Point I : Descriptive Words and Phrases.

Notice  the Thai sentences shown below with their English equivalents.

1)

  ʔaahăan thiˆiniˆi dii   maˆak

2)

   ráanʔaahăan  thiˆi   yùu  khaˆŋnaˆa  mii ʔaahăan dii

3)

   ráanʔaahăan  níi mii   ʔaahăan  dii

4)

   ráanʔaahăan  níi  mii  ʔaahăan   dii

5)

   soˆm  níi  duu  dii  maˆak

      In each of the sentences above, the words shown in boldface type describe (or modify) another word in the sentence.  Let us examine each sentence separately:
.
(1)  ʔaahăan is modified by  thiˆiniˆwhich comes right after it.  In the English equivalent the word 'food' is also followed by the word 'here.'

(2)  ráanʔaahăan  is modified by the phrase  thiˆi  yùu  khaˆŋnaˆwhich comes right after it.  In the English equivalent the word 'restaurant' is also followed by the phrase 'which is ahead.'

(3)  ráanʔaahăan  is modified by niˆi   which comes right after it.  In the English equivalent, on the other hand, the word 'this' does not follow' restaurant'; instead it comes before it.

'The food here is very good.'
'The restaurant which is ahead has good food.'
'This restaurant has good food.'
'This restaurant has good food.'
'These oranges look very good.'

(4) ʔaahăan is modified by dii which comes right after it.  Here again the English equivalent has a different arrangement of the words, since 'good' is placed before 'food.'

(5)  dii is modified by maˆak which comes right after it.  Once more the arrangement of words in the English equivalent differs from that in Thai, since 'very' is placed in front of 'good.'

       You will notice, then, that in English a descriptive word or phrase sometimes comes before and sometimes comes after the word it modifies.  In Thai, however, the situation is much simpler:  A descriptive word or phrase always comes after the word it modifies.

      There is one other important point to observe about descriptive words.   This is illustrated in the following sentences:

(6) wanníʔaakàad  yen.

(7) ʔaahăan  thiˆiniˆi  dii  maˆak.

       Here the descriptive words shown in boldface type are the main verbs of the sentence and correspond to the type of expression which is English requires a form of the word 'to be' (such as 'is,' 'are,' and the like) plus a descriptive word.  Note carefully that in Thai a word like yen means 'to be cool,' 'is cool,' 'was cool,' and so on, and that no additional word corresponding to English 'to be,' 'is,' 'was,' and so on, is used.  To help you remember this, Thai descriptive words are defined in full with the word 'to be' put in as part of the definition, e.g., dii 'to be good';  mày 'to be new,' and so on.

 

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