Tag: speaking Thai

Do you know why we call money เงิน /ngern/ or ตังค์ /dtaang/ and what ‘baht’ came from?

Do you know why we call money เงิน /ngern/ or ตังค์ /dtaang/ and what ‘baht’ came from?

If you think that it’s a coincidence, you are wrong. When we track back to the history of Thai coinage, the first Thai money was ‘เงินพดด้วง’ /ngern-pód-duâng/ aka “Bullet Money”. It goes back to the 13th centuries when The Sukhothai Kingdom was founded. Can you guess what kind of metal it produced? Yes, you are right. The bullet money made of silver.

เงินพดด้วงเงินพดด้วง /ngern-pód-duâng/ was called “Bullet Money” because of its round-shaped which made it look similar to a bullet with marks to show the origin. It was in circulation for 600 years until the Rattanakosin Kingdom.

Thai baht originated from a traditional unit of mass, like the pound. Its currency value was originally equivalent to silver of corresponding weight (15.2 grams). Nowadays we usually use a kilogram but บาท or baht is still the unit of mass when buying or selling gold and silver.

The monetary and financial system had been developed significantly in the reign of King Rama V. The first paper money, called หมาย /măay/, was issued due to an insufficiency of เงินพดด้วง /ngern-pód-duâng/. The banknote was also assigned to combat the counterfeit unsuccessfully because it was not popular at that time.

In 1897 the production of พดด้วง /pód-duâng/ was discontinued after King Rama IV had got a small man-powered coin production machine from Queen Victoria. The flat coins started to be produced and used alongside พดด้วง /pód-duâng/. HRH Prince Jayanta Mongkol devised the decimal system for the new coins. 100 satang is equal to 1 baht.

Although we might hardly buy anything with satang coins presently, people still refer to money by using the word ‘สตางค์’ /sà-dtaang/. When they speak faster in a hurry, they will cut the first syllable and shorten the length of the second syllable. It becomes ตังค์ /dtang/ finally.

Do you know when Thailand changed its new year to the 1st of January?

Do you know when Thailand changed its new year to the 1st of January?

Thais had used a lunar calendar since 1249 (1792 BE) in Sukhothai Kingdom. We counted the first day of the first waning moon (during November to January) as a New Year’s day.

At that time, people followed Shalivahana era or Saka era: มหาศักราช, in order to calculate a year. Shalivahana was a legendary emperor of ancient India, ruling from Pratishathana or Paithan, Maharashtra presently.

Later Thais accepted believes of Brahmins from Hindu. The 1st of the fifth waxing moon became the New Year which was originally consistant with Songkran for Thais (following the lunar calender). That’s why we called Songkran as the Thai New Year presently.

After 1569 (2112 BE) during Ayutthaya Kingdom’s reign, Chulasakarat: จุลศักราช was used officially in Thailand until 1888 (2431 BE); however, the first year of Chulasakarat started in 638 (1181 BE). It is a lunisolar calendar derived from the Burmese calendar.

King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) adopted the Thai solar calendar as the Siamese version of the Gregorian calendar in 1888 as the legal calendar replacing the Thai lunar calendar.

He also decreed a change in vulgar reckoning to the Rattanakosin Era or Rattanakosin Sok: รัตนโกสินทร์ศก. It began year 1 on 6th April 1782 when King Buddhayotfa (Rama I), the foundation of the Chakri Dynasty, found Bangkok as capital.

Before New Year coincided with the date calculated for Songkran, when the Sun transits the constellation of Aries, the first astrological sign in the Zodiac. King Chulalongkorn decreed the first of April to be the New Year’s Day in the following year after adopting the solar calendar.

After using Rattanakosin Sok for 24 years, Buddhist Era (abbreviation BE), พุทธศักราช has been decreed officially in 1913 (2456 BE). What’s more, on 6 September 1940, Prime Minister Plaek Pibulsongkram, announced the 1st of January 1941 (2484 BE) to be the official New Year from now on.

Nowadays, the Common Era New Year’s Day (1 January) and Songkran (13 – 15 April), the Thai traditional New Year are important public holidays in Thailand.

For Thais, we will say สวัสดีปีใหม่ /sà-wàd-dee bpee mài/ to each other. I wish you a prosperous and healthy year!

สวัสดีปีใหม่ค่ะ

sà-wàd-dee bpee mài kà

 

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/?

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 why we say โมง /moeng/ ทุ่ม /tûm/ and ตี /dtee/ for telling time?

Do you know why we say โมง /moeng/ ทุ่ม /tûm/ and ตี /dtee/ for telling time?

There are 2 different systems to tell time in Thai. The easiest one is the official way. We will use 0 to 24 following by a word นาฬิกา /naa-lí-gaa/. นาฬิกา /naa-lí-gaa/ means clock, watch or o’clock. It’s very simple but nobody uses it in spoken language. I mean, you can talk with people by using this system but please don’t expect anyone else who are Thai to refer to this system when talking about time.

So, how do Thai people tell time in general?

ฆ้องโหม่ง

 

In the ancient time when people didn’t have watches, clocks everywhere like now. A City Hall or a temple was responsible for telling time. During the daytime, they would hit a kong. People thought that its sounds was like ‘moeng’ (โหม่ง) so, they said ‘moeng’

 

 

At night, they changed the instruments. From 7 P.M. until midnight, they hit a drum instead. People heard its sound like ‘dtum’ (ตุ้ม) so they said ‘tum’. After midnight, it was not clear what exactly was the instrument for telling time. In the peaceful time, it might be possible that no one was awake the whole night to tell time. Anyway, they assumed that some kind of metal will be used to hit from 1 A.M. until 5 A.M. That’s why we use the word ตี /dtee/, meaning hit, slap, etc.

Official Time

(24-hour based system)

6-hour based system

(Originally)

6-hour based system

(Nowadays)

1 naa-lí-gaa dtee 1 dtee 1
2 naa-lí-gaa dtee 2 dtee 2
3 naa-lí-gaa dtee 3, 3 yaam dtee 3
4 naa-lí-gaa dtee 4 dtee 4
5 naa-lí-gaa dtee 5 dtee 5
6 naa-lí-gaa dtee 6, yâm-rûng 6 moeng-cháo
7 naa-lí-gaa 1 moeng-cháo 7 moeng-cháo
8 naa-lí-gaa 2 moeng-cháo 8 moeng-cháo
9 naa-lí-gaa 3 moeng-cháo 9 moeng-cháo
10 naa-lí-gaa 4 moeng-cháo 10 moeng
11 naa-lí-gaa 5 moeng-cháo, pen 11 moeng
12 naa-lí-gaa tîang, tîang-wan, yâm-tîang tîang, tîang-wan
13 naa-lí-gaa bàay 1 moeng bàay moeng
14 naa-lí-gaa bàay 2 moeng bàay 2, 2 moeng
15 naa-lí-gaa bàay 3 moeng bàay 3, 3 moeng
16 naa-lí-gaa bàay 4 moeng bàay 4 (moeng), 4 moeng-yen
17 naa-lí-gaa bàay 5 moeng 5 moeng-yen
18 naa-lí-gaa 6 moeng-yen, yâm-kâm 6 moeng-yen
19 naa-lí-gaa 1 dtûm 1 dtûm
20 naa-lí-gaa 2 dtûm 2 dtûm
21 naa-lí-gaa 3 dtûm, yaam 1 3 dtûm
22 naa-lí-gaa 4 dtûm 4 dtûm
23 naa-lí-gaa 5 dtûm 5 dtûm
24 naa-lí-gaa, 0 naa-lí-gaa tîang-keun, 6 dtûm, 2 yaam tîang-keun
Do you know how many meaning of ถึง /teŭng/?

Do you know how many meaning of ถึง /teŭng/?

There are so many different usages of this word as a verb, a conjunction or a preposition. Do you know how to use them all?

ถึง /teŭng/ = [V] reach, arrive

  • เมื่อคืนถึงบ้านกี่โมง
  • meûa-keun teŭng bâan gèe moeng?
  • Last night what time did (you) arrive home?

 

  • ฉัน/ผมถึงร้านอาหารแล้ว คุณอยู่ตรงไหน?
  • chán/pŏm teŭng ráan-aa-hăan láew kun yòo dtrong-năi?
  • I’ve arrived the restaurant. Where are you exactly?

 

ถึง /teŭng/ = [PREP] to, until

  • โรงเรียนเปิดตั้งแต่วันจันทร์ถึงวันศุกร์
  • roeng-rian bpèrd dtâng-dtâe wan-jan teŭng wan-sùg.
  • The school opens from Monday to Friday.

 

  • เมื่อวานเขาทำงานถึงเที่ยงคืน
  • meûa-waan káo tam-ngaan teŭng tiâng-keun
  • Yesterday he/she worked until midnight.

 

  • จากบางนาถึงสีลม ใช้เวลาเท่าไหร่?
  • jàag Bangna teŭng Silom chái we-laa tâo-rài?
  • How long does it take from Bangna to Silom?

 

ถึง /tŭeng/ = [CONJ] though, although

  • ถึงเขาจะทำงานหนัก เขาก็ยังแข็งแรง
  • teŭng káo jà tam-ngaan nàg káo gôr yang kăeng-raeng
  • Although he/she works hard, he/she is still healthy.
  • ถึงเขาจะไม่ไป ผม/ฉันก็จะไปภูเก็ต
  • teŭng káo jà mâi bpai chán/pŏm gôr jà bpai Phuket.
  • Although he will not go, I’ll go to Phuket.

 

 ถึง /tŭeng/ = [V] be skillful enough

  • ฉัน/ผมตาไม่ถึง เลยดูไม่ออกว่านี่เป็นพลอยเก๊
  • chán/pŏm dtaa mâi teŭng lery doo mâi òrg wâa nêe bpen ploy gé
  • I’m not skillful enough, so I can’t see that it’s a fake gemstone.

 

  • งานนี้ยากมาก พนักงานใหม่อาจจะมือไม่ถึง
  • ngaan née yâag mâag pá-nág-ngaan mài àag-jà meu mâi teŭng
  • This job is very difficult. The new staff might not be skillful enough.

You might notice that in this sense of meaning, we will not use ถึง /tŭeng/ alone. We often use it in a negative sense with some body parts, such as:

  • dtaa mâi teŭng = (eyes) not skillful enough to see/appreciate something
  • meu mâi teŭng = (hands) not skillful enough to do something
  • lín mâi teŭng = (tongue) not skillful enough to taste something
  • hŏo mâi teŭng = (ears) not skillful enough to hear/appreciate something

 

ถึง /teŭng/ = [V] be … this much

  • ทำไมถึงมาสาย?
  • tam-mai teŭng maa săay?
  • Why do you come this late?

 

  • ทำไมคุณถึงไม่บอกฉัน/ผม?
  • tam-mai kun teŭng mâi bòrg chán/pŏm?
  • Why didn’t you tell me?

It’s very common to hear ถึง /teŭng/ when asking questions ‘why’ in Thai. Actually, it doesn’t matter whether we put it or omit it, but it’s can make the message stronger.

These are some examples how to use ถึง /teŭng/ in different ways in Thai language. Let’s check whether you get it by reading the following text. Do you understand it?

ฉันก็อธิบายไม่ถูกทำไมถึงรักการสอนภาษาไทยมาก ถึงมันจะไม่ใช่งานง่ายๆ บางครั้งต้องสอนนักเรียนถึง 3 ทุ่ม คำถามจากนักเรียนบางคำถาม ถึงจะคิดหาคำตอบจนถึงเช้าก็ยังหาคำอธิบายดีๆไม่ได้ดั่งใจ แต่ฉันก็ยังรักที่จะเป็นครูสอนภาษาไทยอยู่ดี

chán gôr à-tí-baay mâi tòog tam-mai teŭng rág gaan-sŏrn paa-săa Thai mâag    teŭng man jà mâi-châi ngaan ngâay-ngâay  baang-kráng dtôrng sŏrn nág-rian teŭng 3 tûm   kam-tâam jàag nág-rian baang-kam-tâam  teŭng jà kíd hăa kam-dtôrb jon teŭng cháo   gôr yang hăa kam-à-tí-baay dee-dee mâi dâi   dtàe chán gôr yang rág têe jà bpen kroo sŏrn paa-săa Thai yòo-dee

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