Tag: Sanskrit language

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 that Thailand had 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 there are 12 months in total, it is not compatible with the months in Gregorian calendar. Each lunation is approximately 29½ days; therefore, the months alternate between 29 and 30 days. That means a lunar year is 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 reign of Rama V and Rama VI, was interested in astronomy and astrology following his father, King Mongkut (Rama IV). He generated new names of the months in solar calendar by following the zodiac.

The twelve astrological signs:

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

/me-săa-yon/

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

/préu-sà-paa-kom/

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

/mí-tù-naa-yon/

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

/gà-ra-gà-daa-kom/

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

/sing-hăa-kom/

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

/gan-yaa-yon/

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

/dtù-laa-kom/

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

/tan-waa-kom/

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

/má-gà-raa-kom/

Aquarius กุมภ์ /gum/ + อาพนธ

/aa-pa-na-ta/

กุมภาพันธ์

/gum-paa-pan/

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

/mee-naa-kom/

Remarks: อายน /aa-yon/, อาคม /aa-kom/ and อาพนธ /aa-pa-na-ta/ means ‘arrival of’ He 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 means ‘an arrival of each zodiac sign‘. Interesting?

Zodiac_CC.svg

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 greet each other. It might also be the first Thai word that you know but it’s 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 official greeting word in 1943 by Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram (1897 – 1964), the Prime Minister of Thailand at that time.

สวัสดี /sà-wàd-dēe/ coming 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!’ Actually, it reminds me of the phrase “May the force be with you!” Ring a bell? Lol

This word originally is short vowel sound for all syllables but Phraya Upakitsinlapasan changed the last syllable into a long sound to make it sounds 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’ that people still use until now.

sa-wad-dee ka
May the virtue be with you!

Do you know the differences between ครู /kroo/ and อาจารย์ /aa-jaan/?

Do you know the differences between ครู /kroo/ and อาจารย์ /aa-jaan/?

If you are looking for a free Thai lessons online, you will hear teachers call themselves ‘ครู’ /kroo/

ครู /kroo/ is originally from a Pali ครุ /kru/ or Sanskrit คุรุ /kuru/. It means heavy; someone with respectful behaviors and a teacher.

Normally people use it to call teachers in kindergartens and schools. It can be a noun and a pronoun. That means students will call their teacher ‘ครู’ /kroo/. It’s pretty common to hear teachers call themselves ‘ครู’ /kroo/ when they talk with their students, too.

What’s about อาจารย์ /aa-jaan/?

Do you know ‘www.ajarn.com’? It is a famous job-listing website for foreign teachers in Thailand. I think that you can guess by now how the word ‘อาจารย์’ /aa-jaan/ relates to teaching job.

อาจารย์ /aa-jaan/ is from Sanskrit meaning a role model; a teacher and an instructor.

Normally, we use this word to call lecturers or professors in colleges and universities. We also use it to address someone as a master of any kinds of knowledge although that person might not teach for a living.

I hope that you enjoy learning Thai with your present ‘ครู’ /kroo/ or ‘อาจารย์’ /aa-jaan/. J

P.S. Since there is no official, mandatory standard of Thai Romanization, not like Pinyin for Mandarin. That’s why, you might see various ways of romanizations. Some very academic schools might prefer to use phonetic symbols. Other schools prefer different romanizations. I also prefer to use the romanization but my version might not be exactly the same as any others.

Anyway, if you are certain that you will live here and you prefer to blend in the society or at least understand them from the eyes of local people, learning the language is the first door for you. Being able to read Thai is also very important in order to improve your comprehension in language and culture in a long run.

I wish you luck! LOL