Learn To Speak Colloquial Thai (Part 1)

by Language Learner on September 7, 2013

Here’s a cool video by Bon, a Thai girl who teaches Thai language to foreigners. What I like about this video is that you really can learn how to speak Thai like a “normal Thai”, rather than a tourist or someone who learned from a typical Thai language book.

The focus of this lesson is on how to say “I”.

Other words that you learn in this lesson is: to like.

to like = ชอบ (chob)

And Thai people often refer to themselves in the third person, using their own name. So if your name is John, and you wanted to say “I like Angelina Jolie”, then you would say:

John chob Angelina Jolie.

If you are male, you call yourself: pom

I (for male speakers) = ผม

I (for female speakers) = ฉัน (chan)

It’s really important that you listen to the video, so that you can hear the pronounciation of the Thai words and the tones.

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The next lesson is about how to say “you” in Thai.

Words you learn in this session:

to work = ทำงาน (tum ngahn)

where = ที่ไหน (teenai)

And this word actually is two words in Thai. ทำ (tum) means to do and งาน (ngahn) means task or job.

And here’s the main part of this lesson, and that’s how to say you in Thai. And in Thai, there are many words for saying you, depending upon whom you address and what the situation is.

The most general, and official, translation of you would be คุณ (khun).

However, this is a pretty official and uptight way of addressing someone else. So in most situations, for example when you’re talking to someone on the street, or in a bar, you wouldn’t call them คุณ (khun). There are other words to say you in these situations, and which one you use depends on social status, familiarity and the gender of the other person.

If someone is younger than you, you call them น้อง (nong). In this case, it doesn’t matter whether the other person is male or female, as long as he or she is younger than you.

If someone is a bit older than you, kind of like an elder brother or sister, but not the same generation as your parents yet, then you call them พี่ (pee). In this case, it doesn’t matter either whether the person is male or female.

If a person however is around the same age like your parents, then you call them น้า (nah) or ป้า (ba) if they are female, and ลุง (lung) if they are male.

And if a person is about the same age as your grandparents, then you call them ยาย (yai) if they are female, and ตา (dta) if they are male.

So for example, if you are female, and you sit on a train, and there’s another woman who is about the same age as your parents, and you sit next to each other and are just making conversation, and you want to know where she works, then you would ask:

น้าทำงานที่ไหนค่ะ nah tumngahn teenai kha (aunt work where?).

ค่ะ (kha) is a word you use at the end of a sentence to make the sentence more polite if you are a female speaker. And if you are male you would use ครัืบ (khrap).

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And lesson 3 is a quiz to check if you’ve learned everything correctly:

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