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Thai Vocabulary

Learn Thai: Vocabulary

Last time I talked about tones and meanings. Now I am writing about same spellings with different meanings. When learning Thai you need to take care to get this right or no one will understand you …or you could end up with some very strange conversations.

If you hear the word “yen (เย็น)”, it means cool or evening.

For example:

A: wan-nee-aa-gàat-yen/วันนี้อากาศเย็น (It is cool today.)

B: yen-nee-wâa-jà-bpai-doo-năng/เย็นนี้ว่าจะไปดูหนัง (This evening I will go to see a movie.)

***yen (เย็น), pronounced with the first tone, means cool or evening.

When someone says “pha-yaa-baan-ao-phâa-phan-phlăeh-maa-phan-khăa-hâi/ พยาบาลเอาผ้าพันแผลมาพันขาให้ (My leg is bound by a nurse with a bandage.)” or “theuh-mee-ngeun-sàg-phan-mái/เธอมีเงินสักพันมั๊ย (Do you have a thousand baht?)

***phan (พัน), pronounced with the first tone, means bind or thousand.

If you use the word “gan (กัน)”, it might be “keep out” or “prevent”

For example:

A: dtam-rùaj-gan-thai-mung-òhg-bpai-jàag-thêe-gèud-hèit/ตำรวจกันไทยมุงออกไปจากที่เกิดเหตุ (The police kept out the outsiders of the crime scene.)

B: dtôo-ní-rá-phai-sâang-wái-phûeh-gan-kha-moy-jàag-gaan-ngád-ngáe-khâo-maa/ตู้นิรภัยสร้างไว้เพื่อกันขโมยจากการงัดแงะเข้ามา (The vault itself is constructed to prevent robbers from breaking the lock.)

The word “raaw (ราว), pronounced with the first tone, means handrail or around or about. I might say ”phôo-yĭng-khon-nán-thùhg-dtam-nì-rûeng-mâi-jàb-raaw-ban-dai-lûen/ผู้หญิงคนนั้นถูกตำหนิเรื่องไม่จับราวบันไดเลื่อน (That woman was blamed for not holding escalator handrail.)” or “chăn-jà-jeu-theu-raaw-thûm-nueang/ฉันจะเจอเธอราวทุ่มนึง (I will see you around 7 p.m.)”

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Kruu May

Thai Language Hut

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