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Thai Language Tips - Common Phrases - Silly Synonyms

Words With 2 Meanings
In this article we will discuss Thai words that often confuse foreigners that are new to the language. Many of these words are actually pronounced much differently, in a different tone, however to the untrained ear of a farang, they do sound the same. This article is not intended to teach readers how to speak Thai, we are simply having a little fun. If you already know how to speak Thai, please don't send me emails about the different tones and how different these words are .. I know!

Thai Language is really not that easy to learn to speak fluently. The pronunciation is challenging for most Western tourists. Learning enough Thai to have simple conversations is really not that difficult. Most Thai people will appreciate you making an effort to communicate with them, and they will forgive you for making small mistakes and will try to help you along. Many of the words in Thai language will include sounds that you are not familiar with, like words that begin with "ng", or rolling "r". This should not intimidate you, if you practice repeating what you hear, you might make a few honest mistakes. Most of the time people will understand, and will just have a laugh with you. We will give you a list of a few funny synonyms that often confuse people.


Farang - In Thai language a foreigner is referred to as "farang". This is also the word for the fruit "guava". So if you hear people saying "farang", they might not be talking about you.

Sua - There are at least a half a dozen Thai words that sound similar to "sua". The most common are the words for "tiger", as well as the word for "T-shirt". Thai people often disagree that these words sound the same, but I guarantee that foreigners can't tell the difference between a tiger and a T-shirt.

Kao - Depending how you pronounce the tone of this word, it can mean "rice" or the pro noun for "he or she", as well as "enter". Therefore .. kao kao gin kao would translate "he came to eat". The Thai word for eat is always associated with rice.. I can't imagine why?

Kee - The Thai word for shit, or if you say it in a slightly different tone, it means "ride", the verb, as in "ride a bike". A common mistake that foreigners might make, is that they will try to say they are riding their motorbike .. but instead they say they are shitting themselves.

Gay - The word for "old", sounds a lot like the word for "homosexual". While the correct Thai pronunciation of "old" sounds very different, when foreigners try to say it, they often end up saying "gay" which means the same as it does in English. I have made the mistake a few times myself, trying to explain that I am old, only to have people hear that I am a homosexual.

Fuck - I am sure you know what this means in English, however in Thai .. fuck is a vegetable. So if you hear Thai people saying "fuck", they are likely talking about vegetables. Another word that sounds quite a lot like "fuck" is the Thai word for "deposit". So you can actually go to the bank, and inform the teller that you have some money and you want to "fuck".

Karee - This can mean a style of curry, however it sounds a lot like the Thai word for "prostitute". If you are going to use this word, you best make it clear that you are talking about food! Don't try to tell somebody that you are going out to buy some curry.

Jim - You might have known a few people named Jim, in Thai language this means "stab", and a toothpick is called "mai jim fun" or "a stick for stabbing your teeth". There is another word that sounds a lot like jim, and that is a word that means "vagina". I'm sure glad my name isn't Jim!

When you ask a question or make a statement in Thai language, you should always end with "krup" if you are male,and "kaa" if you are female.I have left out pronouns in the above phrases I have given you. The reason for leaving them out is because it will make it easier for you, also these statements are more commonly used in short form without the use of pronouns. It is not the same as English, where if you started talking and you left out pronouns and conjunctions, it would make you sound silly. Thai people commonly communicate with each other using these short phrases, for example when they say " where are you going" ? They say " Bai Nai" ? They never say "Khun Bai Nai" they just leave out the pronoun.

Personal Pronouns
I - POM (male) Chun (female)
Me - POM (male) Chun (female)
He - KAO
She - KAO
They - KAO
Him - KAO
Her - KAO
You - KHUN

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Loradae on December 29, 2014:

That's a craejcrkack answer to an interesting question

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