The Tinglish Files
If you know Thailand, click on one of the tales below. If not, the explanation below them may help.
Tekkaseatpease: In the restaurant
Now you big pompem: In the police station
Where you lie sen? At the police road block
Good moaning sir: Room service
Massart, skub, fay shun: At the spa
Hab werry good soowenir: At the tour desk
Most tourist magazines and maps, and many tourist websites for Thailand have, tucked away in a corner, a “useful phrases” section that tries to teach new arrivals some basic Thai. They’re pretty useless, frankly, because Thai is a tonal language.
For example, how do you learn the difference between mai (new), mai (wood), mai (fire) and mai (no/not). Actually, there are four more versions of mai, but I forget what they are.
So forget becoming fluent in Thai in 10 days with the aid of your tourist map. Meet the Thais halfway instead. Use Tinglish. The Thais do.
First, a few useful points:
The Thai language abhors the mating of consonants in a word, so Thais stick extra vowels in to make things sound more proper. “Sport” becomes “sa-port” and “steak” becomes “sa-take”. Or one of the offending consonants is thrown away. “Rest”, for example, becomes “Ret”.
Tinglish uses Thai endings; S, SH, CH and J become T. R and L become N or W; and F becomes P. So “football” becomes “footbon”, “school” becomes “sa-koon” and “apple” becomes “appun”. Quite often the final consonant is simply dropped altogether. And, of course, “Tinglish” becomes “Tinglit”.
R usually becomes L when spoken fast. Anywhere. Some Thais, being aware of this, turn Ls into Rs.
Z and V don’t exist in Thai. They become S and W except on the ends of words when they become T and B. Sometimes. TH doesn’t exist either, so it becomes T.
Verb tenses, past, future, pluperfect – forget ’em. Use the present tense and people will infer the correct tense from the adverb. “Tomollow I go sa-koon”, or “Yetterday I go sa-koon.”
Still with me? Then pick a link above to start your lessons.
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