay máy? –úªô“ú“î‰ –úªô“ú“¢‡“î‰ –úªô“ú“≠¢ It’s possible.6.2.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 The following idomatic expressions are also commonly used when talking about possibility: 5.6.3 VERB (PHRASE) + way ˇ wa conveys the sense of being physically able to do something: ˇy klay pay chán d´´ n mây way ˇ “Ķ“ú âæô–î¬ô“¢‡“≠® It’s too far. although written with a short vowel in Thai. Is it possible? Note that dâay.2 VERB (PHRASE) + pen pen conveys the sense of knowing how to do something: kháw phûut phaasaa thay pen ˇ –Å¿üÃî°¿™¿“ó£–úªô ù¢ó¡Ø¿≠¿§“¢‡–úªô I can’t cook. Can you lift it? 5.2. He speaks/can speak Thai. 5. it’s heavy.

but with different meanings: (a) (ca) mây tO›N + VERB (PHRASE) (‘there is no need to . campen (ca) and campen tO›N are negated by the pattern mây + MODAL VERB + VERB (PHRASE).’). . .5 Verbs tOfl N kaan (ca) campen (ca) campen tOfl N ï‰ØÜÄ¿§(àΩ) à¡–úªô(àΩ) à¡–úªôï‰ØÜ need necessary to necessary to tO›Nkaan (ca). campen tOfl N tham hây sèt wan níi à¡–úªôï‰ØÜó¡”≠‰–´§ªà®æôôƒ‰ ÉÀì“¢‡à¡–úªôï‰ØÜà‡¿£–ܬô 5. and (b) (ca) tO›N mây + VERB (PHRASE) (‘must not . 66 Obligation is expressed by khuan (ca) (‘should/ought’) or nâa (ca) (‘should/ ought’) before the main verb. mây tOfl N lOŸ k “¢‡ï‰ØÜ≠§ØÄ “¢‡à¡–úªô There’s no need.4 Obligation It’s necessary to finish it today. khun mây campen tOfl N càay N´n There’s no need for you to pay any money. raw tOfl N mây lÁÁm We must not forget.6. (when declining an offer) mây campen It’s not necessary. Both are most commonly negated by the pattern mây + MODAL VERB (+ ca) + VERB (PHRASE): 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . . . (ca) tO›N can be negated in two ways.’): khun tOfl N chûay kháw nOŸ y ÉÀìï‰ØÜ䇮£–Å¿≠ô‡Ø£ –§¿ï‰ØÜ“¢‡¶»¢ ù¢“¢‡ï‰ØÜ“ú You must help him a bit. pho mây tOfl N pay ˇm There’s no need for me to go/I don’t need to go.

would like to’) which occurs before the main verb. or habitual action (aspect). Negative sentences follow the pattern mây + yàak (ca) + VERB (PHRASE): chán yàak (ca) klàp bâan âæôØ£¿Ä(àΩ)Ķæõõ‰¿ô I’d like to go home. kháw mây yàak khuy kàp pho ˇm –Å¿“¢‡Ø£¿ÄÉÀ£Äæõù¢ She doesn’t want to talk to me. 67 . continuous.5 ‘want to’ The idea of wanting to do something is expressed by yàak (ca) (‘want to.7.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Ÿ khun khuan ca bO O k pho lûaN nâa ˇm ÉÀìÉ®§àΩõØÄù¢¶‡®Ü≠ô‰¿ –§¿“¢‡ô‡¿àΩĶæõî∆Ä You should’ve told me in advance.7 Time and aspect Whether an action occurs in the future or the past (time). raw mây nâa ca klàp dÁŸ k We ought not to return late.7 Time and aspect 5. be clarified by using auxiliary verbs or particles. ˇy raw ca pay kOŸ samu We shall go to Koh Samui. when necessary. 5. 5.1 Future actions: ca + VERB (PHRASE) Actions that occur in the future can be described using the pattern ca + VERB (PHRASE): phrûN níi kháw ca mây maa ü§À‡Üôƒ‰–Å¿àΩ“¢‡¢¿ –§¿àΩ“ú–Ä¿Ω´¢À£ Tomorrow he won’t come. can. and whether it is a completed. 5.6.

9 1011 raw kin khâaw lE⁄Ew 1 –§¿Ä¬ôʼn¿®—¶‰® 12111 We have eaten already. 5 6 ⁄ fo tòk lE Ew ˇn 7 ûôïÄ—¶‰® 8 It’s (started) raining. 9 40 41111 5.5 Verbs 68 1111 2 3 Completed actions can be described by the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + 4 5 l”⁄”w (‘already’): 6 kháw pay tham N aan lE⁄Ew 7 –Å¿“úó¡Ü¿ô—¶‰® 8 He has gone to work. 6 l”⁄”w occurs with stative verbs to indicate that the specified state or condi.2 E Completed actions: VERB (PHRASE) + l´E w E Attained states: STATIVE VERB + l´E w . 9 Note that some non-stative verbs also occur with l”⁄”w to convey the 30111 1 sense of a state being attained: 2 khâw cay lE⁄Ew 3 –ʼn¿”à—¶‰® 4 (Now) I understand.7 8 tion has been attained: 9 thùuk lE⁄Ew 20111 ñÃÄ—¶‰® 1 That’s correct. 3 rót mee maa lE⁄Ew 4 §ñ–¢¶^¢¿—¶‰® 5 The train has arrived/Here comes the train. 6 dii lE⁄Ew 7 ¶‰® 8 That’s fine.7. 2 3 phOO lE⁄Ew 4 üØ—¶‰® 5 That’s enough.

can be described by the pattern kamlaN + VERB (PHRASE) + yùu: chán kamlaN àan náN sÁ‡ Á yùu âæôÄ¡¶æÜ؇¿ô≠ôæÜ´»ØأÇ I am/was reading.7. 5. pho kamlaN ca pay ˇm I am/was about to go. raw kamlaN ca kin khâaw We are/were about to eat. 69 .2 VERB (PHRASE) + yùu kháw duu thii wii yùu –Å¿îÃ󃮃أÇ He is/was watching TV.7.1 kamlaN + VERB (PHRASE) raw kamlaN kin khâaw –§¿Ä¡¶æÜĬôʼn¿® We are/were eating.7 Time and aspect Continuous actions. either yùu or kamlaN may be dropped: 5.4 Actions about to happen: kamlaN ca + VERB (PHRASE) Actions about to happen.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 5. whether in the present or past. 5. Alternatively. whether in the immediate future or when narrating events in the past.3. are described by the pattern kamlaN ca + VERB (PHRASE): mEfl E kamlaN ca triam aahaan ˇ —¢‡Ä¡¶æÜàΩ–遼£¢Ø¿≠¿§ –§¿Ä¡¶æÜàΩĬôʼn¿® ù¢Ä¡¶æÜàΩ“ú Mum is/was about to prepare the food.7.7.3 Continuous actions: kamlaN + VERB (PHRASE) + yùu 5.3.

7. before’): chán kh´´ y pay thîaw chiaN mày âæô–É£“ú–󃇣®–䃣ܔ≠¢‡ ù¢–É£îÖ—¶‰® I’ve been to Chiangmai. . maa kO‚On (‘never .5 ´N Actions that have just happened: phˆ + VERB (PHRASE) Actions that have just happened are described by the pattern phE›N + VERB (PHRASE): ⁄ chán ph´^ N sÁ Á rót mày âæô–ü¬‡Ü㻉اñ”≠¢‡ ù¢–ü¬‡Ü–≠ªô–Å¿ –Å¿–ü¬‡Ü§Ã‰ 5.5 Verbs 5. . ˇ pho ph´^ N he n kháw ˇm I have just seen him. or (b) that has occurred habitually in the past. pho kh´´ y duu lE⁄Ew ˇm I’ve seen it already raw kh´´ y yùu thîi kruN thêep –§¿–ɣأÇóƒ‡Ä§ÀÜ–óü| âæô“¢‡–ɣĬôóÀ–§ƒ£ô 70 We used to live in Bangkok. Single and habitual actions in the past: kh´´ y + VERB (PHRASE) The pattern khEEy + VERB (PHRASE) is used to describe an action that (a) has occurred on at least one occasion in the past.6 I have just bought a new car. kháw ph´^ N rúu He has just found out/learned. chán mây kh´´ y kin thurian I’ve never eaten durian. When preceded by the negative word mây it means ‘never’ and often occurs in the pattern mây khEEy . . it can occur with l”⁄”w for added emphasis.7. . pho mây kh´´ y he n maa kOŸO n ˇm ˇ ù¢“¢‡–É£–≠ªô¢¿Ä‡Øô 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 I’ve never seen it before. .

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 When khEEy occurs in questions. see 5. it means ‘have you ever . this pattern occurs only rarely.7. a ‘yes’ answer is khEEy.1. 71 . it cannot be used with stative verbs: raw mây dây pay –§¿“¢‡“ú We didn’t go. For use of dâay to express duration of time.?’.7 Negative past tense: mây dây + VERB (PHRASE) The pattern mây dây + VERB (PHRASE) is used to describe actions that did not take place in the past. . chán mây dây bOŸO k kháw âæô“¢‡“î‰õØÄ–Å¿ I didn’t tell him. a ‘no’ answer.4. Note that it should not be assumed that the positive past tense is formed by dây + VERB (PHRASE).7.7 Time and aspect kh´´ y pay thîaw phuukèt máy? –É£“ú–󃇣®°Ã–Īï“≠¢ kh´´ y/mây kh´´ y Have you ever been to Phuket? –É£/“¢‡–É£ Yes/No. mây khEEy: 5.8 past continuous tense: VERB (PHRASE) + maa + (dâay) + E TIME EXPRESSION + l´E w Actions that began in the past and continue through to the present can be described by the pattern. 5. 5. For other uses of mây dây + VERB (PHRASE). 11.1. see Appendix 2. . kháw rian phaasaa thay maa (dâay) laay pii lE⁄Ew ˇ ˇ –Å¿–§ƒ£ô°¿™¿“󣢿(“î‰)≠¶¿£ú≈—¶‰® He has been studying Thai for many years. VERB (PHRASE) + maa + (dâay) + TIME EXPRESSION + l”⁄”w: raw nâN rót fay maa (dâay) sO‡ ON chûamooN lE⁄Ew –§¿ôæ‡Ü§ñ“†¢¿(“î‰)´ØÜäø‡®‘¢Ü—¶‰® We have been sitting on the train for two hours.

etc. to convey the idea that the action is being done for future use or reference: chán ca kèp wáy kin phrûN níi âæôàΩ–Īõ“®‰Ä¬ôü§À‡Üôƒ‰ û¿ÄÅØÜ“®‰óƒ‡ôƒ‡“≠¢ –§¿àØÜïø˝®“®‰—¶‰® I’ll keep it to eat tomorrow. –Ø¿“®‰®æô≠¶æÜ 72 Let’s put it off to another day. and ‘down’ in ‘cool down’. or verb phrase. 5. fàak khO‡ ON wáy thîi nîi dâay máy? Can I leave my things here? ˇa raw cOON tu wáy lE⁄Ew We’ve booked tickets already. ûan khÁfl n rew khÁfl n dii khÁfl n mâak khÁfl n ؉®ôÅ∆‰ô to get fatter –§ª®Å∆‰ô îƒÅ∆‰ô ¢¿ÄÅ∆‰ô to speed up to improve to increase phO‡ O m loN cháa loN yEfl E loN nO⁄y loN ùØ¢¶Ü 䉿¶Ü —£‡¶Ü ô‰Ø£¶Ü to slim down to slow down to worsen to decrease Note that kh¨›n and loN also occur with verbs of motion as direction markers (5.9 Á Changed states: STATIVE VERB + khˆ n/loN The verbs kh¨›n (‘to ascend’) and loN (‘to descend’) are used with pairs of contrasting stative verbs to indicate an increase or decrease in state.7. ‘speed up’. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .5).5 Verbs 5.10 VERB (PHRASE) + wáy The verb wáy occurs after a verb of action.7. etc. ‘slow down’. they are similar to English ‘up’ in ‘heat up’. kháw sÁ⁄Á wáy àan wan laN ˇ –ſ㻉ؓ®‰Ø‡¿ô®æô≠¶æÜ aw wáy wan laN ˇ He bought it to read another day.

often shortened to sá.11 VERB (PHRASE) + aw 5.7 Time and aspect The verb aw occurs after a verb of action or verb phrase to convey the idea that the subject is doing something for himself. khun kèp aw wáy lE⁄Ew chây máy? ÉÀì–Īõ–Ø¿“®‰—¶‰®”䇓≠¢ You’ve kept it. ˇ 73 .7. ⁄ raw àat ca rúucàk kan dii k´´ n pay sá lE Ew –§¿Ø¿ààΩ§Ã‰àæÄÄæôĬô“ú–´ƒ£—¶‰® É¡®‡¿ –´ƒ£ –ʼn¿”ࣿĖ´ƒ£î‰®£ Maybe we know each other too well. it cannot ˇ be translated and is extremely difficult for the foreign learner to use correctly other than in pre-memorised expressions. daw aw sí khá Have a guess! 5.7. often aw is followed by wáy. occurs widely after a verb phrase. One sense of sıa/sá is ˇ ‘too bad it happened that way’: kháw maa saay pay sá lE⁄Ew ˇ –Å¿¢¿´¿£“ú–´ƒ£—¶‰® He came too late.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 5. pho triam aw wáy lE⁄Ew ˇm ù¢–遼£¢–Ø¿“®‰—¶‰® I’ve prepared things. kham wâa sı a khâw cay yâak sá dûay ˇ The word sı a is difficult to understand. The beginner is best advised to simply memorise examples from the speech of native speakers rather than to attempt to create sentences of their own using this pattern.12 VERB (PHRASE) + sˇa/sá ı sıa. right? chán khít aw eeN âæôɬî–Ø¿–ØÜ –î¿–Ø¿ã¬ÉΩ I thought so myself.

such as being 6 beaten. and so on. arrested. 3 maalii thùuk rót chon 4 ¢¿¶ƒñħñäô à 5 Malee was hit by a car. to 1111 show irritation or impatience that something has not happened: 2 3 mÁfl arày ca sèt sá thii? 4 –¢»‡Ø“§àΩ–´§ªà–´ƒ£óƒ 5 When are you going to be finished? 6 ˇn mÁfl arày fo ca yùt tòk sá thii? 7 –¢»‡Ø“§ûôàΩ≠£ÀîïÄ–´ƒ£óƒ 8 When will it stop raining? 9 1011 1 5. in the pattern SUBJECT + thùuk + (AGENT) + VERB (PHRASE): 9 20111 chán thùuk yuN kàt 1 âæôñÃÄ£ÀÜÄæî 2 I’ve been bitten by a mosquito. but used identically is the passive-marker 8 doon: 9 kháw doon tii 40 –Å¿‘îôïƒ 41111 He was beaten. shot. gossiped about. where the subject is a victim of something unpleasant. robbed. 7 attacked. 6 7 Much less common than thùuk. It is generally restricted to sentences with a negative connota. 6 7 kháw thùuk tamrùat càp 8 –Å¿ñÃÄ®ààæõ 9 He was arrested by a policeman.8 Passives 12111 3 The passive construction is used much less commonly in Thai than in 4 English. 30111 raw thùuk khamooy 1 –§¿ñÃÄÅ‘¢£ 2 We were robbed. cheated. 3 phÁfl an thùuk yiN taay 4 –ü»‡ØôñÃÄ£¬Üï¿£ 5 My friend was shot dead. . The passive is formed using the passive-marker 8 thùuk.5 Verbs 74 It also occurs in the pattern m¨›arày ca + VERB (PHRASE) + sá thii. fined. criticised.5 tion.

. . –úªôóƒ‡ó§¿õÄæô‡¿ . . . . and so on are formed using the pattern pen thîi + VERB + kan + wâa . . pho dây ráp anúyâat . It is generally accepted that . pen thîi yOO m ráp kan dooy thûa pay wâa . . .’. . ‘it is generally accepted that . . . . . It is well known that .1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 English passive sentences that carry a neutral or positive connotation can often be rendered by the pattern SUBJECT + dây ráp (‘received’) + VERB (PHRASE): 5.’. . . ˇm ù¢“æõØôÀç¿ï .: pen thîi sâap kan dii wâa . . –Å¿“æõ–¶»ØÄ–úªô . ˇ kháw dây ráp kaan sÁŸ ksaa càak ameerikaa –Å¿“æõÄ¿§©∆Ä™¿à¿ÄØ–¢§¬Ä¿ ʼnؖ´ôؓæõÉ®¿¢–≠ªôäØõ He was educated in America. He was chosen to be . . . . –§¿“æõ–ä¬ç“ú . . . I was permitted to . . . . khOfl O san´‡ ´ dây ráp khwaam hen chOfl O p ˇ The proposal was approved. We were invited to . He was influenced by . –úªô󃇣آ§æõÄæô‘î£ó懮“ú®‡¿ . . . . . . . . . . . kháw dây ráp lÁfl ak pen . . . . . 75 . . English passive expressions like ‘it is well known that . .8 Passives raw dây ráp ch´´ n pay . The pattern SUBJECT + dây ráp + NOUN is also commonly translated by the passive in English: kháw dây ráp ìtthíphon càak . –Å¿“æõجóò¬ü¶à¿Ä . . .

tell to remember to believe to hear to see. etc. at least in the early stages of learning.9 Verbs of utterance. waN wâa ca mây phèt k´´ n pay ˇ ≠®æÜ®‡¿àΩ“¢‡–ùªî–Ĭô“ú §Ã‰´∆Ä®‡¿“¢‡–≠¢¿Ω bOŸO k cam dâay chÁfl a dây yin he n ˇ klua khâw cay khít nEfl E cay pen hùaN phûut rúu 76 I hope (that) it’s not too spicy. speak to know (facts) (informal) to feel 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . think that. be regarded as compulsory: khít wâa ca klàp phrûN níi ɬ¿àΩĶæõü§À‡Üôƒ‰ I think (that) I’ll return tomorrow. know that). which is optional in English. mental activity and perception with wâa Verbs of utterance (‘say. think to be afraid to understand to think to be certain to be concerned. wâa should.). rúusÁŸ k wâa mây mOŸ I feel (that) it’s not appropriate. hope’. remember. etc. wâa is similar in function to English ‘that’ (say that. call’. mental activity (‘think. whisper. etc.) and perception (‘see. worried to say. but unlike ‘that’. know’.5 Verbs 5. Some of the most common verbs that are followed by wâa are: rúusÁŸ k õØÄ à¡“î‰ –ä»‡Ø “¬ô –≠ªô Ä¶æ® –ʼn¿”à É¬î —ô‡”à –úªô≠‡®Ü üÃî §Ã‰ §Ã‰´∆Ä to say. understand.) are followed by wâa + SUBORDINATE CLAUSE.

etc. determine the appropriate construction. Causative constructions in Thai are formed using either (a) tham + VERB. (b) hây + VERB (PHRASE).11 Causatives For further examples of the use of wâa see 9. The nature of of the subject (whether it is human or non-human) and object (whether it is animate or inanimate).1 SUBJECT (human or non-human) + tham + (inanimate OBJECT) + VERB tham (‘to make.) are generally followed by thîi + SUBORDINATE CLAUSE. raw dii cay thîi nâa rO⁄O n phàan pay lE⁄Ew –§¿îƒ”àóƒ‡≠ô‰¿§‰Øôù‡¿ô“ú—¶‰® 5. and the degree of intention. such as tòk (‘to fall’) and haay (‘to disappear’) to express unintended causation: ˇ kháw tham thûay tòk –Å¿ó¡ñ‰®£ïÄ She dropped the cup.11. sorry. 5. 77 . do’) combines with a number of verbs. happy that). thîi is compulsory: pho sı a cay thîi mây dây pay ˇm ˇ ù¢–´ƒ£”à󃇓¢‡“ú –Å¿‘ħòóƒ‡âæôã»‰Ø I’m sorry (that) I didn’t go.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 sâap soN say ˇ ˇ waN ˇ ó§¿õ ´Ü´æ£ ≠®æÜ to know (facts) (formal) to suspect to hope 5.11 Causatives We’re pleased (that) the hot season is over. kháw kròot thîi chán sÁ⁄Á He’s angry (that) I bought it.3 and 12.4. but unlike ‘that’. thîi is similar in function to English ‘that’ (sorry that. or (c) tham hây + VERB (PHRASE). excited’.10 Verbs of emotion with thîi Verbs of emotion (‘to be angry. angry that. 5. which is optional in English.

. . . to the more forceful ‘to have someone do something’ and ‘to make someone do something’: mEfl E hây pho rian banchii ˇm —¢‡”≠‰ù¢–§ƒ£ôõæçäƒ My mother had me study accountancy. .. . . hòk (to spill) tham . £»¢ . ó¡ . . . . k´Ÿ´t (let/have + happen) 78 hây . .5 Verbs chán tham náN sÁ‡ Á haay ˇ âæôó¡≠ôæÜ´»Ø≠¿£ I’ve lost the book. .. . ó¡ . kháw hây chán klàp maa dÁan nâa –Å¿”≠‰âæôĶæõ¢¿–î»Øô≠ô‰¿ ü‡Ø”≠‰¶Ä“ú£ à They got me to come back next month. . . lòn (to fall) tham . Some common examples of verbs which occur in this pattern are: tham . hây occurs as the first element in a number of common compound verbs which convey a sense of causation: hây . ó¡ . . . ó¡ . .11. yÁÁm (let/have + borrow) ”≠‰ ”≠‰ ”≠‰ ”≠‰ îà . . –Ĭî . . ó¡ . hàk (to break off) ó¡ . ó¡ . . ó¡ . to show to cause. . . châw (let/have + rent) hây . . .2 SUBJECT (human) + hây + (animate OBJECT) + VERB (PHRASE) hây can convey a range of meanings. . . tEŸEk (to be broken) tham . –䇿 . . . phOfl O hây lûuk pay dûay Father let his children go with him. . . . . lùt (to slip loose) tham . . tòk (to fall) tham . duu (let/have + see) hây . . . . sı a (to be spoiled) ˇ tham . from the zero coercion of ‘to let someone do something’. . ïÄ to drop something —ïÄ to break something –ú»‰Øô to make something dirty –´ƒ£ to spoil something ≠¶‡ô to make something fall off ≠¶Àî to let something slip ≠Ä to spill something ≠æÄ to make something break off 5. create to let to lend 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . . . . . . pÁfl an (to be dirty) tham . . . . .

telling.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 hây kháw duu nOŸ y ”≠‰–Å¿îÃ≠ô‡Ø£ 5. sàN (‘to order’) and t¨an (‘to warn’): pho bOŸO k kháw hây sÁ⁄Á ˇm ù¢õØÄ–Å¿”≠‰ã»‰Ø I told him to buy it. however. kháw khO‡ O chán hây pay ráp –Å¿ÅØâæô”≠‰“ú§æõ 79 He asked me to go and collect him.).11 Causatives Show him/let him see. yàak (‘to want to’) and t¨an (‘to warn’). pho mây hây lûuk yÁÁm rót ˇm I don’t let my children borrow my car. raw yàak hây khun klàp maa rew rew –§¿Ø£¿Ä”≠‰ÉÀìĶæõ¢¿–§ª® & âæô–ï»Øô”≠‰ÉÀ좿ćØô–®¶¿ We want you to come back soon. etc. Note. hây may be preceded by another verb specifying the method of causing someone to do something (e. yOOm (‘to allow’). by requesting. . Word order in such constructions is SUBJECT (human) + SPECIFYING VERB + hây + (animate OBJECT) + VERB (PHRASE): ⁄ pho bO ŸO k hây kháw sÁ Á ˇm ù¢õØÄ”≠‰–Å¿ã»‰Ø I told him to buy it. khO‹O (‘to request’). raw hây phÁfl an châw bâan raw –§¿”≠‰–ü»‡Øô–䇿õ‰¿ô–§¿ ù¢“¢‡”≠‰¶Ä£»¢§ñ à We let our house to a friend. the order of object and hây can be reversed with the verbs bO‚Ok (‘to tell’). kháw khO‡ O hây chán pay ráp –Å¿ÅØ”≠‰âæô“ú§æõ He asked me to go and collect him. khO‹O (‘to request’). ordering. chán tÁan hây khun maa kOŸO n weelaa I warned you to come early. sàN (‘to order’).g. anúyâat (‘to allow’). anúyâat (‘to allow’). Verbs which commonly precede hây include bO‚Ok (‘to tell’).

see 11. phOfl O hây N´ n (kEŸE) lûuk The father gave his children money. and in some instances. co-ercion or non-accidental causation by the subject: câw nâathîi tham hây pho sı a weelaa mâak ˇm ˇ –à‰¿≠ô‰¿óƒ‡ó¡”≠‰ù¢–´ƒ£–®¶¿¢¿Ä The official made me waste a lot of time. For negative causatives. 5.3 SUBJECT (human or non-human) + tham hây + (OBJECT) + VERB (PHRASE) This pattern conveys a sense of clear intention. trùat kaan bâan tham hây khruu pùat hu ˇa Marking homework gives the teacher a headache. such as ‘Have you fed the dog yet?’. for’) is frequently omitted. khun hây aahaan maa rÁ⁄ yaN ? ˇ ˇ ÉÀì”≠‰Ø¿≠¿§≠¢¿≠§»Ø£æÜ Have you fed the dog yet? (you – give – food – dog – yet?) If the direct object is quantified. aakàat ùn ùn tham hây kháw rúusÁŸ k sabaay Ø¿Ä¿©ØÀ‡ô & ó¡”≠‰–Å¿§Ã‰´∆Ä´õ¿£ 燐àÄ¿§õ‰¿ôó¡”≠‰É§Ãú®î≠æ® Warm weather makes her feel good.9.5 Verbs 5. it must be omitted: chán hây náN sÁ‡ Á (kEŸE) kháw âæô”≠‰≠ôæÜ´»Ø(—ć)–Å¿ ü‡Ø”≠‰–ܬô(—ć)¶ÃÄ I gave him the book.11. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .12 ‘To give’: direct and indirect objects The order of objects with the verb hây (‘to give’) is SUBJECT + hây + DIRECT OBJECT (+ k”‚”) + INDIRECT OBJECT. the quantifier follows the indirect object: chán hây náN sÁ‡ Á (kEŸE) kháw sa ˇam lêm âæô”≠‰≠ôæÜ´»Ø(—ć)–Å¿´¿¢–¶‡¢ 80 I gave him three books. The preposition k”‚” (‘to.

in which a number of verbs sharing the same subject follow one after the other. but the preposition k”‚” becomes obligatory: 5. phOfl O hây N´n hâa phan bàat nán kEŸE lûuk The father gave his children the five thousand baht. by a relative clause).13 Verb serialization chán hây náN sÁ‡ Á thîi chán chOfl O p kEŸE kháw âæô”≠‰≠ôæÜ´»Øóƒ‡âæôäØõ—ć—Å¿ ü‡Ø”≠‰–ܬô≠‰¿üæôõ¿óôæ‰ô—ć¶ÃÄ I gave him books which I like. VERB + DIRECT OBJECT + hây + INDIRECT OBJECT: kháw sO‡ O n phaasaa thay hây pho ˇ ˇm –Å¿´Øô°¿™¿“ó£”≠‰ù¢ He taught me Thai. ‘she passed me the letter’ and ‘they brought me flowers’ follows the pattern. kháw sòN còtmaay maa hây pho ˇ ˇm –Å¿´‡Üàî≠¢¿£¢¿”≠‰ù¢ –Å¿–Ø¿îØÄ“¢‰¢¿”≠‰ù¢ She passed me the letter. ˇm kháw aw dOŸOkmáay maa hây pho They brought me flowers.g. and for beginners.13 Verb serialization Verb serialization. 5. Serial verb constructions can describe a sequence of consecutive actions: kháw pay sÁ⁄Á maa kin –Å¿“ú㻉آ¿Ä¬ô (he – go – buy – come – eat) He went out to buy something and brought it back to eat. A random glance through examples in this book will show just how prevalent such patterns are. learning to ‘string’ two or three verbs together comfortably is a key strategy in trying to reproduce authentic-sounding Thai.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 If the direct object is qualified (e. The indirect object (i. with no intervening conjunctions or prepositions. me) in sentences like ‘he taught me Thai’.e. 81 . the qualifier follows the direct object. is extremely common in Thai.

once these are restored – or understood from the context – it becomes apparent that it is not one single serial verb construction and things become much more manageable: (khun) tOfl N rîip klàp pay rîak hây (kháw) maa bOŸO k (chán) (ÉÀì)ï‰ØܧƒõĶæõ“ú–§ƒ£Ä”≠‰(–Å¿)¢¿õØÄ(âæô) (you) – must – hurry – return – go – summon – cause – (him) – come – tell – (me) You must hurry back and summon him to come and tell me. Many learners understandably panic at the sight of a long string of verbs such as this. 82 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . which seems at first sight to be an awesome serial verb construction: tOfl N rîip klàp pay rîak hây maa bOŸO k ï‰ØܧƒõĶæõ“ú–§ƒ£Ä”≠‰¢¿õØÄ must – hurry – return – go – summon – cause – come – tell The problem in sentences like this is not so much the verbs that appear as the pronouns that have been omitted.5 Verbs Or a number of simultaneous actions: kháw rîip wîN khâam pay –Å¿§ƒõ®¬‡Üʼn¿¢“ú (he – hurry – run – cross – go) He hurriedly ran across.

10.5.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Chapter 6 Adjectives (stative verbs) and adjectival constructions As mentioned in the previous chapter. they follow the noun they modify and in noun phrases they often occur with a classifier. the first adjective identifies the general category (red books. old dogs) while the classifier + second adjective specifies the individual case.g.1).6–3. however. The most common patterns of noun phrase in which an adjective occurs are listed in 3. For simplicity. When a noun is modified by two adjectives (e.1. black dog (dog – old – classifier – black) In this pattern. a large. Adjectives do not occur with the verb pen (‘to be’) (5. the term ‘adjective’ is used throughout this chapter. red book (book – red – classifier – big) saaw su khon ruay ˇ ˇay the beautiful. rich girl (girl – beautiful – classifier – rich) maa kEŸE tua sı i dam ˇ ˇ the old. red book) the normal word order in Thai is NOUN + ADJECTIVE + CLASSIFIER + ADJECTIVE: náN sÁ‡ Á sı i dEEN lêm yày ˇ ≠ôæÜ´»Ø´ƒ—îÜ–¶‡¢”≠ç‡ ´¿®´®£Éô§®£ ≠¢¿—ćïæ®´ƒî¡ the large.5. 83 . beautiful girls. the categories ‘verb’ and ‘adjective’ overlap in Thai and many of the words that are considered to be adjectives in English are called stative verbs when describing Thai.

cay dii cay yen cay rO ⁄O n cay khEfl Ep nâa so cay ˇn nâa bÁŸ a nâa lÁÁm nâa klua khîi kìat khîi aay khîi lÁÁm khîi nı aw ˇ châN phûut châN khít ˇ châN saN kèet châN thı aN ˇ hu dii ˇa hu khE‡ N ˇa hu su N ˇa ˇu hu nOfl Ok ˇa 84 ”àîƒ ”à–£ªô ”৉Øô ”à—Éõ ô‡¿´ô”à ô‡¿–õ»‡Ø ô‡¿¶»¢ ô‡¿Ä¶æ® щ–ă£à Ń‰Ø¿£ щ¶»¢ щ–≠ôƒ£® 䇿ÜüÃî 䇿Üɬî 䇿ܴæÜ–Äï 䇿ܖñƒ£Ü ≠æ®îƒ ≠æ®—ÅªÜ ≠æ®´ÃÜ ≠æ®ôØÄ ≠殖ć¿ kind (heart + good) calm (heart + cool) impatient. old-fashioned (head + old) hu kàw ˇa 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . impetuous (heart + hot) narrow-minded (heart + narrow) interesting (so cay – to be interested in) ˇn boring (bÁŸ a – to be bored) forgettable (lÁÁm – to forget) frightening (klua – to be afraid) lazy (kìat does not exist in isolation ) shy (aay – to be embarrassed) forgetful (lÁÁm – to forget) mean.1 Compound adjectives As with nouns and verbs. of more limited usage are châN (‘given to/good at’) and hua (‘head’). stingy (nı aw – to be sticky) ˇ talkative ( phûut – to speak) given to thinking (khít – to think) observant (saN kèet – to observe) ˇ argumentative (thı aN – to argue) ˇ clever (head + good) stubborn. headstrong (head + hard) pretentious (head + high) educated abroad (head + outside) conservative. The most productive adjectival prefixes are cay (‘heart’). nâa (‘worthy of’) and khîi (‘having the characteristic of’). cay (‘heart’) also ˇ occurs as an adjectival suffix. compounding is a common way of creating new adjectives.6 Adjectives and adjectival constructions 6.

2 Modification of adjectives Another common stylistic feature of Thai is the use of two adjectives of identical or similar meaning.2. ADJECTIVE + MODIFIER ca taay caN ciN ciN àΩï¿£ àæÜ à§¬Ü & very (informal) really truly 85 . A few adjectival modifiers occur before the adjective.2. ‘somewhat’. thâwrày ɇØôʼn¿ÜàΩ “¢‡ “¢‡É‡Ø£ .1 MODIFIER + ADJECTIVE khOfl On khâaN ca mây mây khOfl y . while the majority occur after the adjective: 6.2 Modification of adjectives The meaning of adjectives can be modified by the addition of words such as ‘not’. empty (vacant + empty) poor (difficult + poor) big (big + big) many (many + many) 6. . ‘very’.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 phOO cay klûm cay sabaay cay nàk cay üØ”à ĶÀ‰¢”à ´õ¿£”à ≠ôæÄ”à –Ä‡¿—ć ´®£Ü¿¢ ®‡¿Ü–ú¶‡¿ £¿Äàô ”≠ç‡‘ï –£ØΩ–£Ω satisfied (enough + heart) depressed (gloomy + heart) happy (well/happy + heart) worried (heavy + heart) 6. Common examples include: kàw kEŸE su N aam ˇay wâaN plàaw yâak con yày too y´⁄ yE⁄ old (old + old) beautiful (beautiful + beautiful) vacant. .2 bâan mây khOfl y yày thâwrày The house isn’t very big. . and so on. . –󇿓§ rather not not very õ‰¿ô“¢‡É‡Ø£”≠燖󇿓§ 6. ‘rather’.

. . Two modifiers can modify the same adjective: khOfl On khâaN ca phEEN pay nOŸ y ɇØôʼn¿ÜàΩ—üÜ“ú≠ô‡Ø£ hOfl N níi ùn dii ciN ciN a little too much on the expensive side ≠‰ØÜôƒ‰Ø‡Àôîƒà§¬Ü & This room is really nice and warm. too more increasingly decreasingly excessively very fairly very a little bit too enough enough equally enough equally indeed most phaasaa pho mây dii phOO ˇ ˇm °¿™¿ù¢“¢‡îƒüØ My language isn’t good enough. 86 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .6 Adjectives and adjectival constructions dii k´´ n pay kwàa khÁfl n loN lÁ‡ a k´´ n mâak mÁ‡ an kan nák pay nOŸ y phOO phOO cháy phOO (phOO ) kan phOO so ˇmkhuan thâw (thâw) kan thii diaw thîi sùt îƒ –Ĭô“ú Ä®‡¿ Å∆‰ô ¶Ü –≠¶»Ø–Ĭô ¢¿Ä –≠¢»ØôÄæô ôæÄ “ú≠ô‡Ø£ üØ üØ”ä‰ üØ (&) Äæô üØ´¢É®§ –ó‡¿ (&) Äæô óƒ–® 󃇴Àî nice and .

3 Special intensifiers 6. used in moderation. cold. can add a more lively flavour to descriptions and are a useful addition to the more advanced learner’s vocabulary.). brand new. while some specific intensifiers can be used with more than one adjective. Such intensifiers. insipid clear cold correct crazy crowded different dry equal expensive far fat fast N oN + ték yày + b´^´ r´^´ / mahÁŸ maa sawàaN + câa mÁfl Át + tÁ⁄t tÁ‡ Á cÁŸ Át + chÁfl Át say + cE‡ Ew ˇ yen + cíap/chìap thùuk + pe N /pé ˇ bâa + chamát nEfl n + îat tàaN kan + líp láp hEfl EN + NE‡ E tE‡ E thâw kan + píap/pé phEEN + líp lîw klay + líp lîw hàaN + líp lîw ûan + pı i ˇ rew + cı i/prÁ‡ Á/rîi ˇ ≠¶æõúÀ˝£ ÜÜ–ïÁÄ ”≠燖õ‰Ø–§‡Ø/ ¢≠∆¢¿ ´®‡¿Üà‰¿ ¢»îï∆‰îï»˝Ø à»îä»î ”´—à˝® –£ªô–àƒÁ£õ/–⃣õ ñÃÄ–ú˝Ü/–úÁΩ õ‰¿ä¢æî —ô‡ô–؉ƒ£î ÜÄæô¶¬õ¶æõ —≠‰Ü—≠Ü˝—ï˝ –ó‡¿Äæô–ú≈Á£õ/–úÁΩ —üܶ¬õ¶¬‡® “Ķ¶¬õ¶¬‡® ≠‡¿Ü¶¬õ¶¬‡® ؉®ôú≈˝ –§ª®àƒ˝/ú§»˝Ø/§ƒ‡ 87 . 6.1 asleep General làp + pu ˇy bewildered big bright dark dull. red) have more than one specific intensifier.3. fast asleep. which in the absence of a suitable equivalent in English (e.g.g. pitch black. Note that some adjectives (e. etc.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 6. can be translated as ‘very’.3 Special intensifiers Certain adjectives are followed by specific intensifiers.

moist identical lost loud modern new old pointed round sharp silent similar skilful small straight stupid tall bEEn + tE⁄Et tE‡ E/tE‡ E thìi + yíp tem + îat/prìi/prEfl E ìm + tÁfl Á khE‡ N + paN ˇ nàk + Áfl N rO⁄O n + cı i ˇ chûm + chàm mÁ‡ an kan + píap/pé haay + tO‡ O m ˇ daN + prE‡ E/lân than samay + cíap ˇ mày + ìam kàw + N âk lE‡ Em + píap klom + dìk khom + krìp —õô—ïÁî—ï˝/—ï˝ ñƒ‡£¬õ –甆–؃‰£î/ú§ƒ‡/—ú§‰ ج‡¢ï‰»Ø —ŪÜúæ˝Ü ≠ôæÄØ∆‰Ü §‰Øôàƒ˝ äÀ‡¢â‡¡ –≠¢»ØôÄæô–ú≈Á£õ/–úÁΩ ≠¿£ï˝Ø¢ îæÜ—ú§˝/¶æ‡ô óæô´¢æ£–àƒÁ£õ ”≠¢‡–؃‡£¢ –ć¿Üæ‡Ä —≠¶¢–ú≈Á£õ Ķ¢î¬Ä ɢħ¬õ –܃£õħ¬õ –≠¢»Øô–ú≈Á£õ/–úÁΩ –≠¢»ØôÄæô–îÁΩ/î¬ÁÄ É¶‡ØÜú§»˝Ø –¶ªÄÄΩà¬ÁÁî/ ÄΩà¬˝®§¬˝®/ÄΩà‰Ø£§‡Ø£ ï§Ü–ùÜ/–ú˝Ü/–úÁΩ ‘܇ä¢æî ´ÃÜú§ƒÁî ´Ãܶ¬õ¶¬‡® ≠ô¿ú«Ä/–ïØΩ N îap + krìp mÁ‡ an + píap/pé mÁ‡ an kan + dé/dík khlOfl N + prÁ‡ Á lék + kacít rít/ kacı w rı w/kacOfl O y rOfl O y ˇ ˇ troN + phe N /pe N /pé ˇ ˇ N ôo + chamát su N + príit ˇu su N + líp lîw ˇu naa + pÁ⁄k/t´Ÿ ˇ 88 thick 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . in close succession full full (food) hard heavy hot humid.6 Adjectives and adjectival constructions flat frequent.

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 tight urgent kháp + pÁ‡ N dùan + cı i ˇ Éæõú«˝Ü ôàƒ˝ 6.3.2 black green Colours dam + pı i ˇ dam + khlàp khı aw + khacii ˇ khı aw + prE‡ E ˇ khı aw + Á‡ Á ˇ dEEN + cE⁄Et dEEN + cE‡ E dEEN + prE⁄Et khaaw + cúa ˇ khaaw + cúak ˇ lÁ‡ aN + O‡ O y lÁ‡ aN + prE⁄Et lÁ‡ aN + cO‡ O y Flavours kho + pı i ˇm ˇ cÁŸ Át + chÁfl Át khem + pı i ˇ prîaw + cíit phèt + cı i ˇ waan + cíap ˇ waan + cO‡ O y ˇ waan + chàm ˇ red white yellow î¡ú≈˝ î¡Å¶æõ –Ń£®Åàƒ –Ń£®—ú§˝ –Ń£®Ø»˝Ø —îÜ—àÁî —îÜ—à˝˝ —îÜ—ú§Áî Å¿®àæÁ®Ω Å¿®àÁ®Ä –≠¶»ØÜØ˝Ø£ –≠¶»ØÜ—ú§Áî –≠¶»ØÜà˝Ø£ Å¢ú≈˝ à»îä»î –ɪ¢ú≈˝ –ú§ƒ‰£®àÁƒî –ùªîàƒ˝ ≠®¿ô–àƒÁ£õ ≠®¿ôà˝Ø£ ≠®¿ô⇡ 6.4 Reduplication 6.3 bitter bland salty sour spicy sweet 6.4 Reduplication Reduplication (the repetition of a word. either in part or full) is another common means of modifying the meaning of adjectives in Thai. The two 89 .3.

1 Simple repetition of the adjective 5 One function of this type of reduplication is to make the meaning less 6 precise. corresponding approximately to the adjectival suffix -ish in 7 English: 8 9 sı i dEEN dEEN ˇ ´ƒ—îÜ & a reddish colour 1011 õ‰¿ô–¶ªÄ & a smallish house bâan lék lék 1 12111 aahaan phèt phèt Ø¿≠¿§–ùªî & spicy-ish food ˇ 3 This type of reduplication sometimes indicates that the preceding noun 4 is plural: 5 6 phûu yı N su su ˇ ˇay ˇay ùÉ≠ç¬Ü´®£ & pretty girls 7 ≠ôæÜ´»Øîƒ & good books náN sÁ‡ Á dii dii 8 9 20111 6.1111 tive and repetition of the adjective with tonal change.4. 2 3 4 6.6 panied by an exaggerated lengthening of the vowel. This type of 7 reduplication tends to be a feature of female rather than male speech: 8 9 arO⁄y arOŸ y اÁØ£ ا‡Ø£ Ever so tasty! 30111 –õ»ÁØ –õ»‡Ø So bored! bÁ⁄a bÁŸ a 1 2 phE ⁄EN phEEN —üÁÜ —üÜ Really expensive! 3 Sometimes the reduplication adds a third element.2 Repetition of adjective with tonal change 1 The meaning of an adjective is intensified by reduplication when the first 2 element is pronounced with an exaggerated high tone. regardless of the 3 normal tone of the word. this exaggerated high tone is particularly 4 apparent when reduplicating a word with a high tone like rO⁄On (‘hot’) 5 where the first element is pitched considerably higher and is usually accom. with the exaggerated 4 high tone on the middle syllable: 5 6 dii díi dii îƒ îƒÁ îƒ So good! 7 8 9 40 41111 .6 Adjectives and adjectival constructions 90 main forms of adjectival reduplication are simple repetition of the adjec.4.

can be modified by the addition of degree adverbs. rót tooyootâa thùuk kwàa rót bens §ñ‘ñÃÄÄ®‡¿§ñ–õôã^ Toyotas are cheaper than Mercedes. a lot’). ADJECTIVE + kwàa. khâa khrÁfl aN bin phEEN kwàa pii thîi lE⁄Ew ɇ¿–ɧ»‡ØÜõ¬ô—üÜÄ®‡¿ú≈ó…‡—¶‰® à‰¿ÜÉôó¡îƒÄ®‡¿ó¡–ØÜ The air fare is more expensive than last year. câaN khon tham dii kwàa tham eeN Paying someone to do it is better than doing it yourself.5 Comparison of adjectives 6.5 Comparison of adjectives The basic comparative construction employs the pattern ADJECTIVE + kwàa (‘more than’): khâaw nâa pèt arOŸ y kwàa ʼn¿®≠ô‰¿–úªîا‡Ø£Ä®‡¿ Duck rice is tastier. a lot’).1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 6. such as mâak (‘much.1 Degrees of comparison The basic comparative construction.5. 6. yE⁄ (‘much. nítnO‚y (‘a little’): sanùk kwàa y´⁄ ´ôÀÄÄ®‡¿–£ØΩ a lot more fun klay kwàa nítnOŸ y “ĶĮ‡¿ô¬î≠ô‡Ø£ —üÜÄ®‡¿´ØÜ–ó‡¿ a little bit further phEEN kwàa sO‡ ON thâw twice as expensive 91 .

5. 7 8 lûuk saaw su mÁ‡ an mEfl E ˇ ˇay 9 ¶ÃÄ´¿®´®£–≠¢»Øô—¢‡ 40 The daughter is as beautiful as her mother. 4 pay rót fay thùuk thâw kàp pay rót mee 5 “ú§ñ“†ñÃÄ–ó‡¿Äæõ“ú§ñ–¢¶^ 6 Going by train is as cheap as going by bus. 41111 6.1: 3 phOfl O kàp lûuk su N thâw kan ˇu 4 ü‡ØÄæõ¶ÃÄ´ÃÜ–ó‡¿Äæô 5 Father and son are as tall as each other. 7 8 9 6.2.3 X + ADJECTIVE + mÁ‡ an (‘similar’) + Y 6 Non-quantifiable adjectives can also occur in this pattern.5 6 tifiable and non-quantifiable comparisons: 7 lûuk su N thâw kàp phOfl O ˇu 8 ¶ÃÄ´ÃÜ–ó‡¿Äæõü‡Ø 9 The son is as tall as his father.5. 6 7 nakhOO n phanom kàp nO‡ ON khaay klay thâw kan 8 ôɧüô¢Äæõ≠ôØÜÉ¿£“Ķ–ó‡¿Äæô 9 Nakhorn Phanom and Nongkhai are as far as one another.2.6 Adjectives and adjectival constructions 92 1111 2 3 6.2. 3 4 5 6.5.2 Equal comparisons .5. 1011 1 nakhOO n phanom klay thâw kàp nO‡ ON khaay 12111 ôɧüô¢“Ķ–ó‡¿Äæõ≠ôØÜÉ¿£ 3 Nakhorn Phanom is as far as Nongkhai.1 X + ADJECTIVE + thâw kàp (‘as much as’) + Y 4 This is the most common pattern and is used both for numerically quan.2 X + kàp (‘with’) + Y + ADJECTIVE + thâw (thâw) kan/ phOO 20111 (phOO ) kan (‘equally’) 1 2 This pattern is a variation on 6. 30111 pay rót fay kàp pay rót mee thùuk thâw kan 1 “ú§ñ“†Äæõ“ú§ñ–¢¶^ñÃÄ–ó‡¿Äæô 2 Going by train and going by bus are as cheap as each other.2.5.

5. . m¨‹an kan can mean ‘fairly .5. Mother and daughter are fairly good looking.3 Interrogative comparisons Questions involving comparisons follow the pattern QUESTION WORD + ADJECTIVE + kwàa kan?: thîi nay klay kwàa kan? ˇ 󃇓≠ô“ĶĮ‡¿Äæô ”ɧ–ćÜÄ®‡¿Äæô Which is further? khray kèN kwàa kan? Who is the cleverer? lêm nay thùuk kwàa kan? ˇ –¶‡¢“≠ôñÃÄÄ®‡¿Äæô Which book is cheaper? 93 . .4 X + ADJECTIVE + mây phE ⁄E (‘not lose to’) + Y plaa prîaw waan arOŸ y mây phE⁄E kEEN kày ˇ ú¶¿–ú§ƒ‰£®≠®¿ôا‡Ø£“¢‡—ü‰—Äܓć ¶ÃÄ´¿®ú¿Ä§‰¿£“¢‡—ü‰—¢‡ The sweet and sour fish is as tasty as the chicken curry. . .5 Comparison of adjectives mEfl E kàp lûuk saaw su mÁ‡ an kan ˇ ˇay —¢‡Äæõ¶ÃÄ´¿®´®£–≠¢»ØôÄæô or Mother and daughter are as beautiful as each other.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 aahaan ciin arOŸ y mÁ‡ an aahaan thay ˇ ˇ Ø¿≠¿§àƒôا‡Ø£–≠¢»ØôØ¿≠¿§“ó£ Chinese food is as tasty as Thai food. 6.’ and is therefore best avoided: 6. 6. E lûuk saaw pàak ráay mây phE⁄E mˆE ˇ The daughter has as sharp a tongue as her mother. While the pattern X + kàp (‘with’) + Y + ADJECTIVE + m¨‹an kan is possible.2. it is ambiguous since .

6. with kEEn normally omitted. especially in conversational Thai: klay (k´´ n) pay “Ķ(–Ĭô)“ú It’s too far.6 Adjectives and adjectival constructions 6. Western food is not as spicy as Thai food) are often reversed to produce a positive comparison (Thai food is spicier than Western food).g.5.5. nítnO‚y (‘a little bit’) or mâak (‘a lot’): klay pay nOŸ y “Ķ“ú≠ô‡Ø£ a little too far cháa pay nítnOŸ y 䉿“úô¬î≠ô‡Ø£ —üÜ“ú¢¿Ä 94 a little bit too late phEEN pay mâak* much too expensive 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .4 Negative comparisons Basic negative comparison can be made by the pattern X + sûu + Y + mây dâay (‘X can’t beat Y’): aahaan faràN sûu aahaan thay mây dâay ˇ ˇ Ø¿≠¿§û§æ‡Ü´Ã‰Ø¿≠¿§“󣓢‡“î‰ Western food isn’t as good as/can’t beat Thai food. . This pattern. rOON tháaw kháp (k´´ n) pay §ØÜ–ó‰¿Éæõ(–Ĭô)“ú The shoes are too tight. More specific negative comparisons using adjectives (e. can be modified by the addition of the degree adverbs (7.’) constructions follow the pattern ADJECTIVE + (kEEn) pay (‘too much’) with kEEn frequently omitted.5 Excessives Excessive (‘too .6). . nO‚y (‘a little’).

the normal word order would be ph””N mâak pay. .1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 *In response to the question. . ph””N pay r¨⁄ plàaw? ‘Is it too expensive?.6 Superlatives Superlative constructions follow the pattern ADJECTIVE + thîi sùt (‘most’): th´´ pen nák rO⁄O N daN thîi sùt khO‡ ON thay –òØ–úªôôæħ‰ØÜîæÜ󃇴ÀîÅØÜ“ó£ an nay thùuk thîi sùt? ˇ She is Thailand’s most famous singer.5. . 6.5 Comparison of adjectives 6. ˇ 󃇴¡Éæç󃇴ÀîÉ»Ø . thîi samkhan thîi sùt khÁÁ . as an initiating sentence. The most important thing is . . 95 . . Øæô“≠ôñÃÄ󃇴Àî “¢‡õØÄîƒóƒ‡´Àî Which is the cheapest one? mây bOŸO k dii thîi sùt Best not to tell. . ‘That’s much too expensive’.

the term ‘adjective’ is used in this chapter when describing 7 the structure of adverbial phrases.1 Adverbs of manner 3 Adverbs of manner are indistinguishable in form from adjectives. thus dii 4 5 means both ‘good’ and ‘well’ and cháa both ‘slow’ and ‘slowly’. 8 9 Verbs are modified according to the following main patterns: 20111 1 VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE 1 2 VERB (PHRASE) + REDUPLICATED ADJECTIVE 2 3 VERB (PHRASE) + ADVERBIAL PHRASE 3 4 VERB (PHRASE) + dây + ADJECTIVE 4 5 VERB (PHRASE) + hây + ADJECTIVE 5 6 7 7. Chapter 7 Adverbs and adverbial constructions . 5 khun phûut chát 6 ÉÀìüÃîäæî 7 You speak clearly.96 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 7. 6 For simplicity.1 VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE 8 9 In the simplest adverbial constructions.1. 8 9 khun khàp rót rew 40 ÉÀìÅæõ§ñ–§ª® 41111 You drive quickly. the verb or verb phrase is followed 30111 by an adjective: 1 2 kháw d´´ n cháa 3 –Å¿–î¬ô䉿 4 He walks slowly.

it seems to be because it creates a rhythm that is more pleasing to the ear: chán klìat ciN ciN âæô–Ķƒ£îà§¬Ü & I really hate him. 97 . commands can be made more polite by the addition of nO‚y at the end: maa rew rew ¢¿–§ª® & Come quickly! yùu N îap N îap أÇ–܃£õ & Stay quiet! phûut daN daN nOŸ y üÃîîæÜ & ≠ô‡Ø£ Speak up! Sometimes. however. 7.1 Adverbs of manner 7. reduplication often moderates the meaning of an adjective: kháw sÁ⁄Á thùuk thùuk –ſ㻉ØñÃÄ & He bought cheap(ish)ly.1.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 kháw càt hOfl N su ˇay –Å¿àæî≠‰ØÜ´®£ She arranged the room nicely. chán ca pay rew rew níi âæôàΩ“ú–§ª® & ôƒ‰ I’m going shortly.2 VERB (PHRASE) + REDUPLICATED ADJECTIVE As noted in the previous chapter (6.1.5). either with or without hây (see 7. kháw d´´ n cháa cháa –Å¿–î¬ô䉿 & He walks slow(ish)ly. Reduplication is also commonly used in commands. in cases where the reduplicated form is preferred. it is difficult to distinguish any real difference in meaning between a single and reduplicated form.4).

yàaN is followed by a verb or verb phrase.3. fo tòk sı aN pOŸ pEŸ ˇn ˇ ûôïÄ–´ƒ£Ü–ú¿Ω—úΩ The rain pitter-pattered. sounds of laughter. Reduplication.2 VERB (PHRASE) + dooy + VERB PHRASE kháw phûut dooy mây khít kOŸO n –Å¿üÃî‘¢‡É¬îćØô 98 He spoke without thinking.7 Adverbs and adverbial constructions yùu klây klây أÇ”Ķ‰ & It’s nearby. rain and animal cries: kháw hu rO⁄ khík khík ˇa –Å¿≠æ®–§¿ΩɬÄ& She giggled. dûay (‘with’) and pen (‘is. for example.1 VERB (PHRASE) + yàaN + VERB (PHRASE) –Å¿üÃîØ£‡¿Ü“¢‡´À°¿ü kháw phûut yàaN mây suphâap He spoke impolitely. mEEw rO⁄ON míaw míaw —¢®§‰ØÜ–¢ƒÁ£® & The cat miaowed. dooy (‘by’). kháw yím yàaN mii khwaam sùk –Å¿£¬‰¢Ø£‡¿Ü¢ƒÉ®¿¢´ÀÅ She smiled happily. sometimes with a different vowel in the second syllable. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .3. dooy by a verb or noun phrase.1.1. to imitate. 7. as’).3 VERB (PHRASE) + ADVERBIAL PHRASE Another common way of forming adverbial constructions involves the use of ‘adverb formers’ of which the most common are yàaN (‘like. as’).1. 7. and dûay and pen by a noun phrase: 7. is also used as an onomatopoeic device.

4. 99 . khun khı an dâay su ˇ ˇay ÉÀì–Ń£ô“®£ You write nicely. 7.1. For examples of VERB (PHRASE) + dooy + NOUN PHRASE.1.3.1. 7. kháw càay N´ n pen wan wan kháw bEŸEN pen chín lék lék –Å¿—õ‡Ü–úªô䬉ô–¶ªÄ & 7.1 Adverbs of manner –§¿ó¡–Øܓ¢‡ï‰ØÜü∆‡ÜÉôØ»‡ô We can do it ourselves without having to depend on other people.4 VERB (PHRASE) + pen + NOUN PHRASE –Å¿à‡¿£–ܬô–úªô®æô & They pay daily. raw tham eeN dâay dooy mây tOfl N phÁfl N khon ÁŸ Án 7. kháw tham dooy mây waN pho tOŸO p thEEn ˇ ˇn He did it without hope of anything in return.3. the adjective follows the auxiliary verb dâay: kháw phûut dâay khlOfl N –Å¿üÃî“î‰É¶‡ØÜ He speaks fluently. see 8. VERB (PHRASE) + dâay + ADJECTIVE When describing how well someone can do something. see 8.4 She divided it into small pieces.4.3 VERB (PHRASE) + dûay + NOUN PHRASE kháw tham N aan dûay khwaam yâak lambàak –Å¿ó¡Ü¿ô£É®¿¢£¿Ä¶¡õ¿Ä He worked with difficulty. For further examples.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 kháw yOO m ráp kham wicaan dâay dooy N âay –Å¿£Ø¢§æõÉ¡®¬à¿§ì^“î£Ü‡¿£ –Å¿ó¡‘¢‡≠®æÜù¶ïØõ—óô He could accept the criticism readily/easily.

2). 5 kháw phûut mây khOfl y chát 6 –Å¿üÃî“¢‡É‡Ø£äæî 7 He doesn’t speak very clearly. E mˆE tham aahaan dâay arOŸ y ˇ —¢‡ó¡Ø¿≠¿§“î‰Ø§‡Ø£ .5 VERB (PHRASE) + hây + ADJECTIVE 7 When giving commands as to how someone should do something. (‘cooks food tastily’) 3 4 5 6 7.1. 8 9 tham aahaan khOfl O n khâaN ca sanùk ˇ 40 ó¡Ø¿≠¿§É‡Øôʼn¿ÜàΩ´ôÀÄ 41111 Cooking is quite fun.2 Modification of adverbs 7 8 Adverbs are modified in the same way as adjectives (see 6.7 Adverbs and adverbial constructions 100 1111 2 Mum is a good cook. A small 9 number of modifiers occur in the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + MODIFIER + 30111 ADJECTIVE: 1 2 pho rian mây kEN ˇm 3 ù¢–§ƒ£ô“¢‡–Ä‡Ü 4 I don’t do well in my studies. the 8 9 causative verb hây can be used before the adjective: 1011 kin hây mòt 1 Ĭô”≠‰≠¢î 12111 Eat everything up! 3 tham hây sèt 4 5 ó¡”≠‰–´§ªà 6 Finish it off! 7 tEŸN tua hây rîaprO⁄Oy 8 —ï‡Üïæ®”≠‰–§ƒ£õ§‰Ø£ 9 Dress respectably! 20111 1 khı an hây dii ˇ 2 –Ń£ô”≠‰îƒ 3 Write nicely! 4 5 6 7.

2 X + kàp + Y + VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + thâw (thâw) kan/phOO (phOO) kan chán kàp phîi rian nàk thâw (thâw) kan âæôÄæõüƒ‡–§ƒ£ô≠ôæÄ–ó‡¿ (&) Äæô I and my sister study as hard as each another.3.3. Equal comparisons can be expressed as follows.3.1 X + VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + thâw kàp + Y chán rian nàk thâw kàp phîi âæô–§ƒ£ô≠ôæÄ–ó‡¿Äæõüƒ‡ I study as hard as my sister.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Other adverbial modifiers follow the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + MODIFIER: 7.5). (you – make food – more tasty than – me) kháw phûut thay dâay chát kwàa pho ˇm –Å¿üÃî“ó£“î‰äæîÄ®‡¿ù¢ 7. 7. 7. kháw tEŸN tua rîaprO⁄O y khÁfl n –Å¿—ï‡Üïæ®–§ƒ£õ§‰Ø£Å∆‰ô He dresses more respectably.1. but with a verb preceding the adjective.1. 7.3 Comparison of adverbs The comparison of adverbs follows the same pattern as that of adjectives (6. 101 .3 Comparison of adverbs khun phûut rew mâak ÉÀìüÃî–§ª®¢¿Ä You speak very quickly.1 He speaks Thai more clearly than me. The basic comparative form is VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + kwàa: khun tham aahaan arOŸ y kwàa chán ˇ ÉÀìó¡Ø¿≠¿§Ø§‡Ø£Ä®‡¿âæô You are a better cook than me.

. 4 5 7.4 ‘As . as possible’ 4 The ‘as . 41111 7. 5 6 7 7. 1 2 3 7.3.3 X + VERB (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + mÁ‡ an + Y .2 The excessive construction is VERB 8 (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + (kEEn) pay: 9 1011 khun phûut rew (k´´ n) pay 1 ÉÀìüÃî–§ª®(–Ĭô)“ú 12111 You speak too quickly.3.3.4. . as possible’ construction can be expressed in two ways. the 5 first involving the repetition of the adjective and the second using the 6 7 verb tham (‘to do’) instead of the repeated adjective.3 The superlative construction is VERB 6 (PHRASE) + ADJECTIVE + thîi sùt: 7 8 th´´ rO⁄ON phrO ⁄ thîi sùt 9 –òا‰ØÜ–ü§¿Ω󃇴Àî 20111 She is the best singer. 8 9 7. .3.1.1 VERB (PHRASE) + yàaN + ADJECTIVE + thîi sùt + (thâw) 30111 thîi ca + ADJECTIVE + dâay 1 kháw wîN yàaN rew thîi sùt (thâw) thîi ca rew dây 2 –Å¿®¬‡ÜØ£‡¿Ü–§ª®óƒ‡´Àî(–ó‡¿)óƒ‡àΩ–§ª®“î‰ 3 He ran as quickly as possible. 3 4 5 7.2 VERB (PHRASE) + yàaN + ADJECTIVE + thîi sùt + (thâw) thîi 6 7 ca + tham + dâay 8 pho ca tham yàaN dii thîi sùt (thâw) thîi ca tham dâay ˇm 9 ù¢àΩó¡Ø£‡¿Üîƒóƒ‡´Àî(–ó‡¿)óƒ‡àΩó¡“î‰ 40 I shall do it as well as possible.3.4.7 Adverbs and adverbial constructions 102 1111 2 lûuk saaw tEŸN tua su mÁ‡ an daaraa naN ˇ ˇay ˇ 3 ¶ÃÄ´¿®—ï‡Üïæ®´®£–≠¢»Øô¿≠ôæÜ 4 Her daughter dresses as beautifully as a film star. .3.

at this moment now nowadays these days before. some other day next time thúk wan níi (óÀÄ®æôôƒ‰) Past: mÁfl a kOŸO n (–¢»‡ØćØô) tOO n nán (ïØôôæ‰ô) mÁfl a kîi níi (–¢»‡Øă‰ôƒ‰) Future: phrûN níi (ü§À‡Üôƒ‰) wan laN (®æô≠¶æÜ) ˇ khrá N nâa (ɧæ‰Ü≠ô‰¿) These adverbial phrases can occur either before or after the verb phrase: tOO n níi kháw mây wâaN ïØôôƒ‰–Å¿“¢‡®‡¿Ü He is not free at the moment. A more extensive list of time expressions appears in 14.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 7. Two important adverbs of time which do have a fixed position are yaN (‘still’) and l”⁄”w (‘already’). 103 . adverbs and adverbials (adverb phrases) are essential to specify when events take place. mÁfl a kOŸO n chán mây chOfl O p –¢»‡ØćØôâæô“¢‡äØõ ù¢“ú–£ƒ‡£¢®æô≠¶æÜ Before. I did not like it. formerly at that time a minute ago tomorrow another day. Common adverbials of time include: Present: dı aw níi (–îƒ˝£®ôƒ‰) ˇ pàtcuban níi (úæààÀõæôôƒ‰) tOO n níi (ïØôôƒ‰) now. pho pay yîam wan laN ˇm ˇ I’ll go to visit her another day.7.4 Adverbs of time Since verbs do not indicate tense in Thai. yaN occurs immediately before the verb or verb phrase and l”⁄”w immediately after: chán yaN hı w ˇ âæô£æÜ≠¬® I’m still hungry.4 Adverbs of time 7.

7. usually’) and pòkkati (‘normally. The words thammadaa (‘normally.7 Adverbs and adverbial constructions kháw pay lE⁄Ew –Å¿“ú—¶‰® He’s already gone. Other expressions of frequency. can occur either before the subject of a sentence or at the end of a sentence: 104 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . usually’) both occur more commonly at the beginning of a clause or sentence: thammadaa pho mây kin lâw ˇm ò§§¢î¿ù¢“¢‡Ä¬ô–≠¶‰¿ úÄﬢƒÉô¢¿Ä Normally I don’t drink alcohol. thúk wan (‘daily’). pòkkatì mii khon mâak Usually there are a lot of people. chán pay haa mO‡ O pen rayá rayá ˇ âæô“ú≠¿≠¢Ø–úªô§Ω£Ω & I go to see the doctor periodically. kháw tham aahaan phèt sam´‡ ´ ˇ –Å¿ó¡Ø¿≠¿§–ùªî–´¢Ø She always makes spicy food. aathít la sO‹ON khráN (‘twice a week’).5 Adverbs of frequency The following adverbs of frequency occur only after a verb or verb phrase: bOŸ y bOŸ y sam´‡ ´ rÁfl ay rÁfl ay pen pracam pen rayá rayá õ‡Ø£ & –´¢Ø –§»‡Ø£ & –úªôú§Ωà¡ –úªô§Ω£Ω & often always continuously regularly periodically raw pay thîaw mÁaN thay bOŸ y bOŸ y –§¿“ú–󃇣®–¢»ØÜ“ó£õ‡Ø£ & We visit Thailand often. such as baaN khráN (‘sometimes’).

Adverbs of degree The following adverbs of degree occur only after a verb or verb phrase: mâak bâaN mÁ‡ an kan nítnOŸ y nOŸ y ¢¿Ä õ‰¿Ü –≠¢»ØôÄæô ô¬î≠ô‡Ø£ ≠ô‡Ø£ a lot. .1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 baaN khráN chán rúusÁŸ k bÁŸ a õ¿Üɧæ‰Üâæô§Ã‰´∆Ä–õ»‡Ø 7. . óô≠ô‡Ø£ôΩ Be a little patient! m¨‹an kan is widely used to express qualified or polite agreement or enthusiasm – although this usage is curiously ignored in most dictionaries. It commonly occurs in the pattern kO›O . . . fairly/reasonably a little (bit) a little kháw maw mâak –Å¿–¢¿¢¿Ä He’s really drunk. + VERB (PHRASE) + m¨‹an kan when a negative response would be tactless: aacaan sO‡ O n dii máy? ؿ࿧£^´Øô≠¢ Is he a good teacher? – kOfl O . 105 . really somewhat somewhat. dii mÁ‡ an kan – Ī . very much. . . yes.6 Adverbs of degree Sometimes I feel bored.6 I feel bored sometimes. chán rúusÁŸ k bÁŸ a baaN khráN âæô§Ã‰´∆Ä–õ»‡Øõ¿Üɧæ‰Ü 7. . chán hı w nítnOŸ y ˇ âæô≠¬®ô¬î≠ô‡Ø£ thon nOŸ y ná I’m a bit hungry. . ≠¢»ØôÄæô – Well .

4 bâaN normally modifies a verb and conveys the sense of ‘to some extent’ 5 or ‘somewhat’. bâaN never occurs with classifiers: 7 8 kháw phûut phaasaa thay dâay bâaN ˇ 9 –Å¿üÃî°¿™¿“ó£“î‰õ‰¿Ü 20111 He speaks some Thai. 1011 1 baaN khon dii baaN khon mây dii 12111 õ¿ÜÉôîƒ õ¿ÜÉô“¢‡îƒ 3 Some people are good. 1 2 pho lên dâay bâaN ˇm 3 ù¢–¶‡ô“î‰õ‰¿Ü 4 I can play a bit/somewhat. 3 hàt phûut khwaam ciN bâaN sí 4 ≠æîüÃîÉ®¿¢à§¬Üõ‰¿Ü㬠5 (practise – speak – truth – somewhat – command particle) 6 Try telling the truth! 7 8 khun phóp kàp khray bâaN? 9 ÉÀìüõÄæõ”ɧõ‰¿Ü 40 Who did you meet? 41111 .questions. baaN.13). it is important to distinguish between the adverb bâaN and the similar-sounding quantifier.12). it also occurs with Wh. baaN (‘some’) is always followed by a classifier. 5 chán yàak pay kin aahaan khEŸEk bâaN ˇ 6 âæôØ£¿Ä“úĬôØ¿≠¿§—ÅÄõ‰¿Ü 7 I’d like to eat some Indian food.2. the fact that both are often glossed as ‘some’ in dictionaries is a common source of confusion for the learner. where it anticipates a 6 plural answer (12.7 Adverbs and adverbial constructions While mâak and nítnO‚y also occur as quantifiers (13. 8 9 kháw phûut ciN bâaN mây ciN bâaN 30111 –Å¿üÃî৬Üõ‰¿Ü “¢‡à§¬Üõ‰¿Ü 1 (he – speak – true – somewhat. some are bad. 106 1111 2 3 4 5 As a quantifier. not – true – somewhat) 2 Some of what he says is true. some isn’t. although 6 it is not always preceded by a noun: 7 chán chOfl Op kin aahaan khEŸEk baaN yàaN ˇ 8 âæôäØõĬôØ¿≠¿§—ÅÄõ¿ÜØ£‡¿Ü 9 I like some kinds of Indian food.

6 Adverbs of degree bâaN kOfl dii bâaN kOfl mây dii õ‰¿ÜÄªîƒ õ‰¿ÜĪ“¢‡îƒ Some people are good. which is identical in meaning to baaN khon: 7. . . some are bad. . 107 . . bâaN kO› . (‘some . .1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 One curious usage of bâaN is in the expression bâaN kO› . some don’t.’). . . and some . . bâaN kOfl chOfl O p bâaN kOfl mây chOfl O p õ‰¿ÜĪäØõ õ‰¿ÜĪ“¢‡äØõ Some like it.

bâan yùu thîi nôon õ‰¿ôأÇ󃇑ô‡ô The house is over there. nîi. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . ‘for’. thîi is optional after the verb yùu. thîi follows the verb yùu (‘to be situated at’): yùu thîi nîi أÇóƒ‡ôƒ‡ Here it is/It’s here. This chapter introduces the major location markers and then looks at a few of the different ways of dealing with the English prepositions ‘to’.1 Location: thîi and yùu The most basic location words are formed using the preposition thîi (‘at’) followed by the demonstratives. ‘with’ and ‘from’. nân or nôon: thîi nîi thîi nân thîi nôon óƒ‡ôƒ‡ 󃃇ôæ‡ô 󃇑ô‡ô here there over there In a simple sentence stating the location of something.Chapter 8 Location markers and other prepositions An important function of prepositions is to indicate location. 8. and frequently omitted: chán yùu mÁaN thay naan âæôأÇ–¢»ØÜ“ó£ô¿ô 108 I have lived in Thailand a long time. ‘by’ .

yùu laN bâan ˇ أÇ≠¶æÜõ‰¿ô It’s behind the house.1.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 kháw yùu bâan tOO n yen –ſأÇõ‰¿ôïØô–£ªô 8. when a noun or noun phrase follows the preposition. 109 . downstairs in front of behind by the side of However. on top of. upstairs underneath. khâN is usually dropped: yùu nay rót أÇ”ô§ñ It’s in the car. khâN cannot be dropped: yùu khâN nOfl O k أÇʼn¿ÜôØÄ Ø£Ã‡Å‰¿Üõô It’s outside.1 Location: thîi and yùu He is at home in the evenings. But if no noun follows the preposition.1 khâN + PREPOSITION The following prepositions can all be prefixed by khâN (‘side’): nay nOfl O k bon lâaN nâa laN ˇ khâaN ”ô ôØÄ õô ¶‡¿Ü ≠ô‰¿ ≠¶æÜ Å‰¿Ü in outside of on. 8. yùu khâN bon It’s on top/upstairs. Note that as a prefix khâN is written with a long vowel symbol but pronounced with a short vowel.

1.1) can be prefixed by phaay (‘side. 9 30111 yùu thaaN sáay mÁÁ 1 أÇó¿Ü㉿£¢»Ø 2 It’s on the left-hand side.8 Location markers and other prepositions 110 1111 2 Several of the prepositions above (8. internal 6 7 °¿£ôØÄ outside. in the future phaay nâa 1011 °¿£≠¶æÜ afterwards.2 phaay + PREPOSITION klây ”Ķ‰ near . 3 4 part’): 5 phaay nay °¿£”ô within.3 thaaN + right/left 2 thaaN (‘way’) prefixes the words for sáay (‘left’) and khwa (‘right’) when 3 ˇa describing locations. 3 4 5 8. external phaay nOfl O k 8 °¿£”ï‰ under. later on phaay laN ˇ 1 12111 phaay nay cèt wan 3 °¿£”ô–àªî®æô 4 within seven days 5 6 phaay tâay ìtthíphon khO‡ O N kháw 7 °¿£”ï‰Ø¬óò¬ü¶ÅØÜ–Å¿ 8 under his influence 9 20111 1 8.1. m¨¨ (‘hand’) may optionally be added to the end of 4 5 the phrase: 6 yùu thaaN khwaa ˇ 7 أÇó¿ÜÅ®¿ 8 It’s on the right.1.4 Non-prefixed prepositions 6 7 Common location prepositions which do not take any prefix include: 8 rawàaN §Ω≠®‡¿Ü between 9 40 “Ķ far klay 41111 8.1. inferior position phaay tâay 9 °¿£≠ô‰¿ ahead.

3 ‘For’ 8. kháw hây náN sÁ‡ Á chán He gave the book to me.1 hây hây is used to express the idea of doing something for somebody. chûay pìt pratuu hây (chán) nOŸ y 䇮£ú√îú§ΩïÔ≠‰(âæô)≠ô‡Ø£ 111 Please shut the door for me.3 ‘For’ I’d like to speak to him.2 ‘To’ Neither motion towards a place (I went to Thailand). . speaking to someone. pho ca bOŸO k (kháw) hây (khun) ˇm ù¢àΩõØÄ(–Å¿)”≠‰(ÉÀì) I’ll tell him for you. or getting someone to do something for you: pho sÁ⁄Á náN sÁ‡ Á hây khun ˇm ù¢ã»‰Ø≠ôæÜ´»Ø”≠‰ÉÀì I bought a book for you. The Thai words most commonly used to translate ‘for’ are hây. 8. uses the preposition kàp (‘with’): pho d´´ n thaaN pay mÁ aN thay ˇm ù¢–î¬ôó¿Ü“ú–¢»ØÜ“ó£ –Å¿”≠‰≠ôæÜ´»Øâæô I travelled to Thailand. some broad principles can be applied.3. sa ˇmràp and sùan. ph¨›a. While the distinctions are sometimes elusive and there is some overlap in usage.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 troN khâam rim taam ï§Üʼn¿¢ §¬¢ ï¿¢ opposite on the edge of along 8.1. chán yàak ca phûut kàp kháw âæôØ£¿ÄàΩüÃîÄæõ–Å¿ 8.12) require prepositions in Thai. nor indirect object with ‘to give’ (see 5.

is concerned’: nîi samràp khun ˇ ôƒ‡´¡≠§æõÉÀì This is for you. kháw sı a salà tua phÁfl a prathêet châat ˇ –Å¿–´ƒ£´¶Ωïæ®–ü»‡Øú§Ω–ó©ä¿ï¬ –§¿ã»‰ØØ¿≠¿§–ü»‡Øõ§¬à¿É kin phÁŸ a dûay ná He sacrificed himself for the nation. samràp aahaan yen raw ca pay kin khâN nOfl O k ˇ ˇ ´¡≠§æõØ¿≠¿§–£ªô–§¿àΩ“úĬôʼn¿ÜôØÄ 8.8 Location markers and other prepositions 8. ‘as for’. I don’t think it is good at all. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . chán tham N aan phÁfl a anaakhót khO‡ ON raw âæôó¡Ü¿ô–ü»‡ØØô¿ÉïÅØÜ–§¿ I am working for our future.1.g.1.2 phÁfl a ph¨›a can be translated as ‘for the sake of’ and often conveys an idea of altruism or self-sacrifice. at the beginning of a sentence.4 sùan As far as the evening meal is concerned. a beer) for me’: thúk sìN thúk yàaN pho tham phÁfl a khun ˇm óÀÄ´¬‡ÜóÀÄØ£‡¿Üù¢ó¡–ü»‡ØÉÀì Everything I do is for you. ‘as ˇ far as . too.1. OK? 8. Ĭô–ù»‡Ø£ôΩ Eat some for me. sùan also means ‘as for’ and is used to introduce a statement: sùan pho khít wâa mây dii l´´y ˇm 112 ´‡®ôù¢ ɬ¿“¢‡îƒ–¶£ As for me.3. . Note also.3 samràp ˇ samràp means both ‘for’ and.3.3. low-tone ph¨‚a which is used when inviting someone to do something on one’s behalf in expressions like ‘Have one (e. we will eat out. . ⁄ raw sÁ Á aahaan phÁfl a bOO rícàak ˇ We bought food for donating.

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Two other common uses of ‘for’ in English are to express duration of time (I have studied Thai for three years) and to give reasons (I am angry with him for gossiping about me). Instead. raw pay sO‡ ON wan thâwnán We are only going for three days. The two Thai words most commonly used to translate ‘by’ are dooy and dûay. chán kròot kháw thîi (kháw) ninthaa chán âæô‘ħò–Å¿óƒ‡(–Å¿)ô¬ôó¿âæô ÅØ‘ó™óƒ‡ù¢¢¿ä‰¿ 8. however.5). then? *Note.4 ‘By’ I am angry with him for gossiping about me. both are used to indicate the means of doing something: chán pay dooy rót mee* âæô“ú‘ñ–¢¶^ I went by bus.7. ˇm khO‡ O thôot thîi pho maa cháa I am sorry that I’m late. in practice it is commonly avoided. Duration of time requires no preposition in Thai (14. ˇ raw bin pay mÁaN thai dooy saay kaan bin thay –§¿õ¬ô“ú–¢»ØÜ“ó£‘¿£Ä¿§õ¬ô“ó£ ÉÀìó¡î‰®£/‘¬òƒ“≠ô ÉÀìó¡î‰®£¢»Ø≠§»Ø We flew to Thailand by Thai Airways. travelling somewhere as a passenger in a vehicle is expressed by the pattern nâN (‘to sit’) + VEHICLE + pay/maa + PLACE: 113 . that while dooy can be used with all means of transportation. khun tham dûay/dooy wíthii nay ˇ How did you do it? (you – do – by – method – which?) khun tham dûay mÁÁ l´‡ ´? You did it by hand.4 ‘By’ pho rian phaasaa thay saam pii lE⁄Ew ˇm ˇ ˇ ù¢–§ƒ£ô°¿™¿“ó£´¿¢ú≈—¶‰® –§¿“ú´ØÜ®æô–ó‡¿ôæ‰ô I have studied Thai for three years. reason clauses are introduced by thîi: 8.

dûay can be used in the pattern SUBJECT + VERB (PHRASE) + dûay + INSTRUMENT. As a location word. ‘by’ can be translated as klây klây (‘near’) or khâN khâaN (‘next to. Accompaniment. raw khìi mOO t´´say pay hu hı n ˇa ˇ –§¿Åƒ‡¢Ø–ïا^“ãÉ^“ú≠æ®≠¬ô We went to Hua Hin by motorcycle/We motorcycled to Hua Hin. and (iii) time limitation (I must finish by Friday). in Thai.8 Location markers and other prepositions chán nâN rót mee pay chiaN mày âæôôæ‡Ü§ñ–¢¶^“ú–䃣ܔ≠¢‡ I went to Chiangmai by bus. bicycles) or thìip (for pedal trishaws): pho khàp rót maa ˇm âæôÅæõ§ñ¢¿ I came by car (as the driver)/I drove here. horses. (ii) place (It is by the television). but it often sounds unnatural. beside’). 8.8). To indicate that someone drove the vehicle. time limit can be conveyed by kO‚On (‘before’) or phaay nay (‘within’): yùu klây klây/khâN khâaN thii wii أÇ”Ķ‰ & /ʼn¿Ü & 󃮃 It is by the TV. chán tOfl N tham hây sèt kOŸO n/phaay nay wan sùk âæôï‰ØÜó¡”≠‰–´§ªàćØô/°¿£”ô®æô©Àħ^ I have to finish it by Friday.5 ‘With’ ‘With’ in English is used mainly to indicate (i) accompaniment (I went with a friend) and (ii) instrument (She hit her husband with a stick). instead. ‘By’ in English is also used to indicate (i) the agent in a passive sentence (He was hit by a car: 5. Instrument is less clear-cut. nâN is replaced by an appropriate verb meaning ‘to drive’ – khàp (for cars). many native speakers favour the pattern SUBJECT + cháy (to use) + INSTRUMENT + VERB (PHRASE): 114 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . is conveyed by kàp: chán pay kàp phÁfl an âæô“úÄæõ–ü»‡Øô I went with a friend. khìi (for motorcycles.

8. or tâNt”‚” + TIME WORD + maa: tâN tEŸE cháaw thÁ‡ N yen ïæ‰Ü–䉿ñ∆Ü–£ªô from morning till evening tâN tEŸE pii sO‡ O N phan hâa rO⁄O y sìi sìp maa ïæ‰Ü—ï‡ú≈ 2540 ¢¿ ïæ‰Ü—æôôæ‰ô¢¿ from the year 2540/since 2540 tâN tEŸE wan nán maa from that day 115 . ˇa ˇ raw nâN rót mee càak hu hı n pay kruN thêep –§¿ôæ‡Ü§ñ–¢¶^à¿Ä≠æ®≠¬ô“úħÀÜ–óü| We went from Hua Hin to Bangkok by bus. And kàp is also sometimes used to indicate instrument in the expressions hen kàp taa (‘to see with one’s own eyes’) and faN kàp hu (‘to hear ˇ ˇu with one’s own ears’). chán dây còtmaay càak mEfl E ˇ âæô“î‰àî≠¢¿£à¿Ä—¢‡ I got a letter from my mother.6 ‘From’ She hit her husband with a stick/She used a stick to hit . When ‘from’ identifies the beginning of a period of time.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 th´´ cháy máy tii phu ˇa –òؔ䉓¢‰ïƒùæ® 8. raw tOfl N cháy mÁÁ kin –§¿ï‰Øܔ䉢»ØĬô We shall have to eat with our hands.6 ‘From’ ‘From’ can most frequently be translated by càak: kháw maa càak chiaN mày –Å¿¢¿à¿Ä–䃣ܔ≠¢‡ He comes from Chiangmai. . either in the pattern tâNt”‚” + TIME WORD + th¨‹N (‘till’) + TIME WORD. . tâNt”‚” (‘since’) is used.

khruu kháw mây maa ɧÖſ“¢‡¢¿ (teacher – he – not – come) The teacher didn’t come. the beginner needs to be alert to distinguish this noun-pronoun apposition from similar-looking possessive phrases (3. 116 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .12): phOfl O kháw sÁ⁄Á rót ü‡Ø–ſ㻉اñ (father – he – buy – car) Father bought a car.5.Chapter 9 Clauses and sentences 9.1 Word order and topicalisation Word order in a sentence generally follows the pattern SUBJECT + VERB + OBJECT: subject phOfl O verb sÁ⁄Á object rót ü‡Ø ã»‰Ø §ñ Father chán bought rák a car khun âæô I §æÄ ÉÀì love you In spoken Thai it is common for the subject noun to be followed immediately by its pronoun.

In the following sentence. known as topicalisation. or even both. what the sentence is ‘about’). direct object nor indirect object are stated. involves placing a word or phrase other than the subject at the beginning of the sentence.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 rót man tìt §ñ¢æôï¬î (cars – they – stuck) The traffic is jammed. 117 . Another common pattern. leaving just a ‘string’ of four verbs (5. may be omitted when they are understood from the context. aahaan thîi lÁ‡ a raw ca kin phrûN níi ˇ Ø¿≠¿§óƒ‡–≠¶»Ø–§¿àΩĬôü§À‡Üôƒ‰ (food – which – remains – we – will – eat – tomorrow) We’ll eat the food that is left over tomorrow. ˇm) khít wâa pen khon yîipùn phûuyı N khon nán (pho ˇ ùÉ≠ç¬ÜÉôôæ‰ô(ù¢)ɬ¿–úªôÉô烇úÀ‡ô (girl – classifier – that – (I) – think – that – is – person – Japanese) I think that girl is Japanese. neither subject. sÁfl a kàw ca aw pay bO ricàak phrûN níi –´»‰Ø–ć¿àΩ–Ø¿“úõ§¬à¿Éü§À‡Üôƒ‰ (clothes – old – will – take – donate – tomorrow) I’ll give away the old clothes tomorrow. for example. either subject or object.e. However.1 Word order and topicalisation tOfl N rîip pay sÁ⁄Á hây ï‰Øܧƒõ“ú㻉ؔ≠‰ (must – hurry – go – buy – give) I must rush off and buy some for her.13): 9. faràN thîi tEŸN N aan kàp khon thay dı aw níi mii y´⁄ ˇ û§æ‡Ü󃇗ï‡ÜÜ¿ôÄæõÉô“ó£–îƒ˝£®ôƒ‰¢ƒ–£ØΩ (Westerners – who – marry – with – Thais – now – there are – many) Now there are lots of Westerners who are married to Thais. so that it becomes the ‘topic’ of the sentence (i.

30111 ⁄ thÁ‡ N mE E wâa .2.6) 7 8 9 40 41111 . . kO› (see 9. . . . .. . still . . . púp .. samràp ˇ 4 (‘as for’) or r¨›aN (‘about. . then . .2) 9 kaan thîi . tEŸE . . 6 7 8 9 9. . . púp . . . the topic is often introduced by sùan (‘as for’). 2 3 In written Thai. . . . apart from (that) . .5).1) 8 the fact that . .2. is used 4 extensively in introducing the main clause. the particle nâ/nâa is often used at the end of the topic 1111 phrase (10. . 5 6 . . . . . then – 12111 acceptable) 3 náN sÁ‡ Á thîi pho àan yùu nán nâa bÁŸ a ciN ciN ˇm 4 ≠ôæÜ´»Øóƒ‡ù¢Ø‡¿ôأÇôæ‰ôô‡¿–õ»‡Øà§¬Ü & 5 The book I’m reading is really boring. . well. then’): 7 8 sùan ahaan kaan kin kàp thîi phák kOfl cháy dâay ˇ 9 ´‡®ôØ¿≠¿§Ä¿§Ä¬ôÄæõóƒ‡üæÄĪ”䉓î 1011 As for the food and accommodation. (9. . (9. one at the 3 beginning of each clause. if .3) 1 nOfl Ok càak (nán lE⁄Ew) . . but . . . páp no sooner . . . than . .2 Subordinate clauses 20111 1 Subordinate clauses frequently occur before the main clause. the end of a long topic clause is 5 often marked by nán and the verb in the following clause introduced by 6 kO› (‘so. 2 (9.2. so . . . concerning’). . than . 1 (as for – food – eating – with – place to stay – well. . . . Some common examples of 5 paired conjunctions are: 6 7 thâa (hàak wâa) . although . . yaN .. therefore. kOfl . kOfl . .9 Clauses and sentences 118 In spoken Thai.6) phOO . it was alright. (9.1. (9.2.2. .5) 3 4 no sooner . . .3. (9. although often optional.2.1). Some subor2 dinate and main clauses are linked by paired conjunctions. . . . .

.2.’) In this pattern. 9. . . I’m not going/If it had rained. in which case the verb normally follows: (thâa khun) mây rîip lá kOfl O mây than (ñ‰¿ÉÀì)“¢‡§ƒõ¶ΩĪ“¢‡óæô If you don’t hurry. then . thâa .1 Conditional clauses: ‘if’ 9. etc. . with a lengthened vowel on the second syllable). (‘The fact that . kO› + phrO⁄ wâa . you won’t be in time. the ‘if’ word is omitted. .’). I’m not going/If it had rained. . The conditional clause and main clause may be linked by lá kO› (or lá kO›O. I wouldn’t have gone. .2. I wouldn’t have gone. etc. Often.2 Subordinate clauses Conditional sentences can be formed by the pattern. is because . .1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 9. . kO› + VERB (‘If . kaan thîi (‘the fact that’).2 Reason clauses: ‘the fact that/because’ Reason clauses commonly involve the expression. alternative words for ‘if’ are thâa hàak wâa. . even kO›. 9.2. which can be used in two patterns. hàak wâa. . .1 kaan thîi . hàak t”‚” wâa: thâa hàak wâa fon tòk chán kOfl (ca) mây pay ˇ ñ‰¿≠¿Ä®‡¿ûôïÄâæôĪ(àΩ)“¢‡“ú If it rains. .2. kaan thîi kháw mây yOO m bin pay kOfl phrO⁄ wâa kháw klua The fact that he won’t agree to fly is because he is scared. the consequence is stated first and the reason or cause given in the second clause: kaan thîi pho klàp dÁŸ k kOfl phrO⁄ wâa pay thîaw kàp phÁfl an ˇm Ä¿§óƒ‡ù¢Ä¶æõî∆ÄĪ–ü§¿Ω®‡¿“ú–󃇣®Äæõ–ü»‡Øô Ä¿§óƒ‡–Å¿“¢‡£Ø¢õ¬ô“úĪ–ü§¿Ω®‡¿–Å¿Ä¶æ® The fact that I’m home late is because I went out with friends. 119 . too: fo tòk (kOfl ) mây pay ˇn ûôïÄ(Ī)“¢‡“ú If it rains. . and in abrupt speech. however.

(‘owing to the fact . . . . . . . . . the main clause counters or contradicts that fact and frequently begins with t”‚” (kO›) (‘but’): 120 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . the reason or cause is stated in the first clause and the consequence or conclusion follows in the second: kaan thîi fo tòk nàk raw kOfl maa cháa nOŸ y ˇn Ä¿§óƒ‡ûôïÄ≠ôæÄ–§¿Äª¢¿ä‰¿≠ô‡Ø£ Because it was raining heavily.’): nÁfl aN càak rót tìt mâak kháw kOfl khoN maa cháa –ô»‡ØÜà¿Ä§ñï¬î¢¿Ä–ſĪÉÜ¢¿ä‰¿ Due to the heavy traffic jams. In both patterns it is not unusual for kaan to be dropped and the sentence to begin with thîi: thîi pho phûut yàaN nán kOfl phrO ⁄ wâa kròot ˇm óƒ‡ù¢üÃîØ£‡¿Üôæ‰ôĪ–ü§¿Ω®‡¿‘ħò 󃇖ſ£æÜ“¢‡Ä¶æõ¢¿âæôĪï‰ØÜ§Ø The fact that I spoke like that was because I was angry. thîi kháw yaN mây klàp maa chán kOfl tOfl N rOO Because he hasn’t come back yet.’) In this pattern. I shall have to wait. ˇ kaan thîi kháw kin mòt kOfl mây dây maay khwaam wâa arOŸ y Ä¿§óƒ‡–ſĬô≠¢îĪ“¢‡“î‰≠¢¿£É®¿¢®‡¿Ø§‡Ø£ The fact that he ate it all doesn’t mean it tasted good. 9. we were a bit late. .3 Concessive clauses: ‘although’ Concessive clauses concede or admit a fact and begin with either (th¨‹N) m”⁄” wâa (‘although’) or tháN tháN thîi (‘although’). he will probably be late. it is therefore impossible to say. or the rather more formal-sounding n¨›aN (maa) càak kaan thîi . so . . ‘Owing/due to . . follow a similar pattern but are prefaced by n¨›aN càak .2.2.2 kaan thîi . In written Thai c¨N is commonly used instead of kO›: kaan thîi yaN mây mii khàaw cÁN mây saamâat bOŸO k dâay ˇ Ä¿§óƒ‡£æÜ“¢‡¢ƒÅ‡¿®à∆Ü“¢‡´¿¢¿§ñõØÄ“î‰ Because there is still no news.’ sentences.2.9 Clauses and sentences 9. . kO› + VERB (‘the fact that/because .

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 (thÁ‡ N) mE⁄E wâa chán sày nám plaa y´⁄ tEŸE (kOfl ) yaN mây arOŸ y (ñ∆Ü)—¢‰®‡¿âæô”´‡ô‰¡ú¶¿–£ØΩ—ï‡(Ī)£æÜ“¢‡Ø§‡Ø£ (ñ∆Ü)—¢‰®‡¿ù¢§æÄ–Å¿—ſ(Ī)“¢‡§æÄù¢ óæ‰Ü & óƒ‡ûôïė§¿Äª£æÜ“ú 9. mây wâa ca bOŸO k kìi khráN kháw kOfl khoN mây yOO m faN No matter how many times you tell him. she doesn’t love me. no matter’) + VERB + QUESTION WORD. mây wâa ca (‘regardless. 9.2 Subordinate clauses Although I put a lot of fish sauce in. (thÁ‡ N) mE⁄E wâa pho rák kháw tEŸE kháw (kOfl ) mây rák pho ˇm ˇm Although I love her.2. it still doesn’t taste good. he won’t listen. you see only people with sullen faces. pho tham yàaN nán phÁfl a (thîi) ca chûay phÁfl an ˇm I did that in order to help a friend. ˇn tháN tháN thîi fo tòk tEŸE raw (kOfl ) yaN pay Although it’s raining. ˇ raw ca d´´ n thaaN klaaN khÁÁn phÁfl a ca dây mây sı a weelaa –§¿àΩ–î¬ôó¿ÜĶ¿ÜÉ»ô–ü»‡ØàΩ“¢‡–´ƒ£–®¶¿ We’ll travel overnight so as not to waste time. Another kind of concessive clause is formed by the pattern. the main clause may be introduced by kO›: mây wâa ca phEEN khEfl E nay kOfl yaN rúusÁŸ k khúm ˇ “¢‡®‡¿àΩ—üܗɇ“≠ôĪ£æܧÉ´∆ÄɉÀ¢ Regardless of how expensive it was. ˇ ˇ mây wâa ca d´´ n pay nay kOfl ca he n tEŸE khon nâa bÁfl N “¢‡®‡¿àΩ–î¬ô“ú“≠ôĪàΩ–≠ªô—ï‡Éô≠ô‰¿õ∆‰Ü “¢‡®‡¿àΩõØÄă‡É§æ‰Ü–ſĪÉÜ“¢‡£Ø¢†æÜ No matter where you walk. 121 . we’re still going.4 Purpose clauses: ‘in order to’ Purpose clauses often begin with ph¨›a (thîi) ca (‘in order to’): kháw kin aahaan thùuk thùuk phÁfl a (thîi) ca prayàt N´ n ˇ –ſĬôØ¿≠¿§ñÃÄ & –ü»‡Ø(óƒ‡)àΩú§Ω≠£æî–ܬô ù¢ó¡Ø£‡¿Üôæ‰ô–ü»‡Ø(óƒ‡)àΩ䇮£–ü»‡Øô He eats cheap food in order to economise. I still think it was worth it.

. . . when (past) . when . (Ī) . . (Ī) . üØ . . . . 1 2 than . (kOfl ) . (kOfl ) . no sooner . ”ô§Ω≠®‡¿Üóƒ‡ . . . . (kOfl ) . . . 8 ≠¶æÜà¿Äóƒ‡ . . . . . . . . 3 . . . . . . . . púp . . 4 5 phOO nâN loN nâa thii wii púp kOfl làp 6 üØôæ‡Ü¶Ü≠ô‰¿óƒ®ƒúÀÁõĪ≠¶æõ 7 No sooner does he sit down in front of the TV than he falls asleep. too.6 Time clauses 8 9 Some common time clause expressions include: 20111 phOO . kOŸ On thîi . still . ˇ 9 ćØôóƒ‡ . úÀÁõ . . úæÁõ no sooner . . . . . . . –¢»‡Ø . . . . . too. 8 kin púp ìm páp 9 40 ĬôúÀÁõج‡¢úæÁõ 41111 No sooner do I (start to) eat than I feel full. . . . 9. (kOfl ) . (Ī) . .5 Additive clauses: ‘apart from’ . . . 12111 ⁄ nOfl O k càak nán lE Ew yaN mii saahèet ìik laay yàaN ˇ ˇ 3 ôØÄà¿Äôæ‰ô–¶‰® £æÜ¢ƒ´¿–≠ïÀ؃Ä≠¶¿£Ø£‡¿Ü 4 Apart from that. . . . . (Ī) . . after . 30111 1 khanà thîi . laN càak thîi . .9 Clauses and sentences 122 1111 2 A common pattern for giving additional information is nO›Ok càak . (Ī) . . tOO n thîi . . . . . (Ī) . . yaN . . 5 6 7 9. . . . . .. weelaa . before . . . . púp (kOfl ) . 4 than . 3 nay rawàaN thîi . . 3 4 l”⁄”w . .2. . . 6 7 –®¶¿ . . . . (kOfl ) . . . . (Ī) . . . 5 mÁfl a . . there are many other reasons. . . . . . . . . . 8 9 nOfl O k càak ca kin nám man y´⁄ lE⁄Ew khâa sOfl O m yaN phEEN dûay 1011 ôØÄà¿ÄàΩĬôô‰¡¢æô–£ØΩ—¶‰® ɇ¿ã‡Ø¢£æÜ—üÜ£ 1 Apart from using a lot of petrol. úÀÁõ(Ī) . while . . (kOfl ) . (dûay) (‘apart from . . . (kOfl ) . páp . . . . . ÅìΩóƒ‡ . . . . while . . . 2 ïØôóƒ‡ . (too)’): 5 nOfl O k càak chiaN mày lE⁄Ew raw yaN pay thîaw lampaaN dûay 6 ôØÄà¿Ä–䃣ܔ≠¢‡—¶‰® –§¿£æÜ“ú–󃇣®¶¡ú¿Ü£ 7 Apart from Chiangmai. . . . . . . . . the repair costs are expensive. while . . . . . . we went to Lampang.2.

3). please. wâa plays the role of inverted commas in direct speech and ‘that’ in indirect speech: kháw bOŸO k wâa (kháw) ca mây pay –Å¿õØÄ®‡¿(–Å¿)àΩ“¢‡“ú –Å¿õØÄ®‡¿(ù¢)àΩ“¢‡“ú He said that he’s not going. khanà thîi pho khuy thoorasàp yùu kOfl mii khon maa rîak ˇm While I was chatting on the phone.3 Before withdrawing the money. ˇm) ca mây pay kháw bOŸO k wâa (pho He said.4 Imperatives A simple verb or verb phrase is the most basic form of command.’ For indirect questions. see 12. direct and indirect speech become identical in form.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 mÁfl a rian náN sÁ‡ Á pho kOfl sùup burìi y´ ⁄ ˇm –¢»‡Ø–§ƒ£ô≠ôæÜ´»Øù¢Äª´ÃõõÀ≠§ƒ‡–£ØΩ 9. I smoked a lot. or the more insistent particle sîi (10. I’ll have to discuss it with my husband. kOŸ On thîi ca thO‡ O n N´n chán kOfl tôN prÁŸ ksaa kàp fEEn ˇ ćØôóƒ‡àΩñØô–ܬôâæôĪï‰ØÜú§∆Ä™¿Äæõ—†ô ÅìΩóƒ‡ù¢ÉÀ£‘ó§©æüó^أÇĪ¢ƒÉô¢¿–§ƒ£Ä 9. When pronouns are omitted in the second clause.9).1): duu sí îÃ㬠Look! pìt pratuu sí khá ú√îú§ΩïÃã¬ÉΩ Shut the door. someone called me.4 Imperatives When I was a student. Commands can be further softened by the use of polite particles (10. ‘I’m not going. 9. 123 . Direct and indirect speech Both direct and indirect speech are introduced by wâa (5. This can sound abrupt and is normally softened by adding the mild command particle sí or thE‚ at the end of the sentence.4.

1.4.2) and VERB + hây + ADJECTIVE 2 (7. . . . 6 7 ‘To give an example’ is yók (‘to raise’) tua yàaN (‘example’): 8 khO‡ O yók tua yàaN nÁŸ N 9 40 ÅØ£Äïæ®Ø£‡¿Ü≠ô∆‡Ü 41111 Let me give an example.4. such as washing. . as for example. .1.’) can be expressed by the pattern.8) and requesting someone to do/not 4 do something (15. . 5 6 7 9.4. 2 3 See also negative imperatives (11. however. 12111 VERB (PHRASE) + thE‚E: 3 pay kin khâN nOfl O k th´Ÿ´ 4 5 “úĬôʼn¿ÜôØÄ–ñØΩ 6 Let’s go and eat out! 7 coN is an imperative which appears in written instructions.’). either chên or pen tôn may be 1 omitted: 2 tOfl N tham laay yàaN chên sák phâa huN khâaw tàt yâa pen tôn ˇ ˇ 3 ï‰ØÜó¡≠¶¿£Ø£‡¿Ü–ä‡ôãæÄù‰¿ ≠ÀÜʼn¿® ïæî≠牿–úªôï‰ô 4 I have to do lots of things. 8 at the top of an examination paper: 9 coN tOŸ Op kham thaam ˇ 20111 àÜïØõÉ¡ñ¿¢ 1 Answer the (following) questions. cooking and cutting the 5 grass. . pen tôn (‘for example.5): 3 4 phûut dii dii 5 üÃîîƒ & 6 Speak nicely! 7 càt hây rîaprO⁄O y 8 àæî”≠‰–§ƒ£õ§‰Ø£ 9 Arrange things tidily! 1011 1 First person imperatives (‘Let’s . . 15.9 Clauses and sentences 124 Commands can also be expressed by the patterns VERB (PHRASE) + 1111 REDUPLICATED ADJECTIVE (7.5 Exemplification 8 9 Examples are commonly enclosed within the ‘wrap-around’ pattern chên 30111 .5).

Oh! (Is that so?). taay lE⁄Ew and taay ciN .6 Exclamatory particles Contradicting.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 9. . Oops! ôo hoo Ofl O táay úy 125 . disappointment: Hey!. Pain or mishap: Ouch!. variations include táay taay.6 âaw é ée h´^´y mE‡ E Exclamatory particles ؉¿® –ØÁΩ –ØÁ –∏‰£ —≠¢ ‘؉‘∏ Ø‰Ø ïÁ¿£ ØÀÁ£ 9. chiding. Calling attention: Hey! Hold on a minute! Surprise: Goodness! Surprise: indignation. horror: Good Lord! More common in female speech. Shock. Surprise: Eh?. . Wow! Oh yeah? Realization: Ah! (Now I understand). What? Thinking or wondering: Ermm .

but at the end of questions: pay nay khráp? ˇ “ú“≠ôɧæõ Where are you going? (male asking) – klàp bâan khâ – Ķæõõ‰¿ôɇΩ – I’m going home.2 Polite particles Polite particles are added to the end of an utterance to show respect to the addressee. They can be divided into three main groups: (a) question particles. 10. (female responding) arOŸ y máy khá? ا‡Ø£“≠¢ÉΩ 126 Is it tasty? (female asking) – arOŸ y khráp – ا‡Ø£É§æõ – Yes. (male responding) 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . 10. The most common are khráp.1 Question particles Question particles are relatively straightforward. used by males at the end of statements and questions.1. They are few in number and all occur at the end of an utterance to transform it into a question which requires a ‘yes/no’ answer. (b) polite particles. They are dealt with in 12. and (c) mood particles. also used by females. khâ used by females at the end of statements and khá.Chapter 10 Sentence particles Sentence particles occur at the end of an utterance and serve a grammatical or communicative function.

1.2. used.2 khráp phom (ɧæõù¢) ˇ Used by male speakers only. used after a name to attract that person’s attention. 10. 10. ‘no’. at the end of questions as a sign of politeness. . the female particles khá and cá are sometimes pronounced kha and ca ˇa ˇa respectively. 12. . used in polite requests after the particle sí. .4).2. to reassure speaker of one’s attention. 10. for example on the telephone (khráp . 127 . Polite particles are used after someone’s name to call their attention. used after mây to mean ‘no’. 10. used in isolation as a response when one’s name is called (when the vowel is often lengthened to khráap). interchangeable with khráp (above) except it is not used in isolation with the negative mây.1. In Bangkok speech the r is typically lost and khráp becomes kháp. usage has only become widespread in the last decade or so. khráp . used after a name to attract that person’s attention. used in isolation as a ‘yes’ response (12. khráp).3 khá (ÉΩ) Used by female speakers only. the change of tone and vowel-lengthening signalling the speaker’s closeness or desired closeness to the person she is addressing. Often used humorously as a sign of exaggerated deference or politeness. used in isolation as a response when one’s name is called. often repetitively.1 khráp (ɧæõ) Used by male speakers only.2 Polite particles khun mEfl E khaa? ˇ ÉÀì—¢‡Å¿ Mummy? (daughter speaking) – caa ˇ – à˝¿ – Yes? (mother responding) The most common polite particles are as follows. . and may be just a passing fad.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Polite particles are also used as response particles to mean ‘yes’ or. at the end of both statements and questions as a sign of politeness. when preceded by the negative particle mây.2.2.

servants and people of inferior status. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .2. khâ) when the vowel may also be lengthened to khâa.7 hâ (∏‡Ω) Used by female speakers as an informal substitute for khâ.4 khâ (ɇΩ) Used by female speakers only. 10. used in polite requests after the particle sí.2. 10. between females signals ‘best friends talk’. used to reassure speaker of one’s attention (câa .2. khâ .9 câ (à‰Ω) 128 Used by adult male and female speakers at the end of a statement when speaking to children.1. servants or people of markedly lower social status. 10.6 há?/há (∏Ω) Used by male speakers as an informal substitute for khráp.10 Sentence particles 10. . .2. .2. used after mây to mean ‘no’. used as a response when one’s name is called (when the vowel is often lengthened to câa). . used as a ‘sweet-talk’ question particle between males and females or as a ‘best friends’ question particle between females. 10. 12. between males and females denotes anything from easy familiarity to ‘sweet talk’. at the end of statements as a sign of politeness. .8 cá (àÁΩ) Used by adult male and female speakers at the end of questions when talking to children. . used after the name of a child. can also be used in isolation as a response when one’s name is called.1. used in isolation as a ‘yes’ response.5 khaa (Å¿) ˇ Used by female speakers only after a name to attract the person’s attention. used by female speakers as an informal substitute for khá. male pronunciation is characterised by a distinctive final glottal stop not associated with female usage. 10.2. servant or inferior to attract that person’s attention. used in isolation as a response when one’s name is called (when the vowel is often lengthened to khâa).4). used to reassure speaker of one’s attention (khâ . used in isolation as a ‘yes’ response (12.2.

more common in male speech but can be used by females. wá is used with questions and wâ/wóoy with statements. involving a change in tone or vowel length. used by drinking friends as the evening progresses. similarly used between equals as a sign of affection. similar to wá/wâ (above). or intimacy with close friends of equal status. Many basic language courses deliberately omit mood particles for the sake of simplicity and it is possible to avoid 129 . 10. . 10. it is the particle favoured by baddies on the big screen. when one’s name is called. 10. parents or adults calling children).12 yá/yâ (£Ω/£‡Ω) An impolite or informal particle.11 wá/wâ/wóoy (®Ω/®‡Ω/‘®‰£) An impolite or informal particle. male speakers use phâyâkhâ and female speakers pheekhá.2. one particle may have several variant forms.3 Mood particles 10.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 câa .2. more typically by females. 10. anger and aggressiveness when speaking to strangers. used after mây to mean ‘no’.g.2. but restricted in usage to female speakers. 10. can also be used in isolation as a response. Their function is often conveyed in English purely by intonation. with each form reflecting a subtle difference. and the one to snarl in the expression tham aray wá? (‘What the hell are you doing?’) if you have the misfortune to encounter an intruder in your house. câa) when the vowel is normally lengthened. so they cannot easily be translated.2. .13 phâyâkhâ (ü‡Ω£‡ΩɇΩ)/pheekhá (–üÉΩ) When speaking to royalty. used to indicate rudeness.10 caa (à˝¿) ˇ Used by older or senior male and female speakers after a younger or junior person’s name to attract that person’s attention (e.3 Mood particles Mood particles represent a major obstacle for the serious learner. to complicate matters.

2): 8 phOO lá 9 üضΩ 30111 That’s enough. But without mood particles.3. 1 2 thùuk lá 3 ñÃĶΩ 4 That’s right/correct. apologies and cries for help: 12111 3 khO‡ O thôot dûay 4 ÅØ‘ó™î‰®£ 5 Sorry! 6 chék bin dûay 7 –äªÉõ¬¶î‰®£ 8 Can I have the bill. please? 9 20111 chûay dûay 1 䇮£î‰®£ 2 Help! 3 4 10. one use of lá is to indicate that a 6 7 state has been reached (5.10 Sentence particles using them and get by quite adequately. 5 dii lá 6 Ω 7 That’s fine. although the written form of a particle does not always reflect its normal pronunciation.1 dûay (£) 1 This particle is typically used in polite requests. 130 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 10. statements often sound incomplete. everyday conversation.2 (¶Ω) 5 A contracted form of l”⁄”w (‘already’). then! . They are best learnt by imitation. see Brown (1969) and Cooke (1989).7. abrupt or even impolite. Right. for a more detailed treatment.3. 8 9 aw lá 40 –Ø¿¶Ω 41111 OK!. This section discusses some of the most common particles. television. dialogue in novels and interviews in newspapers and magazines all provide a ready supply of examples.

so ˇmchaay ìik lá ´¢ä¿£ØƒÄ¶Ω 10. ca kin lá àΩĬô¶Ω I’m going to eat.3 It’s Somchai again. . in the following two examples.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 It can also be used to indicate that a situation is about to change (probably representing a contraction of ca .3.’): 10. . . it is common to hear lâ reduced to â: thammay lâ? ó¡“¢¶‡Ω Why? pay nay lâ? ˇ “ú“≠ô¶‡Ω Where are you going? Sometimes the particle conveys a sense of irritation. . “ú¶Ω I’m leaving. . l”⁄”w ‘to be about to . . lâ (¶‡Ω) This particle occurs commonly in questions. as a way of pressing for an answer. similar to English ‘why on earth . Another use is with ìik (‘again’) to show mild irritation: maa ìik lá ¢¿ØƒÄ¶Ω He’s back again.3 Mood particles pho klàp bâan lá ˇm ù¢Ä¶æõõ‰¿ô¶Ω pay lá I’m going home.?’: thammay tOfl N pay bOŸO k kháw lâ? ó¡“¢ï‰ØÜ“úõØÄ–Å¿¶‡Ω Why on earth did you have to go and tell her? 131 .

?. . similar to English ‘What was that again?’: aray ná? ØΩ“§ôΩ ”ɧôΩ 132 Pardon? What was that again? khray ná? Who was that again? 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . . .4 And how about tomorrow? ná (ôΩ) This particle often serves to make a sentence milder or less abrupt by seeking approval. . . . Commands are similarly made milder and convey a sense of coaxing and urging... ná often corresponds to the use of ‘. lâ (‘And how about . OK?’ or ‘. What about .10 Sentence particles aw pay sOfl On wáy thîi nay lâ? ˇ –Ø¿“úã‡Øô“®‰óƒ‡“≠ô¶‡Ω Where on earth have you gone and hidden it? It is also used in the pattern l”⁄”w .?’) to change the focus or topic of conversation: lE⁄Ew khun lâ? —¶‰®ÉÀ춇Ω And how about you? lE⁄Ew phrûN níi lâ? –¶‰®ü§À‡Üôƒ‰¶‡Ω 10. right?’ in English: pay lá ná “ú¶ΩôΩ I’m going now. . agreement or compromise.3. . OK? ná is also used when requesting someone to repeat a piece of information. . OK? yàa bOŸO k th´´ ná Ø£‡¿õØÄ–òØôΩ Don’t tell her. . OK? chán mây wâa ná âæô“¢‡®‡¿ôΩ I don’t mind.

It is also used to highlight the topic of a sentence. . 133 . basically meaning ‘just a little’. come on. are like that.6 nOŸ y (≠ô‡Ø£) When the teacher is teaching. Come on. . right. similar in function to thii but used much more widely. please? ÅØîÃ≠ô‡Ø£ Could I have a look.3. . Polite request particle. right.3 Mood particles 10. don’t go.5 nâ/nâa (ô‡Ω/ô‡¿) This particle is used when persuading somebody to do something or accept an idea when they are reluctant (cf. I don’t understand a word.1. in much the same way that some speakers of English use ‘right’: phûuyı N nâ kOfl pen yàaN nán ˇ ùÉ≠ç¬Üô‡ΩĪ–úªôØ£‡¿Üôæ‰ô Women.4). commonly occurs in requests that begin with khO‹O or chûay: phûut cháa cháa nOŸ y dâay máy? üÃî䉿& ≠ô‡Ø£“≠¢ khO‡ O duu nOŸ y Could you speak slowly. used to minimise the degree of imposition on the listener.3. 10. that you’re going back? Note also the use of ná as a question particle when seeking agreement (see 12.): yàa pay nâa Ø£‡¿“úô‡¿ Oh. please? chûay pìt thii wii nOŸ y 䇮£ú√î󃮃≠ô‡Ø£ Please turn the TV off. tOO n khruu sO‡ O n yùu nâ pho faN mây rúu rÁfl aN l´´ y ˇm ïØôɧôØôأÇô‡Ωù¢†æÜ“¢‡§Ã‰–§»‡ØÜ–¶£ 10.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 khun klàp mÁfl arày ná? ÉÀôĶæõ¢¿–¢»‡Ø“§ôΩ When was that again.

8 – kOfl pen bàap N ay lâ 9 – Ī–úªôõ¿ú“ܶ‡Ω 1011 – Well. 7 8 It is also used in the Thai equivalent of ‘here you are’. (when declining an offer) 3 phEEN khráp 4 —üÜɧæõ 5 It’s expensive.7 N ay (“Ü) . Right here. 6 – mây phEEN lOŸ k khâ 7 – “¢‡–üÜ≠§ØÄɇΩ 8 – No it isn’t. it’s sinful. 9 40 41111 10.8 rOŸ k/lOŸ k (≠§ØÄ) 6 7 Occurs most commonly at the end of negative statements to contradict 8 the addressee’s statement or belief: 9 mây tOfl N lOŸ k 30111 1 “¢‡ï‰ØÜ≠§ØÄ 2 There’s no need.3. used when giving 9 something to someone: 20111 nîi N ay lâ khráp/khâ 1 2 ôƒ‡“ܶ‡Ωɧæõ/ɇΩ 3 Here you are! 4 5 10. 1 sÁfl a chán haay pay nay? ˇ ˇ 12111 –´»‰Øâæô≠¿£“ú“≠ô 3 Where’s my blouse disappeared to? 4 – nîi N ay yùu troN níi eeN 5 – ôƒ‡“Ü Ø£Ã‡ï§Üôƒ‰–ØÜ 6 – Here it is.10 Sentence particles 134 1111 2 Often used as a response to a statement or question to show that the 3 respondent thinks the answer is self-evident: 4 5 kháw mây yOO m khâa man 6 –Å¿“¢‡£Ø¢Ö‡¿¢æô 7 He wouldn’t kill it. of course.3.

duu sí khráp Look!. . please’). but he can’t write yet.3. It can also be used to express sarcasm: pen phOfl O tua yàaN lOŸ k –úªôü‡Øïæ®Ø£‡¿Ü≠§ØÄ or mild annoyance: He’s a model parent! pho phûut dâay eeN lOŸ k ˇm ù¢üÃî“ØÜ≠§ØÄ I can speak for myself. sí/sì/sii/sîi (ã¬/´¬/ãƒ/デ) 10. 135 . When pronounced with a short vowel and followed by a polite particle it does not convey any sense of abruptness and is widely used in polite requests (‘Do sit down.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 In positive statements it can convey a qualified or somewhat hesitant acceptance of the addressee’s statement or belief: 10.) kháw phûut thay kèN –Å¿üÃî“ó£–Ä‡Ü He speaks Thai well. . – kOfl kèN lOŸ k tEŸE yaN khı an mây pen ˇ – Ī–ćÜ≠§ØÄ —æܖŃ£ô“¢‡–úªô – Yes .9 This particle is most commonly used in commands. Take a look! phûut ìik thii sí khá üÃî؃Äóƒã¬ÉΩ Please say that again. more insistent requests and commands are conveyed when the particle is pronounced with a falling tone and longer vowel (‘Sit down!’): ch´´ n nâN sí khá –ä¬çôæ‡Üã¬ÉΩ îÃã¬É§æõ Please sit down.3 Mood particles kOfl ciN lOŸ k Ī৬Ü≠§ØÄ That’s true (but . . .

used in suggestions. can often be conveyed in English by ‘you’d/we’d better 41111 nâN sîi ôæ‡Üデ .3. ‘urging’ particle. 7 – maa sii 8 – ¢¿ãƒ 9 – Oh yes. 4 – kèN sii 5 – –ćÜム6 – Oh yes.10 th´ŸŸ /h´Ÿ (–ñ¬î/–ñØΩ/–≠ØΩ) 9 A mild.8 tion: 9 1011 pay máy? 1 “ú“≠¢ 12111 Shall we go? 3 – pay sii 4 – “úム5 – Yes. requests and 40 mild commands. 2 3 It is also used to contradict negative statements: 4 kháw khoN mây maa 5 –Å¿ÉÜ“¢‡¢¿ 6 He probably won’t come. invitations. let’s. I would. he will! 30111 1 chán phûut aN krìt mây kèN 2 âæôüÃîØæÜÄ•™“¢‡–Ä‡Ü 3 I don’t speak English well.10 Sentence particles 136 1111 2 3 Sit down! (and listen) 4 pìt pratuu sîi 5 ú√îú§ΩïÃデ 6 Shut the door! (I’ve told you once already) 7 Another use of this particle is to emphasise a positive response to a ques. 6 yàak lOON máy? 7 Ø£¿Ä¶ØÜ“≠¢ 8 Do you want to try it? 9 – yàak sii 20111 – Ø£¿Äム1 – Yes. you do! 7 8 10.

it is often preceded by kan (‘together’). It’s late.’. . . . similar in function to nO‚y but much more restricted in use. when it is used to urge someone to do something. . a reason is often given. often reduced to hE‚ in informal speech. note the idiomatic khO‹O thii: khO‡ O thôot thii ÅØ‘ó™óƒ Sorry! khO‡ O phûut thii ÅØüÃîóƒ Can I say something/get a word in? chûay pìt thii wii thii 䇮£ú√î󃮃óƒ khO‡ O thii Please turn the TV off. ‘let’s . basically meaning ‘just this once’.3. .’ . used to minimise degree of imposition on listener. depending on the context. –îƒ˝£®–ñØΩ Steady on!/Not so fast! 10. ‘why don’t you/we .1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . too. ÅØóƒ Don’t! 137 .’.3 Mood particles klàp bâan th´Ÿ dÁŸ k lE⁄Ew Ķæõõ‰¿ô–ñØΩ î∆Ä—¶‰® pay kin kan th´Ÿ You’d better go home. . when joint activity is being suggested. . .11 thii (óƒ) Polite request particle. 10. “úĬôÄæô–ñØΩ dı aw h´Ÿ ˇ Let’s go and eat.’. ‘go ahead and .

138 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . and (f) yaN (‘not yet’). (b) mí. a variant of mây. (e) plàaw (‘no’).6). aahaan mây arOŸ y ˇ Ø¿≠¿§“¢‡Ø§‡Ø£ The food isn’t tasty. 11. Verb compounds (5. used only as a negative response to .1. . no’). a negative response which contradicts the assumption in the question. .1 Negating main verbs Verbs are generally negated by the pattern mây + VERB (PHRASE): chán mây pay âæô“¢‡“ú I’m not going. see 5. For negation of ‘to be’.1. r¨⁄ yaN? questions (12. (c) yàa (‘don’t’) and (d) hâam (‘to forbid’).Chapter 11 Negation Negative words in Thai are (a) mây (‘not. both used in negative commands and prohibitions.3) also follow this pattern: chán mây plìan plEEN âæô“¢‡–ú¶ƒ‡£ô—ú¶Ü I’m not changing chán mây duu lEE kháw âæô“¢‡î–à ¶—Å¿ I don’t look after her. widely used in negative sentences and negative responses to questions.

to convey the sense that the action has not yet produced the intended result: chán duu naN yaN mây còp/chán yaN duu naN mây còp ˇ ˇ âæôîÃ≠ôæÜ£æÜ“¢‡àõ/âæô£æÜîÃ≠ôæÜ“¢‡àõ I haven’t yet finished watching the film. (what he is reading) ù¢†æÜ“¢‡óæô õØÄ“¢‡ñÄ Ã I can’t keep up. kháw haa mây c´´ ˇ He can’t find it. but are negated by the pattern VERB + (OBJECT) + mây + RESULTATIVE VERB: 11. kháw àan mây khâw cay/mây rúu rÁfl aN –ſ؇¿ô“¢‡–ʼn¿”à/“¢‡§‰Ã–§»‡ØÜ pho faN mây than ˇm He doesn’t understand.2 Negating resultative verbs raw nOO n mây làp –§¿ôØô“¢‡≠¶æõ –Å¿≠¿“¢‡–àØ We didn’t sleep.4) are superficially similar to verb compounds.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 11. or immediately before the main verb. 139 .2 Negating resultative verbs Combinations of verb + resultative verbs (5. (they’re speaking too fast) bOŸO k mây thùuk It’s hard to say. lûuk kin khâaw mây mòt ¶ÃÄĬôʼn¿®“¢‡≠¢î My kids don’t eat up all their rice. either immediately before mây. chán duu naN mây còp ˇ âæôîÃ≠ôæÜ“¢‡àõ I didn’t see the film through to the end. The word yaN can be added. chán khít mây OŸOk âæôɬ‡ØØÄ I can’t work it out.

4 5 11. must tOfl N 1 2 chán mây kh´´ y kin 3 âæô“¢‡–ɣĬô 4 I’ve never eaten it. have ever done/been 5 6 khuan (ca) É®§(àΩ) should/ought 7 ô‡¿(àΩ) should/ought nâa (ca) 8 Ø£¿Ä(àΩ) want to. the most common 12111 3 being: 4 kh´´ y –É£ used to do/be.3.2 AUXILIARY VERB + mây + VERB (PHRASE) 7 8 Auxiliary verbs which follow this pattern include: 9 ca àΩ future time marker 40 41111 Ø¿à(àΩ) may/might àat (ca) kháw tham N aan yaN mây sèt/kháw yaN tham N aan mây sèt –Å¿ó¡Ü¿ô£æÜ“¢‡–´§ªà/–Å¿£æÜó¡Ü¿ô“¢‡–´§ªà . 5 khun mây khuan (ca) sÁ⁄Á 6 ÉÀì“¢‡É®§(àΩ)ã»‰Ø 7 You shouldn’t have bought it. note that tO›N (must) 8 can occur in both patterns.3 Negating auxiliary verbs 6 7 There are three patterns for negating auxiliary verbs. but with different meanings: 9 1011 11.3. 5 6 11. 8 9 raw mây yàak (ca) klàp bâan 30111 –§¿“¢‡Ø£¿Ä(àΩ)Ķæõõ‰¿ô 1 We don’t want to go home.11 Negation 140 1111 2 3 He hasn’t yet finished work. 2 khun mây tOfl N bOŸO k kháw 3 ÉÀì“¢‡ï‰ØÜõØÄ–Å¿ 4 You don’t have to tell him/There’s no need to tell him. would like to yàak (ca) 9 20111 ï‰ØÜ have to.1 mây + AUXILIARY VERB + VERB (PHRASE) 1 A relatively small number of verbs follow this pattern.

khun tOfl N mây bOŸO k kháw ÉÀìï‰ØÜ“¢‡õØÄ–Å¿ 11.3 You must not tell him.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 khoN (ca) mák (ca) yOfl m (ca) he n ca ˇ thEfl Ep (ca) thâa ca thâa thaaN (ca) duu mÁ‡ an (ca) yOfl m (ca) tOfl N ÉÜ(àΩ) ¢æÄ(àΩ) £‡Ø¢(àΩ) –≠ªôàΩ —óõ(àΩ) ñ‰¿àΩ ó‡¿ó¿Ü(àΩ) îÖ≠¢»Øô(àΩ) £‡Ø¢(àΩ) ï‰ØÜ will probably. must 11. nearly might. it could be look like/as though look like/as though likely to. VERB (PHRASE) + mây + AUXILIARY VERB This pattern occurs with the modal verbs expressing ability and permission.2): ˇ kháw phûut thay mây pen –Å¿üÃî“󣓢‡–úªô ÉÀì“ú“¢‡“î‰ He can’t speak Thai. khun pay mây dâay You can’t go.3 Negating auxiliary verbs ù¢Ø¿ààΩ“¢‡“ú pho àat ca mây pay ˇm I might not go. 141 . pen. kháw mák ca mây chOfl O p She usually doesn’t like it.6. sure to tend to. usually likely to seems that almost. apt to have to. ˇn khun khoN ca mây so cay ÉÀìÉÜàΩ“¢‡´ô”à –Å¿¢æÄàΩ“¢‡äØõ You probably won’t be interested.3. dâay and way (5.

8 9 1011 11.4.2 To contradict an assumption 4 It does not indicate any particular tense and may refer to past or present: 5 6 bâan yùu kruN thêep l´‡ ´? 7 õ‰¿ôأÇħÀÜ–óü|≠§»Ø 8 Your house is in Bangkok. 8 phÁfl an mây dây maa 9 –ü»‡Øô“¢‡“¿ 20111 My friend didn’t come.7.11 Negation 142 1111 2 I can’t stand it.1 To form a negative past with verbs of motion.4 mây dây + VERB (PHRASE) 7 The pattern. 1 utterance. action. 1 2 3 11. mây dây + VERB (PHRASE) is used in the following cases. 3 4 5 6 11. 2 3 kháw pen fEEn l´‡ ´? 4 –Å¿–úªô—†ô≠§»Ø 5 She’s your girlfriend. then? 9 – plàaw mây dây yùu kruN thêep 30111 – –ú¶‡¿ “¢‡“î‰Ø£Ã‡Ä§ÀÜ–óü| 1 – No. 12111 3 It is not used with stative verbs or pre-verbs (5. 9 40 41111 chán thon mây way ˇ âæôóô“¢‡“≠® . she’s not.7): 4 5 ⁄ raw mây dây sÁ Á 6 –§¿“¢‡“î‰ã»‰Ø 7 We didn’t buy it. then? 6 – plàaw mây dây pen 7 – –ú¶‡¿ “¢‡“úªô 8 – No. it’s not in Bangkok. etc.4.

. 11. .1). nor . pho mây dây pen khon ameerikan ˇm ù¢“¢‡“úªôÉôØ–¢§¬Äæô I’m not an American. nor fruit. is expressed by the pattern NOUN 1 + kO› mây chây + NOUN 2 + kO› mây chEEN: phàk kOfl mây chây pho ˇnlamáay kOfl mây ch´´N ùæÄĪ“¢‡”ä‡ ù¶“¢‰Äª“¢‡–ä¬Ü It’s neither vegetable..’. nîi mây chây bâan kháw ôƒ‡“¢‡”ä‡õ‰¿ô–Å¿ This isn’t his house.5 mây chây + NOUN mây chây + NOUN negates phrases consisting of the verb pen (‘to be’) + NOUN (5.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 khun sO‡ O n phaasaa aN krìt l´‡ ´? ˇ ÉÀì´Øô°¿™¿ØæÜÄ•™≠§»Ø You taught English. not a doctor. it is often interchangeable with mây dây pen + NOUN. chán pen khruu mây chây mO‡ O âæô–úªôɧÓ¢‡”ä‡≠¢Ø –Å¿“¢‡”䇖ü»‡Øô I’m a teacher. I didn’t. See 5.5 mây chây + NOUN kháw mây dây chÁfl Á tOfl y –Å¿“¢‡“î‰ä»‡Øï‰Ø£ Her name isn’t Toi. 143 . then? – plàaw mây dây sO‡ O n – –ú¶‡¿ “¢‡“Øô – No. 11. . ‘It is neither .1: 11.4. .3 To negate the verbs chÁfl Á (‘to be named’) and pen (‘to be’). kháw mây chây phÁfl an He’s not a friend.

. mây mii aray k´Ÿ´t khÁfl n “¢‡¢ƒØΩ“§–ĬîÅ∆‰ô Nothing happened. dèt khàat chán mây chOfl O p l´´y “¢‡ . .6 mây mii mây mii (‘there are not’) is placed before a noun to form the negative quantifier ‘not any’ and ‘no’: mây mii rót mee “¢‡¢ƒ§ñ–¢¶^ There aren’t any buses. —ô‡ “¢‡ . nEfl E mây. –¶£ “¢‡ . .11 Negation 11. mây mii phÁfl an maa yîam chán “¢‡¢ƒ–ü»‡Øô¢¿–£ƒ‡£¢âæô No friends came to visit me. . . . –îªîÅ¿î not at all . not . mây mii is also used to negate the indefinite pronouns khray (‘anyone’) aray (‘anything’) and thîi na (‘anywhere’): ˇy mây mii khray rúu “¢‡¢ƒ”ɧ§Ã‰ No one knows. . . . Modifying negatives: intensifying and softening Negative statements are intensified or softened by using a ‘wrap-around’ construction in which the verb occurs between the negative word and the modifier: mây + VERB (PHRASE) + INTENSIFIER/SOFTENER. âæô“¢‡äØõ–¶£ 144 I don’t like it at all. . mây mii thîi nay thîi mOŸ ˇ “¢‡¢ƒóƒ‡“≠ô󃇖≠¢¿Ω 11. . . .7 There’s nowhere suitable. for sure absolutely not . . . l´´y mây. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . Common negative intensifiers are: mây . . . .

’) + VERB (PHRASE). . thâwrày mây (khOfl y) . naN mây khOfl y sanùk thâwrày ˇ ≠ôæÜ“¢‡É‡Ø£´ôÀĖ󇿓§ The film wasn’t much fun. . 11. or modified in various other ways by the addition of mood particles (10. m”⁄” t”‚e + CLASSIFIER + diaw (‘not . . . . nák mây (sûu) . . both can be made more emphatic (‘absolutely not.8 Negative imperatives He is not coming for sure.’) by adding pen an khàat or dèt khàat after the verb or verb phrase. See also 15. . kháw mây son cay mE⁄E tEŸe nít diaw ˇ He is not even the slightest bit interested.8 Negative imperatives Negative commands follow the pattern. . . . . . mây khO›y also commonly occurs without thâwrày or nák: chán mây khOfl y chOfl O p âæô“¢‡É‡Ø£äØõ I don’t like it very much. ôæÄ “¢‡(´Ã‰) . not very . . nák “¢‡(ɇأ) .. . or hâam (‘It’s forbidden to . .5. . not even a single . . under no circumstances. mây (khOfl y) . .1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 kháw mây maa nEfl E –Å¿“¢‡¢¿—ô‡ 11. . 145 . yàa (‘Don’t’) + VERB (PHRASE). don’t ever . A more elaborate pattern is mây . .3). yàa/hâam bOŸO k kháw (ná) Ø£‡¿/≠‰¿¢õØÄ–Å¿(ôΩ) Don’t tell him (right?). not very . . . . .’): pho mây rúucàk khray mE⁄E tEŸe khon diaw ˇm ù¢“¢‡§‰ÃàæĔɧ—¢‰—ï‡Éô–® –Å¿“¢‡´ô”à—¢‰—ï‡ô¬î–® Common softeners are: I don’t know even a single person. . . –󇿓§ “¢‡(ɇأ) . ôæÄ not very . .4. .

under any circumstances.11) are negated according to the following 1 patterns.11 Negation 146 1111 2 Don’t ever.9.9. 2 Note that mây dây is used instead of mây to negate actions in the past 3 4 (5. yàa phE›N + VERB (PHRASE) conveys the sense that it is the 5 wrong time for doing something: 6 yàa ph´^ N pìt EE ná 7 Ø£‡¿–ü¬‡Üú√î—ا^ôΩ 8 Don’t turn the air-conditioning off just yet.2 SUBJECT (human) + mây + hây + (animate OBJECT) + 7 VERB (PHRASE) 8 9 kháw mây hây phanrayaa tham N aan 40 –Å¿“¢‡”≠‰°§§£¿ó¡Ü¿ô 41111 He doesn’t let his wife work. OK? 3 yàa ph´^ N 4 Ø£‡¿–ü¬‡Ü 5 Not now! 6 7 8 11. 9 pho mây dây tham tEŸEk khráp ˇm 30111 ù¢“¢‡“î‰ó¡—ïÄɧæõ 1 I didn’t break it. 2 3 11. ring me again. yàa/hâam thoo maa ìik pen an khàat Ø£‡¿/≠‰¿¢‘󧢿؃ĖúªôØæôÅ¿î . 3 4 The pattern.7.7). OK? 9 1011 yàa ph´^ N bOŸO k kháw ná 1 Ø£‡¿–ü¬‡ÜõØÄ–Å¿ôΩ 12111 Don’t tell him just yet. 5 6 11.1 SUBJECT (human/non-human) + mây + tham + (inanimate 4 OBJECT) + VERB 5 6 ˇ khO‡ O yÁÁm nOŸ y ca mây tham sı a 7 ÅØ£»¢≠ô‡Ø£ àΩ“¢‡ó¡–´ƒ£ 8 Can I borrow it? I won’t damage it.9 Negative causatives 9 20111 Causative constructions (5.

9 Negative causatives 11. ‘forbid not to let’). It 147 . 11. phOfl O hâam chán mây hây kin lâw My father forbids me to drink alcohol. depending on whether it is the specifying verb or hây which is being negated. creating an apparent ‘double negative’ (‘refuse not to let’. When hây is preceded by a specifying verb. the object can occur after the specifying verb and before mây hây: kháw bOŸO k chán mây hây cháy N´n mâak –Å¿õØÄ“¢‡”≠‰âæô”䉖ܬô¢¿Ä ü‡Ø≠‰¿¢âæô“¢‡”≠‰Ä¬ô–≠¶‰¿ He told me not to spend a lot of money. hu nâa pàtìsèet mây hây pho laa pùay ˇa ˇm ≠æ®≠ô‰¿ú謖´ò“¢‡”≠‰ù¢¶¿ú‡®£ My boss refuses to let me take sick leave. mia tÁan mây hây kháw klàp bâan dÁŸ k –¢ƒ£–ï»Øô“¢‡”≠‰–ſĶæõõ‰¿ôî∆Ä ü‡Ø≠‰¿¢“¢‡”≠‰âæôĬô–≠¶‰¿ His wife warned him not to come home late. raw mây dây hây kháw maa We didn’t let him come.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 phOfl O mây hây lûuk klàp bâan dÁŸ k ü‡Ø“¢‡”≠‰¶ÄĶæõõ‰¿ôî∆Ä Ã –§¿“¢‡“≠‰–Å¿¢¿ The father doesn’t let his children come home late.3 SUBJECT (human) + specifying verb + mây + hây + (animate OBJECT) + VERB (PHRASE) kháw bOŸO k mây hây chán cháy N´n mâak –Å¿õØÄ“¢‡”≠‰âæô”䉖ܬô¢¿Ä He told me not to spend a lot of money. Note that in negative causative constructions pàtìsèet (‘to refuse’) and hâam (‘forbid’) occur with mây hây (and not hây on its own). such as bO‚Ok (‘to tell’). the negative can take two distinct forms and meanings. Alternatively. phOfl O hâam mây hây chán kin lâw My father forbids me to drink alcohol.9.

. . 9 20111 kháw mây dây tÁan hây raw rawaN khamooy 1 –Å¿“¢‡“–ï»Øô”≠‰–§¿§Ω®æÜÅ‘¢£ 2 He didn’t warn us to watch out for burglars.8): 2 3 phOfl O hâam chán kin lâw 4 ü‡Ø≠‰¿¢âæôĬô–≠¶‰¿ 5 My father forbids me to drink alcohol. 6 chán mây yOO m hây kháw tham yàaN nán 7 âæô“¢‡£Ø¢”≠‰–Å¿ó¡Ø£‡¿Üôæ‰ô 8 I don’t let him do that. 30111 tÁŸ Án saay mây tham hây pay tham N aan cháa ˇ 1 ﻇô´¿£“¢‡ó¡”≠‰“úó¡Ü¿ô䉿 2 Getting up late doesn’t make me late for work.9.9. 3 4 5 11.4 SUBJECT (human) + mây + specifying verb + hây + 1 (animate OBJECT) + VERB (PHRASE) 12111 3 mE^E mây anúyâat hây lûuk pay rooN rian 4 —¢‡“¢‡ØôÀç¿ï”≠‰¶Ä“ú‘§Ü–§ƒ£ô à 5 The mother does not allow her children to go to school. both in simple 1111 causative sentences and in negative imperatives (11. 3 4 11. did you?’) are formed according to 7 8 the following patterns: 9 (a) mây + VERB + lE‹E? 40 (b) mây + VERB + chây máy? 41111 (c) SUBJECT + VERB + mây chây lE‹E? .10 Negative questions 6 Negative questions (‘You didn’t .5 SUBJECT (human or non-human) + mây + tham hây + 5 (OBJECT) + VERB (PHRASE) 6 7 rót tìt yuN kàt mây tham hây chán dÁŸ at rO⁄O n 8 §ñï¬î£ÀÜÄæî“¢‡ó¡”≠‰âæô–î»ØØô 9 Traffic jams and mosquito bites don’t bother me.11 Negation 148 should also be noted that hâam can occur without hây. 6 hâam p´Ÿ´t pratuu 7 ≠‰¿¢–úƒîú§Ωïà 8 Don’t open the door! 9 1011 11.

In replying to negative questions. For negative why? questions (‘why didn’t you . I am.. nîi rót khO‡ ON khun mây chây l´‡ ´? ôƒ‡§ñÅØÜÉÀì“¢‡”ä‡≠§»Ø This is your car.7. . right? – chây (mây rúu)/mây chây (rúu) – ”ä‡ (“¢‡§‰Ã)/“¢‡”ä‡ (§Ã‰) – No (I don’t)/Yes (I do).1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Note that the question word máy? (12. often shortened to mây yaN nán or mây Nán. the word thâa (‘if’) is frequently omitted: mây yàaN nán raw ca pay ráp “¢‡Ø£‡¿Üôæ‰ô–§¿àΩ“ú§æõ ¢¬âΩôæ‰ôù¢“¢‡“ú Otherwise we’ll go and pick (her) up.11 Negative conditional clauses Negative conditional clauses (‘unless.2. Negative questions present a problem for English speakers in that yes/no answers are reversed in Thai: where in English. khun mây rúu chây máy? ÉÀì“¢‡§‰Ã”䇓≠¢ You don’t know. providing additional clarification to a yes/no response (shown in brackets in the examples) can pre-empt misunderstandings: 11.1) is not used in negative questions.2. .?’) see 12. míchànán pho mây pay ˇm 149 Otherwise I’m not going.1). míchànán (‘otherwise’) or simply mây. not’) are introduced by mây yàaN nán (‘otherwise’).1. otherwise if . .11 Negative conditional clauses khun mây sÁ⁄Á l´‡ ´? ÉÀì“¢‡ã»‰Ø≠§»Ø You’re not buying it. Thai has ‘Yes (I didn’t)’ and ‘No (I did)’. isn’t it? – chây (khO‡ ON pho ˇm)/mây chây – ”ä‡ (ÅØÜù¢)/“¢‡”ä‡ – Yes (it’s mine)/No. as in positive conditional clauses (9. 11. right? ⁄ – khráp (mây sÁ Á)/sÁ⁄Á sii khâ – ɧæõ (“¢‡ã»‰Ø)/㻉ش¬É‡Ω – No (I’m not)/Yes. we say ‘No (I didn’t)’ and ‘Yes (I did)’.

. .1. lE⁄Ew rÁ ⁄ yaN? . . Yes/no answers are dealt with in more detail in 12. mây bOŸO k kOfl chûay mây dâay Unless (you) tell (me). (I) can’t help. while for a question ending in . . then it must be tomorrow. máy? .11 Negation mây yàak pay kOfl mây tOfl N “¢‡Ø£¿Ä“úĪ“¢‡ï‰ØÜ “¢‡õØÄĪ䇮£“¢‡“î‰ If you don’t want to go. . . . rÁ⁄ plàaw? . . chây máy? . l´&´? NO answer mây + VERB mây (+ POLITE PARTICLE) mây + VERB plàaw . . . . but the following table provides a basic summary of the most likely negative responses: Questions ending in: . . . ná? mây chây mây ch´´N yaN (+ POLITE PARTICLE) yaN mây + VERB mây + VERB plàaw mây + VERB 150 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . 11. . l”⁄”w r¨⁄ yaN?. a ‘no’ answer to a question that ends in . it is yaN. . máy? is mây + VERB (PHRASE) . .12 Saying ‘no’ The negative answer to a yes/no question is determined by the question particle. for example. Thus. mây chây wan níi kOfl tOfl N pen phrûN níi “¢‡”䇮æôôƒ‰Äªï‰ØÜ–úªôü§À‡Üôƒ‰ If not today. (you) don’t have to.

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Note also the more qualified ‘no’ response. not exactly.14 Two further negatives: mí and ha . good-for-nothing (it’s) impossible (it’s) irrelevant –Å¿üÃî“¢‡–úªô–§»‡ØÜ kháw phûut mây pen rÁfl aN He’s talking nonsense. . a polite. mây chEEN (‘not really. I wouldn’t say that’): nâa bÁŸ a mâak máy? ô‡¿–õ»‡Ø¢¿Ä“≠¢ 11. are mí. 11. ˇ mây Was it very boring? – kOfl mây ch´´N – Ī“¢‡–ä¬Ü – Well. which are most likely to be encountered in written Thai. not exactly.14 Two further negatives: mí and haa . mây ˇa Two other negative forms to be aware of. without question (it’s) no good (it’s) nonsense (it’s) irrelevant (it’s) useless. kháw pen khon mây aw nay ˇ –Å¿–úªôÉô“¢‡–Ø¿“≠ô He’s a good-for-nothing.13 Useful negative expressions mây pen ray mây mii thaaN mây mii wan mây mii panhaa ˇ cháy mây dâay mây pen rÁfl aN mây khâw rÁfl aN mây aw nay ˇ pen pay mây dâay mây kìaw “¢‡–úªô“§ “¢‡¢ƒó¿Ü “¢‡¢ƒ®æô “¢‡¢ƒúæç≠¿ ”䉓¢‡“î‰ “¢‡–úªô–§»‡ØÜ “¢‡–ʼn¿–§»‡ØÜ “¢‡–Ø¿“≠ô –úªô“ú“¢‡“î‰ “¢‡–ă‡£® never mind! no way! never! no problem!. 11. rather formal variant of 151 . . . .

11 Negation 152 mây. and the ‘wrap-around’ expression. haa + VERB (PHRASE) + mây. 1111 ˇ which can seriously mislead the unsuspecting learner: 2 3 kháw tham dooy mí dây waN prayòot aray ˇ 4 –Å¿ó¡‘¬“î‰≠®æÜú§Ω‘£äô^ØΩ“§ 5 He did it without hoping for any benefit. 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . 6 7 kháw haa dây còp mahaawítthayaalay mây ˇ ˇ 8 –Å¿≠¿“î‰àõ¢≠¿®¬ó£¿¶æ£“¢‡ 9 He did not graduate from university.

1 Yes/no questions Statements are transformed into questions that require a simple yes/no answer by adding the question particles. r¨⁄ plàaw? or r¨⁄ yaN?. to the end of the statement: statement aahaan yîipùn phEEN ˇ question aahaan yîipùn phEEN máy? ˇ Ø¿≠¿§çƒ‡úÀ‡ô—üÜ –Å¿–úªô–ü»‡Øô Ø¿≠¿§çƒ‡úÀ‡ô—üÜ“≠¢ –Å¿–úªô–ü»‡Øô”䇓≠¢ Japanese food is expensive.1. Is Japanese food expensive? kháw pen phÁfl an chây máy? He’s a friend.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Chapter 12 Questions 12. 12. . the appropriate way of saying yes/no is determined by the question particle used. máy?.1 . máy? questions máy? is an information-seeking question particle used in neutral questions which do not anticipate either a positive or negative response. is he? There is no single word for ‘yes’ and for ‘no’. kháw pen phÁfl an He’s a friend. . ná?. Answers to simple máy? questions are formed as follows: Yes: VERB No: mây + VERB klay máy? “Ķ“≠¢ Is it far? 153 . lE‹E?. chây máy?.

If the question includes more than one verb. Note that máy? when used alone does not occur in negative questions (11. 12.12 Questions – klay/mây klay – “Ķ/“¢‡“Ķ – Yes/No. in normal speech it is pronounced with a high tone. . kháw chOfl O p l´‡ ´? –Å¿äØõ≠§»Ø 154 He likes it. the first verb is normally used in responses: yàak pay duu naN máy? ˇ Ø£¿Ä“úîÃ≠ôæÜ“≠¢ Would you like to go and see a film? – yàak/mây yàak – Ø£¿Ä/“¢‡Ø£¿Ä – Yes/No.2 . Answers to lE‹E? questions are formed as follows: Yes: khráp/khâ (+ VERB) or VERB + khráp/khâ mây + VERB or plàaw + khráp/khâ (+ mây + VERB) * No: *Note plàaw conveys a stronger sense of denying the assumption made in the question./No.1. he doesn’t like it at all. it may be followed by a further clarifying statement. l´&´ /rÁ&Á? questions lE‹E? is a confirmation-seeking question particle used in questions which make an assumption and seek confirmation of that assumption. to avoid abruptness.10). . Although the question particle máy? is written in Thai script as if it had a rising tone. does he? – khráp chOfl O p – ɧæõ äØõ – Yes. – mây chOfl O p/plàaw khâ mây chOfl O p l´´y –“¢‡äØõ/–ú¶‡¿É‡Ω “¢‡äØõ–¶£ – No. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .

it is written in Thai script as if it were pronounced r¨‹¨. It’s a nice day today. 12. (For other uses of ná. . 155 .1 Yes/no questions 12. châi máy? also commonly occurs in negative questions (11.1. . mây rO⁄O n khâ (khráp) “¢‡§‰ØôɇΩ(ɧæõ) – No. isn’t she? – chây/mây chây – ”ä‡/“¢‡”ä‡ – Yes/No.10) and in isolation. 12.1. isn’t it? – khâ (khráp)/rO⁄O n khâ (khráp) – ɇΩ(ɧæõ)/§‰ØôɇΩ(ɧæõ) – Yes. isn’t it?). .4 . it is commonly used in conversation-initiating questions. chây máy? questions chây máy? questions are similar to lE‹E? questions (12.1. see 10. .2) in that they seek confirmation of the assumption made in the question. although this pronunciation is seldom heard. where it means ‘Really?’.3 .) Answers to ná? questions are formed as follows: Yes: khráp/khâ or VERB + khráp/khâ mây + VERB + khráp/khâ No: wan níi rO⁄O n ná? ®æôôƒ‰§‰ØôôΩ It’s hot today. ná? questions ná? is an agreement-seeking question particle used in questions which invite agreement with the preceding statement (e. Answers to chây máy? questions are formed as follows: Yes: No: chây mây chây mEfl E pen khon thay chây máy? —¢‡–úªôÉô“ó£”䇓≠¢ Your mother is Thai.3. rather than to confirm whether or not the statement is true.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 lE‹E? commonly occurs in negative questions (11.10).g.

. although not as brusque as the English translation 3 (‘. 9 kháw bÁŸ a rÁ⁄ plàaw? 20111 –Å¿–õ»‡Ø≠§»Ø–ú¶‡¿ 1 Is he bored (or not)? 2 – bÁŸ a/mây bÁŸ a or plàaw mây bÁŸ a 3 4 – –õ»‡Ø/“¢‡–õ»‡Ø or –ú¶‡¿ “¢‡–õ»‡Ø 5 – Yes/No. rÁ⁄ plàaw? questions . . stative verbs (5. or not?’) suggests. demand a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. . . Answers 4 5 to r¨⁄ plàaw? questions are formed as follows: 6 If the question refers to the present or future: 7 8 Yes: VERB 9 No: mây + VERB 1011 or 1 plàaw (+ mây + VERB) 12111 3 khun ca pay rÁ ⁄ plàaw? 4 ÉÀìàΩ“ú≠§»Ø–ú¶‡¿ 5 Are you going (or not)? 6 – pay/mây pay 7 – “ú/“¢‡“ú 8 – Yes/No.12 Questions 156 1111 2 r¨⁄ plàaw? questions.5 .2) behave differently to 7 other verbs: 8 9 Yes: VERB + lE⁄Ew 30111 or 1 STATIVE VERB (+ khráp/khâ) 2 No: mây dây + VERB 3 or 4 plàaw + khráp/khâ (+ mây dây + VERB) 5 or 6 mây + STATIVE VERB 7 or 8 plàaw + khráp/khâ (+ mây + STATIVE VERB) 9 40 41111 12.1. 6 If the question refers to the past.

6 . with the negative response yaN often expanded to avoid sounding too abrupt: Yes: No: VERB + lE⁄Ew yaN khráp/khâ expanded by either yaN mây dây + VERB or yaN mây + STATIVE VERB Ĭôʼn¿®(—¶‰®)≠§»Ø£æÜ kin khâaw (lE⁄Ew) rÁ ⁄ yaN? Have you eaten yet? – kin lE⁄Ew/yaN khráp(khâ) yaN mây dây kin – Ĭô—¶‰®/£æÜɧæõ(ɇΩ) £æÜ“¢‡“î‰Ä¬ô – Yes/No. khun bÁŸ a rÁ ⁄ plàaw? 12. . Were you bored (or not)? – bÁŸ a/mây bÁŸ a or plàaw khráp (khâ) mây bÁŸ a.6) is spelt as if it were pronounced r¨‹ ¨. I haven’t. or –ú¶‡¿É§æõ(ɇΩ) “¢‡–õ»‡Ø As an alternative to r¨⁄ plàaw? (‘. . 157 .1. . . (lE ⁄E w) rÁ ⁄ yaN ? questions (l”⁄”w) r¨⁄ yaN? questions ask whether something has happened yet. answers follow the same pattern as for r¨⁄ plàaw? questions: khun ca pay rÁ⁄ mây? ÉÀìàΩ“ú≠§»Ø“¢‡ Are you going or not? Note that r¨⁄ in r¨⁄ plàaw? and r¨⁄ yaN? (12.1 Yes/no questions ÉÀì–õ»‡Ø≠§»Ø–ú¶‡¿ – –õ»‡Ø/“¢‡–õ»‡Ø – Yes/No.1. the word l”⁄”w (‘already’) is often omitted in spoken Thai. 12. Answers to (l”⁄”w) r¨⁄ yaN? questions are formed as follows. or not?’) questions can also be formed using r¨⁄ mây?.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 khun bOŸO k kháw rÁ⁄ plàaw? ÉÀìõØÄ–Å¿≠§»Ø–ú¶‡¿ Did you tell him (or not)? – bOŸO k lE⁄Ew/mây dây bOŸO k – õØÄ—¶‰®/“¢‡“î‰õØÄ – Yes/No.

12.1. (l”⁄”w) r¨⁄ yaN? questions are also used to ask whether someone is married or has children: khun tEŸN N aan (lE⁄Ew) rÁ⁄ yaN? ÉÀì—ï‡ÜÜ¿ô(—¶‰®)≠§»Ø£æÜ Are you married? ⁄ – tEŸN lE Ew/yaN khráp yaN mây tEŸN – —ï‡Ü—¶‰®/£æÜɧæõ £æÜ“¢‡—ï‡Ü – Yes/No. yet?’ or ‘Are you ready to . kháw mii lûuk (lE⁄Ew) rÁ ⁄ yaN? –Å¿¢ƒ¶Ä(—¶‰®)≠§»Ø£æÜ Ã Do they have any children? – mii lE ⁄Ew/yaN khráp yaN mây mii – ¢ƒ—¶‰®/£æÜɧæõ £æÜ“¢‡¢ƒ – Yes/No. yet?’ Answers to ca + VERB + r¨⁄ yaN? questions are formed as follows: Yes: VERB or ca + VERB + lE⁄Ew yaN khráp/khâ or yaN mây + VERB No: 158 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .6) are those that have the pattern ca + VERB + r¨⁄ yaN? This construction refers not to past actions. . . .12 Questions ⁄ phOO (lE Ew) rÁ ⁄ yaN? üØ(—¶‰®)≠§»Ø£æÜ Is that enough? – phOO lE⁄Ew/yaN yaN mây phOO – üØ—¶‰®/£æÜ £æÜ“¢‡üØ – Yes/No. .7 ca . Note that r¨⁄ is spelt as if it were pronounced r¨‹ ¨.1. rÁ⁄ yaN ? questions Superficially similar to (l”⁄”w) r¨⁄ yaN? questions (see 12. I’m not. . but conveys the meaning ‘Do you want to . they don’t. .

the answer will be PERSON + (VERB (PHRASE)): khun pay kàp khray? ÉÀì“úÄæõ”ɧ – (“ú)Äæõ–ü»‡Øô – With a friend. Many of the Wh.questions are answered by substituting the response word in the position in the sentence that the question word occupies.question words also function as indefinite pronouns (‘anyone’. not yet. then the answer will be (VERB) + PERSON.8). where?. 12. etc. which?. see 4. Who are you going with? – (pay) kàp phÁfl an 159 .question words (who?. In Thai the position of some question words varies according to their grammatical function in the sentence.2. what?. when?. how?) normally occur at the beginning of the question. Most Wh. while others have a fixed position. ca klàp bâan rÁ⁄ yaN? 12.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 ca kin rÁ ⁄ yaN? àΩĬô≠§»Ø£æÜ Are you ready to eat yet? – kin or ca kin lE⁄Ew/yaN khráp yaN mây kin – Ĭô or àΩĬô—¶‰®/£æÜɧæõ £æÜ“¢‡Ä¬ô – Yes/No. ‘anything’. why?.questions In English the Wh. 12. while if the question is khray? + VERB (PHRASE).2 Wh. if the question pattern is VERB + khray?. not yet..1 Who? questions The position of the question word khray? (‘who?’) is determined by its grammatical function in the sentence.2 Whquestions àΩĶæõõ‰¿ô≠§»Ø£æÜ Are you ready to go home yet? – klàp or ca klàp lE⁄Ew/yaN khâ yaN mây klàp – Ķæõ or àΩĶæõ–¶‰®/£æÜɇΩ £æÜ“¢‡Ä¶æõ – Yes/No.

khO‹ON (‘of’) is often omitted.7. if there is no preceding noun. 12.12 Questions khray sO‡ O n? ”ɧ´Øô Who taught you? – aacaan maanát (sO‡ O n) – Acharn Manat (did).5): kháw chÁfl Á aray? –ſ仇ØØΩ“§ What’s her name? – chÁfl Á tO& y – 仇Øï˝Ø£ – Her name is Toi. when there is a preceding noun.3 What? questions What? questions are formed using the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + aray? (‘what?’). nîi khO‡ ON khray? ôƒ‡ÅØܔɧ Whose is this? – khO‡ ON pho ˇm – ÅØÜù¢ – It’s mine. however.2. however. it may not be omitted: bâan (khO‡ ON ) khray? õ‰¿ô(ÅØÜ)”ɧ Whose house? – bâan (khO‡ ON ) raw/khO‡ ON raw – õ‰¿ô(ÅØÜ)–§¿/ÅØÜ–§¿ – Our house/Ours. – ؿ࿧£^¢¿ôæ´(´Øô) 12.3) and directional verbs (5.12). that aray? occurs before the aspect marker yùu (5.2 Whose? questions Whose? questions are formed by the pattern NOUN + (khO‹ON) + khray (see also 3.2.5. 160 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . note.

2 Whquestions ⁄ khun sÁ Á aray maa? ÉÀì㻉ØØΩ“§¢¿ –ĬîØΩ“§Å∆‰ô What did you buy? k´Ÿ´t aray khÁfl n? What’s happening? Note also the common idiomatic expression: aray kan? ØΩ“§Äæô What’s up? Some English ‘What?’ questions use yaNNay? (‘How?’) rather than aray (see 12. ˇ khun khuy kàp phûuyı N khon nay? ˇ ÉÀìÉÀ£ÄæõùÉ≠ç¬ÜÉô“≠ô Which girl did you chat with? – (khuy kàp) khon yîipùn – (ÉÀ£Äæõ)Éô烇úÀ‡ô – (I chatted with) the Japanese one. 12. 161 .4 Which? questions Which? questions are formed using the pattern VERB + (NOUN) + CLASSIFIER + na (‘which?’): ˇy? aw náN sÁ‡ Á lêm nay? ˇ –Ø¿≠ôæÜ´»Ø–¶‡¢“≠ô Which book do you want? – aw lêm nán – –Ø¿–¶‡¢ôæ‰ô – I want that one. 12.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 khun tham aray yùu? ÉÀìó¡ØΩ“§Ø£Ã‡ What are you doing? – duu thii wii yùu – îÃ󃮃أÇ – Watching TV.8).2.2.

thîi is normally dropped when the preceding verb is pay (‘to go’) or maa càak (‘to come from’).5 Where? questions Where? questions are formed using the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + thîi nay? (‘where?’). Answers ˇ ˇ follow the pattern (VERB (PHRASE) +) thîi + LOCATION: khun phák yùu thîi nay? ˇ ÉÀìüæÄأÇ󃇓≠ô Where are you staying? – (phák yùu) thîi rooN rEEm riinoo – (üæÄأÇ)󃇑§Ü–§¢§ƒ‘ô – (I’m staying) at the Reno Hotel. ˇ kháw k´Ÿ´t thîi nay? –Å¿–Ĭî󃇓≠ô Where was he born? – (k´Ÿ´t) thîi kruN thêep – (–Ĭî)óƒ‡Ä§ÀÜ–óü| – (He was born) in Bangkok.2. In both questions and answers. 12. in spoken Thai thîi is also often dropped when the preceding verb is yùu (‘to be situated at’): pay nay? ˇ “ú“≠ô Where are you going? – pay sÁ⁄Á khO‡ ON – “ú㻉ØÅØÜ – I’m going shopping. 162 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .12 Questions kháw klàp wan nay? ˇ –ſĶæõ®æô“≠ô Which day is he returning? – (klàp) wan aathít – (Ķæõ)®æôØ¿ó¬ï£^ – (He is returning) on Sunday. thîi nay? always occurs at the end of a sentence.

2.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 kháw maa càak nay? ˇ –Å¿¢¿à¿Ä“≠ô Where does he come from? – (maa càak) chiaN mày 12. answers follow the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + EXPRESSION OF TIME. the word th¨‹ N.2. a colloquial variant of c¨N (‘therefore’) is optional but extremely common in spoken 163 . 12. bâan yùu nay? ˇ õ‰¿ôأÇ“≠ô Where is your house? – yùu thano sùkhu ˇn ˇmwít – أÇñôô´ÀÅÀ¢®¬ó – It’s on Sukhumwit Road.2 Whquestions – (¢¿à¿Ä)–䃣ܔ≠¢‡ – (He comes from) Chiangmai.7 Why? questions Why? questions are formed using the basic pattern thammay (‘why?’) + (SUBJECT) + (th¨‹ N) + VERB (PHRASE). khun ca bOŸO k kháw mÁfl arày? ÉÀìàΩõØÄ–Å¿–¢»‡Ø“§ –¢»‡Ø“§ÉÀìàΩõØÄ–Å¿ When are you going to tell her? mÁfl arày khun ca bOŸO k kháw? When are you going to tell her? 12.6 When? questions When? questions are formed using the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + m¨›arày? (‘when?’). but may occur at the beginning for emphatic effect: khun klàp mÁfl arày? ÉÀìĶæõ–¢»‡Ø“§ When are you returning? – (klàp) aathít nâa – (Ķæõ)Ø¿ó¬ï£^≠ô‰¿ – (I’m returning) next week. m¨›arày? normally occurs at the end of a sentence.

?’) follow a similar pattern: thammay + (SUBJECT) + (th¨‹ N) + mây (‘not’) + VERB (PHRASE). thammay kháw thÁ‡ N mây kin? ó¡“¢–Å¿ñ∆Ü“¢‡Ä¬ô – –ü§¿Ω(®‡¿)–ùªî“ú – Because it was too spicy.12 Questions Thai.3) is frequently added: chán plìan cay lE⁄Ew âæô–ú¶ƒ‡£ô”à—¶‰® I’ve changed my mind. .2. 164 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . the final particle lâ? (see10.8 How? questions: manner How? questions in English can be divided into those of manner (‘How did you get there?’) and those of degree (‘How long is it?’). . usually in an informal context: Why didn’t he eat it? – phrO⁄ (wâa) phèt pay bOŸO k thammay? õØÄó¡“¢ Why did you tell her? To ask ‘Why?’ in response to a statement. – thammay lâ? – ó¡“¢¶‡Ω – Why? 12.3.9. Why? questions are answered by phrO⁄ (wâa) (‘because’) + VERB (PHRASE): thammay thÁ‡ N sÁ⁄Á? ó¡“¢ñ∆Üã»‰Ø Why did you buy it? – phrO⁄ (wâa) thùuk – –ü§¿Ω(®‡¿)ñÃÄ – Because it was cheap. Negative why? questions (‘Why doesn’t he . the latter are dealt with in 12.2. thammay? can also occur at the end of the sentence.

65 metres’. yaNNay? is written as if it were spelt yàaNray. 12. such as ‘1. How long (in measurement)? and How wide? follow the pattern MEASURE WORD + thâwrày? (‘how much?’).1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Questions of manner follow the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + yaNNay? (‘how?’). etc. such questions anticipate a specific numerical response. ‘2 hours’. khun pay naan thâwrày? ÉÀì“úô¿ô–󇿓§ nàk thâwrày? How long are you going for? ≠ôæĖ󇿓§ ´Ãܖ󇿓§ How heavy is it? su N thâwrày? ˇu How tall is it? 165 .9 How? questions: degree Some questions of degree. How long (in time)?. such as How tall?. but in informal speech the normal pronunciation yaNNay? may be reduced to simply Nay?.2.2 Whquestions kin yaNN ay? ĬôØ£‡¿Ü“§ How do you eat it? khı an yaNN ay? ˇ –Ń£ôØ£‡¿Ü“§ pen N ay? How do you write it? –úªôØ£‡¿Ü“§ How are things? yaNNay? is sometimes used when English uses ‘What?’: khun wâa yaNN ay? ÉÀ쮇¿Ø£‡¿Ü“§ What do you think? khun ca tham yaNN ay? ÉÀìàΩó¡Ø£‡¿Ü“§ What will you do? 12.

6 7 ˇ phEEN mâak khEfl E nay? 8 —üÜ¢¿Ä—ɇ“≠ô 9 How expensive is it? 20111 – phEEN mâak yàaN mây nâa chÁfl a 1 – —üÜ¢¿ÄØ£‡¿Ü“¢‡ô‡¿–ä»‡Ø 2 – Unbelievably expensive. . .10 How much? questions 6 7 How much? questions are formed using the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + 8 thâwrày? (‘how much?’).2.12 Questions 166 How? questions which do not necessarily anticipate a precise numerical 1111 quantification in the response can be formed by the pattern VERB 2 (PHRASE) + mâak kh”›” na (‘to what extent?’): ˇy? 3 4 bÁŸ a mâak khEfl E nay? ˇ 5 –õ»‡Ø¢¿Ä—ɇ“≠ô 6 How bored were you? 7 – bÁŸ a mâak ciN ciN 8 – –õ»‡Ø¢¿Ä৬Ü& 9 – I was really bored. thâwrày? always occurs at the end of the 9 question: 30111 1 nîi thâwrày? 2 ôƒ‡–󇿓§ 3 How much is this? 4 khun sÁ⁄Á thâwrày? 5 ÉÀì㻉ؖ󇿓§ 6 How much did you buy it for? 7 8 kháw khaay bâan thâwrày? ˇ 9 –Å¿Å¿£õ‰¿ô–󇿓§ 40 How much did they sell the house for? 41111 . 3 4 5 12. ´®£–≠¢»ØôÄæô 5 – Well . quite good-looking. 1011 ˇ su mâak khEfl E nay? ˇay 1 ´®£¢¿Ä—ɇ“≠ô 12111 How good-looking is she? 3 – kOfl O . . su mÁ‡ an kan ˇay 4 – Ī . . . .

the answer normally consists of NUMBER + CLASSIFIER: aw kaafEE kìi thûay? –Ø¿Ä¿—†Äƒ‡ñ‰®£ How many cups of coffee do you want? – sO‡ ON thûay – ´ØÜñ‰®£ – Two. are formed using the pattern (NOUN +) CLASSIFIER + la thâwrày? (see also 13.11 How many? questions How many? questions follow the pattern VERB + (NOUN) + kìi (‘how many?’) + CLASSIFIER.11): 12.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Questions which ask ‘how much per . pay kìi wan? “ú㇮æô How many days are you going for? – cèt wan – –àªî®æô – Seven.2.2 Whquestions sôm loo la thâwrày? ´‰¢‘¶¶Ω–󇿓§ –î»Øô¶Ω–󇿓§ Éô¶Ω–󇿓§ How much are oranges a kilo? dÁan la thâwrày? How much a month? khon la thâwrày? How much per person? 12. 167 . . mii lûuk kìi khon? ¢ƒ¶Äă‡Éô à How many children do you have? – saam khon ˇ – ´¿¢Éô – Three. ?’. .

9 khun pay thîaw thîi nay bâaN? ˇ 40 ÉÀì“ú–󃇣®óƒ‡“≠ôõ‰¿Ü 41111 12.questions + bâaN 2 The pattern VERB (PHRASE) + WH. Oot and Jiap. ginger and fish.2. 2 N? khuy kàp khray bâa 3 4 ÉÀ£Äæõ”ɧõ‰¿Ü 5 Who (plural) did you chat with? 6 – (khuy kàp) nók úut lE⁄Ew kOfl cíap 7 – (ÉÀ£Äæõ)ôÄ ØÃÁî —¶‰®Äª–àƒÁ£õ 8 – (I chatted with) Nok.12 Wh. etc. the list is normally expressed 4 5 as X + Y + l”⁄”w kO› (‘and’) + Z: 6 kháw sÁ⁄Á aray bâaN? 7 –ſ㻉ØØΩ“§õ‰¿Ü 8 What (plural) did he buy? 9 ˇ – (sÁ⁄Á) phàk khı N lE⁄Ew kOfl plaa 30111 – (㻉Ø)ùæÄ Å¬Ü —¶‰®Äªú¶¿ 1 – (He bought) vegetables.2.12 Questions 168 1111 2 The pattern VERB (PHRASE) + WH. people. places.questions + dii Where (plural) did you go? . in the response.QUESTION + bâaN anticipates a list 3 of things.QUESTION + dii is used for asking 3 4 advice: 5 sÁ⁄Á aray dii? 6 㻉ØØΩ“§îƒ 7 What shall I/we buy? 8 9 pay mÁfl arày dii? 1011 “ú–¢»‡Ø“§îƒ 1 When shall I/we go? 12111 tham yaNN ay dii? 3 ó¡Ø£‡¿Ü“§îƒ 4 What shall I/we do? 5 NN ay dii? phûut ya 6 7 üÃîØ£‡¿Ü“§îƒ 8 How shall I say it?/What shall I say? 9 20111 1 12.13 Wh.

2. . such as ‘Fine’.? questions How/What about .3 Alternative questions The question pen yaNNay bâaN? (‘How are things?’) when used as a greeting. it is often reduced to pen Nay bâaN or pen Nay: pen yaNN ay bâaN? –úªôØ£‡¿Ü“§õ‰¿Ü How are things? – sabaay dii khráp/khâ – ´õ¿£îƒÉ§æõ/ɇΩ – Fine. . . . 12. 12. requires a simple formula response.3 Alternative questions Alternative questions (Do you want tea or coffee?) link two phrases with r¨‹ ¨ (‘or’) which in spoken Thai is normally pronounced r¨⁄: pay duu naN rÁ⁄ klàp bâan? ˇ “úîÃ≠ôæÜ≠§»ØĶæõõ‰¿ô Shall we see a film or go home? 169 .14 How/what about . Burma and China.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 – (pay thîaw) laaw phamâa lE⁄Ew kOfl ciin – (“ú–󃇣®)¶¿® ü¢‡¿ —¶‰®Äªàƒô – (I went to) Laos.? is used as a non-initiating question when the topic of conversation is defined and the kind of information to be supplied is understood by both parties. it is formed by the pattern: l”⁄”w + NOUN + lâ?: lE⁄Ew khun lâ? —¶‰®ÉÀ춇Ω And how/what about you? lE⁄Ew phÁfl an lâ? —¶‰®–ü»‡Øô¶‡Ω And how/what about your friend? lE⁄Ew phrûN níi lâ? —¶‰®ü§À‡Üôƒ‰¶‡Ω And how/what about tomorrow? 12.

klàp bâan ‘Go home’.4 Indirect questions Indirect questions are formed by the pattern: SUBJECT + thaam (‘to ask’) + ˇ (DIRECT OBJECT) + wâa (‘that’) + DIRECT QUESTION: Direct question ca klàp khÁÁn níi máy? àΩĶæõÉ»ôôƒ‰“≠¢ Will you be back tonight? Indirect question kháw thaam wâa ca klàp khÁÁn níi máy? ˇ –Å¿ñ¿¢®‡¿àΩĶæõÉ»ôôƒ‰“≠¢ Direct question mii fEEn rÁ⁄ yaN? He asked if I’d be back tonight. you repeat the appropriate phrase.g. buy – not – buy) These could be expanded using r¨⁄ to ca pay r¨⁄ ca mây pay? (will – go – or – will – not – go) and ca s¨⁄¨ r¨⁄ ca mây s¨⁄¨? (will – buy – or – will – not – buy). 12. A much-contracted form of alternative question common in spoken Thai is formed by VERB + mây + VERB: pay mây pay? “ú“¢‡“ú Are you going or not? (lit. ¢ƒ—†ô≠§»Ø£æÜ Do you have a boyfriend? Indirect question pho thaam kháw wâa mii fEEn rÁ⁄ yaN? ˇm ˇ ù¢ñ¿¢–Å¿®‡¿¢ƒ—†ô≠§»Ø£æÜ 170 I asked her if she had a boyfriend.12 Questions aw nám chaa rÁ⁄ kaafEE? –Ø¿ô‰¡ä¿≠§»ØÄ¿—† Do you want tea or coffee? To reply to such questions. go – not – go) sÁ⁄Á mây sÁ⁄Á? 㻉ؓ¢‡ã»‰Ø Are you going to buy it or not? (lit. e. aw kaaf”” (‘I’ll have coffee’). see 5. For indirect speech. 9. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .3.9.

7 number ten ≠‰ØÜ–õا^£ƒ‡´¬õ´¿¢ room no. most commonly with telephone numbers and room numbers. has a more restricted usage. measurement and quantification The most common word for ‘number’ in Thai is lêek. It is also often prefixed by ma ˇay. lêek faràN lêek thay lêek khûu lêek khîi lêek thîi kâaw bâan lêek thîi cèt maay lêek thîi sìp ˇ –¶Åû§æ‡Ü –¶Å“ó£ –¶ÅÉÇ –¶ÅɃ‡ –¶Å󃇖ĉ¿ õ‰¿ô–¶Å󃇖àªî ≠¢¿£–¶Å󃇴¬õ Arabic numbers Thai numbers even number odd number number nine house no. ‘house number 38’ and so on.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Chapter 13 Numbers. 23 b´´ thoorasàp hOfl N b´´ yîi sìp saam ˇ –õا^‘ó§©æüó^ telephone number phÁfl an camnuan nÁŸ N –ü»‡Øôà¡ô®ô≠ô∆‡Ü a number of friends 171 . camnuan means ‘number’ in the sense of ‘quantity’ or in expressions like ‘a number of my friends’. It is commonly followed by thîi in expressions like ‘number nine’. The word bEE. from English ‘number’.

which uses yîi instead of sO‹ON: 20 30 40 50 172 yîi sìp saam sìp ˇ sìi sìp hâa sìp hòk sìp 60 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .13 Numbers. eleven is irregular. Thai script numerals are identical to those found in the Cambodian script. using èt instead of n¨‚N: 11 12 13 14 sìp èt sìp sO‡ ON sìp saam ˇ sìp sìi ´¬õ–Øªî ´¬õ´ØÜ ´¬õ´¿¢ ´¬õ´ƒ‡ £ƒ‡´¬õ ´¿¢´¬õ ´ƒ‡´¬õ ≠‰¿´¬õ ≠Ä´¬õ Multiples of 10 up to 90 use sìp (‘ten’) as a suffix and are regular with the exception of ‘twenty’. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 su ˇun nÁŸ N sO‡ ON saam ˇ sìi hâa hòk cèt pEŸEt kâaw sìp ©Ãô£^^ ≠ô∆‡Ü ´ØÜ ´¿¢ ´ƒ‡ ≠‰¿ ≠Ä –àªî —úî –Ä‰¿ ´¬õ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 20 30 40 50 60 Numbers 12–19 are formed regularly using sìp + UNIT. measurement and quantification 13. while the Lao script employs some but not all of the same number symbols.1 Cardinal numbers Both Thai and Arabic numbers are in common everyday use.

000 100. 41.000.1 Cardinal numbers Numbers between 10 and 100 are formed in a regular way with the exception of 21. where the word for ‘one’ is èt and not n¨‚N. 31. etc.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 70 80 90 cèt sìp pEŸEt sìp kâaw sìp –àªî´¬õ 70 —úî´¬õ 80 –ĉ¿´¬õ 90 13.000 (nÁŸN) rO ⁄O y (nÁŸN) rO ⁄O y èt (nÁŸN) rO ⁄O y sO&O N (nÁŸN) phan (nÁŸN) phan (kàp) sO&O N (nÁŸN) phan sO&O N (rO ⁄O y) (nÁŸN) mÁŸÁn (nÁŸN) sE&En (nÁŸN) láan (≠ô∆‡Ü) (≠ô∆‡Ü) (≠ô∆‡Ü) (≠ô∆‡Ü) (≠ô∆‡Ü) (≠ô∆‡Ü) (≠ô∆‡Ü) (≠ô∆‡Ü) (≠ô∆‡Ü) §‰Ø£ §‰Ø£–Øªî §‰Ø£´ØÜ üæô üæô(Äæõ)´ØÜ üæô´ØÜ(§‰Ø£) ≠¢»‡ô —´ô ¶‰¿ô 173 . yîi sìp is often contracted to yîip in informal spoken Thai: 21 22 23 31 32 33 41 42 51 yîi sìp èt (yîip èt) yîi sìp sO‡ ON (yîip sO‡ ON ) yîi sìp saam (yîip saam) ˇ ˇ saam sìp èt ˇ saam sìp sO‡ ON ˇ saam sìp saam ˇ ˇ sìi sìp èt sìi sìp sO‡ ON hâa sìp èt £ƒ‡´¬õ–Øªî £ƒ‡´¬õ´ØÜ £ƒ‡´¬õ´¿¢ ´¿¢´¬õ–Øªî ´¿¢´¬õ´ØÜ ´¿¢´¬õ´¿¢ ´ƒ‡´¬õ–Øªî ´ƒ‡´¬õ´ØÜ ≠‰¿´¬õ–تî 21 22 23 31 32 33 41 42 51 Numbers from 100 upwards are also formed regularly.000 1. but in addition to words for ‘thousand’ and ‘million’. In numbers 21–29. there are also specific words for ‘ten thousand’ (m¨‚¨n) and ‘hundred thousand’ (s”‹”n): 100 101 102 1000 1002 1200 10.

3.13 Numbers.5. 1 12111 3 13.8 mation. are read as in the following examples. years 1111 may be prefaced by pii (‘year’): 2 3 ⁄ 1986 (pii) nÁŸ N phan kâaw rOO y pEŸEt sìp hòk 4 2541 (pii) sO‡ ON phan hâa rO⁄O y sìi sìp èt 5 6 75. 4 raw khuy kan sàk chûamooN thâwnán 5 –§¿ÉÀ£Äæô´æÄä懮‘¢Ü–ó‡¿ôæ‰ô 6 We chatted for just an hour.2 Cardinal numbers with sàk and tâN 4 5 sàk + CARDINAL NUMBER + CLASSIFIER conveys the sense of ‘as little/ 6 few as’.5. 1 tâN + CARDINAL NUMBER + CLASSIFIER conveys the idea of ‘as 2 much/many as’: 3 4 kháw khuy kan tâN saam chûamooN ˇ 5 –Å¿ÉÀ£Äæôïæ‰Ü´¿¢ä懮‘¢Ü 6 They chatted for as long as three hours.862 cèt mÁŸ Án hâa phan pEŸEt rO ⁄O y hòk sìp sO‡ ON 7 ⁄ 432.1. 41111 . 7 8 kháw rian tâN hâa pii lE⁄Ew 9 –Å¿–§ƒ£ôïæ‰Ü≠‰¿ú≈—¶‰® 40 He has studied for as long as five years. or so.925 sìi sE‡ En saam mÁŸ Án sO‡ ON phan kâaw rOO y yîi sìp hâa ˇ 8 9 When a cardinal number occurs with a noun. measurement and quantification 174 Numbers.5. it is 9 understood that ‘one’ has been omitted: 20111 1 pho pay sàk hâa wan ˇm 2 ù¢“ú´æÄ≠‰¿®æô 3 I’m going for five days. 3. ‘merely’ or ‘just’. sometimes it simply conveys the idea of approxi. and is often reinforced by thâwnán (‘only’) at 7 the end of the phrase.8). 7 8 raw yàak mii lûuk sàk khon sO‡ ON khon 9 –§¿Ø£¿Ä¢ƒ¶Ä´æÄÉô´ØÜÉô à 30111 We’d like to have a child or two. When sàk occurs before a classifier with no number word.5. the appropriate classifier 1011 must also be used (3. including the year.

thîi + CARDINAL NUMBER: thîi nÁŸ N thîi sO‡ ON thîi saam ˇ óƒ‡≠ô∆‡Ü 󃇴ØÜ óƒ‡´¿¢ first second third When an ordinal number occurs with a noun.9).1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Both sàk and tâN can be used with other.5. the appropriate classifier must also be used (3. 3. non-numerical quantifier words such as ‘a little’ and ‘a long time’: 13.3. the word thii (‘time’) is a noun. pronounced with a mid-tone. Ordinal numbers Ordinal numbers in Thai are formed by the pattern. .3 Ordinal numbers rOO ìik sàk nOŸ y dâay máy? §Ø؃ĴæÄ≠ô‡Ø£“≠¢ Can you wait a little longer? pho mây dây phóp kháw tâN naan ˇm ù¢“¢‡“î‰üõ–Å¿ïæ‰Üô¿ô 13. not the location marker thîi (‘at’): thii r Efl Ek chán mây chOfl Op kháw óƒ—§Äâæô“¢‡äØõ–Å¿ 175 At first I didn’t like him.3 I haven’t met him for a long time.5. The word r”›”k also means ‘first’. It is therefore not always interchangeable with thîi n¨‚N: khráN thîi nÁŸ N /khráN rEfl Ek ɧæ‰Üóƒ‡≠ô∆‡Ü/ɧæ‰Ü—§Ä the first time But: raaN wan thîi nÁŸ N §¿Ü®æ¶óƒ‡≠ô∆‡Ü the first (top) prize raaN wan (khráN) rEfl Ek §¿Ü®æ¶(ɧæ‰Ü)—§Ä the inaugural prize Note that in the expression thii r”›”k (‘at first’). but in a historical sense rather than in rank order.

6 7 which are read as if each unit is a single digit: 8 b´´ thoorasàp thoo sìi hâa – saam thoo kâaw pEŸEt ˇ 9 telephone number./BA. ‘secondly’.5. thoo (‘two’) and trii (‘three’) are used 6 with academic degrees and military ranks. MSc. kind’) + 2 ORDINAL NUMBER: 3 4 prakaan thîi nÁŸ N ú§ΩÄ¿§óƒ‡≠ô∆‡Ü firstly 5 or 6 7 ú§ΩÄ¿§—§Ä prakaan rEfl Ek 8 prakaan thîi sO‡ ON ú§ΩÄ¿§óƒ‡´ØÜ secondly 9 1011 ú§ΩÄ¿§óƒ‡´¿¢ thirdly prakaan thîi saam ˇ 1 12111 3 13. and so on. BSc. measurement and quantification 176 ‘Firstly’. used in putting forward numbered points 1111 in a reasoned argument.4 Sanskrit numbers 4 5 The Sanskrit numbers èek (‘one’). etc. and in the names of tones and 7 tone marks (2. ‘decathlon’ and 1 2 ‘century’: 3 thótsawát 󩮧§™ decade 4 5 ó©Ä§ƒë¿ decathlon thótsakriithaa 6 ©ï®§§™ century sàtawát 7 8 9 40 41111 . etc.13 Numbers.2): 8 9 parinyaa èek/thoo/trii 20111 ú§¬çç¿–ØÄ/‘ó/遼 1 PhD/MA. two four five – three two nine eight 30111 Other Sanskrit numbers appear in the words for ‘decade’. 2 phon (tamrùat) èek/thoo/trii 3 ü¶(®à)–ØÄ/‘ó/遼 4 (police) general/lieutenant-general/major-general 5 The word thoo is also used instead of sO‹ON when giving telephone numbers. follow the pattern prakaan (‘item. sort.

other than ‘half’. . . in expressions like ‘three-quarters of the population . sa ˇam nay sìi (three – in – four) is more common: prachaachon saam nay sìi ˇ ú§Ωä¿äô´¿¢”ô´ƒ‡ three-quarters of the population 177 . twice . and so on. multiples Fractions Fractions. and so on: khráN thîi nÁŸ N or khráN rEfl Ek khráN thîi sO‡ ON khráN thîi saam ˇ ɧæ‰Üóƒ‡≠ô∆‡Ü ɧæ‰Ü—§Ä ɧæ‰Ü󃇴ØÜ É§æ‰Ü󃇴¿¢ the first time the second time the third time 13. ˇ ‘second time’. on one occasion (just) once. one time twice three times n¨‚N when it occurs after khráN is less emphatic. both of which mean ‘time’ or ‘occasion’: ˇ 13. instead of n¨‚N.5 Once. are formed using CARDINAL NUMBER + khráN or hon. on a single occasion khráN and hon are also used with ordinal numbers to mean ‘first time’. diaw (‘single’) may be used after khráN. ‘twice’.6 Fractions. ‘Once’. for greater emphasis: khráN nÁŸ N khráN diaw once. percentages.’. .6.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 13. decimals.1 Fractions. are expressed by the pattern sèet (‘numerator’) + NUMBER + sùan (‘denominator’) + NUMBER: sèet nÁŸ N sùan sìi sèet saam sùan sìi ˇ –©™≠ô∆‡Ü´‡®ô´ƒ‡ –©™´¿¢´‡®ô´ƒ‡ quarter three-quarters However. percentages.6 13. decimals. multiples nÁŸ N khráN /ho ˇn sO‡ ON khráN saam khráN ˇ ≠ô∆‡Üɧæ‰Ü/≠ô ´ØÜɧæ‰Ü ´¿¢É§æ‰Ü ɧæ‰Ü≠ô∆‡Ü ɧæ‰Ü–® once. .

if no 12111 number word appears. the verb may 9 occur immediately after the noun or after pEEsen: 40 41111 . It is used 8 in the pattern. the phrase conveys the idea of ‘one and a half’: 3 lâw sO‡ ON khùat khrÁfl N 4 –≠¶‰¿´ØÜÅ®îɧ∆‡Ü 5 two and a half bottles of whisky 6 7 raw pay dÁan khrÁfl N 8 –§¿“ú–î»Øôɧ∆‡Ü 9 We went for a month and a half. 20111 1 2 13.5 30111 yaaw hòk cùt hâa saam níw ˇ 1 £¿®≠ÄàÀî≠‰¿´¿¢ô¬‰® 2 6.6. deci5 mals behave like other numbers in being followed by a classifier: 6 sìi cùt hâa 7 8 ´ƒ‡àÀî≠‰¿ 9 4. in sentences.3 Percentages 6 7 The word pEEsen (‘per cent’) is borrowed directly from English. measurement and quantification 178 khr¨›N (‘half’) behaves like other number words in occurring after a noun 1111 and before a classifier: 2 3 lâw khrÁfl N khùat 4 –≠¶‰¿É§∆‡ÜÅ®î 5 half a bottle of whisky 6 khrÁfl N wan 7 ɧ∆‡Ü®æô 8 half a day 9 1011 khr¨›N (‘half’) also occurs after a classifier in the pattern NOUN + 1 (NUMBER +) CLASSIFIER + khr¨›N to mean ‘NUMBER and a half’.13 Numbers.6.53 inches long 3 4 5 13.2 Decimals 3 4 Decimal numbers are read as NUMBER + cùt (‘point’) + NUMBER. NOUN + NUMBER + pEEsen.

6. NOUN + rO⁄Oy la (‘per hundred’) + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER.’ is expressed by the pattern ADJECTIVE/ ADVERB + kwàa + NUMBER + thâw: yày kwàa saam thâw ˇ ”≠ç‡Ä®‡¿´¿¢–ó‡¿ ´ôÀÄÄ®‡¿üæô–ó‡¿ three times bigger sanùk kwàa phan thâw a thousand times more fun 13. 13.4 Multiples ‘X times more .7 Collective numbers ôæÄ©∆Ä™¿´ØõïÄ´¿¢´¬õ–úا^–ãôï^ Thirty per cent of the students failed. Percentages may also be expressed by the pattern. although this is now less common than pEEsen.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 prachaachon sìp cùt hâa p´´sen ú§Ωä¿äô´¬õàÀî≠‰¿–úا^–ãô^ï 10.5 per cent of the people nák sÁ! ksaa sOŸOp tòk saam sìp p´´sen ˇ ˇ 13. . .7 Collective numbers The collective numbers khûu (‘pair’) and loo (‘dozen’) behave like clasˇ sifiers and occur in the pattern NOUN + NUMBER + COLLECTIVE NUMBER: rOON tháaw saam khûu ˇ §Øܖ󉿴¿¢É‡Ã “Ňɧ∆‡Ü‘≠¶ three pairs of shoes ˇo khày khrÁfl N lo half a dozen eggs 179 .

thief’) but to no other noun. it means ‘the full thirty-two conditions’ and is a reference to the traditional belief that the body comprised thirty-two integral parts. skin. ‘ever so . The expression is used to describe newly born children or those escaping injury in an accident. nor intensify the scale of thievery. thief saam sìp sO‹ON (‘thirty-two’) is used with the word aakaan (‘state.13 Numbers. Literally. it does not indicate plurality. curiously.8 Some idiomatic expressions involving numbers s”#”n (‘one hundred thousand’) or s”#”n ca or s”#”n thîi ca is used before a verb/adjective to mean ‘extremely’. sign’) in the expression aakaan khróp sa ˇam sìp sO‹ON (‘to be perfectly normal’). . nor reflect the speaker’s attitude: coon hâa rO ⁄O y ‘à§≠‰¿§‰Ø£ bandit. including hair. fingernails. measurement and quantification 13. it is sometimes further intensified by the addition of phan (‘thousand’): panhaa rO⁄O y pEŸEt (phan) prakaan ˇ úæç≠¿§‰Ø£—úî(üæô)ú§ΩÄ¿§ all kinds of problems hâa rO⁄Oy (‘five hundred’). teeth.’: sE‡ En klay —´ô“Ķ extremely far sE‡ En ca sanùk —´ôàΩ´ôÀÄ ever such fun rO⁄Oy p”‚”t (‘one hundred and eight’) means ‘all kinds of’. limbs and internal organs. condiˇ tion. . is added to the word coon (‘bandit. aakaan khróp saam sìp sO‡ ON ˇ Ø¿Ä¿§É§õ´¿¢´¬õ´ØÜ to be perfectly normal kâaw (‘nine’) is regarded as lucky because it is identical in pronunciation (but not spelling) to a part of the word for ‘to progress’ (kâaw nâa): kâaw 180 kâaw nâa –ĉ¿ ĉ¿®≠ô‰¿ nine to progress 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .

) + NUMBER + UNIT OF MEASUREMENT: yaaw cèt níw £¿®–àªîô¬‰® seven inches long nàk hâa sìp kiloo ≠ôæÄ≠‰¿´¬õĬ‘¶ fifty kilos in weight Area is expressed as NUMBER + taraaN (‘square’) + UNIT OF MEASUREMENT: sìp taraaN méet ´¬õ￧¿Ü–¢ï§ ten square metres Plots of land are normally measured in taraaN waa (square waa. Note that waa is a linear measurement and is therefore preceded by taraaN. weight.9 Measurements 13.53 rai = 1 acre). 181 .e. 1 rai = 1600 sq. but rây is itself an area measurement and thus does not occur with taraaN: sìi sìp taraaN waa ´ƒ‡´¬õ￧¿Ü®¿ sìp rây forty square waa ´¬õ“§‡ 13.10 ten rai Distances The distance between two places can be expressed by the pattern PLACE A + yùu (‘to be located’) + klay càak (‘far from’) + PLACE B + NUMBER + UNIT OF MEASUREMENT: hu hı n yùu klay càak kruN thêep sO‡ ON rO⁄O y kiloomét ˇa ˇ ≠æ®≠¬ôأÇ“Ķà¿ÄħÀÜ–óü| 200 Ĭ‘¶–¢ï§ Hua Hin is 200 kilometres from Bangkok. metres) or rây (rai. etc. 2.10 Distances Measurements. waa = 4 sq. ‘two hours long’ and ‘six feet tall’ follow the pattern TYPE OF MEASUREMENT (i. metres or 400 square waa.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 13. 1 sq. such as ‘three metres wide’. length.

Expressions like ‘500 baht per person’. ‘six times per week’ and ‘50 baht a kilo’ involve the use of la (‘per’).5.12 This is a different kind. measurement and quantification hàaN càak (‘far from’) can be used as an alternative to klay càak: praysanii yùu hàaN càak bâan mây kìi naathii “ú§™ìƒ£^أÇ≠‡¿Üà¿Äõ‰¿ô“¢‡Äƒ‡ô¿óƒ 13.g. where khon does not mean ‘person’: pen khon la rÁfl aN –úªôÉô¶Ω–§»‡ØÜ That’s a different matter.1) and can therefore be thought of as ‘number words’. nîi pen khon la yàaN ôƒ‡–úªôÉô¶ΩØ£‡¿Ü 13. with the exception of mâak. can occur before a classifier without a preceding noun: 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . Quantifiers 182 The following quantifiers occur in the pattern (NOUN +) QUANTIFIER + CLASSIFIER (3.11 Distribution: ‘per’ The post office is a few minutes from my house. with the number expression occuring after la: khon la hâa rO⁄O y bàat Éô¶Ω≠‰¿§‰Ø£õ¿ó Ø¿ó¬ï£^¶Ω≠Äɧæ‰Ü ‘¶¶Ω≠‰¿´¬õõ¿ó 50 baht a kilo 500 baht per person aathít la hòk khráN six times a week loo la hâa sìp bàat Note the idiomatic expressions khon la r¨›aN (‘a different matter’) and khon la yàaN (‘a different type’). All. the word order in Thai is the opposite to English (e.13 Numbers.2). person – per – 500 baht).5. They occupy the same position between nouns and classifiers as cardinal numbers (3.

A small number of quantifiers. many not many few many 13. the classifier is normally omitted: kháw mii phÁfl an nO⁄O y (khon) –Å¿¢ƒ–ü»‡Øôô‰Ø£(Éô) He has few friends. y”⁄ (‘many’). follow a noun. the classifier is commonly omitted.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 thúk tEŸE la baaN laay ˇ mây kìi nO⁄O y mâak óÀÄ —Ω õ¿Ü ≠¶¿£ “¢‡Äƒ‡ ô‰Ø£ ¢¿Ä every. but do not occur with classifiers. nítnO‚y (‘a little’). 183 . yE⁄y”⁄ (‘many’). all each some several. it can be included with this group: kháw mii fEEn y´⁄/yE⁄/y´⁄ yE⁄/mâakmaay/mâak –Å¿¢ƒ–†ô—£ØΩ/—£Ω/–£ØΩ—£Ω/¢¿Ä¢¿£/¢¿Ä She’s got lots of boyfriends. while in phrases involving mâak (‘many’). léknO⁄Oy (‘few. including yE⁄ (‘many’). little’). mii aahaan lÁ‡ a léknO⁄O y ˇ ¢ƒØ¿≠¿§–≠¶»Ø–¶ªÄô‰Ø£ There’s a little food left over. nay sà náam mii plaa mâak (tua) ”ô´§Ωô‰¡¢ƒú¶¿¢¿Ä(ïæ®) In the pond there are many fish. mâakmaay (‘many’).12 Quantifiers 䇮ܖ®¶¿≠¶¿£–î»Øô Ø¿≠¿§õ¿ÜØ£‡¿Ü chûaN weelaa laay dÁan ˇ a period of several/many months aahaan baaN yàaN ˇ some kinds of food In phrases involving nO⁄Oy (‘few’). sày nám taan nítnOŸ y ”´‡ô¡‰ï¿¶ô¬î≠ô‡Ø£ Put a little sugar in. because mâak only occurs with a classifier in rather stylised Thai.

3 4 5 13. . . . .13 Negative quantification 6 7 Negative quantities (e. measurement and quantification 184 The quantifiers mâak and nítnO‚y also function as adverbs of degree. no brothers and sisters.6).) is expressed by NUMBER + th¨‹ N 9 (‘to’) + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER: 40 41111 . 6 7 8 13.g. the 1111 similarity in both sound and meaning between the quantifier baaN and 2 the adverb of degree bâaN is often confusing for the learner (7. to .13 Numbers. there isn’t any fish sauce) 8 are expressed by the pattern mây mii (‘there are not’) + NOUN: 9 1011 mây mii phîi nO ⁄ON 1 “¢‡¢ƒüƒ‡ô‰ØÜ 12111 no brothers and sisters 3 mây mii nám plaa 4 “¢‡¢ƒô‰¡ú¶¿ 5 There’s no fish sauce.14 Approximation: ‘about’ 9 20111 Approximation is expressed using pramaan or raaw (both of which mean 1 ‘about’) + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER: 2 3 nák thOfl N thîaw pramaan rO⁄O y khon 4 ôæÄó‡Øܖ󃇣®ú§Ω¢¿ì§‰Ø£Éô 5 about 100 tourists 6 raaw hòk chûamooN 7 §¿®≠Ää懮‘¢Ü 8 about six hours 9 30111 Two consecutive numbers also convey approximation: 1 sO‡ ON saam wan ˇ 2 ´ØÜ´¿¢®æô 3 two or three days 4 5 hâa hòk khon 6 ≠‰¿≠ÄÉô 7 five or six people 8 A range of numbers (from .

185 . .15 Restriction: ‘only’ There are several different words for ‘only .15 Restriction: ‘only’ (from) ten to fifteen people Lower limits can be expressed by yàaN nO⁄Oy thîi sut (‘at least’) + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER: yàaN nO⁄O y thîi sùt saam wan ˇ Ø£‡¿Üô‰Ø£óƒ‡´Àî´¿¢®æô at least three days Upper limits (‘at the most’) follow a similar pattern using mâak (‘much’) instead of nO⁄Oy: yàaN mâak thîi sùt mÁŸ Án bàat Ø£‡¿Ü¢¿Ä󃇴Àî≠¢»‡ôõ¿ó at the most 10.1) and the word diaw (‘single’) is commonly used instead of n¨‚N (‘one’). . that the order.000 baht 13. NUMBER + CLASSIFIER is normally reversed when the number is ‘one’ (see 3. pho ca kin bia khùat diaw thâwnán ˇm ù¢àΩĬô–õƒ£§^Å®î–®–ó‡¿ôæ‰ô I’ll have only one beer.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 sìp thÁ‡ N sìp hâa khon ´¬õñ∆Ü´¬õ≠‰¿Éô 13.’ kháw mii lûuk sO‡ ON khon thâwnán –Å¿¢ƒ¶Ä´ØÜÉô–ó‡¿ôæ‰ô à They have only two children. however.’ and they can occur in various combinations: a b c d NOUN + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER + thâwnán NOUN + phiaN + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER (+ thâwnán) NOUN + (phiaN) + t”‚” + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER (+ thâwnán) NOUN + (phiaN) + kh”›” + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER (+ thâwnán) Note.5. The use of t”‚” (‘but’) to mean ‘only’ is mirrored in the archaic English usage of ‘but’ in statements like ‘I have but three daughters fair.

13 Numbers. 40 41111 N´n lÁ‡ a phiaN sìi rO⁄O y bàat (thâwnán) .1 NOUN + NUMBER + kwàa + CLASSIFIER 9 This pattern tends to be used when dealing with multiples of ten and 20111 1 round numbers: 2 kháw sÁ⁄Á sÁfl a rO⁄O y kwàa tua 3 –ſ㻉ؖ´»‰Ø§‰Ø£Ä®‡¿ïæ® 4 She bought more than 100 blouses.000 baht. 9 30111 raw d´´n thaaN yîi sìp kwàa chûamooN 1 –§¿–î¬ôó¿Ü£ƒ‡´¬õÄ®‡¿ä懮‘¢Ü 2 We travelled for more than twenty hours. 1 12111 3 13. measurement and quantification 186 1111 2 –ܬô–≠¶»Ø–üƒ£Ü´ƒ‡§‰Ø£õ¿ó(–ó‡¿ôæ‰ô) 3 There is only four hundred baht left.’ is usually expressed using the word kwàa (‘more than. . 7 8 ˇ chán pay thîaw chiaN mày khEfl E saam wan (thâwnán) 9 âæô“ú–󃇣®–䃣ܔ≠¢‡—ɇ´¿¢®æô(–ó‡¿ôæ‰ô) 1011 I went to Chiangmai for only three days.16 ‘More than’ 4 ‘More than .16. 7 8 13. 5 6 chán dây N´n dÁan sO‡ ON mÁŸ Án kwàa bàat 7 âæô“ܬô–î»Øô´ØÜ≠¢»‡ôÄ®‡¿õ¿ó 8 I get a monthly salary of more than 20. 5 6 -er than’). 3 4 13.16. . its position in relation to the number and classifier varies.2 NOUN + kwàa + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER 5 6 This pattern is also used only with large round numbers: 7 mii tamrùat kwàa rO ⁄O y khon 8 ¢ƒï¡§®àÄ®‡¿§‰Ø£Éô 9 There were more than 100 policemen. 4 mii faràN tEŸE sO‡ ON khon (thâwnán) 5 ¢ƒû§æ‡Ü—ØÜÉô(–ó‡¿ôæ‰ô) 6 There were only two Westerners.

16. with the first element pronounced with a mid-tone and a shortened vowel: chán rOO sO‡ ON chûamooN kwàa âæô§Ø´ØÜä懮‘¢ÜÄ®‡¿ õ‡¿£´ƒ‡‘¢ÜÄ®‡¿& I waited over two hours. at least three). Note the difference between kháw kin bia sO‡ ON khùat kwàa –ſĬô–õƒ£§^´ØÜÅ®îÄ®‡¿ and He has drunk over two bottles of beer (but not as many as three).3 NOUN + mâak kwàa + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER 13.16 ‘More than’ This pattern can be used generally and with non-round numbers: náNsÁ‡ Á mâak kwàa sìp hâa lêm ≠ôæÜ´»Ø¢¿ÄÄ®‡¿´¬õ≠‰¿–¶‡¢ more than fifteen books kháw kin bia mâak kwàa hòk khùat –ſĬô–õƒ£§^¢¿ÄÄ®‡¿≠ÄÅ®î He drank more than six bottles of beer. 187 . kháw kin bia mâak kwàa sO‡ ON khùat –ſĬô–õƒ£§^¢¿ÄÄ®‡¿´ØÜÅ®î He has drunk more than two bottles of beer (i.16.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 13.m. mâak kwàa can be substituted by either kEEn (‘in excess of’) or kEEn kwàa: nák rian k´´n (kwàa) saam sìp hâa khon ˇ ôæÄ–§ƒ£ô–Ĭô(Ä®‡¿)´¿¢´¬õ≠‰¿Éô more than thirty pupils 13. kwàa is sometimes reduplicated. bàay sìi mooN kwa kwàa a little after 4 p.e.4 NOUN + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER + kwàa This pattern is used to convey the idea of a fraction – but not a whole unit – more.

.’ can be expressed most simply by the pattern (NOUN) + nO⁄Oy kwàa (‘less than’) + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER: phûu yày nO⁄O y kwàa sìp khon ùÉ”≠ç‡ô‰Ø£Ä®‡¿´¬õÉô less than ten adults kháw phûut nO ⁄O y kwàa hâa naathii –Å¿üÃîô‰Ø£Ä®‡¿≠‰¿ô¿óƒ He spoke for less than five minutes.18).17 ‘Less than’ ‘Less than .000 baht.17.’ or ‘up to .’ is expressed by the pattern NOUN + th¨‹ N (‘to reach’) + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER: mii khon samàk thÁ‡ N phan khon ¢ƒÉô´¢æɧñ∆ÜüæôÉô There were as many as a thousand applicants. 13. . NOUN + mây th¨‹ N + NUMBER + CLASSIFIER. see 13. The negative form of the ‘as many as’ construction (13.18 ‘As many as’ ‘As many as . is also commonly used to express ‘less than’: kháw dây N en dÁan mây thÁ‡ N mÁŸÁn bàat –Å¿“ܬô–î»Øô“¢‡ñ∆Ü≠¢»‡ôõ¿ó He gets a monthly salary of less than 10. . 188 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . . measurement and quantification 13. .13 Numbers. . For the negative form.

etc.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Chapter 14 Time 14. no preposition. corresponding to English ‘on’.1 Days Days of the week are normally prefaced by the word wan (‘day’). is used: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday wan can wan aN khaan wan phút wan pharÁhàt wan sùk wan saaw ˇ wan aathít ®æôàæôó§^ ®æôØæÜÉ¿§ ®æôüÀò ®æôü•≠æ´* ®æô©Àħ^ ®æô–´¿§^ ®æôØ¿ó¬ï£^ raw ca klàp wan phút –§¿àΩĶæõ®æôüÀò We shall return on Wednesday.: morning noon (tOO n) cháaw (tOO n) thîaN (wan) (ïØô)–䉿 (ïØô)–󃇣ܮæô 189 .2 Parts of the day Words like cháaw (‘morning’) and bàay (‘afternoon’) may optionally be prefixed with the word tOOn (‘a period of time’) to express the idea ‘in the morning’. *Note the alternative. very formal pronunciation: wan pharÁhàtsabOO dii ®æôü•≠æ´õîƒ 14. ‘in the afternoon’.

no preposition corresponding 20111 to English ‘in’ is used: 1 2 January mókkaraakhom ¢Ä§¿É¢ 3 February kumphaaphan ÄÀ¢°¿üæôò^ 4 March miinaakhom ¢ƒô¿É¢ 5 6 April meesaayon ˇ –¢™¿£ô 7 May phrÁ⁄tsaphaakhom ü•™°¿É¢ 8 June míthunaayon ¢¬ñÀô¿£ô 9 30111 July karákkadaakhom ħÄé¿É¢ 1 August sı N haakhom ˇ ˇ ´¬Ü≠¿É¢ 2 3 September kanyaayon Äæô£¿£ô 4 October tulaakhom ïÀ¶¿É¢ 5 November phrÁ⁄tsacìkkaayon ü•©à¬Ä¿£ô 6 7 December thanwaakhom òæô®¿É¢ 8 kháw pay dÁan sı N haa ˇ ˇ 9 40 –Å¿“ú–î»Øô´¬Ü≠¿| 41111 He’s going in August.14 Time 190 1111 2 (early) evening (tOO n) yen 3 night time (tOO n) klaaN khÁÁn 4 5 daytime (tOO n) klaaN wan 6 7 pay cháaw klap yen 8 “ú–䉿Ķæõ–£ªô 9 We’ll go in the morning and return in the evening.3 Months 6 7 Months with 31 days end in -khom. 1011 tOO n bàay chán mây wâaN 1 ïØôõ‡¿£âæô“¢‡®‡¿Ü 12111 I’m not free in the afternoon. 3 4 5 14. the word d¨an (‘month’) is 9 often prefixed and the final syllable omitted. In normal speech. afternoon (tOO n) bàay (ïØô)õ‡¿£ (ïØô)–£ªô (ïØô)Ķ¿ÜÉ»ô (ïØô)Ķ¿Ü®æô . those with 30 days in -yon and 8 February ends in -phan.

) Year of the Rabbit (1951. 1967 . . 1964 .) Year of the Ox (1949. . or khOO sO‹O for short). . .) Year of the Pig (1959.) Year of the Horse (1954. .E is 1957 AD. 543 years before the birth of Christ. while 2000 AD is 2543 B. 1969 .) Year of the Cock (1957.4 Years The year is calculated according to the Buddhist Era (B. . .E. . 1962 .) pii chûat pii chalu ˇu pii khaan ˇ pii thOŸ pii marooN pii mase N ˇ pii mamia pii mamEE pii wOfl Ok pii rakaa pii cOO pii kun ú≈ä®î ú≈â¶Ã ú≈Å¿¶ ú≈–ñ¿Ω ú≈¢Ω‘§Ü ú≈¢Ω–´ªÜ ú≈¢Ω–¢ƒ£ ú≈¢Ω—¢ ú≈®ØÄ ú≈§ΩÄ¿ ú≈àØ ú≈ÄÀô 191 A twelve-year cycle is called rO›Op pii. This animal term is specific to the year and is not used to refer to the living creature. 1968 . the word pii (‘year’) is used before the number. . . . The animal year is normally prefaced by the word pii: Year of the Rat (1948. . . .) Year of the Goat (1955. . 1970 . 1971 .) (phútthasàkkaràat. 1966 .) Year of the Snake (1953.) Year of the Dog (1958. . 1963 .4 Years 14. 1960 . .1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 14.) Year of the Monkey (1956. 1961 . the ‘completion of five cycles’ (khróp hâa rO›Op). subtract 543. the preposition nay (‘in’) may preface pii but this is more common in formal written Thai than in the spoken language: kháw tEŸN N aan (nay) pii sO‡ ON phan hâa rO ⁄O y yîi sìp èt –Å¿—ï‡ÜÜ¿ô(”ô)ú≈ 2521 He got married in 2521 (1978). To express the idea that something happened or will happen in a certain year. . . . 2500 B. . or phOO sO‹O for short) which dates from the birth of the Buddha. To convert Thai years to AD (khríttasàkkaràat. 1965 . thus. . that is the sixtieth birthday.) Year of the Dragon (1952. is traditionally celebrated as a major milestone in a person’s life. . .E.) Year of the Tiger (1950. Most Thais are also aware of their birth year in the twelve-year cycle in which each year is named after an animal. .

The formal Thai word for ‘season’ is r¨⁄duu but nâa is more commonly used in speech.?’ questions use the expression.6 What is the date today? pay wan thîi thâwrày? What date are you going? Seasons There are three seasons in Thailand. 14. cool season hot season rainy season spring autumn 192 nâa (rÁ⁄duu) naaw ˇ nâa rO ⁄O n nâa fo ˇn nâa bay máay plì nâa bay máay rûaN ≠ô‰¿ (•îÃ) ≠ô¿® ≠ô‰¿§‰Øô ≠ô‰¿ûô ≠ô‰¿”õ“¢‰ù¶¬ ≠ô‰¿”õ“¢‰§‡®Ü 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . are widely celebrated. in February. . wan thîi thâwrày?: wan níi (pen) wan thîi thâwrày? ®æôôƒ‰(–úªô)®æô󃇖󇿓§ “ú®æô󃇖󇿓§ 14. ‘Spring/autumn’ literally translate as ‘season – leaves – burst forth/fall’.5 Dates Dates are expressed using the pattern wan (‘day’) + ORDINAL NUMBER + MONTH (+ YEAR): wan thîi sìp sìi tulaa (sO‡ ON phan hâa rO⁄O y sìp hòk) ®æôóƒ‡ 14 ïÀ¶¿| (2516) 14 October (2516) ‘What date . the cool season (November to February). which occurs on 13 April. . the hot season (March to June) and the rainy season (July to October). Thailand adopted the international convention of beginning the new year on 1 January in 1941.) both the traditional Thai New Year (soNkraan).14 Time In addition to the Western New Year (pii mày. and the Chinese New ˇ Year (trùt ciin).

7 Useful expressions of time 14. where it appears in brackets. ‘yesterday’ wan níi phrûN níi marÁÁn mÁfl a waan (níi) mÁfl a waan sÁÁn(níi) cháaw níi bàay níi yen níi khÁÁn níi cháaw (mÁfl a) waan bàay (mÁfl a) waan yen (mÁfl a) waan mÁfl a khÁÁn phrûN níi cháaw phrûN níi bàay phrûN níi yen khÁÁn phrûN níi tomorrow the day after tomorrow yesterday the day before yesterday this morning this afternoon this evening tonight yesterday morning yesterday afternoon yesterday evening yesterday night tomorrow morning tomorrow afternoon tomorrow evening tomorrow night ®æôôƒ‰ ü§À‡Üôƒ‰ ¢Ω§»ô –¢»‡Ø®¿ô(ôƒ‰) –¢»‡Ø®¿ôã»ô(ôƒ‰) –䉿ôƒ‰ õ‡¿£ôƒ‰ –£ªôôƒ‰ É»ôôƒ‰ –䉿(–¢»‡Ø)®¿ô õ‡¿£(–¢»‡Ø)®¿ô –£ªô(–¢»‡Ø)®¿ô –¢»‡ØÉ»ô ü§À‡Üôƒ‰–䉿 ü§À‡Üôƒ‰õ‡¿£ ü§À‡Üôƒ‰–£ªô É»ôü§À‡Üôƒ‰ 193 . ‘tomorrow’. it is optional.1 today ‘Today’.7. 14.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 14. The word m¨›a occurs in expressions of past time.7 Useful expressions of time In this section common expressions of time are listed at some length because of some unpredictable irregularities in the patterns.

.3.3 ‘Beginning’. .3.1 ‘Beginning’: tôn 9 tôn pii thîi lE⁄Ew 20111 ï‰ôú≈󃇗¶‰® 1 the beginning of last year 2 3 4 14. ‘middle’.4 ‘End’: sîn/plaay 7 8 sîn/plaay pii níi 9 ´¬‰ô/ú¶¿£ú≈ôƒ‰ 40 the end of this year 41111 14. nâa (‘next’) and thîi l”⁄”w (‘last’) can occur after 3 any unit of time.7.7. ‘during’.14 Time 194 1111 2 The words níi (‘this’). may optionally be used with thîi l”⁄”w in ‘last 4 week/month/year’.7.3.3.7. ‘last . ‘next’. (m¨›a) . .’ . pii klaay and (wan) rûN kh¨›n are fixed expressions: 5 6 this week aathít níi Ø¿ó¬ï£^ôƒ‰ 7 8 next month dÁan nâa –î»Øô≠ô‰¿ 9 last year (mÁfl a) pii thîi lE⁄Ew (–¢»‡Ø)ú≈󃇗¶‰® 1011 1 last year pii klaay ú≈Ķ¿£ 12111 the next day (wan) rûN khÁfl n (®æô)§À‡ÜÅ∆‰ô 3 4 5 14. ‘end’ 6 7 8 14.7.7.2 ‘During’: rawàaN 5 rawàaN dÁan meesaa ˇ 6 §Ω≠®‡¿Ü–î»Øô–¢™¿| 7 during April 8 9 30111 14.3 ‘Middle’: klaaN 1 klaaN dÁan nâa 2 3 Ķ¿Ü–î»Øô≠ô‰¿ 4 the middle of next month 5 6 14.2 ‘This’. .

.7. .7.1 ‘Ago’: (mÁfl a) . which can be used interchangeably. kOŸO n/thîi lE¤Ew/maa lE¤Ew/maa níi ‘Ago’ is normally expressed using (m¨›a) + NUMBER + UNIT OF TIME + either kO‚On or thîi l”⁄”w or maa l”⁄”w or maa níi.7. .4.7. however that ‘a moment ago’ is a set phrase which does not follow this pattern. ‘since’ 14.4 ‘Since’: tâN tEŸE tâN tEŸE mÁfl a waan ïæ‰Ü—¢»‡Ø®¿ô 195 since yesterday .3 ‘Within’: phaay nay phaay nay saam dÁan ˇ °¿£”ô´¿¢–î»Øô within three months 14. ‘within’. time’. ‘in .7. . .2 ‘In .4 ‘Ago’. .7 Useful expressions of time (mÁfl a) hâa pii kOŸOn (–¢»‡Ø)≠‰¿ú≈ćØô five years ago (mÁfl a) cèt dÁan thîi lE⁄Ew (–¢»‡Ø)–àªî–î»Øô󃇗¶‰® seven months ago (mÁfl a) saam wan maa lE⁄Ew ˇ (–¢»‡Ø)´¿¢®æô¢¿—¶‰® three days ago ˇ (mÁfl a) sO‡ ON saam naathii maa níi (–¢»‡Ø)´ØÜ´¿¢ô¿óƒ¢¿ôƒ‰ two or three minutes ago mÁfl a kîi níi (eeN)/mÁfl a takîi níi (eeN) –¢»‡Øă‰ôƒ‰(–ØÜ)/–¢»‡ØïΩă‰ôƒ‰(–ØÜ) (just) a moment ago 14. Note.4.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 14. 14.4. time’: ìik ؃Ä≠Ä®æô ìik hòk wan in six days’ time 14.4.

m.14 Time 14.7. kháw rian phaasaa thay saam pii ˇ ˇ –Å¿–§ƒ£ô°¿™¿“ó£´¿¢ú≈ She studied Thai for 3 years.m.m.m. the position of the hour number: tii + NUMBER NUMBER + mooN cháaw bàay + NUMBER + mooN NUMBER + mooN yen 196 1 a. the latter is used only in the past continuous tense: kháw ca rian pen weelaa saam pii ˇ –Å¿àΩ–§ƒ£ô–úªô–®¶¿´¿¢ú≈ He will study for three years.m.–4 p.–5 a. 7 p.–11 a.–11 p. ˇ chán sO‡ O n phaasaa aN krìt (maa) dâay cèt dÁan lE⁄Ew âæô´Øô°¿™¿ØæÜÄ•™(¢¿)“àªî–î»Øô—¶‰® I have been teaching English for seven months.8 14.m. Two alternative patterns for expressing duration of time are (a) VERB (PHRASE) + pen weelaa + EXPRESSION OF TIME.–6 p. 14. with it. equivalent to ‘o’clock’ in English.m.m. varies according to the time of day and.1 Telling the time Hours Telling the time in Thai is complicated by the fact that the hour word. 1 p.m.8. 6 a. there is no preposition in Thai corresponding to English ‘for’: pho pay sO‡ ON aathít ˇm ù¢“ú´ØÜØ¿ó¬ï£^ I’m going for two weeks.5 Duration of time Duration of time (I’m going for two weeks) is most commonly expressed by the pattern VERB (PHRASE) + EXPRESSION OF TIME. 5 p.m. NUMBER + thûm 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . and (b) VERB (PHRASE) + dâay + EXPRESSION OF TIME.

2 p.m. 7 a.m.m. 4 a.m. or 8 a.m.m.m. 7 p. or 9 a.m. 6 p.m.m.m.m.m. .8 Telling the time midnight 1 a. or midday 1 p.m.m. 3 a. 3 p. 9 a. can be counted using numbers 6– 11 + mooN cháaw. or 10 a.m. 6 a.m. thîaN khÁÁn tii nÁŸ N tii sO‡ ON tii saam ˇ tii sìi tii hâa hòk mooN cháaw cèt mooN cháaw mooN cháaw pEŸEt mooN cháaw sO‡ ON mooN cháaw kâaw mooN cháaw saam mooN cháaw ˇ sìp mooN cháaw sìi mooN cháaw sìp èt mooN cháaw hâa mooN cháaw thîaN (wan) bàay mooN bàay sO‡ ON mooN bàay saam mooN ˇ bàay sìi mooN hâa mooN yen hòk mooN yen thûm nÁŸ N sO‡ ON thûm –󃇣ÜÉ»ô ïƒ≠ô∆‡Ü ØÜ ïƒ´¿¢ ƒ‡ ïƒ≠‰¿ ≠Ä‘¢Ü–䉿 –àªî‘¢Ü–䉿 ‘¢Ü–䉿 —úܖ䉿 ´ØÜ‘¢Ü–䉿 –ĉ¿‘¢Ü–䉿 ´¿¢‘¢Ü–䉿 ´¬õ‘¢Ü–䉿 ´ƒ‡‘¢Ü–䉿 ´¬õ–تܖ䉿 ≠‰¿‘¢Ü–䉿 –󃇣Ü(®æô) õ‡¿£‘¢Ü õ‡¿£´ØÜ‘¢Ü õ‡¿£´¿¢‘¢Ü õ‡¿£´ƒ‡‘¢Ü ≠‰¿‘¢Ü–£ªô ≠Ä‘¢Ü–£ªô ó‡À¢≠ô∆‡Ü ´ØÜó‡À¢ 197 . starting from 7 a. 5 a. to 11a.m. or 11 a. 8 p. or in an alternative way based on a division of the day in to six-hour periods.m.m.m 2 a.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 The hours from 6a.m. 5 p.m.m.. 4 p. whereby 8 a. and so on: 14. becomes ‘2 o’clock in the morning’. ‘3 o’clock . .’.

m. 11 p.30 p.30 p.m. still used among elderly people in Bangkok and in rural areas.8. tii and thûm do not occur with mooN. 2.m. yaam nùN sO‡ ON yaam saam yaam ˇ £¿¢≠ô∆‡Ü ´ØÜ£¿¢ ´¿¢£¿¢ 14.30 p.m.m.10 p.15 p. 10. 198 sìp mooN sìp hâa naathii bàay sO‡ ON mooN sìp naathii saam thûm sìp hâa naathii ˇ 9. 2. to 11 a. 10 p. midnight 3 a.30 a.3 Quarter hours and minutes past/to the hour There is no special word for ‘quarter past’ or ‘quarter to’ the hour. tii saam khrÁfl N ˇ cEŸt mooN khrÁfl N sìp èt mooN khrÁfl N bàay sO‡ ON mooN khrÁfl N hâa mooN yen khrÁfl N sìi thûm khrÁfl N ¿¢É§∆‡Ü –àªî‘¢Üɧ∆‡Ü ´¬õ–تÜɧ∆‡Ü õ‡¿£´ØÜ‘¢Üɧ∆‡Ü ≠‰¿‘¢Ü–£ªôɧ∆‡Ü ´ƒ‡ó‡À¢É§∆‡Ü 14. saam thûm ˇ sìi thûm hâa thûm ´¿¢ó‡À¢ ´ƒ‡ó‡À¢ ≠‰¿ó‡À¢ Note: tii and bàay appear before the number.14 Time 9 p.m. 11.m.m. Minutes past the hour are expressed as HOUR TIME + NUMBER + naathii (‘minutes’): 10.m.15 a..m.m. however. For the hours from 7 a.2 Half-hours Half-past the hour is expressed as HOUR TIME + khr¨›N (‘half’).m.m. A traditional way of counting the hours of darkness.m. 5. 7. ´¬õ‘¢Ü´¬õ≠‰¿ô¿óƒ õ‡¿£´ØÜ‘¢Ü´¬õô¿óƒ ´¿¢ó‡À¢´¬õ≠‰¿ô¿óƒ 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . the word cháaw is usually omitted: 3. uses the word yaam (‘a 3-hour watch period’): 9 p.m.30 a.30 a.m.8.

ìik sìp hâa naathii sìp èt mooN ؃Ĵ¬õ≠‰¿ô¿óƒ´¬õ–Øªî‘¢Ü ØƒÄ£ƒ‡´¬õô¿óƒ≠Ä‘¢Ü–£ªô ؃Ä≠‰¿ô¿óƒ–󃇣ÜÉ»ô ìik yîi sìp naathii hòk mooN yen ìik hâa naathii thîaN khÁÁn 14. half-hours are expressed as NUMBER + naalikaa + sa ˇam sìp naathii (‘thirty minutes’): 16.8.30 sìp hòk naalikaa ´¬õ≠Äô¿Æ¬Ä¿ yîi sìp naalikaa saam sìp naathii ˇ £ƒ‡´¬õô¿Æ¬Ä¿´¿¢´¬õô¿óƒ 14.55 p. .8 Telling the time 10.m.45 a.4 The 24-hour clock system In the 24-hour clock system hours are expressed as NUMBER + naalikaa (‘clock. to ask what time something happens or happened . o’clock’).40 p.m. 5.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Minutes to the hour are expressed as ìik (‘further. 11. kìi mooN? is used: kìi mooN lE⁄Ew?/weelaa thâwrày lE⁄Ew? ㇑¢Ü—¶‰®/–®¶¿–󇿓§—¶‰® What time is it? rót OŸO k kìi mooN? §ñØØÄ㇑¢Ü What time does the bus leave? 199 . more’) + NUMBER + naathii (‘minutes’) + HOUR TIME: 14.8. .00 20.5 Asking the time To ask the time kìi mooN? or weelaa thâwrày? is used.m.

When speaking to children or subordinates. ÅØõ”à 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Thank you (to children and subordinates). such as polite final particles (10. khO‚Op cay may be used instead.1 Politeness Politeness can be conveyed verbally in Thai by the appropriate choice of vocabulary.2 Thanks The most widely used word for thank you is khO‚Op khun. and khO‚Op phrakhun when speaking to those of higher social status. deferential pronouns (4. 15. ÅØõü§ΩÉÀì khOŸO p cay 200 Thank you (especially polite and to superiors). .1) and formal vocabulary.Chapter 15 Thai speech conventions 15. the foreigner who assumes these to be signs of weakness and indecision is likely to become culturally lost very quickly. the pitch and volume of voice can also be used to convey politeness. All of these forms can be intensified by adding mâak (‘much’) or its reduplicated form mâak mâak: khOŸO p khun (mâak) khráp/khâ ÅØõÉÀì(¢¿Ä)ɧæõ/ɇΩ khOŸO p phrakhun Thank you (very much). or when wishing to be especially polite. As in most languages.2). Speaking Thai softly and undemonstratively can be both a mark of politeness (reflecting the speaker’s unwillingness to be too assertive) and a sign of authority and high status (reflecting the speaker’s lack of need to be assertive).

Thanks can be acknowledged (a) silently. (b) by khráp (male speakers) or khâ (female speakers). ÅØØ°æ£ Sorry. please excuse me. please excuse me (formal).1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Thanking someone for doing something is expressed by the pattern khO‚Op khun + thîi + VERB (PHRASE): 15. or even more formally. Thanking someone for something is expressed by the pattern khO‚Op khun + sa ˇmràp + NOUN (PHRASE): khOŸO p khun samràp thúk sìN thúk yàaN ˇ ÅØõÉÀì´¡≠§æõóÀÄ´¬‡ÜóÀÄØ£‡¿Ü Thank you for everything. khO‹O aphay may be used. that’s alright. 15. – mây pen ray khâ – “¢‡–úªô“§É‡Ω – That’s alright. khO‹O prathaan thôot. with a smile or a nod. khO‡ O prathaan thôot ÅØú§Ωó¿ô‘ó™ 201 Sorry. In more formal situations. .3 Apologies khOŸO p khun thîi bOŸO k lûaN nâa ÅØõÉÀìóƒ‡õØĶ‡®Ü≠ô‰¿ Thank you for telling me in advance. don’t mention it’): khOŸO p khun mâak khráp ÅØõÉÀ좿Äɧæõ Thank you very much.3 Apologies The essential word for apologising is khO‹Othôot. or (c) by mây pen ray (‘never mind. please excuse me (very formal). khO‹Othôot can be intensified by mâak mâak or ciN ciN: khO‡ O thôot khráp/khâ ÅØ‘ó™É§æõ/ɇΩ Sorry. in informal situations it is often shortened to ’thôot. khO‡ O thôot mâak mâak/ciN ciN Åؑ󙢿Ä&/৬Ü& khO‡ O aphay I’m ever so sorry.

3).2 Requests for something 9 40 Requests for something are expressed by the pattern khO‹O + NOUN 41111 (PHRASE) + (dâay máy)?: . 7 khO‡ O thôot dûay ná 8 ÅØ‘ó™î‰®£ôΩ 9 Sorry.6. 2 while khO‹Othôot dûay ná conveys a stronger sense of apology: 3 4 (khO‡ O ) thôot thii 5 (ÅØ)‘ó™óƒ 6 Sorry. where is the Post Office? 7 8 15. 1 2 3 15.4. rót OŸOk kìi mooN? 1 ÅØ‘ó™É§æõ/ɇΩ §ñØØÄ㇑¢Ü 2 Excuse me. 6 Note that thîi here has a falling tone and is not to be confused with the 7 8 final particle thii in thôot thii.15 Thai speech conventions 202 In everyday speech. ’thôot thii is used to apologise for tiny errors.3). 9 The expression sıa cay (‘I’m sorry’) is an expression of sympathy or regret 20111 ˇ rather than an apology (15. what time does the train leave? 3 khO‡ O thôot khráp/khâ.4. praysanii yùu thîi nay? ˇ 4 5 ÅØ‘ó™É§æõ/ɇΩ “ú§™ìƒ£^أÇ󃇓≠ô 6 Excuse me. 1011 Apologising for doing something is expressed by the pattern khO‹Othôot 1 12111 thîi + VERB (PHRASE): 3 khO‡ O thôot thîi rópkuan 4 ÅØ‘ó™óƒ‡§õÄ®ô 5 Sorry for disturbing you.1111 cles thii or dûay ná (10.1 Requests for information 7 Basic requests for information can be prefaced by khO‹Othôot khráp/khâ 8 9 (‘excuse me’) for politeness: 30111 khO‡ O thôot khráp/khâ. khO‹Othôot is commonly followed by the mood parti.4 Polite requests 4 5 6 15.

. please? Requesting someone to do something Requesting someone to do something for you or someone else is expressed by the pattern chûay + VERB (PHRASE): chûay pìt pratuu 䇮£ú√îú§Ωïà Please close the door. . requests are often used with the mood particles dûay ná or nO‚y (10.3).1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 khO‡ O nám khE‡ N plàaw sO‡ ON kEfl Ew (dâay máy)? ÅØô‰¡—Ūܖú¶‡¿´Øܗĉ®(“≠¢) Could I have two glasses of water. .4 Polite requests khO‡ O khâaw nOŸ y (dâay máy)? ÅØʼn¿®≠ô‡Ø£(“≠¢) Could I have some rice. . ‘water’ rather than ‘two glasses of water’). chûay pìt pratuu nOŸ y dâay máy? 203 Please could you close the door. .?’) can also be added at the end of the sentence for politeness: chûay pìt pratuu dûay ná dâay máy? 䇮£ú√îú§ΩïÃ£ôΩ“≠¢ 䇮£ú√îú§ΩïÃ≠ô‡Ø£“≠¢ Please could you close the door. dâay máy? (‘could you . please? If the noun is unquantified (i. .4 Could I speak to Khun Toi. .4. please? . dâay máy? is an optional additional politeness expression. please? khO‡ O phûut kàp khun tO‡ y nOŸ y dâay máy? ÅØüÃîÄæõÉÀìï˝Ø£≠ô‡Ø£“≠¢ 15.e. . .4. then it is often followed by nO‚y (‘a little’) for politeness: 15. chûay .3 Requests to do something oneself Requests to do something oneself can be expressed by the pattern khO‹O + VERB (PHRASE) + nO‚y + (dâay máy)?: khO‡ O duu nOŸ y? ÅØîÃ≠ô‡Ø£ Can I have a look. 15. .

4 pròot N îap 5 ‘ú§î–܃£õ 6 Please be quiet. 6 karunaa often follows chûay in very formal polite conversation. . . 7 chûay plEE hây kháw nOŸ y 8 䇮£—ú¶”≠‰–Å¿≠ô‡Ø£ 9 Please translate for him. . 1011 1 chûay sàN aahaan hây (pho ˇ ˇm) nOŸ y 12111 䇮£´æ‡ÜØ¿≠¿§”≠‰(ù¢)≠ô‡Ø£ 3 Please order food for me. while 7 pròot can be heard at the beginning of public announcements: 8 9 chûay karunaa bOŸO k kháw dûay 20111 䇮£Ä§Àì¿õØĖſ£ 1 Please tell him. 30111 1 karunaa kòt krìN 2 ħÀì¿Äîħ¬‡Ü 3 Please ring the bell.e. . 1111 the pattern may be expanded to chûay + VERB (PHRASE) + hây (+ BENE.15 Thai speech conventions 204 To indicate the beneficiary of the action (i. 2 pròot sâap . . 7 8 9 40 41111 .2 FICIARY) (+ nO‚y): 3 4 chûay pìt thii wii hây 5 䇮£ú√î󃮃”≠‰ 6 Please turn the TV off (for me). 4 Two rather more formal words for requesting someone to do something 5 are karunaa and pròot. 4 Please be informed that . 3 ‘ú§îó§¿õ . both of which can be translated as ‘please’. . who it is being done for). 5 6 Both karunaa and pròot also occur commonly on public signs: 7 karunaa thOŸO t rOON tháaw 8 ħÀì¿ñØî§ØÜ–ó‰¿ 9 Please remove your shoes.

(‘there’s no need to .9). . .8) which can be ‘softened’ by the addition of the mood particle ná (10. Ø£‡¿ú√îú§ΩïÃôΩ Don’t shut the door. commonly found on notices of prohibition (see also 11. more formally.4 Polite requests The least confrontational way to ask someone not to do something is to use the expression mây tO›N . chûay yàa pìt pratuu ná 䇮£Ø£‡¿ú√îú§ΩïÃôΩ Please don’t shut the door. it can be ‘softened’ by the addition of the particle ná: mây tOfl N pìt pratuu ná “¢‡ï‰ØÜú√îú§ΩïÃôΩ There’s no need to shut the door. hâam . . karunaa or.3) or made more tactful.5 Requesting someone not to do something 15. . . .’). OK! ≠‰¿¢–ʼn¿ No Entry! hâam sùup bùrìi ≠‰¿¢´ÃõõÀ≠§ƒ‡ No Smoking! 205 . .1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 15. karunaa yàa pìt pratuu ná ħÀì¿Ø£‡¿ú√îú§ΩïÃôΩ yàa pìt pratuu ná Please don’t shut the door. More direct requests employ the negative imperative yàa . . OK? hâam pìt pratuu ná ≠‰¿¢ú√îú§ΩïÃôΩ hâam khâw Don’t shut the door.4. polite and deferential by prefixing the polite request words chûay. . in speech. (‘Don’t .’) (11. . pròot. (‘to forbid’) is an unambiguous order rather than a request.

come in. . . . “¢‡§‰ÃàæÄÉ¡®‡¿ . kháw mây rúucàk pho ˇm He doesn’t know me. . mây rúucàk kham wâa . . ù¢“¢‡—ô‡(”à) 206 pho mây nEfl E (cay) ˇm I’m not sure. .4. after you. uncertainty Thai cannot use the same verb for knowing facts and knowing people or places. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .15 Thai speech conventions 15.3) is commonly added to chEEn . deferential) mean ‘to know facts’ while rúucàk means ‘to know or be acquainted with people. .5. ch´´n sí khráp/khá –ä¬çã¬É§æõ/ÉΩ Carry on. I don’t know the word .1 Misunderstandings Expressing ignorance. 15. go ahead. places or things’: chán mây rúu/sâap âæô“¢‡§‰Ã/ó§¿õ –Å¿“¢‡§Ã‰àæÄù¢ I don’t know. such as sit down. invitations: ch´´n nâN sí khráp/khá –ä¬çôæ‡Üã¬É§æõ/ÉΩ Please sit down. is expressed by the pattern chEEn (‘to invite’) + VERB (PHRASE). The mood article sí (10. start eating. . ch´´n khâaN nay sí khráp/khá –ä¬çʼn¿Ü”ôã¬É§æõ/ÉΩ Please come in.6 Inviting someone to do something Inviting someone to do something. rúu (informal) or sâap (formal.5 15.

in time) is also used as a resultative verb with faN (‘to listen’) to express the idea that non-comprehension is due to the speaker speaking too quickly: pho faN (khruu) mây than ˇm ù¢†æÜ(ɧÃ)“¢‡óæô 15. spell aray ná khráp/khá ØΩ“§ôΩɧæõ/ÉΩ Pardon? phûut ìik thii dâay máy? üÃî؃Äóƒ“≠¢ Could you say that again? 207 . chán àan mây rúu rÁfl aN âæô؇¿ô“¢‡§Ã‰–§»‡ØÜ I don’t understand (what I read). rúu r¨›aN and khâw cay often occur as resultative verbs (5. explain.2): kháw faN mây rúu rÁfl aN –Å¿†æÜ“¢‡§‰Ã–§»‡ØÜ He doesn’t understand (what he hears).5.2 Expressing non-comprehension 15. Asking someone to repeat.5.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 15.4) with faN (‘to listen’) and àan (‘to read’) in questions like faN rúu r¨›aN máy? (‘do you understand (what you hear)?’) and àan rúu r¨›aN máy? (‘do you understand (what you read)?’).3 I don’t understand (the teacher) (because he speaks too quickly). In negative statements the word order is VERB (PHRASE) + mây + RESULTATIVE VERB (11. kháw mây rúu rÁfl aN –Å¿“¢‡§‰Ã–§»‡ØÜ He doesn’t understand. translate.5 Misunderstandings There are two words for ‘to understand’: khâw cay and rúu r¨›aN: pho mây khâw cay ˇm ù¢“¢‡–ʼn¿”à I don’t understand. speak slowly. than (‘to catch up with’.

. . . . . in English? phaasaa aN krìt plEE wâa aray? ˇ °¿™¿ØæÜ•™—ú¶®‡¿ØΩ“§ What is it in English? phaasaa thay khı an yaNN ay? ˇ ˇ °¿™¿“ó£–Ń£ôØ£‡¿Ü“§ sakòt yaNN ay? How is it written in Thai? ´ΩÄîØ£‡¿Ü“§ 15. . ≠¢¿£É®¿¢®‡¿ØΩ“§ What does . . maay khwaam wâa aray? ˇ . surprising and others. . plEE wâa aray? . . intrusive or downright impolite. by the Thais’ capacity for saying nice things.6 How do you spell it? Socialising 208 Initial conversations between Thais and foreigners are likely to involve the exchange of personal information. . phaasaa aN krìt plEE wâa aray? ˇ . —ú¶®‡¿ØΩ“§ What does . even more often. That’s a nice dress you’re wearing! or You’re looking handsome today! Westerners. perhaps unused to a culture of mutual personal compliments. like How much do you earn? or Why haven’t you got any children yet? irritating. . °¿™¿ØæÜ•™—ú¶®‡¿ØΩ“§ What is . mean? . as in fact most Thais would. while pl”” wâa aray? seeks a translation: . for most Westerners. . do not even consider making a return compliment at the next opportune 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . . like Do you have any brothers and sisters? . But these are easily outweighed.15 Thai speech conventions phûut cháa cháa nOŸ y dâay máy? üÃî䉿 & ≠ô‡Ø£“≠¢ Could you speak slowly. Westerners tend to find some questions. . . . . mean? . such as You speak Thai well!. . often make the mistake of taking compliments too literally and. please? There are two ways of asking what something means: maay khwaam wâa ˇ aray? is a request for clarification or an explanation.

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

moment. Compliments can be accepted with a gracious khO‚Op khun (‘thank you’) or modestly denied mây rO‚k khráp/khâ (‘not at all’):

15.6 Socialising

khun phûut thay kèN /chát

ÉÀìüÃî“ó£–ćÜ/äæî

You speak Thai well/clearly. – mây rOŸ k khráp/khâ – “¢‡≠§ØÄɧæõ/ɇΩ – Not at all.

Other typical compliments include:

tEŸN tua su ˇay/lOŸ O

—ï‡Üïæ®´®£/≠¶‡Ø ó¡Ø¿≠¿§Ø§‡Ø£

You look nice (i.e. are nicely dressed)! tham aahaan arOŸ y ˇ Your cooking tastes good.

15.6.1

Greetings, introductions, farewells

The basic greeting sawàt dii, often abbreviated to ’wàt dii in speech, is used for both formal and informal greetings regardless of the time of day; it is often accompanied by a wai, a gesture in which the head is bowed slightly and the hands held in a prayer-like position, somewhere between neck and forehead height, depending on the status of the person being greeted. sawàt dii can also be used when taking leave. More casual greetings are pay nay? (‘Where are you going?’) and pay ˇ na maa? (‘Where have you been?’) which do not normally require a ˇy precise answer; in the workplace, thaan khâaw r¨⁄ yaN (‘Have you eaten yet?’) is often more a midday greeting, than an invitation to lunch together:

sawàt dii khráp/khâ

´®æ´îƒÉ§æõ/ɇΩ

Hello, good morning/afternoon, etc.; goodbye sabaay dii l´‡ ´?/pen yaNN ay bâaN?

´õ¿£îƒ≠§»Ø/–úªôØ£‡¿Ü“§õ‰¿Ü

How are you? – sabaay dii/kOfl rÁfl ay rÁfl ay – ´õ¿£îƒ/Ī –§»‡Ø£ & – Fine/Same as usual.

209

15 Thai speech conventions

pay nay? ˇ

“ú“≠ô

Hello (casual). (lit. Where are you going?) – pay thîaw

“ú–󃇣® “úòÀ§Ω

I’m going out. – pay thúrá I’m going on business. – mây pay nay ˇ

“¢‡“ú“≠ô

I’m not going anywhere. pay nay maa? ˇ

“ú“≠ô¢¿

Hello (casual). (lit. Where have you been?) – pay thîaw maa

“ú–󃇣®¢¿ “úòÀ§Ω¢¿

I’ve been out. – pay thúrá maa I’ve been on business. – mây dây pay nay ˇ

“¢‡“ú“≠ô

I haven’t been anywhere. thaan khâaw rÁ⁄ yaN?

ó¿ôʼn¿®≠§»Ø£æÜ

Hello (informal, polite). (lit. Have you eaten yet?) – thaan lE⁄Ew/yaN khráp(khâ) – ó¿ô—¶‰®/£æÜɧæõ(ɇΩ) – Yes/No.

⁄ khO‡ O nE nam hây rúucàk kàp . . . ÅØ—ôΩô¡”≠‰§‰ÃàæÄÄæõ . . . I’d like to introduce you to . . .
yin dii thîi rúucàk

£¬ôîƒóƒ‡§Ã‰àæÄ

Pleased to meet you. pay lá ná/pay kOŸO n
210

“ú¶ΩôΩ/“úćØô

Goodbye; I’m off now.

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

15.6.2

Finding out about other people

15.6 Socialising

The basic personal questions below can be prefaced by khO‹Othôot khráp/ khâ (‘excuse me’) as a sign of politeness.

chÁfl Á aray?

仇ØØΩ“§

What’s your (first) name? naam sakun aray?

ô¿¢´ÄÀ¶ØΩ“§

What’s your surname? pen khon châat aray?

–úªôÉôä¿ï¬ØΩ“§ ¢¿à¿Ä“≠ô

What nationality are you? maa càak nay? ˇ Where do you come from? thîi . . . troN nay? ˇ óƒ‡ . . . ï§Ü“≠ô Whereabouts in . . .? maa càak mÁaN /caN wàt aray?

¢¿à¿Ä–¢»ØÜ/àæÜ≠®æîØΩ“§
tham N aan aray?

Which town/province do you come from?

ó¡Ü¿ôØΩ“§

What (job) do you do? ˇ tham N aan thîi nay?

ó¡Ü¿ô󃇓≠ô ¢ƒüƒ‡ô‰ØÜ“≠¢ Ø¿£À–󇿓§

Where do you work? mii phîi nO⁄ON máy? Have you got any brothers and sisters? aayú thâwrày? How old are you?
211

15 Thai speech conventions

tEŸN N aan rÁ⁄ yaN?

—ï‡ÜÜ¿ô≠§»Ø£æÜ

Are you married? mii khrOfl O pkhrua rÁ⁄ yaN?

¢ƒÉ§Øõɧæ®≠§»Ø£æÜ ¢ƒ¶ÃÄ≠§»Ø£æÜ
15.6.3

Are you married? (lit. Do you have a family?) mii lûuk rÁ⁄ yaN? Do you have any children? Expressing congratulations, sympathy

Congratulations and sympathy can be expressed formally using the expresssion khO‹O sad””N . . . (‘I would like to show . . .’) which may be followed by the final particles dûay ná (10.3):

khO‡ O sadEEN khwaam yin dii (dûay ná)

ÅØ—´îÜÉ®¿¢£¬ôîƒ(£ôΩ)
Congratulations!

khO‡ O sadEEN khwaam sı a cay (dûay ná) ˇ

ÅØ—´îÜÉ®¿¢–´ƒ£”à(£ôΩ)
15.6.4

I’d like to express my regret/sympathy.

Telephone transactions

The English word ‘hello’, pronounced in a more or less Thai way (hanloo), ˇ is used at the beginning of phone calls; the greeting/farewell sawàt dii/ ’wàt dii or, more informally, kh”›” níi ná (‘That’s all for now’) can be used at the end of the call:

khO‡ O phûut kàp khun . . . nOŸ y dâay máy? ÅØüÃîÄæõÉÀì . . . ≠ô‡Ø£“≠¢ Could I speak to . . ., please? khray phûut khráp/khá?

”ɧüÃîɧæõ/ÉΩ

Who’s speaking, please? khun . . . chây máy khráp/khá? ÉÀì . . . ”䇓≠¢É§æõ/ÉΩ Is that . . .?

212

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

pho ˇm/chán . . . phûut khráp/khâ ù¢/âæô . . . üÃîɧæõ/ɇΩ This is . . . speaking. (chûay) phûut daN daN nOŸ y dâay máy?

15.6 Socialising

(䇮£)üÃîîæÜ & ≠ô‡Ø£“≠¢
mây khOfl y dây yin

Could you speak up a little, please?

“¢‡É‡Ø£“¬ô

I can scarcely hear. rOO sàk khrûu khráp/khâ

§Ø´æÄɧÇɧæõ/ɇΩ
saay mây dii ˇ

Hold on a moment, please.

´¿£“¢‡îƒ

The line’s bad. saay mây wâaN ˇ

´¿£“¢‡®‡¿Ü
saay lùt ˇ

The line isn’t free.

´¿£≠¶Àî

I got cut off. khO‡ O tOŸO b´´ . . . ? ÅØï‡Ø–õا^ . . . Could I have extension . . ., please? ca sàN aray máy?

àΩ´æ‡ÜØΩ“§“≠¢

Do (you) want to leave a message? chûay bOŸO k khun tı m wâa . . . ˇ 䇮£õØÄÉÀìï¬˝¢®‡¿ . . . Please tell Khun Tim that . . .

䇮£õØÄÉÀìï¬˝¢”≠‰‘ó§ñ∆Üâæô£ôΩ
khEfl E níi ná

chûay bOŸO k khun tı m hây thoo thÁ‡ N chán dûay ná ˇ

Please tell Khun Tim to ring me back.

—ɇôƒ‰ôΩ

That’s all for now.

213

15 Thai speech conventions

lE⁄Ew ca thoo maa mày

—¶‰® àΩ‘󧢿”≠¢‡
I’ll ring back later.

yen yen ca thoo maa mày

–£ªô& àΩ‘󧢿”≠¢‡

I’ll ring back this evening. khO‡ O thôot thoo phìt b´´

ÅØ‘ó™ ‘ó§ù¬î–õا^

Sorry, I’ve got the wrong number.

214

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

Appendix 1

Romanisation systems

There are many different ways of Romanising Thai. The system used throughout this book is based on one devised by the American linguist, Mary Haas. This system is widely used in university departments where Thai is taught and in the linguistic literature on Thai. As well as learning unfamiliar symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet, such as E, ”, ¨, etc., the learner also has to recognise that ph and th are not pronounced like the initial consonant sound in ‘phobia’ and ‘thin’. To avoid such problems, some materials (e.g. Teach Yourself Thai, Robertson’s Practical English-Thai Dictionary) use non-technical systems of Romanisation, attempting to represent unfamiliar Thai sounds with combinations of letters such as ‘-air-o’, ‘dt’ and ‘eu-a’. Librarians and historians generally prefer the Library of Congress system, which, unlike systems used in language-learning, does not attempt to represent tone. This is how an article entitled ‘The turning point in Thai literature’ would be Romanised according to three different systems:

≠æ®–¶ƒ‰£®ÅØÜ®§§ìÉó£
Essential Grammar (EG) Teach Yourself Thai (TYT) Library of Congress (LC) hu líaw khO‹ON wannakhadii thay ˇa hoo-a lée-o korng wun-na-ka-dee tai ˇ ˇ hu lıeo khong wannakhadı thai ¯a ¯ ¯ ˛ ¯

215

Appendix 1 Romanisation systems

Essential Grammar initial CONSONANTS final

Teach Yourself Thai initial final

Library of Congress initial final

216

Ä Å É Ö Ü à â ä ã å ç é è ê ë í ì î ï ñ ó ò ô õ ú ù û ü

k kh kh kh

k k k k

g k k k ng j ch ch s ch y d dt t t t n d dt t t t n b bp p f p

k k k k ng t t t t t n t t t t t n t t t t t n p p p p p

k kh kh kh ng c ˇh ch ch s ch y d t th th th n d t th th th n b b ph f ph

k k k k ng t t t t t n t t t t t n t t t t t n p p p p p

N
c ch ch s ch y d t th th th n d t th th th n b p ph f ph

N
t t t t t n t t t t t n t t t t t n p p p p p

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111

– 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 † ° ¢ £ § ¶ ® © ™ ´ ≠ Æ Ø ∏ VOWELS f ph m y r l w s s s h l – h p p m y n n w t t t – n – – f p m y r l w s s s h l – h p p m y n n w t t t – n – – f ph m y r l w s s s h l – h p p m y n n w t t t – n – – Appendix 1 Romanisation systems -Ø -Ω -æ -æ® -¿ -¡ -¬ -ƒ -∆ -» -à ––-ª –-£ –-Ø EG -OO -a -a-ua -aa -am -i -ii -Á -ÁÁ -u -uu -ee -e TYT -or -a -u-oo-a -ah -um -i -ee -eu -eu -OO -oo -ay -e -er-ee -er LC -o ˛ ¯ -a -a -ua ¯ -a ¯ -am -i -ı ¯ -u’ -u ’ ¯ -u -u ¯ -e ¯ -e -œ i ¯ -œ ¯ ´´y -´´ –-ØΩ –-Ω –-¿ –-¿Ω –-¬ –-ƒ£ –-ƒ£Ω –-»Ø ——-ª —-Ω ‘‘-Ω ”“- EG -´ -e -aw -O -´´ -ia -ia -Á a -EE -E -E -oo -o -ay -ay TYT -er -e -ao -or -er -ee-a -ee-a -eu-a -air -air -air -oh -o -ai -ai LC -œ -e -ao -o ˛ -œ ¯ -ı a ¯ -ia -u ’a ¯ -æ ¯ -æ -æ -o ¯ -o -ai -ai 217 .

Appendix 2 The verbs hây. This section summarises and cross-references the main patterns in which they are likely to be encountered. wanting. dây/dâay and pen: a summary The verbs.11) As a causative verb. hây means ‘to give’: kháw hây N´n chán –Å¿”≠‰–ܬôâæô He gave me money. hây. permitting someone to do something) can be specified by an appropriate verb preceding hây: chán yàak hây khun chûay nOŸ y 218 âæôØ£¿Ä”≠‰ÉÀì䇮£≠ô‡Ø£ 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 I’d like you to help me a bit. . telling. (c) SUBJECT + VERB + hây + OBJECT + VERB (PHRASE) (5. dây/dâay and pen often seem confusing to the learner because each has several quite different meanings.11) The manner of causation (e.12) As a main verb. (b) SUBJECT + hây + INDIRECT OBJECT + VERB (PHRASE) (5.g. 1 hây (a) SUBJECT + hây + DIRECT OBJECT + INDIRECT OBJECT (5. hây means ‘to let (someone do something)’ or ‘to have (someone do something)’: kháw hây chán klàp bâan –Å¿”≠‰âæôĶæõõ‰¿ô He let me/had me go home.

5. (a) dây + NOUN As a main verb dây means ‘to get’: khun dây N´n dÁan thâwrày? ÉÀì“ܬô–î»Øô–󇿓§ How much salary do you get? 219 . (e) SUBJECT + VERB (PHRASE) + hây + INDIRECT OBJECT (8. dây/dâay and pen: a summary This kind of thing always makes me annoyed. please! 2 dây/dâay Note that dây and dâay are spelt identically but the pronunciation varies according to its position in the sentence. (f) VERB (PHRASE) + hây + ADJECTIVE (7.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 (d) SUBJECT + tham + hây + OBJECT + VERB (PHRASE) (5.11) This pattern conveys a sense of intention or coercion on the part of the subject: rÁfl aN bEŸE p níi tham hây pho ramkhaan sam´‡ ´ ˇm –§»‡ØÜ—õõôƒ‰ó¡”≠‰ù¢§¡É¿ç–´¢Ø Appendix 2 The verbs hây.3) To convey the idea that the action is being carried out for the benefit of someone: pho sÁ⁄Á hây khun ˇm ù¢ã»‰Ø”≠‰ÉÀì I bought it for you.4) As an adverb-marker in imperatives: phûut hây chát nOŸ y üÃî”≠‰äæî≠ô‡Ø£ Speak clearly.1. 9.

dây/dâay and pen: a summary (b) dây + VERB (PHRASE) As an auxiliary verb before the main verb.7). (d) VERB (PHRASE) + dâay + ADJECTIVE (7. (f) INDEFINITE PRONOUN + kO^ dâay (4.7. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .8. (c) VERB (PHRASE) + dâay (5.4): kháw mây dây pen khon aN krìt –Å¿“¢‡“úªôÉôØæÜÄ•™ He’s not English. dây means ‘to get to do something’: chán ca dây pay thîaw laaw âæôàΩ“ú–󃇣®¶¿® I’ll get to visit Laos. a lack of preference or indifference: khun pay mÁfl arày kOfl dâay 220 ÉÀì“ú–¢»‡Ø“§Äª“î‰ You can go whenever you like. able to’: raw pay phrûN níi mây dâay –§¿“úü§‡ÀÜôƒ‰“¢‡“î‰ We can’t go tomorrow.Appendix 2 The verbs hây.6. dâay means ‘can. (e) mây dây + VERB (PHRASE) To indicate negative past (5.7): raw mây dây pay –§¿“¢‡“ú We didn’t go.4) As an adverb-marker after the verb or verb phrase and before an adjective: kháw phûut thay dâay dii –Å¿üÃî“ó£“î‰îƒ He speaks Thai well.1.2) As an auxiliary verb after a verb or verb phrase. or to contradict or correct a preceding statement or assumption (11. VERB (PHRASE)/NOUN + kO^ dâay To show amenability.

2) As an auxiliary post-verb. (c) VERB (PHRASE) + pen + NOUN (PHRASE) (7. pay kOfl dâay mây pay kOfl dâay Going is fine by me. too.8): Appendix 2 The verbs hây.7.1) As the verb ‘to be’. tomorrow is OK. 3 pen (a) pen + NOUN (5. meaning ‘to know how to do something’: kháw wâay náam pen –Å¿®‡¿£ô‰¡–úªô He can swim. the negative is either mây chây + NOUN.3) As an adverb-marker: kháw càay pen N´n sòt –Å¿à‡¿£–úªô–ܬô´î They paid in cash.2). 221 .6.1. it cannot normally be followed by an adjective (5. .5) To express duration of time (for . (g) VERB (PHRASE) + (maa) + dâay + TIME EXPRESSION (14. .1.7.) for actions that began in the past and continue through to the present (5. or mây dây pen + NOUN: kháw pen phÁfl an –Å¿–úªô–ü»‡Øô He’s a friend. not going is fine.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 wan níi kOfl dâay phrûN níi kOfl dâay ®æôôƒ‰Äª“î‰ ü§À‡Üôƒ‰Äª“î‰ “úĪ“î‰ “¢‡“úĪ“î‰ Today is OK. (b) VERB (PHRASE) + pen (5. dây/dâay and pen: a summary ⁄ chán tham N aan thîi kruN thêep (maa) dâay laay pii lE Ew ˇ âæôó¡Ü¿ôóƒ‡Ä§ÀÜ–óü|(¢¿)“î‰≠¶¿£ú≈—¶‰® I have been working in Bangkok for several years.

Appendix 2 The verbs hây.7. dây/dâay and pen: a summary (d) VERB (PHRASE) + pen + EXPRESSION OF TIME (14. Thai 1011 uses pen: 1 12111 khun pen wàt chây máy? 3 ÉÀì–úªô≠®æî”䇓≠¢ 4 You’ve got a cold. 6 7 8 (e) pen + DISEASE 9 Where English uses ‘to have’ or ‘to get’ with diseases and illnesses.5) 222 1111 2 To express duration of time: 3 kháw yùu thîi nîi pen weelaa naan 4 –ſأÇóƒ‡ôƒ‡–úªô–®¶¿ô¿ô 5 He’s been here a long time. haven’t you? 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .

Adverbs often occur after verbs. dii is both the adjective ‘good’ and the stative verb ‘to be good’. 223 . Classifiers are attributed to every noun and are used primarily. Aspect is concerned with whether the action of a verb is complete.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Glossary Adjectives in Thai occur after the nouns they describe. ongoing or habitual. or the whole sentence. the following clause is usually introduced by ‘but’. Compounds are combinations of two words to make a new word. Adjectives also function as stative verbs. in Thai. but not exclusively. and compelling someone to do something. Thai auxiliaries include modal verbs and time and aspect markers. it is marked in Thai by auxiliary verbs. where they often take the same form as adjectives. such as ‘three daughters’. and so on. ‘four glasses of orange juice’. Consonant class Thai consonants are divided into three classes – low. the class of the initial consonant in a syllable will play a part in determining the tone of the syllable. Adjectives and adverbs often take the same form in Thai. adjectives and verbs. In English they usually begin with ‘although’. Auxiliary verbs only occur with other verbs. mid and high. Causative verbs in Thai convey a range of meanings including allowing something to happen. Concessive clauses concede a point which is then often countered in the following clause. They can describe an action. Conditional clauses commonly begin with ‘if’ and state a condition under which the following clause holds true. in noun phrases involving numbers. In Thai the ‘if’ word is often omitted. thus dii is both the adjective ‘good’ and the adverb ‘well’. either intentionally or unintentionally. Compounding is an important derivational process in Thai in creating nouns. thus. causing something to happen. they do not occur with the verb ‘to be’.

Dead syllables are one of two types of syllable in Thai (see also live syllables). status/occupation terms. ‘many’ and ‘every’. intensifying the meaning and signalling an imperative. pr-. n. Thai demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives are distinguished by tone. but also by age. Quantifiers are words like ‘all’.g. N. Intensifiers modify adjectives and adverbs expressing the degree to which that quality is present (e. In Thai noun phrases some quantifiers behave like numbers and others like adjectives. t or k stop consonant or a short vowel. kin terms. pronouns are also commonly omitted. pronouns having a falling tone and adjectives a high tone. such as numbers. including making the meaning less precise.Glossary 224 Consonant clusters are combinations of two consonant sounds. most commonly involving the repetition of an adjective or an adverb. Demonstratives are words like ‘this’ and ‘that’. choice of the appropriate pronoun is determined not only by gender and number. Resultative verbs occur after another verb to describe the state that results from the action of the first verb (cf. Most. Directional verbs occur after a verb (phrase) to indicate the direction of the action in relation to the speaker. necessity. ability. but not all. 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . pitch black). in Thai they occur only at the beginning of a syllable. Thai modals occur before a verb (phrase). Diphthongs are glides from one ‘pure’ vowel sound to another. volition and obligation. hardly). a small number of nouns can be pluralised by reduplication. Live syllables are one of two types of syllable in Thai (see also dead syllables). Personal pronouns Thai has a much more complex system of personal pronouns than English. dead syllables are those which end in either in a p. khw-. Classifiers play an important role in noun phrases in Thai. probability. or y sound or a long vowel. can serve a number of functions. live syllables are those which end in either an m. such as pl-. context and personality. The class of the first consonant in the cluster plays a part in determining the tone of the syllable. personal names and nicknames are commonly used as pronouns. very. Reduplication. social status. Modal verbs express possibility. modals are not all negated in the same way. fairly. demonstratives or adjectives. w. ‘some’. I shot him dead). many adjectives in Thai take their own specific intensifier (cf. Noun phrases consist of a noun modified by one or more modifying words.

Verb phrase This consists of a verb and optionally. Adjectives in Thai also function as stative verbs. high.questions are questions which begin with wh. but not re-opened. when?. the final ‘p’ in English ‘yep!’ is commonly pronounced as an unreleased consonant. The final stop consonants in Thai (p. which have a communicative function. why? How? is also normally included in this category. Tone The pitch assigned to each syllable. t. mood particles and exclamatory particles. purpose. reason and relative clauses. Standard Thai has five tones – mid. Wh. Glossary 225 . Verb serialization is an extremely common feature of Thai in which a number of verbs sharing the same subject follow one another with no intervening conjunctions or prepositions. k) are unreleased. In this book.in English: who?.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Sentence particles occur at the end of an utterance. the convention VERB (PHRASE) is used extensively to mean ‘verb or verb phrase’. and polite particles. rising and falling. which?. which serve a grammatical function. where?. Unreleased consonants occur when the airstream is closed to make the sound. Topicalization involves placing a word or phrase other than the subject at the beginning of the sentence in order to highlight it and make it the ‘topic’ of the sentence. conditional. They include concessive. Stative verbs describe a state rather than an action. They include question particles. Subordinate clauses are dependent on the main clause in a sentence. what?. whose?. low. its objects (direct and indirect) and any modifying adverb.

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Bibliography and further reading Abramson. (1967–69) AUA Language Center Thai Course. University of Texas.R. S. Campbell. Centre of Southeast Asian Studies. —— (1979) AUA Language Center Thai Course: Reading and Writing. Campbell. (ed. Burmese and Vietnamese. Canberra: Australian National University. Cooke. Bradley (ed. E. Australia: Monash University.M. —— (1989) Thai Sentence Particles and Other Topics. G. Victoria. 3 vols. J. DC: US Office of Education. Ann Arbor. Brown. and Chuan Shaweewongse (1957) Fundamentals of the Thai Language. unpublished PhD diss. 2 vols Paris: L’Asiathèque. Mouton: The Hague.) (1991) The Ram Khamhaeng Controversy: Collected Papers. —— (1991) ‘What makes Central Thai a National Language?’. 1970) Foundations of Thai. Reynolds (ed. (1968) Pronominal Reference in Thai.) (1997) Southeast Asian Linguistic Studies in Honour of Vichin Panupong. (1969) Noun Substitutes in Modern Thai: A Study in Pronominality. J. Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University Press. Language Planning and Sociolinguistics in SouthEast Asia. Bangkok: Siam Society. Anthony. (1991) Méthode de Thaï. A. (1967. J. Angkab Palakornkul (1972) ‘A socio-linguistic study of pronominal strategy in spoken Bangkok Thai’. Canberra: Australian National University. A.N. Washington. (ed.) Language Policy. et al. 2 vols. Delouche. Diller.J. R.R. Bangkok: S Bunyasiribhandu.S. 1939– 1989. (1985) ‘High and low Thai: views from within’. Austin. MI: University of Michigan Press. Chamberlain.) National Identity and Its Defenders: Thailand.M. in C. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Bangkok: American University Alumni Language Center. in D. 227 . 2 vols. Bangkok: American University Alumni Language Center.

London: Hodder and Stoughton. Salaya. Bangkok: Ruam San. Haas. Stanford. B. Smalley. (1964) Thai Reference Grammar. Vermont and Tokyo: Charles E. Nakhorn Pathom: Mahidol University.A. W. Huffman. Robertson. (1969) Robertson’s Practical English-Thai Dictionary. T.A. Palmer. and Heng R. (1974) Small Talk. D. M. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. London: Linguaphone Institute. Haas. M. Thianchai Iamwaramet (1993) A New Thai Dictionary with Bilingual Explanation. CA: Stanford University Press. Berkeley.G.Bibliography and further reading 228 Domnern Garden and Sathienpong Wannapok (1994) Thai–English Dictionary. Noss. Bangkok: American University Alumni Language Center.. Jackson 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . J. Washington. (eds) (1975) Studies in Tai Linguistics in Honor of William J. CA: Stanford University Press. Gedney. G. Office of State Universities. Harris. Manas Chitakasem and Smyth. (1964) Thai–English Student’s Dictionary.G. Bangkok: American University Alumni Language Center. Smyth.A.A. New York: Henry Holt. and Chamberlain.R. (1982) Teaching Grammar of Thai. (1984) Linguaphone Thai Course. Institute of Language and Culture for Rural Development. in P. McFarland.W. J. Bangkok: Amarin Printing and Publishing pcl. Subhanka (1945–48) Spoken Thai. Vichin Panupong (1970) Inter-sentence Relations in Modern Conversational Thai. Rutland. (1999) ‘Who am “I” in Thai? – The Thai first person: self-reference or gendered self?’. Bangkok: The Siam Society. —— (1977) Getting Help with Your Thai. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. Tuttle. (1995) Teach Yourself Thai. Ru’angdet Pankhu’ankhat (1997) Phasasat phasa thay (Thai Linguistics). Gething. A. Kuo. Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University Press. F.E. Harris. (1986) Bibliography and Index of Mainland Southeast Asian Languages and Linguistics. CA: Centre for South and Southeast Asia Studies. Bangkok: Central Institute of English Language. D. (1994) Linguistic Diversity and National Unity: Language Ecology in Thailand. R. J. A. and Pranee Kullavanijaya (eds) (1976) Tai Linguistics in Honor of Fang-Kuei Li. R. W. Voravudhi Chirasombutti and Diller. Stanford. (1944) Thai-English Dictionary. DC: Foreign Service Institute.

M. Yates.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 and N. W. DC: Foreign Service Institute. Cook (eds) Genders and Sexualities in Modern Thailand. and Absorn Tryon (1970) Thai Basic Course. Washington. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books. Bibliography and further reading 229 . 2 vols.

1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 .

22 231 . 182 bâaN 106. r¨⁄ yaN? 158 cá/câ/caa 128–9 ˇ càak 115 cay 84 châN 84 . 163 by 113 ca + verb (phrase) 67 ca . 18 double-functioning 20 final 6. chây máy? 155 classifiers 31 with adjectives 36–7 with cardinal numbers 33.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 Index ability 64 abstract nouns 28–9 additive clauses 122 address.. . 168 because 119. 12–13 initial 5. 17 names 12–13 pronunciation 5–6 silenced 20 written form 12–13. terms of 23.. . as possible 102 as many as .. 37 comparison adjectives 91–5 adverbs 101–2 degrees of comparison 91 equal comparisons 92–3 interrogative comparisons 93 negative comparisons 94 of quantities 186–8 compounds adjectival 84 nouns 26–31 verbs 59–60 concessive clauses 120 conditional clauses 119 negative conditionals 149 congratulations 212 consonants classes 14 clusters 6. 188 aw: verb (phrase) + aw 73 baaN 106. 36 with demonstratives 35–6 with quantifiers 34 with ordinal numbers 34. 12–13. . 39 adjectives (stative verbs) 83–95 comparison 91–5 intensifiers 87 modification 85 superlatives 95 adverbial phrases 98 adverbs 96–107 comparison 101–2 degree 105 frequency 104 manner 96 modification 100 time 103 although 120 apart from 122 apologies 201 approximation 184 as .. .

135–7 in order to 121 indirect object 80 indirect questions 170 indirect speech 123 introductions 210 inviting somone to do something 206 kaan 28 kaan thîi 119–20 kamlaN + verb (phrase) 69 kamlaN ca + verb (phrase) 69 kàp 111.Index dates 192 dây/dâay 53–4. 142–3 mây mii 144 measurements 181 mí 151 mii 58 misunderstandings 206–8 ignorance. 113–14. 130 excessives 94 exclamatory particles 125 exemplification 124 for 111–13. 151 mây dây + verb (phrase) 71. 100. 155 mây chEEN 143. 147–8. kO› mây chây . . . 71. pronunciation 7–9 direct and indirect speech 123 distances 181 distribution 182 dooy 98. 71. uncertainty 206 non-comprehension 207 months 190 more than 186–7 multiples 179 232 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . máy? 153 mây + verb (phrase) 138 mây chây 143. 100. . lE‹E/r¨‹ ¨? 154 . 196 summary 219–21 days of the week 189 parts of the day 189 dead syllables 15–16 decimals 178 diphthongs. . mây 151–2 ˇ hâam 145. 114 khá/khâ/khaa 127–8 ˇ khâN 109 khEEy + verb (phrase) 70 khîi 84 khon la 182 khO‹ON 38 khráp 127 khráp phom 127 ˇ kh¨¨ 57 khwaam 29 kin terms 43–4 kO› 118 . 205 hây 77–81. . kO› mây chEEN 143 lá/la 130 lâ 131 less than 188 . kO› dâay 53 . 99. . . . l”⁄”w 68. 196 from 115 fractions 177 future actions 67 give 80–1 greetings/farewells 209–10 há?/há/hâ 128 haa . . 113 dûay 99. . 111 summary 218–19 how? (manner) 164 (degree) 165 how about? 169 how many? 167 how much? 166 however (whatever way) 53 hu 84 ˇa imperatives 97. . . 64. . 168 . . (l”⁄”w) r¨⁄ yaN? 157 live syllables 15–17 location 108–11 lO‚k/rO‚k 134–5 . . . 142–3. 156–8 . 123. . . l”⁄”w kO› . . .

questions + bâaN 168 WH. decimals. 153–9 noun phrases 31–8 nouns 23–38 abstract 28–9 borrowings 25 common 24 proper 23 numbers 171–88 cardinal numbers 172 collective numbers 179 fractions.questions 159–69 WH. ná? mood particle 132. . multiples 177–9 idiomatic expressions 180 ordinal numbers 175 Sanskrit numbers 176 nO‚y 133 Nay 134 obligation 66 occupation terms as pronouns 45 once 177 only 185 otherwise 149 particles 126–37 exclamatory 125 mood particles 129–37 polite particles 126–9 question particles 126. 196 summary 221–2 per 182 percentages 178 phaay 110 phE›N + verb (phrase) 70 phûu 27 ph¨›a 112 ph¨›a thîi ca 121 politeness 200 possession 38. percentages. 153–9 passives 74 pen 56. question particle 155 nâ/nâa mood particle 133 nâa 84 nák 27 names personal 23. 44 place 23 necessity 65 negation 138–52 auxiliary verbs 140–2 main verbs 138 modifying negatives 144–5 negative causatives 146–8 negative comparisons 94 negative conditional clauses 149 negative expressions 151 negative imperatives 145–6 negative past tense 71 negative questions 148–9 resultative verbs 139 no 150. 65.questions + dii 168 yes/no questions 153–9 reason clauses 119–20 Index 233 . 50 possibility 64 prepositions 108–15 probability 64 pronouns 39–55 demonstrative 50 emphatic 48 indefinite 51–4 interrogative 51 kin terms 43 occupation terms 45 omission of 40 personal 39–43 possessive 50 reciprocal 49 reflexive 47 relative 49 sacred 46 pronunciation 5–10 purpose clauses 121 quantification 171–88 quantifiers 182–4 negative quantification 184 questions 153–70 alternative questions 169 asking the time 199 indirect questions 170 negative questions 148–9 WH. 99.1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . .

108. 170 wáy: verb (phrase) + wáy 72 way: verb (phrase) + way 65 ˇ ˇ want to 67 what? 160 when? 163 whenever 52 where? 162 which? 161 whichever 53 who? 159 whoever 51 whose? 160 why? 163 with 114 word order 116–18 writing system 11–22 yá/yâ 129 yàa 145–6. 156 time and aspect 67–74 to be 56–9 vowels 7–9 silent final 20 unwritten 18 written form 14–15 wá/wâ/wóoy 129 wâa 76. 118 sùan 112 sympathy 212 tâN (+ cardinal number) 174 tâNt”‚” 115 telephone transactions 212–4 thaaN 110 thanks 200 thE‚/hE‚ 136 thii 137 thîi 30. 97 relative clauses 54 requests/requesting 202–6 for information 202 for something 202 someone to do something 203–4 someone not to do something 205 to do something oneself 203 romanisation 215–7 rO‚k/lO‚k 134–5 rooN 28 r¨⁄ 169 . (l”⁄”w) r¨⁄ yaN? 157 ca . r¨⁄ plàaw? 156 . 119 time 189–99 adverbs of time 103 telling the time 196–9 time clauses 122 useful expressions 193–6 to 111 too 94 tone 9 change 10 marks 16–17 rules 16–18 topicalization 117 tO›N 65–6. r¨⁄ yaN? 158 sàk (+ cardinal number) 174 sa ˇmràp 112 seasons 192 sí/sì/sii/sîi 135–6 sıa/sá: verb (phrase) + sıa/sá 73 ˇ ˇ socialising 208–14 somebody 51 something 52 somewhere 52 spelling irregularities 19. 54. 108 234 1111 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011 1 12111 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30111 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41111 . . 69. 77.Index reduplication 25. 89. . 123. 205 yàa phE›N 146 yàaN 98 years 191 yes 153–9 yùu 59. 140–1 twice 177 verbs 56–82 causatives 77–80 directional verbs 61–3 modal verbs 63–7 resultative verbs 60. 21 stress 10 subordinate clauses 76–7. . . . 72. 139 serialization 81 stative verbs 59. . 8.

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