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Speak Thai | Names – How to Address Thai People

How to address people in Thailand

Here in Thailand, we use our real names or first names when we fill in the forms or when we are in formal or official situations. We address people with the polite title ‘Khunคุณ’ and follow by the first name e.g. Khun Supansa คุณสุพรรษา, Khun Mongkol คุณมงคล, Khun Siriporn คุณสิริพร.

** Please remember that we do not address to people by calling their last names or surnames.

Among friends we usually call them with their nicknames (cheûh-lên  ชื่อเล่น) and most Thais have one-syllable nicknames which may be a shortened form of their real name, a name of an animal, colours, precious and valued things, appearances, fruits  and even English words that sound cute to them e.g.  Ple (apple), Jan, Anne, Mam, Mind, Pop.

Also, in Thai culture, we also address to a more senior person with the word ‘Peê พี่’  and a younger one with the word ‘Náwng น้อง’ followed by their nickname e.g. Peê Sôm พี่ส้ม,   Peê Joy พี่จอย,  Náwng Jíb น้องจิ๊บ Náwng Gík  น้องกิ๊ก  

If your Thai friends’ names are too long…try their nicknames! What about you? Have you got one for your friends to call you yet??

Kru Mulan
Thai Language Teacher

Global Online language school