Word Study


Point 1. Telephoning. The most important phrases you will need to know in connection with telephoning are listed and described here.

If someone wishes to tell you there is a telephone call for you, he will say something like this:
khun Kàsěem khráp, thoorásàp thʉ̌ŋ khun.
คุณเกษมครับ โทรศัพท์ถึงคุณ
Telephone for you, Kàsěem.
If the operator wishes to know what number you are calling, she will say:
khun tɔ̂ŋkaan bəə thâwray kháʔ
Number please!
On the other hand, she may ask what connection you want:
khun càʔ tɔ̀ɔ pay thîinǎy kháʔ
What connection do you want? ('Where will you be connected?')
You should answer with a phrase similar to this:
pròot tɔ̀ɔ pay thîi bəə sìi hòk cèt sǎam
Please get me 4673.
If you are using a public telephone, the operator may tell you:
waaŋ hǔu sǐa kɔ̀ɔn sii khâʔ. lɛ́ɛw sày hâa sàtaaŋ.
วางหูเสียก่อนสิคะ แล้วใส่ห้าสตางค์
Please hang up. Then put in five satangs.
If the line is busy, she will tell you:
sǎay yaŋ mây wâaŋ khâʔ waaŋ hǔu sǐa kɔ̀ɔn sii khâʔ lɛ́ɛw rîak maa ʔìik
สายยังไม่ว่างคะ วางหูเสียก่อนสิคะแล้วเรียกมาอีก
The line's busy. Hang up and then call again.
If your call goes through, you may check on whether you have the right place or not by saying:
hanlǒ̀o, nân thîinǎy khráp.
ฮัลโหล นั่นที่ไหนครับ
Hello, where is this? ('Where is that?')
The answer will be something like this:
nîi bâan Thoŋchay khâʔ
This is the Thochay residence.
If you get the wrong number, you sould say:
khɔ̌ɔ thôot khráp, bəə phìt.
ขอโทษครับ เบอร์ผิด
Excuse me, it's the wrong number.
When answering the telephone, give your name without title, as in:
nîi Sàmàk rákthay phûut khráp.
นี่สมัคร รักไทยพูดครับ
Samak RakThay speaking.
Your friend may ask what you want by saying:
mii thúráʔ ʔàray lâʔ khráp.
What's on your mind? ('What business do you have [in mind]?')
In breaking off a telephone conversation, you may say:
lə̂ək kan náʔ khráp sàwàtdii
เลิกกันนะครับ สวัสดี
That's all. ('Shall we quit now?') Good-bye.
Other important phrases used in connection with telephoning are:
ráp thoorásàp
to answer the phone ('to receive the telephone')
to talk on the telephone ('to telephone-talk')
thoorásàp maa hǎa
to telephone to ('to telephone coming to', i.e., toward the center of interest)
thoorásàp pay hǎa
to telephone to ('to telephone going to', i.e., away from the center of interest)


Point2. pay and maa as secondary verbs.


Equivalent translation

Literal translation
khâw pay

to go in

to enter away from (center of interest)
khâw maa

to come in

to enter toward (center of interest)
ʔɔ̀ɔk pay

to go out

to leave away from (center of interest)
ʔɔ̀ɔk maa

to come out

to leave toward (center of interest)
khʉ̂n pay

to go up

to rise away from (center of interest)
khʉ̂n maa

to come up

to rise toward (center of interest)
loŋ pay

to go down

to descend away from (center of interest)
loŋ maa

to come down

to descend toward (center of interest)
klàp pay

to go back

to return away from (center of interest)
klàp maa

to come back

to return toward (center of interest)

Memorize the examples above together with their equivalent translations. The literal translations are given to show the function of pay and maa but are not to be memorized.
The examples above illustrate the use of
pay and maa with verbs of directional movement (i.e., movement in or out, up and down, and so on). The important thing to remember is that in the English equivalent translations for verbs of this type the words 'go' and 'come' are placed first; in Thai, on the other hand, they are placed last. The words pay and maa are also used with other types of verbs of motion, as shown below.

khǎw dəən pay
He walked away (or) He walked off.
khǎw khàp rót pay
He drove away (or) He drove off.
khǎw khàp rót pay bâan khun Sàmàk.
He drove over to Samak's house.

The translations given above are equivalent translations. A literal translation 'away from (the center of interest)' is still an adequate translation for pay. The word maa can be substituted for pay in all of the examples above with a consequent shift in meaning so that the emphasis is on motion 'toward (the center of interest)'.


Point 3. A special use of pay as a secondary verb

phǒm lɛ́m pay lɛ́ɛw
I had forgotten it.

Here pay is used as a secondary verb with lɛɛm 'to forget' and its use in this connection is simply to emphasize that the forgettting was complete; in other words, the matter 'slipped out of (away form) mind'.
It is important to note than in some contexts lm pay means 'to forget to go'. In such as case both verbs are primary verbs. Whether lm pay is to be interpreted as two primary verbs or as a primary verb followed by a secondary verb depends entirely upon the context or situation in which the expression is used.


Point 4. More about the use of waa

khun rúu mǎy wâa, khun Sàmàk pay nǎy.
คุณรู้ไหมว่า คุณสมัครไปไหน
Do you know where Samak went?
khun bɔ̀ɔk phǒm dây mǎy wâa, hooten yùu thîinǎy.
คุณบอกผมได้ไหมว่า โรงแรมอยู่ที่ไหน
Can you tell me where there's a hotel?

Note the position of may and of day mǎy with respect to wâa. You will observe that the clause preceding wâa is complete in itself and that the word-order in such a clause is the same as it would be if the clause were used alone. The function of wâa is simply to introduce a new clause telling what is known or what is being said or told, as you previously learned in Unit 13, Section B.1, Point 5.

Point 5. The use of sǎnyaa.

phǒm sǎnyaa wâa, càʔ pay ráp khǎw.
ผมสัญญาว่า จะไปรับเขา
I promised ('promised that') I'd go get him or I promised to go get him.
phǒm sǎnyaa kàp khǎw wáa, càʔ phaa khǎw pay duu nǎŋ
ผมสัญญากับเขาว่า จะพาเขาไปดูหนัง
I promised him ('made a promise with him') I'd take him to the movies.

Note that sǎnyaa is like verbs of knowing, thinking, speaking, and so on, in that it is followed by wâa which serves the purpose of introducing the clause telling what is promised. Note also that when you wish to state to whom the promise is made, it is necessary to employ the word kàp 'with' in the way that is illustrated in the second example above.


Point 6. The words thâw, thâwkàp, and thâwkan

khǎw kin ʔaahǎan thâwkàp phǒm
He ate as much as I did ('[an amount] equal with me').
bâan khun too thâwkàp bâan phǒm
Your house is as big as mine ('is big qual with my house').
khǎw dəən rew thâwkàp phǒm
He walked as fast as I did ('fast equal with me').

Either thâw 'to equal' or thâwkàp 'to be equal with' may be used in the second and third examples as well as in the first. The literal translations placed in parentheses are provided to help you see how the words are put together in Thai. In order to be able to use these words properly, however, you should pay particular attention to the equivalent translations which are given first.

khǎw tháŋsɔ̌ɔŋ mii ŋən thâwkan.
They both have the same amount of money ('have money equalling each other').
bâan khun lɛ́ʔ bâan phǒm too thâwkan.
Your house and mine are equally large ('are large equalling each other').
raw tháŋsɔ̌ɔŋ dəən rew thâwkan
We walked equally fast ('walked fast equalling each other').

Here again you should give particular attention to the equivalent translations which are given first. The only trick involved in the proper use of these words is to remeber what the difference is between the English way and the Thai way of comparing things in size or quantity.

Point 7. One of the uses of rʉ̂aŋ

phûuyǐŋ chɔ̂ɔp phûut thʉ̌ŋ rʉ̂aŋ kaansʉ́ʉkhɔ̌ɔŋ
Women like to talk about ('about the subject of') shopping.
khǎw phûut thʉ̌ŋ rʉ̂aŋ rótyon.
They're talking about ('about the subject of') automobiles.

In sentences like these the use of the word rʉ̂aŋ is required. Note also that rʉ̂aŋ is followed by a noun and that if a word referring to an activity is used, that word will be made up of kaan- followed by a verb. For the use of kaan - see the discussion given in Unit 13, Section B.1, Point 12


Point 8. The use of tâŋ with number-words

khǎw mii ŋən tâŋ rɔ́ɔy bàat.
He has all of ('as much as') a hundred bahts.
raw may dây phóp kan tâŋ dʉan.
We haven't met for a month ('for as much as a month').
raw mii weelaa khuy kan tâŋ sǎam chûamooŋ.
We have all of ('as much as') three hours to talk.

The word tâŋ is placed before a number-word plus classifier to emphasize the fact that the quantity or amount is large, or at any rate seems large to the speaker employing the term. The closeest literal translation in English for the word is 'as much as' followed by a given quantity or amount.
The word
tâŋ is used in a way that exactly parallels the use of sàk, for sàk, too, is always followed by a number word pluse classifier. However, the meaning conveyed by the two words is very nearly opposite, for tâŋ is used to emphasize the largeness of the quantity or amount while sàk is often used to emphasize the smallness of the quantity or amount. However, sàk also means 'about', as in, raw mii weelaa sàk khrʉ̂ŋ chûamooŋ 'We have about half an hours.' Therefore when sàk carries the meaning 'as little as', which is the opposite of 'as much as', it must often be reinforced by another word, such as thâwnán, as in, raw mii weelaa sák khrʉ̂ŋ chûamooŋ thâwnán 'We have only half an hour' (literally, 'as little as half an hour, that's all.').

Point 9. Some Contractions.

Full form Contracted form Contracted and shortened form Meaning
yàaŋ níi
yaŋŋíi ŋíi like this or in this way
yàaŋ nán
yaŋŋán ŋán like that or in that way
yaŋŋay ŋay how or in what way?

All three types of forms are used in speaking, though the more rapidly one speaks the more likely one is to use the contracted or the contracted and shortened forms. The changes that take place are as follows: In the contracted or the contracted and shortened forms. The changes that take place are as follows: In the contracted forms the long vowel of yàaŋ is changed to a short one and the low tone is changed to the middle tone. In addition the initial n of níi and nán and the initial r of ray are assimilated to ('made like') the final ŋ of yàaŋ. Then when the contracted form is shortened by the omission of the first syllable, all that is left is the second syllable consisting of ŋíi, ŋán, and ŋay, respectively.

Some common expressions containing these contracted or contracted and shortened forms are:

Expression with shortened form Equivalent expression Meaning
thâa yaŋŋán
thâa yàaŋ nán in that case
thâa yàaŋ nán in that case
pen ŋay
pen yàaŋray what about it? or how are you?

Point 10. Some English words in Thai.


When Thai borrows ('takes over the use of') an English word, it usually happens that some change is made in the pronunciation of the word so that it will sound more like ordinary Thai words. For example, in place of the first l in 'hello', Thai has n. Again in fútbɔɔn 'football', l is also replaced by n. The reason for this is that the sound l is never found at the end of a syllable in Thai; therefore English final l is changed to n because in pronouncing n the tongue is in almost the same position as it is when pronouncing l, and n is a sound which occurs very frequently at the end of a syllable in Thai.
The word
bəə borrowed from English 'number' has been shortened to one syllable and the vowel əə has replaced English er. You will notice that just as Thai əə tends to sound like er to people who speak English, so English er tends to sound like to people who speak Thai.
Some of the other changes in the Thai words are only apparent, since we are not using ordinary English spelling to represent Thai sounds. Thus the vowel of English 'ball' is practically the same as the Thai vowel which we write as 
əə . Similarly, the vowel in 'foot' is close to the Thai vowel written u.

Point 11. Some classifiers.

a classifier meaning 'side', particularly sides in a contest. It is sometimes used in the same way as khâaŋ, but it does not replace khâaŋ in all of its uses. An important point to remember about fàay is that it is a classifier that does not have to be used in connection with a noun. In this it is exactly like the classifiers referring to units of time and money.
another classifier meaning 'side'. Like fàay it does not have to be used in connection with a noun. However, it does have one quite common use where it is employed with nouns. This is its use as the classifier for most body-parts occuring in pairs, e.g. mʉʉ khâaŋ nʉ̀ŋ 'a hand', hǔu sɔ̌ɔŋ khâaŋ 'two ears'. The words mʉʉ 'hand' and hǔu 'ear' may, however, also be repeated as their own classifiers and in any event khâaŋ is not used if the number referred to is over two. Thus if you were speaking of a monstrosity having three ears, you would have to repeat hǔu as its own classifier, thus: hǔu sǎam hǔu 'three ears'.

Point 12. Some special phrases


ʔaayúuʔ thâwray
'to be how old', lit. 'to be aged how much'.
ʔaw cay chûay
'to root for', lit. 'to take the heart to help'.
ʔɔ̀ɔk dəən thaaŋ
'to start out (to go somewhere)', lit. 'to leave to travel'. Note particularly that the expression can be used for starting out to go a short distance, as to a football game, as well as for starting out on a journey.
kìi mooŋ
'at what time? what time is it?', lit. 'how many o'clock?'
khâw khâaŋ
'to take the side of, be on the side of', lit., 'to enter the side of'.
maa ráp
'to come get (someone)', lit., 'to come receive'.
mii ʔaayúʔ
'to be (so and so many years) old', lit. 'to be aged (so and so many years)'. Sometimes aayuu is used alone with the same meaning as mii aayuu
mii thúráʔ
'to be busy, occupied', lit. 'to have business'.
pay ráp
'to go get (someone)', lit., 'to go receive'.

Point 13. Some compounds


'telephone-receiver', lit. 'telephone-ear', from hǔu 'ear' + thoorásàp 'telephone'
'telephone (the instrument)', from khrʉ̂aŋ 'instrument, implementation' + thoorásàp
'telephone girl', lit. 'telephone-lady', from naaŋ 'lady; Mrs.' + thoorásàp
'features, countenance', lit. 'face (and) eyes', from nâa 'face' + taa 'eye'
'rose-garden'; also the name of a   school in Bangkok; from sǔan 'garden' + kùlàap 'rose'