Photo: I can guess what one says.

Thai language forum

Funny, true, language story

Posted by MADMAC on 19/10/2010 at 17:48

I was getting a massage when this anglo guy came in. In Muk, most of the massage places are just rooms with mattresses on the floor - low tech, low cost options. I'm getting my massage and the guy who comes in is a tourist. Now God bless him, he's trying to learn the language. Kudos for that, as he's a transient and a lot of people don't think it's worth the trouble for a month or so. Anyway, the girl asks him, in broken English:

"Do you like girl Thai?"
He answers:
"Pu Ying... Thai... Aroi."
The girl starts laughing so hard, she can't stop. I asked the guy if he knows what he just said.
"Yeah, that Thai girls are beautiful."
I said "No. You just said that Thai girls are tasty."
Just hillarious. Every time I go into that place and see that girl I say to that girl "Pu Ying Thai Aroi!"

#1 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by idreamofdurian on 20/10/2010 at 04:17 TF writer

That's funny. I wonder if he's been telling the ladies at the market that their larb is beautiful?

#2 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by neosho on 20/10/2010 at 07:53

That's funny. Someday over a beer I'll tell you how I learned the Thai word "key".

#3 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386

Posted by sayadian on 20/10/2010 at 14:48

It's a tough language to get right.
If you say beautiful in the wrong tone it becomes bad luck.
'You are bad luck!!
and 'far' becomes 'near'.etc
I think freshly cooked rice is called beautiful so maybe it IS ok to call a girl delicious, after all many of them are ;-)

#4 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by sayadian on 20/10/2010 at 14:49

oh yeh and don't forget
'riding a horse'.
getting that wrong can get a few hoots of laughter.

#5 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by MADMAC on 20/10/2010 at 15:57

Yep, you could be riding a dog pretty easily there.

But no, saying a woman is tasty (Aroi) is not something a Thai would say. I'm sure of that, as all my Thai friends love this story for it's humor.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by sayadian on 20/10/2010 at 20:15

or asking for some dog dirt, or telling everybody you need a toilet fast!
I expect the learner you heard was directly tranaslating 'a dishy girl.'
I just hope he hasn't been put off learning and trying more.The Thais don't really have much patience with learners which I find really funny considering the atrocious English I've heard from Thai people.
I once met a lady at a bus station somewhere in Isan who was keen for me to speak to her daughter who was, as she proudly explained,Head of the English Dept at the local school.
She phoned her and handed me the phone.It was one of the most embarassing moments I've had in Thailand.I couldn't understand a word she said.Now I know why the English spoken by school kids is usually so atrocious.

#7 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by neosho on 21/10/2010 at 07:39

I love the literal translations. I read in a book that the word for masterbation translates out to "5 against one". :)

#8 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386

Posted by AjarnPasa on 21/10/2010 at 21:56

Oh dear, how did we get onto masturbation so quickly?!

But in the spirit of inter-cultural understanding, if you are going to Thailand you should be aware that for a boy the literal translation is 'To fly a kite' [chák wâao] and for a girl it's 'to go line fishing' [dtòk bèt]. Or for the unisex version: 'to help yourself' [chûay dtua ayng].


All of the above phrases are of course used to convey their literal meanings too, so hilarity can often ensue when a Farang decides to slip one out ... erm ... so to speak.


There are lots of fun idiomatic phrases. Perhaps a post on the more common ones should be on the cards.

#9 AjarnPasa has been a member since 26/5/2010. Location: Thailand. Posts: 27
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Posted by MADMAC on 21/10/2010 at 22:49

How about Snake Snake Fish Fish - that's a weird idiom if there ever was one.

#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by UsTwo on 22/10/2010 at 18:57

Ok, Madmac...My younger brother and his Thai wife will be visiting us soon. My wife gets on really well with her, and I am pretty fond of her, too. How do we welcome her in her language?

#11 UsTwo has been a member since 22/4/2010. Posts: 70

Posted by MADMAC on 23/10/2010 at 01:06

I spell everything pheonetically, but even so, you'll only get the ballpark pronunciation right because English does not accomodate tone variation.

Hello:
For you - Savadee Khrap
For your wife - Savadee Ka

If you wish to ask her how she's feeling "Savadee Mai Khrap" (Ka for the wife).

If she Wai's you and you wish to return the greeting, place the hands together as if in prayer, then place them in front of and below you face - I usually have the tips of my fingers level with the point of my nose, and then nod my head once downward, ever so slightly.

#12 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by AjarnPasa on 23/10/2010 at 17:11

Please excuse me wading in here, but just a couple of tiny tweaks to MADMAC's transliterations.

First, there is no V sound in Thai. For some reason the W sound is occasionally (erroneously) represented as a V.

A greeting should be Sa-wat-dee krap/ka. Krap for a man saying the greeting, ka for a woman saying the greeting.

How are you is Sa-bai-dee mai krap/ka. The answer in the affirmative is sa-bai-dee krap/ka, a negative answer is mai sa-bai krap/ka

Try copying and pasting this สวัสด๊ครับ and สวัสดีค่ะ and สบายดีไหม into http://www.thai-language.com/dict where there are sound files for each.

#13 AjarnPasa has been a member since 26/5/2010. Location: Thailand. Posts: 27
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Posted by MADMAC on 23/10/2010 at 17:22

Ajarn Pasa is technically correct. At least where I live, the common pronunciation for the "วั" sound is a combination, sort of like Sawvadee - almost like we have the DT sound as well. But yes, I agree with his points.

#14 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by UsTwo on 23/10/2010 at 17:24

Thanks, both.
That Thai language site is terrific - I've bookmarked it, and will be studying it.

#15 UsTwo has been a member since 22/4/2010. Posts: 70

Posted by AjarnPasa on 23/10/2010 at 20:06

UsTwo

You might like this forum post on small talk too:

http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/learnthai/11685_small-talk

#16 AjarnPasa has been a member since 26/5/2010. Location: Thailand. Posts: 27
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Posted by gstallones on 8/6/2011 at 01:01

And be careful how you ask for a bannana :)

#17 gstallones has been a member since 8/6/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by 9preciousGems on 8/6/2011 at 22:37

i dont know the spelling at all but had some fun times on phi phi with some locals once

it went something like "Chang let - mai de. Chang yai - phon loy!"

(Small Chang - no good. Big Chang - ok!)

Happy to be corrected on the phrasing/spelling btw

#18 9preciousGems has been a member since 13/1/2011. Posts: 82

Posted by AjarnPasa on 18/3/2012 at 08:45

Chang lek, mai dee
Chang yai, pon luhy

Small Chang, no good.
Big Chang. Result!

... is a pretty good translation.

And anyone whose had the pleasure can surely attest. ;)

#19 AjarnPasa has been a member since 26/5/2010. Location: Thailand. Posts: 27
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Posted by neosho on 18/3/2012 at 21:52

Madmac
I learned key the hard way too. Sometimes the wife's english skills aren't that good either. We were sharing a bag of Lays chips the other day and she said that Lays has spicy "she-it". You can imagine the conversation that insued. She was trying to say cheese.

#20 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386

Posted by 9preciousGems on 19/3/2012 at 04:23

haha thanks!

#21 9preciousGems has been a member since 13/1/2011. Posts: 82

Posted by theChosenOne on 26/3/2012 at 23:42

I hope the guy in the massage place was not put off. In the west if someone laughs at you it is almost always offensive. Not so much here.

#22 theChosenOne has been a member since 26/3/2012. Posts: 12


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