Word Study

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Point 1 :  How to waˆy

          Placing the hands palm to palm and raising them toward the face as a form of greeting is known as to waˆy.   In Thailand,  people do not shake hands (except those who follow the European custom); instead they waˆy.  Younger people (or inferiors) waˆy to older people (or superiors), and then the latter waˆy in return. 

 


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Point 2 : The use of nŭu

 

Examples:

หนูชอบดูหนังไหมคะ
nŭu  chɔˆɔp  duu  năŋ  măy  cáʔ

Do you like the movies? (speaking to a child)

ค่ะหนูชอบมาก
khaˆʔ,  nŭu  chɔˆɔp  maˆak

Yes, I like them a lot.   (child speaking)

หนูพินบอกคุณเหรอคะ
nŭu  phin  bɔ̀ɔk  khun  rʉ̆y  kháʔ

Did yúphin tell you?

 

          In speaking to a child, the word nŭu is used as the equivalent of the pronoun 'you' (example 1).  When a child is speaking, he or she uses nŭu as the equivalent of the pronoun 'I' (example 2), especially when speaking to members of the family; otherwise, boys use phŏm and girls use dìchăn.   A third use of nŭu is illustrated in example 3 where the word functions as a title.  As a child yúphin is referred to as nŭu phin or nŭu yúphin; when she is grown up she will be referred to as khun phin or khun yúphin.

          Note also that the polite word one uses when speaking to a child is cáʔ or caˆʔ (example 1), while the child uses kháʔ or khaˆʔ if a girl (example 2) and khráp if a boy.

 


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Point 3 : The use of chăn

 

Example:

ฉันจะอ่านหนังสือให้หนูฟัง
chăn  càʔ  ʔàan  năŋsʉ̆y  hăy   nŭu  faŋ.

I'll read to you.  (speaking to a child)

 

          Both men and women use the word chăn for 'I' when speaking to a child.  The same word for 'I' is likewise used in speaking to intimates and also to servants or other inferiors.

 


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Point 4 : Note on the meaning of bòn.

 

Examples:

เขาบ่นว่าอยากดูเรื่องศึกถลางอยู่หลายวันแล้ว
khăw  bòn  waˆa, yàak   duu  rʉˆaŋ  sʉ̀k  thàlăaŋ  yùu  lăay   wan  lɛ́ɛw.

She's been talking about wanting to see "The Battle of thàlăaŋ" for several days now.

คุณพ่อบ่นถึงเรื่องคุณเสมอ คุณไม่มาเยี่ยมนานแล้ว
khun  phɔˆɔ  bòn  thʉ̆ŋ  khun  sàmə̆ə ---khun maˆy   maa  yiˆam  naan  lɛ́ɛw.

Dad's always complaining about   you---you haven't been to see him for a long time.

 

          The word bòn in Thai is often not quite as strong a term as its nearest English equivalent 'to complain.'  Therefore, it is sometimes better to translate it as 'to talk', as in the first example above.  At the same time, bòn is stronger than phuˆut, since a person is said to bòn when he talks frequently or constantly about something.

 


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Point 5 :  A note on the use of rʉˆaN

 

Example:

คืนนี้เขาจะแสดงเรื่องศึกถลาง
khʉʉnníi   khăw  càʔ  sàdɛɛŋ rʉˆaŋ  sʉ̀k  thàlaˆaŋ

They're putting on "The Battle of thàlăaŋ" tonight.

ผมอยากจะดูหนังเรื่อง Random Harvest
phŏm  yàak  càʔ  duu  năŋ  rʉˆaŋ   Random Harvest

I want to see the movie "Random Harvest."

คุณเคยอ่านเรื่อง The Tale of Two Cities หรือ
khun  khəəʔàan  rʉˆaŋ  The Tale of Two Cities rʉ̆y

Have you ever read "The Tale of Two Cities"?

 

          In Thai the word rʉˆaŋ  is frequently used before the title of a play, movie, or book, although in English we use no equivalent term.  In English we use an equivalent term 'about' or 'on the subject of' only when we are speaking of a general topic, as in

ผมเคยอ่านเรื่องการเที่ยวที่หัวหิน
phŏm  khəəʔàan  rʉˆaŋ  kaanthiˆaw   thiˆi  hŭahĭn.
I used to read about going to Huahin.

 


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Unit 6 : The meaning of daˆy when placed before the main verb

 

Examples:

 บ้านเราอยู่ใกล้แม่น้ำ จึงได้ไปว่ายน้ำเสมอ
baˆan  raw  yùu  klaˆy  mɛˆɛnáam, cʉŋ  daˆy   pay  waˆaynáam  sàmə̆ə

Our house is near the river, so we get to go swimming all the time.

เขาได้พูดกับผมถึงเรื่อง การเล่นฟุตบอล
khădaˆy  phuˆut  kàp  phŏm  thʉ̆ŋ   rʉˆaŋ  kaanleˆn   fútbɔɔn

He talked to me about playing football.

ผมไม่ได้ไปนาน
phŏmaˆy  daˆy  pay  năy

I didn't go anywhere.

 

          In the first example above daˆy  means 'to get to (do something)', but in the second and third examples it has a different meaning, namely to indicate that the event took place in the past.  Although daˆy   is seldom used in positive (non-negative) sentences like the second example above, it is quite common in negative sentences like the third example.  Indeed the English expression 'didn't' can generally be translated into Thai by placing maˆy daˆy  in front of the main verb.

          In connection with the uses of daˆy discussed here, you should take note of the two following warnings:

          (1)   Do not use da3y in all sentences which have the past tense in English.  Most positive sentences in Thai do not require da3y  for the past tense.  An example is: nŭu phin bɔ̀ɔk khwaamláʔàray  baˆaŋ  rʉ̆y  plàaw  kháʔ   'Did  yúphin  tell you any secrets?'

          (2)   Do not confuse the  maˆy  daˆy   which is placed in front of the main verb with the one which means 'can't'; the latter is always placed after the main verb, as in: phŏm   pay  maˆy  daˆy   'I can't go'.

 


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Point 7 : Making new words with khwaam-

 

Examples:

Without khwaam-

Meaning

With khwaam-

Meaning

ดี
dii

to be good

ความดี

khwaamdii

goodness, virtue

ขาว

khăaw

to be white

ความขาว
khwaamkhăaw

whiteness

จริง
ciŋ

to be true

ความจริง
khwaamciŋ

truth

สนุก

sànùk

to be amused, have fun

ความสนุก
khwaamsànùk

amusement, fun

สั้น
saˆn

to be short, brief

ความสั้น
khwaamsaˆn

shortness, brevity

กลัว
klua

to fear

ความกลัว
khwaamklua

fear (as a noun)

 

          The word   khwaam-, which may often be translated by the English suffix '-ness', is put in front of verbs to turn them into nouns indicating a certain quality or state.   In addition to '-ness', khwaam- may also be translated by several other English suffixes, such as '-th' (as in 'truth'), '-ity' (as in 'brevity'), and '-ment' (as in 'amusement').  Other similar nouns in English have no identifying suffix (e.g., 'fear'), but in Thai all such words which are derived from verbs are clearly indicated by means of the proposed word khwaam-.

          Further examples, added here because of varying translations in English, are as follows:

ความยาว khwaamjaaw length
ความร้อน khwaamrɔ́ɔn heat
ความร้อน khwaamyen cold (as a noun)
ความเร็ว khwaamrew speed
ความคิด khwaamkhít thought, thoughts
ความลับ khwaamláp secret (as a noun)
ความต้องการ khwaamtɔˆŋkaan needs, wants
ความเหนื่อย khwaamnʉ̀ay tiredness, fatigue
ความหิว khwaamhĭw hunger
ความรู้ khwaamrúu knowledge

         

          Note very carefully that khwaam-  is placed in front of verbs whose meaning describes a quality (e.g. 'to be white') or a state (e.g. 'to know'), whereas  kaan- (Unit 13) is placed in front of verbs whose meaning refers to carrying on an activity (e.g., 'to walk').

 


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Point 8 : The distinction between kaan- and khwaam-

 

Examples:

เห็น
hĕn

to see

การเห็น
kaanhĕn

seeing, the act of seeing

เห็น
hĕn

to be of the opinion

ความเห็น
khwaamhĕn

opinion

 

          As a general rule, verbs which take kaan- do not take  khwaam-   and vice versa.  There are, however, a few exception in the case of verbs which have two kinds of meaning, one referring to an activity and the other describing a quality or state.  An important verb coming in this category is hĕn illustrated above.

 


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Point 9 : Making new words with khon.

 

Examples:

Without khon Meaning With khon Meaning

ดู

duu

to look at

คนดู
khonduu

spectator, onlooker

ขับรถ

khàp   rót

to drive a car

คนขับรถ

khon khàprót

driver

ซักผ้า

sák   phaˆa

to wash clothes

คนซักผ้า
khon sákphaˆa

launderer

ขายของ
khăay   khɔ̆ɔŋ

to sell things

คนขายของ
khon khăaykhɔ̆ɔŋ

seller

ขายตั๋ว
khăay   tŭa

to sell tickets

คนขายตั๋ว
khon khăaytŭa

ticker-seller

พาเที่ยว
phaa  thiˆaw

to take around

คนพาเที่ยว
khon phaathiˆaw

escort

 

          The word   khon  'person' may be placed before almost any verb to form a noun which identifies a person by his customary activity; such a noun is generally referred to as an agentive noun.  In English, we usually form such nouns from verbs by the addition of the agentive suffix -er (as in 'driver').

          In Thai, you will on rare occasions come across an agentive noun composed of khon   plus another noun.  A notable example is  khonŋaan   'worker'.  Examples like this, however, are generally shortened from a longer form in which  khon  actually precedes a verb.  Thus khoŋaan is a shortening of a longer word  khonthamŋaan.

          There are several other ways to form agentive nouns in Thai.  These are taken up in later units.

 


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Unit 10 : Some secondary verbs.

 

Examples:

เป็นอะไรไปหรือ
pen  ʔàray  pay  rʉ̆y

Is anything the matter?

ช้าไปสักหน่อย
chápay   sàk  nɔ̀ɔy

to be a little slow

คอยอยู่นาน

chɔɔyùu  naan

to wait a long time

กำลังคุยอยู่
khamlaŋ   khuy  yùu

to be chatting

พาไปเที่ยว
phaa  pay  thiˆaw

to take (someone) around

 

          The secondary verbs in the examples above are shown in boldface.  Study the translations of the phrases carefully, noting particularly that secondary verbs sometimes have no direct translation in English.  If the examples are not clear to you, reread the following paragraphs: Unit 13, Point 3; Unit 14, Point 1; Unit 15, Points 2 and 3.

 


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Point 11 : Some special phrases.

 

          ดูละคร (duu   lákhɔɔn) 'to see a play'; compare ดูหนัง (duu  năŋ) 'to see a movie' and ดูฟุตบอล (duu fútbɔɔn) 'to see a football game'.

          ตัดสินใจไม่ถูก (tàtsĭncay  maˆy   thùuk) 'to be unable to make up one's mind', composed of  ตัดสินใจ (tàtsĭncay) 'to make up one's mind' and the phrase  ไม่ถูก (maˆy  thùuk)  'to be incorrect'.

          ตามธรรมดา (taam   thammádaa) 'ordinarily', composed of  ตาม (taam) 'to follow; according to' and  ธรรมดา (thammádaa) 'to be ordinary'.

 


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Point 12 : Some compounds

 

          การงาน (kaanŋaan) 'work', from  การ (kaan-)  'work, activity' +  งาน (ŋaan) 'work'.

          คนเดียว (khondiaw) 'alone, by oneself', from คน (khon) 'person' +  เดียว (diaw) 'to be single, lone'.

           ตัดสินใจ (tàtsĭncay) 'to make up one's mind', from ตัดสิน (tàtsĭn) 'to decide, judge' +  ใจ (cay) 'mind, spirit, heart'.

          วันอาทิตย์ (wanʔaathít) 'Sunday', from  วัน (wan) 'day' +  อาทิตย์ (ʔaathít) 'sun'.  However, when you are speaking of the sun you ordinarily say  พระอาทิตย์ (phráʔaathít), the ordinary word for 'sun' which you have already learned.

          วันจันทร์(wancan) 'Monday', from  วัน (wan) 'day' +   จันทร์ (can) 'moon'.  The ordinary word for 'moon' is พระจันทร์  (phrácan); compare  พระจันทร์ (phráʔaathít)  above.   The word  เดือน (dyan), which also means 'moon', is generally reserved for use in its other meaning 'month'.

 


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