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Correct Pronunciation and spelling

Melbourne, Australia
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Correct Pronunciation and spelling

G'day Everyone,

Last year before I went to Phuket I dowloaded a software program to learn some basic Thai phrases called before you know it, great little program and the basic is free .

My problem is that in some of my emails from fellow TA members and some from people in Phuket certain phrases or words appear to be different from what I thought they would be .

For example I thought that a man saying thank you was Kob Khun Krup .... But I have seen Kob Kun Kup or Kob Khun Krub ..... so now I'm a little confused and Ran our favourite barman said it was ok just to say Krup to say thank you .

I know its not a huge issue but I do like to learn a few basics just to be polite.

So I would be very grateful if anyone could clear this up for me so I dont make too much of a goose of myself lol.

Cheers

Lozza

Phuket, Thailand
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for Phuket, Kata Beach
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1. Re: Correct Pronunciation and spelling

Simply forget anything you see about spelling.

Thai has its own script, which is basically a kind of phonetic script, anything you see written in English/Thai has been translated from the original script. And there is no official way to write in English/Thai.

Then there are of course the differences between official pronounciation and day to day pronounciation. The 'krub' you mention e.g. a Thai will normally not pronounce the 'r', so you can see it written as: krub, kub, krup, kup, and even a few more variations, like with an 'a' in stead of 'u', etc.

Edited: 16 February 2010, 16:49
Hell, Norway
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2. Re: Correct Pronunciation and spelling

Steve is correct. Trying to transliterate Thai into English doesn't work very well. To speak any Thai, you'd need to understand both the alphabet and the tones. The Alphabet gives you a fairly accurate idea of pronounciation, while tones are important as they can change the meaning of words that look or sound the same to Foreigner's ears. Saying "Khob Khun Krab (or krub, or kub, or kup) will get you by, but there is also a cultural issue here. We don't normally say thank you to someone who gives us service, its their place to thank us for using their service (or buying something) and giving them money. There are lots of other issues here that will only serve to confuse, which includes the lazy way we speak our language by missing out some letters when we speak, or changing the sound of them (such as the word Aroi is often spoken as Aloi).. Basically, no one expects a tourist to speak Thai.

On the main Thailand forum page on the top right, you see a set of FAQs, one of which is about language.

Edited: 16 February 2010, 17:05
Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Correct Pronunciation and spelling

G'day Steven and Dragon,

Many thanks for both of your replies in clearing this up for me , I know the Thai's dont expect us to speak Thai just thought I would make the effort to learn some basic phrases .

Once again many thanks

Cheers

Lozza

Phuket, Thailand
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for Phuket, Kata Beach
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4. Re: Correct Pronunciation and spelling

That effort BTW is very much appreciated by the Thais.

Sydney
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5. Re: Correct Pronunciation and spelling

Hi Lozza ,

Just another note to add to what has already been said.

A few years ago I invested in a basic Thai language course in Sydney (it was a night a week for 10 weeks) and it was purely from a travellers perspective with useful phrases like hello, goodbye, thankyou, my name is, how much is , where is, numbers, colours etc and some written characters, tones and history / culture. This was fun and has been invaluable in our many trips back to Thailand.

The one thing I have come to realise however is that like in any language, when we are being taught the basics, it is the equivalent of being taught “proper” English. By that I mean if you were teaching someone English, you could teach them the correct greeting to be “ Good day sir, may I enquire how is your health today?” or in a less formal way you might say “ Hello how are you?”.

Just as you might say “thank you” you could easily say “thanks”. I could be incorrect, but Khop Khun Kha ( or Krup for men) is just that – the more formal response, whereas, just “kha / krup” is less formal and still acknowledging what you have said / done like “thanks”.

Just as when a cup of coffee is offered you could respond “ Chai khop khun kha” or just “chai kha”- yes thanks. I am guessing the program you have used is teaching the ‘correct’ or formal language, whereas everyday language is a little different just as in English.

The one thing I have noticed over the years – whilst I may get it wrong often, and I could be talking about horses instead of dogs ( the words ‘maa’ are the same, but use different tones when said) usually the Thai will appreciate the effort and understand your well meaning intentions!!

Don’t stress – usually we will all end up being a goose at some point !!!

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Correct Pronunciation and spelling

G'day Polly,

Many thanks for your reply and yes we all do end up being a goose at some stage in our lives.

Stress lol lifes too short for that I leave that to others like my better half Di :)

Cheers

Lozza

Traralgon, Australia
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7. Re: Correct Pronunciation and spelling

Good on ya for making the effort, Lozza. I reckon it shows a bit of interest and consideration for others by trying to learn a bit of their lingo.

I had a bit of a go at it last year and probably ended up speaking Swahili to the poor locals, but it was good fun and I think they do appreciate your efforts.

Cheers

Phil

Brisbane, Australia
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for Phuket
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8. Re: Correct Pronunciation and spelling

Hi Lozza,

This site is excellent as it gives you the pronunciation of words and phrases in Thai from a Thai person, you have to download a small program for free 1st and away you go. The deeper you go into the site the more complex the words and phrases are. All you do is click on the English phrase or word and its Thai translation comes back through your speakers.

Hope this helps,

Cheers, Pete

www.learningthai.com/useful_phrases.html

Edited: 16 February 2010, 23:03
Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Correct Pronunciation and spelling

G'day Phil ,

Lol I have been known to be fluent or is that fluid in Swahili on the odd occasion its a little like typonese which I also have some skill.

But yes I like to make the effort , I know basic phrases in Malay , Phillipino,Japanese , Cantonese, French , Italian, German and áfter living in Papua New Guinea for some time very fluent in Pidgin and Motu they have all helped at some stage in my travels and with business so I'll keep at it .

Cheers

Lozza

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: Correct Pronunciation and spelling

G'day Pete,

Thanks mate thats the program I have downloaded I think but will check it out to make sure.

Cheers

Lozza