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Author: Kru Jiab

Thai Style: Feeling Like a Thai: Don’t be Sad

Thai Style

Feeling Like a Thai Introduction…

You may have read my first post, Be Happy, in my Feeling Like A Thai Series and it may have made you feel a bit downhearted when seeing so many different feeling words to learn in order to express yourself naturally in Thai. When you think you can express yourself quite well sometimes you may be misunderstood by native speakers and/or do not understand why they react in such a way when you feel differently.

To elaborate, to feel like a Thai I mean to understand how Thais would think and feel towards different situations. In my opinion, you probably would never be able to feel like native Thais unless you have been living, working and socialising with Thais for decades and/or have Thai family since in order to understand how natives think and feel, you should understand Thai culture, customs, beliefs, personality, attitudes and the ways Thais express themselves. To understand these aspects can take a life time. Moreover, words can not always be translated directly into another languages. To understand a word you need to understand the elaborated meanings of that word.

For example, if you were looking in a phrase book or in a dictionary for a Thai translation of the word ‘sorry’, most of the time you probably translate the meaning as ขอโทษ /kŏr-tôd/ however, did you know that this is only used when you would like to make an apology to someone and not when you feel sorry when you hear sad news, in which case we would use the word เสียใจ /sĕar-jai/. For that reason, you should also learn to look up the definition; a statement of the exact meaning of a word, not just a direct translation. Personally, I believe a good language book or good dictionary should include comprehensive definitions, usage explanations and example sentences to help you correctly understand the meaning of new words.

There are many factors, as stated above, that may effect how and when to use different feeling words. Therefore, in this series, I write a list of different types of feelings to help you to use correct words to indicate your feeling in Thai language as well as explanations on how and when to use them. There are six posts in total; ‘Be happy’, ‘Don’t be sad’, ‘Oh no! A Thai is angry!’, ‘So scary!’, ‘I’m confused. What have I done wrong?’ and lastly, ‘Wheel of Feelings’.

For those who haven’t read my first post, I suggest you to have a read before learning the vocabulary in this post. There are principles and grammar points that you need to understand to help you correctly construct a sentence to express your feelings. After reading that, you are ready to continue with this one. Good luck and don’t feel discouraged!

Feeling Like a Thai: Don’t be Sad…

Grammar point: In language, there is not always a direct feeling verb that can be used to indicate one’s feeling. We sometimes use other types of words, e.g. modifier (adjective or adverbs) or nouns, to try to describe our feelings as best as we can and there are certain grammar rules you should know. The following are different ways to construct a sentence to indicate one’s feeling.

Direct verb / Direct form of verb (Active Voice)…

เขาเสียใจ /kăo sĕar-jai/ = He/She is sad.

เสียใจ /sĕar-jai/ is a direct feeling verb which can be used after a subject to clarify the subject’s feeling.

More examples:

เขาเศร้าใจ /kăo săo-jai/ = He/She is sorrowful.
เขาเหนื่อยใจ /kăo nùeay-jai/ = He/She is drained.
เขาอับอาย /kăo ub-aai = He/She is disgraced.

Note:

1) Negative modifier ไม่ /mâi/ is used before the word it modifies except a noun e.g. เขาไม่เสียใจ /kăo mâi sĕar-jai/ = He/She is not sad.

2) Negative in grammar & logic (of a word, clause, or proposition) is to express denial, negation, or refutation; stating or asserting that something is not the case.

Expressing one’s feeling by using quality modifiers (adjective or adverb)…

เขารู้สึกแย่ /kăo rûu-sùek yâe/ = He/she feels bad/terrible.

Feeling verb รู้สึก /rûu-sùek/ = to feel.

แย่ /yâe/ is a quality modifier (adjective or adverb) meaning be bad, be terrible and is not a direct feeling verb. Therefore you need to use the word รู้สึก /rûu-sùek/, meaning to feel, which is a direct feeling verb used after a subject to clarify that the subject feels as in the stated quality modifier.

More Examples:

เขารู้สึกล้มเหลว /kăo rûu-sùek /ó’m-lăew/ = He/She feels defeated.
เขารู้สึกไร้ค่า /kăo rûu-sùek rái-kâa/ = He/She feels worthless.
เขารู้สึกต่ำต้อย /kăo rûu-sùek dtùm-dtôi/ = He/She feels humbled.

Note: Negative modifier ไม่ /mâi/ is used before the word it modifies except a noun e.g. เขาไม่รู้สึกแย่ /kăo mâi rûu-sùek yâe/ = He/she does not feel bad/terrible.

Expressing one’s feeling by using a state noun…

1) เขารู้สึกทุกข์ /kăo rûu-sùek tóok/ = He/She feels miserable.
2) เขาเป็นทุกข์ /kăo bpe’n tóok/ = He/She is in misery.
3) เขามีทุกข์ /kăo mee tóok/ = He/She has miserableness.

All three = He/She are unhappy, distressed or in misery.

1) Feeling verb รู้สึก /rûu-sùek/ = to feel
ทุกข์ /tóok/ is a state noun meaning adversity, misery, hardship, suffering and is not a direct feeling verb. Therefore you need to use the word รู้สึก /rûu-sùek/, meaning to feel, which is a direct feeling verb used after a subject to clarify that subject feels something as sentence 1 above.

2) Status / state of being verb เป็น /bpe’n/ = to be, is/am/are (used in front of a noun). We can also describe that a person be in the state of having adversity as sentence 2 above.

3) Existence verb มี /mee/ = to have/has/had, to own, to possess, there is/are/was/were, consist of, contain of (used in from of a noun), to undergo. Or we describe that a person has or undergo adversity in ones mind as sentence 3 above.

More examples:

เขาเป็นแผลในใจ /kăo bpe’n plăe nai jai/ = He/She be in the state of having a wound in the heart (feels wounded).

เขามีแผลในใจ /kăo mee plăe nai jai/ = He/She has a wound in the heart (feels wounded).

เขาไม่มีความสุข /kăo mâi mee kwaam+sóok/ = He/She doesn’t have happiness. He/she is not content. He/she is unhappy with life.

Note: Negative modifier ไม่ /mâi/ is used before the word it modifies except a noun. Therefore we would not say ‘เขารู้สึกไม่ทุกข์ /kăo rûu-sùek mâi tóok/’.

Expressing one’s feeling by using an abstract noun…

(existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence)

1) เขา(รู้สึก)มีภาระหนักหน่วง /kăo (rûu-sùek) mee paa-rá nùk-nùang/ = He/She feels having a heavy burden. He/She feels undergoing a heavy burden.

2a) เขา(รู้สึก)มีความทุกข์ /kăo (rûu-sùek) mee kwaam+tóok/ = He/She feels having adversity. He/She feels undergoing adversity.

2b) รู้สึกมี /rûu-sùek mee/ = to feel having/undergoing or มี /mee/ = (see explanation above).

1) ภาระ /paa-rá/ is an abstract noun meaning burden and is not a direct feeling verb therefore you need to use the word (รู้สึก)มี /(rûu-sùek) mee/ after a subject to clarify that subject feels or have/undergo something.

2) ความทุกข์ /kwaam+tóok/ is an abstract noun meaning adversity, misery, hardship, suffering and is not a direct feeling verb therefore you need to use the word (รู้สึก)มี /(rûu-sùek) mee/ after a subject to clarify that subject feels or have/undergo something.

Note:

1) You do not need to say รู้สึก /rûu-sùek/ with abstract noun if the explanation obviously exhibits one’s feeling.

2) We cannot say เขารู้สึกภาระ /kăo rûu-sùek paa-rá/, as it would mean ‘He/She feels burden’ which is weird to say.

3) We also cannot say เขาเป็นภาระ /kăo bpe’n paa-rá/ as it would mean ‘He/She is a burden’ not ‘‘He/She feel/is burdened’.

4) Negative modifier ไม่ /mâi/ is used before the word it modifies except a noun. Therefore we can either say: ‘เขารู้สึกไม่มีภาระหนักหน่วง /kăo rûu-sùek mâi mee paa-rá/ = He/She feels not having a burden. He/She feels not undergoing a burden’ or ‘เขาไม่รู้สึกมีภาระหนักหน่วง /kăo mâi rûu-sùek mee paa-rá/ = He/She does not feel having a burden. He/She does not feel undergoing a burden.’

Although, the two sentences above have subtle different meanings they can exhibit the same feeling.

Downloads: Feeling Like a Thai: Don’t be Sad…

Same as with the previous post, Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy, this resource is enormous, making it impossible to include everything here. Instead, the 25 pages filled with examples and audio files are in downloads for you to enjoy.

Pdf: Feeling Like a Thai: Don’t be Sad: 402kb
Audio: Feeling Like a Thai: Don’t be Sad: 9.8mg

Note: These files are for personal use only (please do not place on other websites).

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Thai Style: Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy

Thai Style

Feeling Like a Thai…

A month ago, Catherine asked how would I feel writing a post about a list of emotion/feeling words. She got the idea from a post at Mental Floss, Improve Your Vocabulary With the “Wheel of Feelings”.

I said to her ‘Great! I am willing to do it and I feel excited and enthusiastic to complete it.’

When I learnt English I used a similar system to help me understand English emotion/feeling words so I can see how it would benefit Thai learners as well. I was confident and determined to finish the post within a week or two, however, when I started the work I realised this is going to be a long project.

Not only do we, Thais, have our own perceptions about emotion and feeling, but the language we use to indicate emotions/feelings is also so different to English both grammatically and in meaning. Therefore I decided to create a series of posts called ‘Feeling like a Thai’. There are going to be six posts in total; ‘Be happy’, ‘Don’t be Sad’, ‘Oh no! A Thai is angry!’, ‘So scary!’, ‘I’m confused. What have I done wrong?’ and lastly, ‘Wheel of Feelings’.

These posts will help you to use correct words to indicate your feeling in Thai language as well as explanations on how and when to use them.

Today, I proudly present to you the first post ‘Be Happy’. I would love to hear how this post helps you. Please provide some feedback describing how you feel about the post. Are you happy with it? Do you feel encouraged to try it out with your Thai friends? Are you more confident to how to express feelings in Thai? I would be grateful if you could take a moment to write a comment below.

Now, I feel relieved and relaxed that my first post of this series is done as well as feeling gratified that this post is going to help Thai learners. I am so happy! :)

Note to beginners: Transliteration along with Thai script is in the explanation of the pdf download at the end of the post (tables are Thai only).

Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy…

Before learning the emotion/feeling words, let’s learn about the grammar as it is very important for you to construct a sentence correctly in order to indicate your emotion/feeling in Thai language.

First of all, I would like us to understand the definitions of ‘emotion’ and ‘feeling’.

emotion
[definition] a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

feeling
[definition]
1. an emotional state or reaction.
2. senses detecting what you feel through your 11 inputs; Hearing, Taste, Sight, Smell, Heat, Cool, Pain, Pleasure, Sense of balance (vestibular), Pressure, Motion (kinaesthetic).

As you can see, emotion and feeling, although different, have a very similar definition and are often interchangeable. In my series, I am writing about feelings as ‘an emotional state or reaction’ and I would like to explain in detail how to construct a sentence to indicate our feelings.

When indicating emotion or feeling in Thai the word ‘รู้สึก, to feel (mentally and physically)’, is used as a verb, yet the word ‘รู้สึก to feel’, is commonly omitted from a sentence if the explanation word that comes after is an emotion/feeling word.

In Thai, we view emotions as they happen in our heart, so the word ‘ใจ [Noun] heart [Noun] mind ; disposition ; spirit’ is used to make up many compound words to denote different types of emotions/feelings. For example, ดีใจ [feeling verb] feel delight / be delighted / be happy, is a compound word combined from the word ‘ดี means [quality modifier] be good, be nice’ and the word ‘ใจ’.

Some modifier (adjective/adverb) words can also be used after the word ‘รู้สึก, to feel’ to describe someone’s emotion or feeling. For example, กระชุ่มกระชวย is [modifier] be hale and hearty, be full of vitality, be energetic, and รู้สึกกระชุ่มกระชวย is feel energised.

Sentence structure:

Subject + (รู้สึก, to feel) + feeling word/explanation.

For example:

ผมรู้สึกดีใจ
I feel delight/happy.

ผมดีใจ
I am delighted/happy.

ผมรู้สึกดี
I feel good.

‘ดี means [quality modifier] be good, be nice’ which is not a feeling word therefore when you are not using the word ‘รู้สึก, to feel’ before the word ‘ดี’, without context the sentence ‘ผมดี would be interpreted as ‘I am nice.’

When you want to connect the emotion/feeling with the causes, you should use the link word ‘ที่, [relative pronoun] … that …’

Sentence structure:

Subject 1 + (รู้สึก, to feel) + Feeling word/Explanation + ที่ + (Subject 1) or Subject 2 + Explanation.

For example:

ผม(รู้สึก)ดีใจที่(ผม)ได้รับรางวัล
I feel delight/happy that I receive the reward. / I feel delight/happy to have received the reward.

ผม(รู้สึก)ดีใจที่แม่มาหาผม
I feel delight/happy that mum comes to see me.

When someone makes or causes someone to feel something, we use the word ‘ทำให้’.

Sentence structure:

Subject 1 + ทำให้ + Subject 2 + (รู้สึก to feel) + Feeling word/Explanation.

For example:

แม่ทำให้ผม(รู้สึก)ดีใจ
Mum makes me feel happy.

The prefix ‘ความ’ is an element placed at the beginning of a verb or adjective to adjust or qualify the verb’s or adjective’s function and meaning to an abstract noun.

Examples: ดี [quality modifier] be good/nice, ความดี [noun] goodness, รัก [feeling verb] to love, ความรัก [noun] love, จริง [quality modifier] true, real, ความจริง [noun] truth, สบาย [feeling verb/modifier] be comfortable, be relax, be cozy, ความสบาย [noun] comfortableness.

Example sentences:

ฉันรักเขาจริงๆ
I truly love him.

ฉันอยากรู้ความจริง
I would like to know the truth.

เขานั่งสบาย
He is comfortably sitting (the place, space and time is comfortable for him).

เขาชอบความสบาย
He likes comfortableness.

The prefix ‘อย่าง+’ is an element placed in front of a modifier (adverb or adjective) or a noun to adjust or qualify the modifier’s function to an adverb and the meaning to ‘having a particular quality’, ‘… in that type of quality’, ‘… in the way of …’. It is similar to the use of the suffix -ly in English e.g. brotherly, quickly.

Examples: ดี [quality modifier] be good/nice, อย่างดี [adverb] nicely, สบาย [feeling verb/modifier] be comfortable, be relax, be cozy, ความสบาย [adverb] comfortably, เร็ว [speed modifier] be quick, อย่างเร็ว = [adverb] quickly.

Example sentences:

ฉันทำงานอย่างดี
I do the work nicely.

เขานั่งลงอย่างสบาย
He is comfortably sitting down (he bends down and sits in a comfortable way).

เขานั่งลงอย่างเร็ว
He is quickly sitting down (he bends down and sits quickly).

Note:

  1. Words in brackets can be omitted.
  2. The level of intensity of the English feeling words is copied from a research article. I tried my best to explain the intensity of Thai feeling words within the descriptions however I still feel every feeling is unique and words cannot describe our feelings exactly as well as the intensity can be subjective.

Downloads: Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy…

As this resource is enormous (20+ pages filled with examples and tables, plus audio files to boot) we’ve created downloads for you. Enjoy!

Pdf: Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy: 269kb
Audio: Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy: 5.2mg

Note: These files are for personal use only (please do not place on other websites).

By ครูเจี๊ยบ: Kru Jiab
Thai Style

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Thai Style: The Rhythm of Thai Language

Thai Style

Sound like a native Thai speaker…

“You sound like you’re from London!” Well, I wish someone said that to me! As a native Thai speaker with English as a second language, it would be my definition of being a native English speaker.

The journey to sound like a native speaker is not an easy journey. It can take years and years of exposure and for most people they may never speak like a native. I think my journey to sound British will take me a lifetime!

When learning a second language, you can be fluent but in order to sound like a native speaker, it is not just about the pronunciation and grammar but it is also about understanding the rhythm of the language. Like me, I consider myself fluent in English. My pronunciation is pretty good but I need to practise the rhythm of speaking like a native English speaker.

The rhythm of languages are different depending on many factors; culture, personality, attitude, mood etc.

Let me explain more about the rhythm of Thai language.

Sound and Tones…

First of all, let me explain about sound. Sound is a vibration that propagates as mechanical wave of pressure and displacement, through a medium such as air or water. The frequency of the vibration creates different pitches. When the pitch of the sound moves it creates ‘Tones’ which is the combination of pitch, strength and the quality of sound.

Object(s) > Vibration > Medium > Sound > Frequency/Pitch > Tone (Movements of pitch)

There are many ways to communicate with each other, such as; sounds, facial expressions, symbols, etc. The sounds that we create in our mouth is the main method we use to communicate. The combination of sounds create words which we understand the meaning off.

As you know, to make sounds, we use different parts of our mouth to create vibrations and we use the hollow space in our mouth, including our sinuses, as an echo chamber and the sound is carried out from our mouth. Our mouth is just like a musical instrument.

Eighty percent of Thai sounds are created from the the back of the palate and the back of the tongue. Thais speak with their nose. We have many sounds that create nasal sounds (the air passing through the nose) unlike in English, where sounds are made from the front of the mouth and do not have many nasal sounds.

Watch my video about Thai sounds to help you understand in more detail:

Learn Thai Style tone graph As explained above, all sound has a pitch and a tone. To make a tone it is all about the movements in our mouth to change the pitch of the sound. The part that we use to control the frequency of the sounds is the root of our tongue.

If the root of our tongue is in natural position, it creates natural tone or in other words, a mid tone. A high position creates a high tone and a low position creates low tone.

As you probably know, there are five tones in Thai language; mid, low, falling, high and rising.

When making each tone in Thai it is not just about making one pitch or using one position of the root of your tongue. Each tone in Thai language has movement.

Watch my video about Thai tones to help you understand in more detail:

 

Take my Thai Tone Quiz here.

What are ‘Tones’ used for in Thai language?…

In Thai, tones are used for 2 purposes:

1. Indicating the meanings of sounds in which we call ‘words’.

Watch my video about Comparing Thai Tones to help you understand in more detail:

2. Indicating the forms and moods of exclamations or particles.

(Note: Particles are untranslatable words used at the end of speech to indicate moods or feelings of a speaker)

Watch my video about Tones in Particles & Exclamations to help you understand in more detail:

Note: Elisions and Contractions (Short informal words) are also part of the rhythm of Thai language. When speaking with different moods and feelings, the words we use should compliment each other as one rhythm, mood and feeling.

The Quality & Strength Of Tones…

The quality and strength of the tones depend on the air we produce. As you know, men have a deeper voice than women but it doesn’t mean a women can’t produce a deep voice like men.

The quality and strength of tones in Thai language varies in speech depending on the mood or feeling of the speakers, such as exaggeration, emphasising, etc.

In English language, the quality and strength of tones (stress) is one of many factors in creating different accents. Tones and stress are also used to indicate the rhythm of different types of sentences and the mood or feeling of the speaker. However in Thai language the ways we use tones are slightly different, which creates a different rhythm to English.

Watch my video on Quality & Strength of Tones to help you understand in more detail:

Types Of Sounds…

The rhythm of Thai language is not just about how we pronounce the tones, it is also about the sounds themselves. If you learn to read and write Thai scripts, you probably know that we have live syllables and dead syllables. Do you ever wonder, why do we call them live and dead sounds? Basically, we differentiate sounds from their characters into two types:

LIVE SOUNDS are nice to the ears, soft and gentle.

DEAD SOUNDS are harsh to the ears, hard and abrupt.

Basically, we are able to control the airflow in our mouth for soft and gentle (live) sounds. We cannot control the airflow of hard and abrupt (dead) sounds.

For example, the vowel sound -า / aa is a long sound. If you pronounce this sound, you will find that you can control the air better than the short vowel sound -ะ / a which is a dead sound. The sound is dead because we make a quick movement and stop the sound suddenly before you control it further.

Another example is the consonant sound น /n which is a nasal sound. If you pronounce this sound, you will find that you can control the air through the nose better than the hard and abrupt consonant sound ด / d, which is a dead sound. Again, it is dead because the sound is made from a quick movement and stops suddenly.

How do we use different types of sounds in speaking?…

Different types of sounds can create different feelings in words, for example:

ทาน / taan = to eat (polite word) the two soft sounds า / aa and น / n create a nicer sound than กิน / gin = to eat, to consume (common & informal) which has the hard sound ิ / i. However, กิน / gin (common and informal) sounds nicer than แดก / dàek = to eat, to devour (impolite) because of the combination of two hards sounds ด and ก.

In Thai grammar จ is a hard sound but จ้ะ / jâ or จ๊ะ / já (informal polite particle used by female) produce a slightly more gentle sound than ค่ะ/คะ (formal polite particle used by female). Therefore, จ้ะ / jâ or จ๊ะ / já are used to indicate that one speaks in a soft, gentle and sweet manner other than ค่ะ / kâ or คะ / ká which used to indicate that one is being firm and formal.

When creating a rhyme in music, this is a very important factor that we need to consider. For example, we tend to use the word เธอ / ter (used to mainly address or refer to a woman) as it sounds nicer to the ears than คุณ / kun (formal and polite addressing used to address a person one is talking to). The expressions we use for this are:

รื่นหู / Rûen~Hŏo
= feel refreshing + ear
= pleasant (sound)

ไม่รื่นหู / Mâi Rûen~Hŏo
= no/not + feel refreshing + ear
= unpleasant (sound)

Different people may use different types of words and/or make different quality and strength of a tone to indicate their personality.

This, among others, are some of the factors you need to understand in order to let your speech flow. Listen out and mimic or adapt your speech, the quality of your sounds and tones, in order to suit your own personality and sound like native speaker.

What do you think? Do you sound like you are from Bangkok? Do you sound like your Thai friends? Who do you want to sound like?

To develop fluency you need to find your own personal rhythm. It’s your identity.

โชคดีค่ะ / chôhk dee = Good Luck!

By ครูเจี๊ยบ: Kru Jiab
Thai Style

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