Tag: compound words

Do you know why Thai names of the months are so loooong?

Do you know why Thai names of the months are so loooong?

As we know, Thailand has used a lunar calendar before the present solar calender. At that time, all months were called simply by ordinal numbers. The first month is เดือนอ้าย /deuan-âay/, the second month is เดือนยี่ /deuan-yêe/, the third month is เดือนสาม /deuan-săam/, the forth month is เดือนสี่ /deuan-sèe/ respectively until เดือนสิบสอง /deuan-sìb-sŏrng/ In case you wonder, อ้าย /âay/ and ยี่ /yêe/ can also refer to one and two in order.

Although Thai lunar calendar has 12 months in total, it is not compatible with the months in the Gregorian calendar. Each lunation is approximately 29½ days; therefore, the months alternate between 29 and 30 days. It means that a lunar year has only 354 days approximately. That’s why we can’t say that เดือนอ้าย /deuan-âay/ is January.

The lunar calendar was replaced with the current system in 1888. Therefore, new months were created for the solar calendar.

HRH Prince Devavongse Varopakarn, Siamese prince and diplomat during the reigns of Rama V and Rama VI, was interested in astronomy and astrology like his father, King Mongkut (Rama IV). He created the new names for the months in the solar calendar by following the zodiac.

The twelve astrological signs:

Aries เมษ /mêd/ + อายน  /aa-yon/ เมษายน


Taurus พฤษภ /préu-sòb/ + อาคม /aa-kom/ พฤษภาคม


Gemini มิถุน /mí-tŭn/ + อายน /aa-yon/ มิถุนายน


Cancer กรกฎ /gà-ra-gòd/ + อาคม /aa-kom/ กรกฎาคม


Leo สิงห /sǐng-hà/ + อาคม /aa-kom/ สิงหาคม


Virgo กันย /gan/ + อายน /aa-yon/ กันยายน


Libra ตุล /dtun/ + อาคม /aa-kom/ ตุลาคม


Scorpio พิจิก /pí-jìg/

พฤศจิก /préu-sà- jìg/

+ อายน /aa-yon/ พฤศจิกายน

/préu-sà- jì-gaa-yon/

Sagittarius ธนู /ta-noo/ + อาคม /aa-kom/ ธันวาคม


Capricorn มกร /má-gà-rá/ + อาคม /aa-kom/ มกราคม


Aquarius กุมภ์ /gum/ + อาพนธ




Pisces มีน /meen/ + อาคม /aa-kom/ มีนาคม


Remarks: อายน /aa-yon/, อาคม /aa-kom/ and อาพนธ /aa-pa-na-ta/ mean ‘arrival of’. The Prince used 3 different suffixes to differentiate the number of days in each month: 30, 31, and 28 or 29 respectively.

Oh! I almost forget to mention that they are not Thai but Sanskrit compound words. That’s why they are elegant, meaningful and too hard to remember. LOL Luckily, you can also say เดือน /deuan/ + number, such as เดือนห้า /deaun-hâa/ to talk about May. We do understand what you mean even if it is not common practice here.

All in all, the names of each month mean ‘an arrival of each zodiac sign‘. Interesting?


Do you know what สวัสดี /sà-wàd-dēe/ mean?

Do you know what สวัสดี /sà-wàd-dēe/ mean?

sà-wàd-dēe kà

This is the first word that we will use to greet each other. It might also be the first Thai word that you know but in reality it is not Thai. Actually, this is a Sanskrit word, created by Phraya Upakitsinlapasan (1879 – 1941) for greeting between students and professors in the faculty of Liberal Arts, Chulalongkorn University when he worked as a professor there. It became the official greeting word in 1943 by Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram (1897 – 1964), the Prime Minister of Thailand at that time.

สวัสดี /sà-wàd-dēe/ is a compound word from a prefix สุ /sù/ (meaning good, beautiful, easy) and a word อสฺติ /àd-sà-dtì/ (meaning there is, there are, have). When these two words merged together following the grammar rules, สุ /sù/ became สว /sà-wà/. Plusing อสฺติ /àd-sà-dtì/, สวสฺติ /sà-wàd-dì/ means ‘Wish (you) goodness and virtue!’ It reminds me of the phrase “May the force be with you!” Does it ring a bell? LOL

This word was originally a short vowel sound for all syllables but Phraya Upakitsinlapasan changed the last syllable into a long sound to make it sound better.

After that, there were some more greeting words created such as อรุณสวัสดิ์ /à-run-sà-wàd/ for ‘good morning’, ทิวาสวัสดิ์ /tí-waa-sà-wàd/ for ‘good afternoon’, สายัณห์สวัสดิ์ /săa-yan-sà-wàd/ for ‘good evening’ and ราตรีสวัสดิ์ /raa-dtee-sà-wàd/ for ‘good night’. However, these words are not as popular as สวัสดี /sà-wàd-dēe/ which we can use any time during the day. Only อรุณสวัสดิ์ /à-run-sà-wàd/ for ‘good morning’ and ราตรีสวัสดิ์ /raa-dtee-sà-wàd/ for ‘good night’ are still used until now.

sà-wàd-dēe kà!
May the virtue be with you!

Do you know how many meanings of ใจ /jai/ in Thai?

Do you know how many meanings of ใจ /jai/ in Thai?

If you are studying Thai, you might notice that there are so many compound words consisted of ใจ /jai/.

When you say only ใจ /jai/, it means a heart.

For example:

เขาใจเต้นแรงเมื่อพูดต่อหน้าคนมากๆ /káo jai dtên raeng meûa pôod dtòr nâa kon mâag-mâag/ His heart is pounding when speaking in public.

We also use ใจ /jai/ to explain characteristics of people such as

– ใจดี /jai-dee/ = kind, nice

– ใจร้าย /jai-ráay/ = mean, unkind

– ใจดำ /jai-dam/ = pitiless, heartless

– ใจเย็น /jai-yen/ = temperate, calm

– ใจร้อน /jai-rórn/ = hot-tempered

– ใจแข็ง /jai-kăeng/ = adamant

– ใจอ่อน /jai-òrn/ = easy to change one’s mind (≠ adamant)

– ใจกว้าง /jai-gwâang/ = generous

– ใจแคบ /jai-kâeb/ = narrow minded

For example:

เธอเป็นคนใจเย็น /ter bpen kon jai-yen/ She is a calm person.

แม่เลี้ยงของซินเดอเรล่าใจร้ายมาก  /mâe-liáng kŏrng Cinderella jai-ráay mâag/ Cinderella’s step mother was very mean.

What’s more, we use ใจ /jai/ to narrate a negative feeling when someone faces a bad situation.

– ใจหาย /jai-hăay/ = shocked, stunned with fear

– ใจไม่ดี /jai-mâi-dee/ = alarmed, anxious

– ใจเสีย /jai-săi/ = frightened, disheartened

For example:

เขาใจเสียเมื่อรู้ว่าแม่ป่วย /káo jai-săi meâu róo wâa mâe bpùay/ He was frightened when he knew that his mother was sick.

เธอใจหายเพราะหากระเป๋าเงินไม่เจอ /ter jai-hăay prór hăa grà-bpăo ngern mâi jer/ She is shocked because she can’t find her wallet.

If something/someone causes or makes you feel in one way or another, you might hear words with ใจ /jai/ again.

– ดีใจ /dee-jai/ = glad

– เสียใจ /săi-jai/ = sad

– แน่ใจ /nâe-jai/ = sure

– มั่นใจ /mân-jai/ = certain, confident

– สบายใจ /sà-baay-jai/ = content, relexed

– หนักใจ /nàg-jai/ = worried

– พอใจ /por-jai/ = satisfied

– กลุ้มใจ /glum-jai/ = depressed

– โล่งใจ /lôeng-jai/ = relieved

– แปลกใจ /bpâeg-jai/ = surprised

– ตกใจ /dtôg-jai/ = scared, shocked

For example:

เธอแปลกใจที่เจอเขาที่กรุงเทพ /ter bpâeg-jai têe jer káo têe krùng-têb/ She was surprised to see him in Bangkok.

เขาแน่ใจว่าวันนี้ฝนจะตก /káo nâe-jai wâa wan-née fŏn jà dtòg/ He is sure that it’ll rain today.

With all these examples, you might think that “ใจ” /jai/ words are always adjectives. Actually, some verbs are composed of ใจ /jai/ too.

– เข้าใจ /kâo-jai/ = understand

– หายใจ /hăay-jai/ = breath

– ตั้งใจ /dtâng-jai/ = try hard; plan

– ตัดสินใจ /dtàd-sĭn-jai/ = decide, make up one’s mind

– เปลี่ยนใจ /bpliàn-jai/ = change one’s mind

– ไว้ใจ /wái-jai/ = trust

For example:

ฉันไว้ใจคุณ /chán wái-jai kun/ I trust you.

เธอไม่เข้าใจ /ter mâi kâo-jai/ She doesn’t understand.

These are some examples of words with ใจ /jai/. Do you know more?