Thai Language Starter
This page is intended to provide a few easy to learn Thai words. The premise is that it is easy to learn by association. If you enjoy beginning to learn Thai, using the associations presented here, you will need to acquire a rather more complete vocabulary by acquiring a basic language course. I have found the 'Teach Yourself Thai' ( Book and Cassette tape ) to be an excellent, inexpensive starting point. Especially as it also encourages that you learn to read and write Thai using Thai characters.
Some of the associations presented are slightly 'off the wall'. Some have a lavatorial humor to them. This is not intended to offend. For me such things make the learning 'more fun' ( DENTIST ).
DISCLAIMER - there is no right / wrong way to write Thai in Roman characters. Pronouncing Thai correctly can be a challenge. As in most languages pronunciations vary regionally. One of the most common confusions arises, because many Thais find it difficult to pronounce the 'R' sound and pronounce 'L' instead. I have tried to present actual English words which sound as close as possible to how the Thai word sounds. Most dictionaries and language courses provide some very contrived 'Romanised' spellings. These are groups of Roman characters, which are supposed to represent a Thai sound. Since these groups of Roman characters often don't appear as real English words anyway, the student is still left trying to puzzle out how they should sound ( hence the great value of taped conversations which accompany some language courses ).
Here is an example of what I mean about contrived Romanised spellings:-
English word 'YES' (as spoken by a woman) - Typical dictionary offering 'KA or KHA' - My offering 'CAR'.
English word 'YES' (as spoken by a man) - Dictionary offering 'KHRAP' or 'KRUP' - My offering 'CRAP'.
English word 'NO' (spoken by man or woman) - Dictionary offering 'MAI' - My offering 'MY'.
In Thai Sounds Like
( My Offering )
|Crazy||Bar / Bah||Ba|
|Noodles (*1)||Barmy||Ba Mee|
|Pig / Pork||Moo||Moo|
|Crab||Poo||Pu / Bpoo|
|Dentist||More fun||Mor fun|
|Traffic Jam||Rot Tit||Rot Dtit|
|Go||Bye||Bai / Pai|
|Go away||Bye, Bye (*3)|
|Come here||Money||Ma ni|
|Day||One||Wun / Wan|
|Two||Song||Song / Sorng|
|Eight||Bet||Bhet / Paet|
|Many / Much||Muck (*3)||Muk / Maak|
|White||See Cow||Si Khao|
|Black||See Dumb||Si Dam / si Dum|
|Pink||See Shampoo||Si Chomphu|
|Blue (light blue)||See Far||Si Fa|
|Fried Rice||Cow Pat||Khao Phat|
|Sweet Corn||Cow Pot||Khao Phoht|
|He / She / They||Cow||Khao|
|Ash Tray||Tikka Bully||Thi Khia Buri|
|Cigarette Lighter||Fire Check||Fai Chaek|
|Don't / Not||My||Mai|
|Bad Smell / Stink||Men||Men / Menh|
|Lemon / Lime||Man Now||Manao|
|Scorpion||Man Pong||Mang Pong|
|Frog||Cop||Kop / Kopf|
|Village||Moo Barn||Moo Baan|
|Hotel||Wrong Room (*4)||Rong Raem|
|Mountain||Poo Cow||Poo Kao|
|Straight Ahead||Tong Pie||Torng Bpai|
|Meet||Pop Gun||Pop Gun|
|Watch (as in TV)||Do||Doo|
|Beach||Shy Heart||Shai Hart|
|Powder / Flour||Bang||Bpairng / Paeng|
(*1) Ba Mee are egg noodles, as opposed to plain noodles, which are called Kwae Teow among other things.
(*2) In reality the Thai for armpit sounds more like Chuckerlair, but until you get used to the nuances of Thai, it will sound much like chocolate with the 't' slightly softened. Chocolate is also easier to remember than chuckerlair.
(*3) Some Thai words are repeated for emphasis. So for example if 'go' is 'bye', then 'go away' is 'bye, bye'. Usually this is not an unfriendly 'go away', but if the person you are with is trying to get you to get a move on, they may say 'bye, bye'. note I have put a comma between the first bye and second bye, this is because there is a slight pause between them. Also the word for 'many' is 'muck', if there are really a lot, then a Thai may say 'muck muck'.
(*4) I will admit that the 'Room' bit of 'Wrong Room' is stretching it a bit, but it is easy to remember as a start point for learning, and who knows how to pronounce 'Raem' anyway, if they've never heard it spoken.
Of course in addition to those in the table above there are many other potential English - Thai associations. It was because of some of the above examples I found myself making up little stories to help me remember the words. At first this takes a little thought, but later becomes second nature, especially where the association has a touch of humor to it.
Here are some examples of the kind of story you can make up to help you remember.
'His old CAR was beginning to ROT'.
'She decided to exercise her LEGS, instead of taking the CAR'.
'There was no need to order them to "COME HERE", they came as soon as they saw the MONEY'.
'The Chinese love to BET, their lucky number is EIGHT'.
'You can SEE FAR when the sky is BLUE'.
The pronunciations are approximate and it takes practice to get them right. Although dictionaries show both 'DOG' and HORSE' as sounding like 'MA', they are in fact pronounced differently, hence the Thais know which one is being referred to.
Send a message to email@example.com if you would like to suggest some additional associations.
If you would like to check out pricing of 'Teach Yourself Thai', click on one of the images below:-
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