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Thai culture plays a crucial role in shaping the Thai language. Some of the culture has created various Thai words that do not exist in English. To translate these words, a linguist needs to be more elaborate, using more adjectives and if necessary give examples so the target language can be understandable. In this article, we will share some of those words and what their meanings are. Being ‘kreng-Jai’ (เกรงใจ) It has been taught from one generation to another that to be a good person, one of the qualities that you need to have is to be ‘kreng-Jai’ (เกรงใจ). ‘Kreng’ means to have fear of something while ‘jai’ means heart. A two-word in Thai that means to have a thoughtful consideration for other people’s needs, feeling or action that they need to take in response to your action. That’s what I mean with elaboration! Thai people tend to have this value where you want to do things by yourself and not interrupt nor bother others. For example, if you visit a friend in another country and they offer to pick you up at the airport, you might be ‘kreng-Jai’ your friend and just tell him that you can go to the accommodation by yourself. This word can be used in a circumstance where you don’t want to make others ‘lose face’. To give an instance, your neighbor bake a cake and give it to you, you have to accept it because you feel obliged to. In short, you ‘kreng-jai’ them and don’t want them to waste their efforts. Feeling ‘noi-jai’ (น้อยใจ) Other words that relate pretty much to ‘kreng-jai’ are ‘noi-jai’ (น้อยใจ). ‘Noi’ means few or little. Using the previous example of the neighbor’s cake, if you reject the cake, then the neighbor will probably feel ‘noi-jai’. In English, the nearest word to explain this feeling would be to be offended or to feel slighted. The Silent Anger called "ngon" (งอน) Last but not least, there is another word I’d like to bring up. This word is commonly used among relationships. It is called "ngon" which means to be mad in silent and require that the other person comfort you first. For example, when you 'ngon' your boyfriend, you are not strongly mad at him but you just want to show him that you are slightly mad and you want him to be the one coming after you/ or you want him to start the reconciliation by comforting you first. In English, ‘ngon’ is the closest to ‘sulk’ (to be mad or having a bad-tempered because of a disappointment). However, sulking doesn’t have a subcontext like ‘ngon’ as it lacks the ‘comfort-me-first’ part. These are only some of the most common words that you cannot find an exact match for them in English. There are so many more slang that we can talk about next time. As you can see, Thai culture is quite complex. That’s why linguists need to be thorough, aware of all the context available and careful in their choices of words in the target language. If you have a project in Thai language and are not sure how to approach with the translation, do reach out to our experts who will always be there to help you 24/7 and you don’t need to ‘kreng-jai’ them!

Thai words that do not exist in English

Thai culture plays a crucial role in shaping the Thai language. Some of the culture has created various Thai words ...
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Why do people in the south of Thailand speak faster while those in the north speak slower? Is it because of the culture, geography or external factors? We will discuss the topic in more detail below. As an avid traveler and explorer, I find the South and the North of Thailand charming in every possible way; be it varieties of spices, fruits, magnificent temples, and unique culture. Being a Thai, I’m still fascinated by the way the southerners and northerners in Thailand speak. No surprise, they have their local dialects much like other Asian languages. However, there’s this speed that has been a wonder to my mind. The Southerners tend to speak much faster, their words are shorter, more concise and generally, the conversation wraps up pretty quickly. Meanwhile, in the North, things are the other way round. In this article, we aim to dig deeper and see what are the reasons behind such characteristics. About Thailand and its seasons Thailand’s geography is quite diverse. The North is full of mountains and cooler weather. No joke, but the winter there is like European countries’ spring or summer which is about 15-20 degrees Celsius whereas the South is all about the sea, beaches and yes it’s hotter there. The temperature range from 28-35 Celsius. The key to their talking speed lies here; the weather. But before we go further into details, I need to share the different behavior of people in Thailand and Europe. Thailand is a hot, tropical country thus having sunshine throughout the year is quite common. As a result, not many people are a big fan of a hot sunny day. They are likely to carry UV-protection umbrella and prone to stay indoors with air conditioning. The winter in Thailand is rare and we cherish those few days or if lucky weeks we have per year (the temperature is about 20-25 degrees). That’s when outdoor restaurants make the most money, people go to the park and just chill in their “winter”. How the seasons play with language Now you know that the weather preference, as well as Thai people’s behavior, are generally the opposite of the Europeans. In the north of Thailand, as the weather is much cooler than the South, people feel there’s no need to rush. They speak slower and have a longer conversation because it’s nice and cold outside. Southerners, on the other hand, tend to keep it short because it’s so hot there. They wrap things up, cut the words short and don’t waste any time as the sun isn’t always their cup of tea. The different speed plays a key role in their local dialects’ difference that you can experience yourself if you have a chance to visit the region. I hope this article benefits you one way or another. Contact us if you need any more information when it comes to Thai or any other Asian languages’ dialect knowledge and tips.

Different speed of the Southern and Northern’s dialect in Thailand

Why do people in the south of Thailand speak faster while those in the north speak slower? Is it because ...
Read More
Code-Switching and its translatability

Code-Switching and its translatability

You may have heard a conversation between an American-Spanish actor and his co-star in a movie, using English mix with ...
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