Learn Thai: Water Monitor ตัวเงินตัวทอง

By April 24, 2010Thai culture, Thai Geography

Water monitors  |water_monitor_bangkok

dtua-ngern  dtua-tong

ตัวเงินตัวทอง

dtua hȋa (old name -rude)             ตัวเหี้ย

The Water Monitor is an animal which has had a strange past. This animal is not liked by most Thai’s (hence the old name ….translates as fffing animal!). It lives in dirty water and it is thought to bring with it disease and bad luck; also more importantly it eats your chickens and other farm animals so over all it is less than popular.

The King took pity on this unfortunate animal whose name was so rude that you could call it by it’s name in polite conversation. You would refer to it as …’that animal’ or sàt ná:n /สัตว์นั้ this would lead to a number of confusing conversations. The King renamed the Water Monitor carefully selecting a name that would be good luck and revered by Thai people: Hence the name Dtua Ngern Dtua To:ng which translates as Money body and Gold body …both items well respected by Thai. In fact although this means you can talk to about the Water Monitor without the risk of causing offence Thai still do not love this animal.

Dtua Ngern Dtua Hia is a substantial lizard weighing in at about 10-25kg and growing up to 3 meters although most are about 1.5 meters and about 10-15kgs. These lizards swim also and climb trees. If you visit Bangkok you can see them in the parks. Note how the Thais tend to stay away from them. If you’ve never been to Lumphini park, the Dusit zoo you are likely to see these lizards. And do not be fooled, these lizards can run fast, faster than most people!

Thai Vocabulary

Water monitor     dtua ngern  dtua to:ng     ตัวเงินตัวทอง

Smell                      glìn          กลิ่น

Creep                    lúay          เลื้อย

Crawl                     kla:n         คลาน

Canal                     klor:ng      คลอง

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Kruu Nut

Thai Language teacher

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