Do you know any Thai prefixes and suffixes?

Do you know any Thai prefixes and suffixes?

Similar to other languages, Thai language also has many prefixes and suffixes to create new words. Many of them come from Pali-Sanskrit or Khmer. To understand the meaning of prefixes and suffixes will help you to guess the meaning of new words easily.

Today we will talk about a few of them that refer to a person or people.

นัก /nág/: prefix

– A person who does it regularly, used with nouns or verbs.

Example:

  • นักเรียน /nág-rian/ = person+study => student
  • นักท่องเที่ยว /nág-tôrng-tiâw/ = person+travel => tourist, traveler
  • นักคิด /nág-kíd/ = person+think => thinker

–  A person who is good at doing this or do it as his/her job.

Example:

  • นักข่าว /nág-kàaw/ = person+news => news reports, journalist
  • นักดนตรี /nág-don-dtree/ = person+music => musician
  • นักกีฬา /nág-gee-laa/ = person+sport => athlete, sportsman
  • นักเขียน /nág-kiăn/ = person+write => writer, author
  • นักบิน /nág-bin/ = person+fly => pilot

ผู้ /pôo/: prefix

–  A person, used with nouns, verbs or adjectives, to create a new noun.

Example:

  • ผู้หญิง /pôo-yĭng/ = person+female => lady, woman
  • ผู้ป่วย /pôo-bpuày/ = person+sick => patient
  • ผู้ชาย /pôo-chaay/ = person+male => man
  • ผู้ใหญ่ /pôo-yài/ = person+big => adult, chief
  • ผู้จัดการ /pôo-jàd-gaan/ = person+manager => manager

Sometimes you might even hear people say นักเรียน /nág-rian/ and ผู้เรียน /pôo-rian/. What’s the different?

When we say นักเรียน /nág-rian/, we are talking about students in general. We say ผู้เรียน /pôo-rian/ to specify a group of students.

If you see the word in the introduction of a textbook, it refers to students who use this book particularly. If you see the word in a leaflet of a school, it refers to students who study there.

Although we use ‘นัก’ /nág/ more often when talking about occupations, some words might created by the prefix ‘ผู้’ /pôo/, such as ผู้จัดการ /pôo-jàd-gaan/ manager, ผู้กำกับการแสดงภาพยนตร์ /pôo-gam-gàb-gaan-sà-daeng pàab-pà-yon/ film director, ผู้พิพากษา /pôo-pí-pàag-săa/ judge, etc.

กร /gorn/: suffix

–  A doer used as a suffix of Pali-Sanskrit compound words.

  • กรรมกร /gam-ma-gorn/ = work+doer => worker, laborer
  • เกษตรกร /gà-sèd-dtrà-gorn/ = field/land/farm+doer => farmer
  • วิศวกร /wíd-sà-wà-gorn/ = whole+doer/creator => engineer

There three words can mean something else as well but it’s very common to refer to ‘a person’ when we use them as a prefix or a suffix.

Do you know any other words with นัก /nág/, ผู้ /pôo/ or กร /gorn/?

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