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bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Titles

bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Some yes-or-no questions

bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Some ways of saying 'yes' and 'no'

bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Some content questions

bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  The use of classifiers

bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Number-words

bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Unit of time and money

bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Classifiers used in counting people and things individually

 

 

 

 

bluround.gif (1008 bytes) Titles

In Thailand people use titles (that is, words like Mr., Mrs., and Miss) much more than in the U.S. When speaking to people of the same age and social status, it is customary to use the title khun in front of the first name (given name) of the person to whom you are speaking. Therefore when the two friends, sàmàk and sàmə̆ə , talk to each other they do not use simply the first name without a title, as we usually do. Instead they address each other as khun sàmàk and khun sàmə̆ə. This is like the custom in our South of saying 'Miss Mary' in place of 'Mary' or 'Mr. John' instead of 'John.'

In formal situations the first and last names are used, preceded by the word naay 'Mr.,' naaŋ 'Mrs.,' or naaŋsăaw 'Miss.' Thus if sàmàk wanted to make an application for a position he would put his name down as naay sàmàk rákthay. Note also that in Thai the given name comes first and the family name comes last, as in English.

The titles naay, naaŋ, and naaŋsăaw are also used with the first name alone, as khun is, but it generally sounds more friendly to use khun.

In speaking to Europeans the Thai often use the title khun with the last name of the person being addressed. Thus if your name is John Smith, you might be called khun Smith, or you might be called khun John. But it would not seem quiet natural to them to call you Smith alone, or John alone. 

 

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bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Some yes-or-no questions

Compare the statements in the lefthand column below with the yes-or-no questions in the righthand column. The question-word in each yes-or-no question is shown in boldface type:

Statements

Yes-or-No Question

phŏm hĭw khaˆaw. 'I'm hungry' Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes) khun hĭw khaˆaw máy khráp. 'Are you hungry?' Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
khăw kamlaŋ sʉ́ʉ kày. 'They're buying chicken' Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes) khăw kamlaŋ sʉ́ʉ kày rʉ̆ʉ khráp. 'Are they buying chicken?' Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
thiˆiniˆi mii khon maˆak. 'There're a lot of people here' Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes) thˆiiniˆi mii khon maˆak náʔ khráp. 'There're a lot of people here, aren't there?' Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)

 

You will notice that in English, statements and yes-or-no questions usually have different arrangements of the words. In Thai, on the other hand, yes-or-no questions have the same order of words as statements, and are turned into questions simply by adding on a question-word or question-phrase, such as máy, rʉ̆ʉ, and náʔ. As is also illustrated here, the question-word is then generally followed by a polite word.

 

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bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Some ways of saying 'yes' and 'no'

Below are examples of 'yes' and 'no' answers to some of the questions you have had in this and the preceding unit:

Question khun tɔˆŋkaan námchaa máy khráp. Do you want tea? Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
'Yes' answer tɔˆŋkaan khráp. Yes. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
'No' answer maˆy tɔˆŋkaan khráp. No. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
Question khun hĭw khaˆaw măy khráp. Are you hungry? Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
'Yes' answer hĭw khráp. Yes. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
'No' answer maˆy hĭw khráp. No. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)

You will notice that the method of saying 'yes' in these examples is to repeat the verb of the question and follow it with a polite word. It is also possible to use khráp alone for 'yes,' as you  have already learned. However, the type of answer illustrated above is very common.

The way of saying 'no'  illustrated above is to employ the word maˆy 'not' and follow it with the verb of the question and then add on a polite word. This is the usual method of giving a 'no' answer to questions of this kind.

 

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bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Some content questions

Compare the statements in the lefthand column below with the questions in the righthand column:

Statements Questions
sathăanii rótfay jùu khaˆŋnaˆa. The railroad station is ahead. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes) sathăanii ródfay jùu thiˆinăy khráp. Where is the railroad station? Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
phŏm yàak càʔ sʉ́ʉ soˆm. I want to buy oranges. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes) khun yàak c̀aʔ sʉ́ʉ ʔàray khráp. what do you want to buy? Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
soˆm níi raakhaa lŏo láʔ yiˆisìpsìi sàtaaŋ. These oranges are twenty-four satangs a dozen. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes) soˆm níi raakhaa lŏo láʔ thaˆwrày. How much are these oranges a dozen? Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
rótfay càʔ ʔɔ̀ɔk weelaa sɔ̆ɔŋ mooŋ. The train will leave at two o'clock. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes) rótfay càʔ ʔɔ̀ɔk mʉˆarày. When will the train leave? Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
ródfay càʔ ʔɔ̀ɔk weelaa thaˆwrày. What time will the train leave? Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)

Content question are questions which require some specific information in answer. Thai content questions are those containing words like thiˆinăy , ʔàray, thaˆwrày , mʉˆarày , and weelaa thaˆwrày, as shown above. Note particularly that Thai content questions are just like Thai yes-or-no questions in that the order of the words is the same as that used in statements. Therefore, unlike what is true of English, no rearrangement of words is necessary.

 

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bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  The use of classifiers

Classifiers are words employed as units of measure when counting people or things. In the illustrative sentence below both the Thai classifiers and their English equivalents are shown in boldface type:

First Set of Examples

phŏm yàak càʔ sʉ́ʉ phaˆa sìi lăa.

ผม อยาก จะ ซื้อ ผ้า สี่ หลา

I want to buy four yards of cloth. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
phŏm yàak càʔ sʉ́ʉ kaafɛɛ sàk nʉ̀ŋ hɔ̀ɔ.

ผม อยาก จะ ซื้อ กาแฟ สัก หนึ่ง ห่อ

I want to buy one package of coffee.  Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
phŏm tɔˆŋkaan bùrìi sàk haˆa sɔɔŋ.

ผม ต้องการ บุหรี่ สัก ห้า ซอง

I want five packs of cigarettes. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
phŏm tɔˆŋkaan khày sɔ̆ɔŋ lŏ.

ผม ต้องการ

I want two dozen eggs. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)

 

You will notice that in Thai, as in English, the classifier is preceed by a number. However, the noun refferring to the article being counted (for examples,  phaˆa 'cloth' in the first example above) has one position in English and another one in Thai. In English the number and the classifier come first and are then followed by the name of the article being counted. In Thai, on the other hand, the name of the article being counted comes first and is then followed by the number and the classifier. Thus, in the first example above,  phaˆa 'cloth' comes first and is then followed by sìi lăa 'four yards.'

Classifiers which stand for units of measure like yards, packages, dozens, and so on, are as common in English as they are in Thai. But Thai has still another kind of classifier which is not found in English. In the second set of examples given below, the Thai classifiers shown in boldface type cannot be rendered in the English equivalents:

Second Set of Examples
khɔ̆ɔ bùrìi sàk nʉ̀ŋ muan. Give me a cigarette. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
phŏm yàak càʔ sʉ́ʉ soˆm sàk hòk bay. I want to buy six oranges. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
khun yàak càʔ sʉ́ʉ kày sàk nʉ̀ŋ tua máy. Do you want to buy a (one) chicken? Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)

You will notice that Thai words muan, bay, and tua shown in boldface type above are classifiers used when certain things are being counted individually (that is, by the piece) rather than by the yard, the package, or the dozen. Several different words are used because different things are frequently counted by different terms. Thus, cigarettes are counted individually by means of the classifier muan, oranges and other kinds of fruit by means of the classifier bay, while chickens and animals in general are counted by means of the word tua.

In speaking Thai you must put these classifiers in whenever you are counting things by the piece, and, since not all articles are counted by means of the same classifier, you must memorize the proper classifier for each noun at the same time you memorize the noun.

 

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bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Number-words

As we've mentioned before, the classfier is always preceded by a number. Besides the ordinary number (one, two, three, four, and so on), Thai also has other words which are used just like numbers and must be followed by a classifier. In the examples below some Thai words of this kind and thier English equivalents are shown in boldface.

duu, mii khon lăay khon thiˆinoˆon. Look, there're quiet a few (several) people over there! Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
khun  yàak càʔ sʉ́ʉ soˆm kìi bay khráp. How many oranges do you want to buy? Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)

These examples show us that the words lăay 'several' and kìi 'how many?' take the place of ordinary numbers and, like them, are followed by a classifier when they are used in counting people or things. All ordinary numbers and all number-like words, such as lăay and kìi, are grouped together and called number-words. You need to know whether a word is a number-word or not, because if it is a number-word it must be followed by a clasifier.

 

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bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Unit of time and money

Below are some examples of units of time and units of money of the type you have already learned:

Some Units of Time
weelaa săam mooŋ. It's three o'clock. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
weelaa săam mooŋ sìisìphaˆa naathii. It's 3:45 (three o'clock and forty-five minutes). Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
Some Units of Money
nii haˆa bàat. Here's five bahts. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
nii haˆa bàat haˆasìp sàtaaŋ. Here's five bahts and fifty satangs. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)
phŏm càʔ thɔɔn haˆy sɔ̆ɔŋ sàlʉ̆ŋ I'll give you change of two quarters. Copy of soundbutton.gif (564 bytes)

The words mooŋ 'o'clock' and naathii 'minute' are preceded by numbers in just the same way that words like lăa 'yard' and lŏo 'dozen' are preceded by numbers. The same is true of the words bàat 'baht,' sàtaaŋ 'satang,' and sàlʉ̆ŋ 'quarter.' Therefore we see that units of time and units of money are classifiers just as are all other units of measure in Thai.

The examples above also show that larger units of time precede smaller units of time (hence mooŋ 'o'clock' precedes naathii 'minute') and that in progessing from the larger unit to the smaller unit no connecting word like our English 'and' is needed. These same remarks also apply in the case of units of money.

Go to http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Thai/spokenthai/unit1/pictures/time/Default.htm to review and test your comprehension of time.

 

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bluround.gif (1008 bytes)  Some classifiers used in counting people and things individually

Below are some comments on the classes of things that may be referred to by the individual classifiers you have learned in the useful words and phrases of this unit.

bay  is used when fruits (such as oranges) and containers or container-like objects (such as eggs) are being counted individually, e.g.,

                                    soˆm hòk bay                'six oranges'

                                    khày sìp bay                 'ten eggs'

jàaŋ is used for counting kinds or sorts of anyhting and is also used with the noun khɔ̆ɔŋ 'thing,' e.g.,

                                    khɔ̆ɔŋ lăay jàaŋ            'several things'

khon  is used as the classifier for all nouns referring to people, e.g.,

                                     khon lăay khon           'several people' 

                                     phuˆuchaay kìi khon    'how many men?'

                                     phuˆuyĭŋ haˆa khon        'five woman'

Note that in the first example above the first occurrence of the word khon is as a noun (just like phuˆuchaay 'man' and phuˆuyĭŋ 'woman' in the following examples) while its second occurrence is as a classifier.

muan is used in counting cigarettes individually, e.g.,

                                     bùrìi hòk muan         'six cigarettes'

tua  is used as the classifier for all nouns referring to animals, e.g.,

                                      kày cèt tua             'seven chickens'

 

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