Tag: studying Thai

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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

These three words can mean something else as well but they commonly 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 why we have ฃ and ฅ?

Do you know why we have ฃ and ฅ?

If you’d like to learn how to read and write Thai, normally you will start with alphabets, right?

In Thai language, there are 44 consonant letters. It’s funny because there are 2 characters which we don’t use anymore, but we still count them as part of our alphabets. Any ideas?

Right, I’m talking about ฃ and ฅ.

So, when did ฃ and ฅ be created and for what reason?

For the first question, we have got evidence from the King Ramkhamhaeng Insription, aka Ram Khamhaeng Stele (composed in 1292), that we did have these two letters starting from the beginning.

Referring to the inscription, you could find some examples of ฃ and ฅ, such as ฃึ้น, ฃุน, ฃาม, ฅำ, ฅู้ม, ฅวาม etc. and these two still be used until Rattanakosin Era (1782 – present).

ฃ and ฅ were left from the writing system firstly when the first Thai typewriter was developed by Edwin Hunter McFarland in 1892. Why? No space for all letters!

Although these two were still be used popularly in King Vajiravudh’s reign (1910 – 1925), their usage became less and less after that until there were only one word of each left: เฃตร and ฅอ.

When Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, locally known as Chomphon Por; contemporarily known as Phibun in the West, served as the Prime Minister of Thailand (1948 – 1957), many consonant letters and vowels were eliminated from the writing system. Of course, ฃ and ฅ were included.

The others consonants have resumed their usage after Chomphon Por’s period of time but not these two consonants.

So, we are back to the second question. If they were not that important why did we have them?

From many of Thai specialists’ assumptions, they do believe that at the beginning, ฃ and ฅ must represent different sounds from ข and ค respectively but nobody really knows which sounds exactly.

Do you know all the Thai consonants which represent /k/ sound?

Do you know any Thai expressions about noodles?

Do you know any Thai expressions about noodles?

Recently we talked about the origin of ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/. If you remember, rice noodles vary in size mainly. The biggest ones are called เส้นใหญ่ /sên-yài/.

  1. ขอเส้นใหญ่ น้ำใส หมู /kŏr sên-yài nám-săi mŏo/
  2. ผู้ชายคนนั้นเส้นใหญ่มาก /pôo-chaay kon nán sên-yài mâag/

Can you guess the meaning of both sentences? Number 1, it means ‘big noodles, clear soup, (with) pork’. Yes, it’s simply an order when you go to a noodle restaurant.

What’s about number 2? When we say that someone is a big noodle, we do not mean that someone becomes real noodles. No, it doesn’t make sense. So, what does it mean?

In Thai language, เส้น /sên/ can also refer to connections. That’s why, someone with very good connections is called เส้นใหญ่ /sên-yài/. Normally, this word is pretty negative. We regularly use it to explain how someone gets something such as a position or any kinds of advantages in an unusual way.

Do you like มาม่า /maa-mâa/?


If you have been in Thailand long enough, it’s impossible not to know it. มาม่า /maa-mâa/ is everywhere in Thailand; in 7-11, big or small grocery shops, supermarkets, hypermarkets, even at home.

Yes, we are talking about instant noodles!!! Instant noodles are made from wheat flour. They are steamed before deep fried. Different from Instant noodles in other countries, here they are very crispy. You can even eat them dry without boiling in water.

Actually, มาม่า /maa-mâa/ is one brand. Because of its popularity, everyone calls all instant noodles casually ‘มาม่า’ /maa-mâa/.

Thais pick up a word ดราม่า /dra-mâa/ from ‘dramatic’ in English. When someone is over-dramatic, we will call him/her ‘ดราม่า’ /dra-mâa/

Nowadays some people overreact in online public spaces such as forums, pages, etc. So, it’s not that hard to see them argue with each other if they disagree.

Since ดราม่า /dra-mâa/ and มาม่า /maa-mâa/ sound similar, Thai people use มาม่า /maa-mâa/ to describe a feeling that quarrel will begin soon because of the drama.

You might notice an expression ‘ต้มมาม่ารอ’ /dtôm maa-mâa ror/ when they are waiting to see people dispute against each other due to their over-dramatic comments.

Today we talk about two different kinds of noodles and two expressions in Thai language. I hope that you enjoy having noodles like me and will not กินมาม่า /gin maa-mâa/ with anyone soon. LOL

Bon appetit!


Do you know why we pronounce ทร as /s/ or sometimes as /tr/?


If you can read Thai, you must know that ทร is /s/ such as ทราบ /sàab/ = to know, ทราย /saay/ = sand, etc. but sometimes you might notice that Thai people pronounce them as diphthong such as ทรัมเปต = trumpet or ทรู = true.

Originally, we don’t have diphthong ทร /tr/ sound in Thai phonology. All words with ทร were sounded out as /s/. At the beginning of Rattanakosin Period (1782 – present), we started to see the change.

อินทรา /in-tra/ = Indra, an Indian god; นิทรา /ní-tra/ = sleep and จันทรา /jan-tra/ = moon were exceptions, changed from /s/ to /tr/ sound in Rattanakosin Period.

It’s useful to learn that words with ทร usually are loanwords. If they are from Khmer or Pali-Sanskrit, we usually pronounce as one single sound /s/ except those 3 words above. If they are from English language such as trust, trumpet, tractor, etc., it’s a common practice to pronounce as /tr/.

Any other words with ทร that you know? 🙂



Noodles /gŭay-dtiăw/ & Pad Thai

ผลการค้นหารูปภาพสำหรับ ผัดไทย

ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ is a loanword from a Chinese dialect. ก๋วย /gŭay/ means flour or fruit/part of fruit. เตี๋ยว /dtiăw/ means lines. When we combine them together, it means lines made from flour. Normally, ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ is made from rice flour.

We believe that ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ came to Thailand in the reign of King Narai the Great; the king of Ayutthaya from 1656 to 1688. After the World War II, rice was in short supply and its price was higher. Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhra, the leader at that time, tried to promote ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ as a lunch meal. Eating and selling noodles at that time was a strategy to drive the economy of the country. It has become so popular in Thailand since then.

Considering from the size of noodles, you can find 3 common kinds of rice noodles: เส้นใหญ่ /sên-yài/: the biggest size (around 1 inch wide), เส้นเล็ก /sên-lég/ the smaller size (a few millimeters wide) and เส้นหมี่ /sên-mèe/ slightly lighter than anglehair pasta.

Due to the nationalistic campaign at that time, the leader did not want ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ to have an image of China. That’s why, Pad Thai was born. In order to differentiate Pad Thai from Chinese noodles, the authentic Pad Thai must not have pork as an ingredient. They believed that pork was the food for Chinese people. The noodles used in Pad Thai must be stickier than the common rice noodles. Adding sprout beans in ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /gŭay-dtiăw/ and Pad Thai is also firstly recommended at that time.

Nowadays Pad Thai becomes one of the icons of Thai food even if it is made of noodles.



sà-wàd-dee kà

Do you know how to say “I love you” in Thai?

Because the Valentine ’s Day is coming, let’s talk about how to express your appreciation and your love to others. Actually, there are many nice terms to say that you are happy to be with someone in Thai language.

ถูกชะตา /tòog-chà-dtaa/ = to click, to hit it off

  • ฉัน/ผม ถูกชะตา กับ คุณ มาก
  • chán/pŏm tòog-chà-dtaa gàb kun mâag
  • I really clicked with you.

We usually use this expression when we meet someone new. ถูกชะตา /tòog-chà-dtaa/ is a feeling when you get along with that person very well even if you are not so close to each other.

ปลื้ม /bplêum/ = to admire, to be in awe of

  • เขา ปลื้ม Kendall มา นาน แล้ว
  • káo bplêum Kendall maa naan láew
  • He has admired Kendall for a long time.

Normally, if you use this word with a celebrity such as a superstar, an author, a sport athlete, etc, it means that you are a big fan. If we use this word with someone who you know in person, it means that you have a crush on him/her.

ชื่นชม /chêun-chom/ = to admire

  • ฉัน/ผม ชื่นชม คุณ มาก
  • chán/pŏm chêun-chom  kun mâag
  • I admire you very much.

This word seems similar with ปลื้ม /bplêum/ but they are not the same. ปลื้ม /bplêum/ is usually used by teenagers or young adults. You might ปลื้ม /bplêum/ someone without any reasons. When we say that we ชื่นชม /chêun-chom/ someone, it refers to his/her attribute or characteristic. What’s more, we hardly use this word to imply anything in romantic way. All in all, this word sounds more sophisticated and formal than ปลื้ม /bplêum/.

รัก /rág/ = to love

  • ฉัน/ผม รัก คุณ
  • chán/pŏm rág kun
  • I love you.

Although I can’t explain much about love because “love is like ghosts”, I don’t think that we can complete this article without this sentence. lol

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Do you know all definitions of บาง /bāang/?

Do you know all definitions of บาง /bāang/?

If you speak Thai, I’m pretty certain that you know this word บาง /bāang/ at least you might know it as a part of a word “Bangkok” in English or บางกอก in Thai, บางครั้ง /bāang-kráng/, meaning ‘sometimes’, or บางคน /bāang-kōn/, meaning ‘some people’.

Actually, this word has many meanings but we can talk about the most common one first.

บาง /bāang/ (Det.) some

We don’t use บาง /bāang/ alone for this meaning. The structure of this word is

Noun + บาง /bāang/ + Classifier

We can omit noun before บาง /bāang/ if that noun and its classifier are exactly the same or if we do know which noun we are talking about. However, it’s impossible to use this word without a classifier.

For example: คน /kōn/ can be a noun meaning a person or people. It’s also a classifier for any nouns referring to human beings in general. In this case, we don’t have to say it twice as คนบางคน /kōn- bāang-kōn/. That’s why you might hear people say บางคน /bāang-kōn/.

  • บางคน ไม่ กิน เผ็ด
  • /bāang-kōn mâi gīn pèd/
  • Some people don’t eat spicy (food).

Anyway, if you would like to say “Some Thai people don’t eat spicy (food)”, you can’t omit noun anymore.

  • คนไทย บางคน ไม่ กิน เผ็ด
  • /kōn Thai bāang-kōn mâi gīn pèd/

บาง /bāang/ (Adj.) thin

We can also use this word to modify nouns. In this sense, its opposite word is ‘หนา’ /năa/, meaning ‘thick’.

  • สมุด เล่ม นี้ บาง มาก
  • /sà-mùd lêm née bāang mâag/
  • This notebook is very thin.

บาง /bāang/ (N.) a small stream

Have you ever wonder why there are so many areas in Thailand which started their names with a word ‘บาง’ /bāang/? Even the name บางกอก /bāang-gòrg/, AKA Bangkok. If this word means only ‘some’ or ‘thin’, it sounds strange, right?

Actually, in the past, we called a small stream ‘บาง’ /bāang/. People couldn’t live without water. In the time when there was no water pipe, it made more sense to live close to a river or a stream. That’s how people named the areas.