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Translating Thai Song Lyrics: How I Do It, and You Can Too!

Translating Thai Song Lyrics

Translating Thai Song Lyrics: How I Do It, and You Can Too!…

Hi, It’s Ann Norman of CarabaoinEnglish.com. I’ve made it a project to translate as many Carabao คาราบาว and Aed Carabao แอ๊ด คาราบาว songs into English as I can before I die or get bored, whichever comes first.

I’ve finished about 150 songs out 1,000+ existing songs (more are being written each week). I’m having lots of fun and I’ve decided to share my translating secrets with you, so you can have just as much fun translating your favorite Thai songs into English.

Step 1A: Google for lyrics and plug everything into Thai2English.com…

Note: please download the T2E Software (a wonderful resource) if you have Windows.

Goggle for lyrics using the song title and name of the band, which you have copied and pasted from a YouTube + “เนื้อเพลง” (lyrics). The band I follow is famous, and the lyrics are almost always online.

Next plug your lyrics into Thai2English. This word-by-word translation program is WONDERFUL and the only reason I can do any of this. It is also very glitchy.

Read the output and be prepared to mentally override half of what comes out, especially homonyms. For instance, my Thai2English guesses that each instance of ตา (“dtaa”) probably means “grandmother.” (In song lyrics, it almost always means “eye.”) The program is also easily confused by the word ได้ /dai/ when it does not mean “get or receive” but instead plays a grammatical role in the sentence–as it so often does.

So plug in your lyrics and read the Thai2English output with your brain in gear, combining their huge hints with your existing knowledge of the language.

Step 1B: Re-divide the words in the Thai2English box…

When output is nonsensical, help the program by breaking up the words yourself, and try again. Run the words through in different groups.

Words that sound alliterative probably go together. If you have a combined word that sounds like “bliap-blong” (a made-up example) it’s a good bet that the “blong” part just adds flavor to the meaning of “bliap,” and vice versa. The meaning of “bliap-blong” will be probably be similar to the meaning of the two one-syllable words separately. (The word เปรียบเทียบ /bpriap-tiap/ is a real life example. Each part means “compare” and so does the whole word.)

Unfortunately it can also work the other way. Two words you totally understand as separate words can go together to make a new word or meaning that you don’t know. Just recently, I discovered that ก็ /gor/ and ตาม /dtaam/ (“also” and “follow”) go together (ก็ตาม) to mean “no matter.” Thai2English will make wild guesses about which sets of words go together. Redivide the words into different sets and see if that gets you a more sensible answer from Thai2English.

And watch out for tricky divisions like “mai bliap mai blong” used to mean “mai bliapblong” (I am using my made-up word in this example). Below are some examples of this pattern from actual song lyrics:

สักวี่สักวัน /sak wee sak wan/ = สักวี่วัน sak weewan (even one day)
ตามเหตุตามผล /dtam hayt dtaam pon/ = ตามเหตุผล (dtaam hayt-pon) (according to the reasons)
ไม่อดไม่ทน /mai ot mai ton/ = ไม่อดทน (not bear up [under pressure])

Throughout, keep in mind this is POETRY; the songwriter will be playing with words—to make a joke, to be alliterative, to surprise.

Step 2: Google Translate…

Google translate is notoriously horrible at translating Thai sentences. However, it is actually REALLY good at translating individual words and sometimes phrases of up to 3 words. Take your problem words and phrases to google translate, and look at the suggestions there.

Step throughout: Decipher any English loanwords…

A long word that doesn’t sound very Thai probably isn’t. And it might be English. Close your eyes and relax; the answer might come to you. My favorite example: In a song titled “Santana Carabao” (referring to the bands Santana and Carabao): I had the mystery line:

ฮูสสต๊อกได้บอกเล่าเรื่องราว ถนนสายดนตรี ฮิปปี้ร๊อคแอนด์โรล
hoo satook dâai bòk lâo rêuang raao tà-nŏn săai don-dtree híp-bpêe rók aen rohn.

The English loan words “hippie” and “rock and roll” were easy to hear, and I quickly got: “Hoo-satook” told the story of the path of music: Hippie, rock and roll.

But who or what is “hoo-satook”? The answer came to me days later as I watched a tribute to Carlos Santana on a music awards show. I learned that he had achieved stardom playing at the famous music festival … (I’ve written it here backwards): “kcotsdooW”.

Step 3: Use Google images…

Translating Thai Song LyricsThis is a really slick TRICK. Take your mystery words and phrases to google images and see hundreds of pictures of what your string of letters might mean. And prepare yourself for anything. Because maybe Thai2English hid the meaning of these words from you for a reason. I have unwittingly requested images of “shot in the head,” “trampled,” and “crotch itch” in the process of translating Carabao songs.

And yes, the word “crotch itch” (สังคัง /sang-kang/) appears in several Carabao songs, probably because it is alliterative with the word “society” (สังคม /sang-kom/). So these words can be paired to good effect in a protest song: “อนาถหนาสังคมสังคัง” “Pitiful diseased society!” (Or something . . . I am open to suggestions!)

Googling images is the only way to go when your song mentions an exotic tree, flower, or food that English speakers have no name for. Even if you can’t explain your findings to the next person, at least you will know that that tree in this song has bright orange flowers, or that the snacks Aed Carabao is singing about his mother making are those Chinese kanom with mung beans in the middle.

Google images is the only way to match proper names to faces or brand names to products.

My favorite google image translation story: I was translating the lyrics of a brand new, song—a gorgeous melody with just voice and piano, called “Yaak Daiyin” ([What Words Would You] Like to Hear?]:

The verse was falling out beautifully:

“We have mountains, rivers, and oceans. We have all kinds of animals sharing the habitat. There are humans, there is you and me. Here is paradise: the one and only world right here. They say that our world is equal to the tip of the mustache of a shelled slug . . . . “

YIKES! It seemed all the poetry had come to a screeching halt with the mention of the mustached slug. But, then I thought, “He says ‘They say . . .” so it’s a saying. There WILL be pictures.” I googled “tip of the mustache of a shelled slug”: ปลายหนวดหอยทาก.

AND TA DA!!!

LOOK AT THOSE little translucent balls on the tip of the antennae of the snail! And, no, they are not really antennae. A mouth is in the middle, so why not call it a mustache? And so, like magic, the rest of the verse falls out:

“They say that our world amounts to the tip of the antennae of a snail, that life is cheaply tossed away like a cigarette butt. We must learn about our hearts and minds; release the spirit to cross the bridge to freedom.”

Step 4: Google the meaning of a word IN THAI and read the answer in Thai..

Note: if necessary, use Thai2English.

Plug your word into google search. My untranslatable word is “แว่บ”. When I plug that into google search, the helpful search suggestions includes “แว่บ แปลว่า” (“’weip’ translates as”). Other suggestions may be “BLANK คืออะไร” (“What is BLANK?”) or “BLANK หมายถึงอะไร” (“What does BLANK mean?”) click on one of those.

In this case the Thai dictionary online says: “ปรากฏให้เห็นชั่วประเดี๋ยวหนึ่งก็หายไป เช่น แสงไฟจากรถดับเพลิงแวบเข้าตามาเดี๋ยวเดียวแว็บไปแล้ว. ว. อาการที่ปรากฏให้เห็นชั่วประเดี๋ยวหนึ่ง เช่น ไปแวบเดียวกลับมาแล้ว เพิ่งมาได้แว็บเดียวจะกลับแล้วหรือ.” Running that through Thai2English (and my brain), we get: “To appear for just a moment and then disappear, for instance the light from a fire engine ‘waep’s’ into the eye for just a moment and then ‘waep’s’ away.”

There! Aren’t you glad we did this like a Thai, and got the full definition? (And if you are really ambitious, search Thai Wikipedia for whole articles relating to your song or its theme.)

Step 5: Beg help from your friends…

Be humble. You are never going to get to the end of this foreign language learning. This is especially the case with proverbs and sayings. There is too much context and history that you are missing out on. There are random-sounding expressions that come to mean a thing for reasons no one can remember. Why does “putting on airs” mean “pretending to be higher class” in English? I don’t know and it’s my language. So go check your translation with the experts, and be prepared for the possibility that your best guess was wrong. And don’t feel bad. It is already very satisfying to just get 85% or 90% of the way to understanding the songwriter’s intentions.

Step 6: Your mystery word might not mean anything, and the odd metaphor is open to interpretation…

A Thai friend recently told me, “In your translating, you might see that many words you can’t find because they are just put in without meaning, but it makes a beautiful sentence!” This is music, this is poetry. There are pretty-sounding words thrown in. There are vocalizations: the ooo’s and ahh’s and la, la, la’s.

Ponder the metaphors but don’t get frustrated with not knowing. Neil Young was searching for a “Heart of Gold.” Aed Carabao famously loves that song. In a recent concert at Khun Aed’s home in Chaing Mai, in the patter between songs, he mentions that although he is a big admirer of Neil Young, he never got to meet him. And if he were to meet him, he’d love to ask him one question: “’Heart of Gold,’ is the meaning like a person is searching for the value of the heart, or something like this?”*

(No, I don’t think it is . . .)

Then he launches into a perfect cover of “Heart of Gold.” When I first watched the concert DVD, I was stunned: Did pondering this question provide Khun Aed inspiration for his even better song “ทะเลใจ” /Telay Jai/ (Ocean Heart), which IS about a person coming to terms with their own heart so they can be happy?!

At that moment I decided never again to apologize for only halfway understanding a song.

In turn, I’m not sure I completely understand Aed Carabao when he sings about the little bird drifting and bobbing, blown by the wind, till it unfortunately falls into the center of the ทะเลใจ.” But I LOVE IT!

Step 7: Stop fussing!…

You are close enough. Don’t overanalyze. Play the song. Listen closely, hum, bounce, and sing along, and let the movie play out inside you.

*The concert is “วันวานไม่มีเขา” /Waan Wan Mai Mi Kow/, the Exclusive Concert at Aed Carabao’s home in Chiang mai. You can listen for yourself at 1:16:4 of this video:

Ann Norman
CarabaoinEnglish.com

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Jonas Anderson’s Tongue-twister: กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา

กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา

Jonas’s Tongue-twister: กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา…

Jonas Anderson’s new song, กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา, is a hilarious hit. The lyrics tell a story about a western English teacher who falls in love with a Thai lass and asks her to check his Thai. And what Thai it is! The song is a mix of tongue-twisters and nonsense verse, and in places, sung at high-speed.

Note: For this song I won’t add transliteration – there’s enough distraction as is. Those who prefer transliteration can just drag the Thai script into Thai2English.com.

Lyrics and English translation: กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา…

คนน่ารักเขาว่ามักจะใจดี จะมีเวลาให้พี่คนนี้สักนิดไหม อยากจะรบกวน ชวนมาทำอะไร ที่พี่ยังสงสัยอยู่ตั้งนาน

Nice people are said to be kind hearted. Would you have a little time for me? Can I bother you with a request to do something that has confused me for a long time?

อยากสบตา อยากเห็นหน้า อยากศึกษาภาษาใจ อยากให้เธอ มาเป็นครู อยากจะรู้พูดแบบนี้ ถูกต้องไหม

I’d like to meet your eyes, see your face and study your heart language. I want you to be my teacher. I want to know if I am saying this right…

กวางขาว อยู่กลางเขา ไปกลางเขา กวางขาวเดินมา ยายกินน้ำลำใย น้ำลายยาย ไหลย้อยรดย่า

The white deer lives in the middle of the mountains. I walked there and the deer walked towards me.

ยะลา มาระยอง แล้วขึ้นล่อง ระหว่าง ระยอง ยะลา

I travelled from Yala to Rayong and went up and down between the two provinces.

ยายกินน้ำลำใย น้ำลายยาย ไหลย้อยรดย่า

Grandma (mom’s mom) is drinking lamyai juice and her drool is dripping on another grandma (dad’s mom).

กล้วยตานีปลายหวีเหี่ยว เหลือหวีเดียวหิ้วห­วีเหี่ยวไปหิ้วหวีเหี่ยวมา

Grandpa’s bunch of Nee bananas is withering. There is only one withered bunch left that he is carrying here and there.

Jonas: The following parts are a bit nonsensical since the main point is just putting words together that are similar yet different to make it easy to trip over them.

เช้าฟาดผัดฟัก 

Had gourd stir-fry in the morning.

เย็นฟาดฟักผัด 

Had stir-fried gourd in the evening.

ผัดผักฟักขาว
Vegetable stir-fry with white gourd.

ชามเขียวข้างขวาคว่ำเช้า 
The green bowl on the right is overturned in the morning.


ชามขาวคว่ำค่ำ 
ควานคลำ ชามขาว
The white bowl is overturned in the evening. Groping about for the white bowl.

Yuki: ฟาด is an impolite term for “to eat”. And the guy had the same thing both in the morning and in the evening but used two different ways to express the same dish :D

Are you up for the challenge?…

If you do take up the challenge, after uploading your video to YouTube, please post the link in Jonas’ Facebook page: Jonas Thailand.

Hugh and I would like to thank Jonas for his help and permission, and Yuki (Pick up Thai) for assisting with the translations. You guys are great!

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The Study Music Project: Christmas Edition

The Study Music Project: Xmas Music

The Study Music Project: Christmas Edition…

In Music for studying foreign languages I introduced you to Dennis Kuo’s Study Music Project. For those of you cramming for finals or in need of decent Xmas music, the talented Dennis has created four songs for your enjoyment. All free. But only for Xmas.

Noel
Three Kings
Save My Christmas
Hark! the Herald Angel Sing

Dennis Kuo: I just want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season! Thank you all for listening to my music. It is the best present I can ask for. Whether it be school or jobs, hope the Study Music Project can get us through our work as break approaches!

Once again, throughout now until the end of the season, the videos will be available on this channel! However, on January 2014, all the Christmas Study Music Project will BE REMOVED AND DISAPPEAR into thin air…so enjoy these tunes while they last!

For those of you who love the Christmas music, and is sad to see them go away when the season ends, come back to the Study Music Project channel on Christmas Day for a link to the *FREE* “CHRISTMAS MUSIC ALBUM” from Study Music Project! This is my way of saying Thank You for those who have been supporting me and my music.

Where to find Dennis Kuo:

Website: Study Music Project
YouTube: StudyMusicProject
Facebook: StudyMusicProject
Facebook: Dennis Kuo Music
Twitter: @denniskuo

Thanks Dennis! And a cheerful ho ho ho to one and all.

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Music for Studying Foreign Languages

Music for Studying Foreign Languages

Music for studying foreign languages…

Listening to Baroque music has long been touted as cure-all for studying languages. Some even go as far as to say that listening to Mozart improves the quality of your health and well-being. From my personal experience, both statements are reaching a fair bit.

It’s a no brainer that listening to Mozart won’t make you smarter. Because if that were true, I’d be a genius by now. And while I do enjoy Baroque music on occasion, a nootropics stack washed down by a hefty dose of caffeine seems to garner more immediate results. Or perhaps just different… I’ll have to get back to you on that.

I won’t go as far as to say that the Mozart Effect Doesn’t Work at all, because anything that helps my frame of mind while I study is a benefit. But I’ve yet to try listening to Stephen King!

BBC: Does listening to Mozart really boost your brainpower?… One study found that listening to Schubert was just as good, and so was hearing a passage read out aloud from a Stephen King novel. But only if you enjoyed it. So, perhaps enjoyment and engagement are key, rather than the exact notes you hear.

My interest in using music while studying languages is purely for the feel-good factor. It’s a simple concept really. If I’m in a good mood then I’ll study longer. And if I relate good moods with studying, then I’ll look forward to my next study session. The result? Studying for longer and more often will (hopefully) mean that I’ll be learning more.

Awhile back I became impatient with the Mozart Effect and Baroque music. After one or two songs I was done. I’ve long known that I needed to source new music to listen to while studying languages but it wasn’t until now that I made it a priority. So the need to come up with interesting posts for WLT does indeed have its perks. Well. Interesting to me, that is.

My updated music collection for studying languages…

Some of the music resources (below) have been on my iTunes for years but most are new. And even though jazz is on the list, I’m not 100% sure about longterm results. Have you ever listened to jazz when studying? Is it just ok? More than bearable? The bee’s knees?

What you will notice is that the majority of the songs have no lyrics. Some students don’t find lyrics distracting but I do. Enormously. And there’s a logical reason for this.

University of Phoenix: … listening to music with lyrics is an especially bad idea when studying languages, because lyrics affect the same parts of the brain that comprehend language.

“You think you’re focused on your Spanish lesson,” Axford says, “but your brain is also hearing — and is distracted by — the words to the song playing in the background.”

I also discovered that I can’t listen to instrumentals of songs (especially the Beatles) because I’m forever singing along. Distracting.

What I was chuffed to find is that there’s an actual Study Music Project, thanks to the hard work and talents of Dennis Kuo. If you are interested in cheering Dennis on or even offering suggestions, follow him on his Facebook page: Study Music Project.

iTunes: Study Music Project: Music for the Mind
iTunes: Study Music Project 2: Cram Session

Below is even more music purchased from iTunes. Some have been created especially with the student in mind. It’s early days but I can see how a music industry specifically for studying can only grow and improve.

iTunes: Exam Study Soft Jazz Music Collective
iTunes: 50 Revision Classics by Classic FM
iTunes: The Best of Baroque Music
iTunes: The Piano Guys

I only have one study playlist from YouTube to share with you. I guess that’s because when I’m studying, I don’t pay attention to visuals. There are sure to be many more so I’ll source them later (when I have more time … time … so rare these days).

YouTube playlist: BEST Study Music Playlist

I barely managed to dip into last.fm and 8tracks.com but the potential is there. But beware of the lyrics in songs. I found several study compilations where they’ve added soft background voices. Even at a soft level voices soon become distracting.

last.fm: Beautiful Minds – Best Study Music, Music for Concentration

8tracks.com: study time
8tracks.com: audible adderall xxxr
8tracks.com: EDM Study Buddy
8tracks.com: Study With Accompaniment II
iTunes iOS app: 8tracks Radio

And here’s a compilation I’ve been hooked on from the beginning of my search: The Journey: StellarDrone Schumann Mix.

The Schumann Resonances are electromagnetic waves that exist in the space between the surface of the Earth and the Ionosphere – 7.83, 14.3, 20.8, 27.3 and 33.8 Hz. They are said to be the heartbeat of mother earth.

When a person’s brain waves resonate with 7.83 Hz, it has been shown in scientific studies to be an essential requirement for physical and psychological health. Laboratory research has also shown that exposing living cells to the Schumann Resonance had the effect of increasing their immune protection.

Do I believe the hype? Um, honestly, I just like his music. If you are interested, there’s more at Stellardrone (name your price) or pay for Light Years and Echoes at iTunes. I did.

Note: I’ve left out other Brainwave/Binaural/Ambient type compilations on purpose. I do own a collection (most are on iOS apps). If you do use them with success, I’d be interested in any benefits you’ve found.

Even more study music resources to wade through…

classicfm: Music For Studying
Lifehacker: Ask the Readers: Best music for studying?
Lifehacker: Get Productive to Groove Salad
ExamTime: Music for Studying: 10 Tips to Pick the Best Study Music

So, what music do you listen to during your language studies? Bach, Beethoven, rock? Curious minds want to know!

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The Farang Thai Song (aka The 5552)!

The Farang Thai Song

The Farang Thai Song (aka The 5552)!…

Back in March there was that really cute YouTube video by Maggie Rosenberg, I Don’t Speak Thai But I Try. And now we have the pleasure of … [drum roll] … The Farang Thai Song, by Shimona Kee.

From Shimona: “Missing Thailand. SO. I wrote a song about learning to SPEAK THAI!”

What talent! Wasn’t that great?

Thai vocabulary…

In order of appearance, here’s the Thai vocabulary from the lyrics:

spicy: เผ็ด /pèt/
cannot: ไม่ได้ /mâi dâai/
how much: เท่าไหร่ /tâo rài/
expensive: แพง /paeng/
reduce: ลด /lót/
can?: ได้ไหม /dâai măi/
it’s ok: ไม่เป็นไร /mâi bpen rai/
one: หนึ่ง /nèung/
two: สอง /sŏng/
three: สาม /săam/
four: สี่ /sèe/
five: ห้า /hâa/
take it easy: ใจเย็นเย็น /jai yen yen/
speak: พูด /pôot/
Thai: ไทย /tai/
little bit: นิดหน่อย /nít nòi/
no: ไม่ /mâi/
understand: เข้าใจ /kâo jai/
be happy: สบาย /sà-baai/
eat: กินข้าว /gin kâao/
or: หรือ /rĕu/
still, yet: ยัง /yang/
fun: สนุก /sà-nùk/
what: อะไร /a-rai/
why: ทำไม /tam-mai/
toilet: ห้องน้ำ /hông náam/
where is: ที่ไหน /têe năi/

Were you wondering why it’s called “The Farang Thai Song (aka The 5552)?” Well, 555 in Thai (ห้า ห้า ห้า) is /hâa hâa hâa/. And 2 in Thai (สอง), is pronounced /sŏng/, making it the “Ha Ha Ha Song”. Clever.

Shimona Kee on the internet…

The sweet Shimona can be found online at the following locations:

YouTube Channel: simplyshimona
Twitter: @simplyshimona
Facebook: shimonakee

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America by Cham Chamaram: Thai-English Translation

America by Cham Chamaram

America by Cham Chamaram…

I’m a HUGE fan of กรุณาฟังให้จบ /gà-rú-naa fang hâi jòp/ by แช่ม แช่มรัมย์ /châem châe má-ram/. Did you notice the Kindly Listen in my top nav? That’s a protected practice page with กรุณาฟังให้จบ separated into more manageable (to me anyway) sound bites. Because one day, putting embarrassment to the side, I plan on belting it out on karaoke night. Someday… but not soon (have you heard how fast that song gets? Whooooh).

Knowing my interest in Cham Chamaram, a couple of weeks ago Will Yaryan (Religion, Sex & Politics) introduced me to another of Cham’s songs, America. Love it!

America is full of wonderful wordplay and idioms so I asked Thai friends to help. And to polish off my efforts, I called on Thai Skype Teacher Khun Narisa to answer outstanding questions. Thanks all!

Disclaimer: Any snafus in the final version below are all my doing. During the cobbling together of my notes this morning, I realised I didn’t have every question answered. And this is where you come in. If you notice anything that doesn’t seem quite right, please point it out in the comments and I’ll correct it on the translation. Ta!

YouTube video: อเมริกา – แช่ม แช่มรัมย์…

America: Thai-English translation…

Chorus: อยากขี่เครื่องบิน ไปกินแซนวิช หัดพูดอังกฤษ ฟุดฟิดฟอไฟ
yàak kèe krêuang-bin · bpai gin saen-wít · hàt pôot ang-grìt · fút-fít for fai
(I) want to get on (a) plane, go eat (a) sandwich, practice speaking English. Fot Fit Fo Fai.

Of interest:
ฟุดฟิดฟอไฟ /fút-fít for fai/: It’s how non-English speaking Thais mimic English (sort of like “ching chong” for Chinese or blahblahblahblah)

Sample sentence: พูดอังกฤษไม่เก่ง ได้แต่ฟุดฟิดฟอไฟ
pôot ang-grìt mâi gèng · dâai dtàe fút-fít for fai
(I’m) not good at speaking English. Only (know) Fot Fit Fo Fai.

Chorus: โอ่โอที่รัก พี่อยากไปหา แต่อเมริกาาาาา ไม่รู้หน้าตามันเป็นยังไง
òh oh têe rák · pêe yàak bpai hăa · dtàe a-may-rí-gaaa · mâi róo nâa dtaa man bpen yang ngai
Oh, Oh, darling. I want to come visit (you). But America, I don’t know.

Of interest:
หน้าตามันเป็นยังไง /nâa dtaa man bpen yang-ngai/: how it is

Verse: รักน้องข้างเดียว ยังแห้งยังเหี่ยว ไม่พอ น้องไม่รอ บินหนีพี่ไปซะไกล
rák nóng kâang dieow · yang hâeng yang hìeow · mâi por · nóng mâi ror · bin nĕe pêe bpai sá glai
(My) love for you is not returned. No hope. Not only that (but) you didn’t wait. You flew away from me so far.

Of interest:
ข้างเดียว /kâang-dieow/: one-sided
ยังแห้งยังเหี่ยว /yang hâeng yang hìeow/: lacking of hope

Verse: จะร่ำจะเรียน จะอ่าน จะเขียน ทำไมไม่เรียนเมืองไทย
jà râm jà rian · jà àan · jà kĭan · tam-mai mâi rian meuang-tai
If you want to study. To read. To write. Why not study in Thailand?

Of interest:
จะร่ำจะเรียน /jà râm jà rian/: to study

Verse: เมืองนอกเมืองนา เขาว่าฝรั่งก็เยอะ
meuang-nôk meuang naa · kăo wâa fà-ràng gôr yúh
Abroad, people say there are a lot of foreigners.

Verse cont: ถ้าน้องไปเจอ แล้วน้องไม่กลัวหรือไง
tâa nóng bpai jer · láew nóng mâi glua rĕu ngai
When you go and see, won’t you be scared?

Of interest:
เมืองนอกเมืองนา /meuang nôk meuang naa/: abroad

Verse: พี่อยู่ตั้งไกล ไม่ได้ไปด้วย แล้วใครจะช่วยเป็นเพื่อนใจ
pêe yòo dtâng glai · mâi dâai bpai dûay · láew krai jà chûay bpen pêuan jai
I am far away. I didn’t go with (you). Who will be your close friend? (who will watch out for you)

[ซ้ำ /sám/: repeat chorus]

Verse: เอบีซีถึงพี่จะไม่เข้าใจ จำขึ้นใจแค่คำว่า “I Love You”
ay bee see tĕung pêe jà mâi kâo jai · jam-kêun jai kâe kam wâa “I Love You”
ABC, I don’t even understand. I only memorised the words, “I Love You”.

Of interest:
จำขึ้นใจ /jam-kêun-jai/: learn by heart, memorise

Verse: จะส่งภาษาทำท่าทำทาง ฝาหรั่งก็คงไม่รู้
jà sòng paa-săa tam tâa tam taang · făa ràng gôr kong mâi róo
(When) I speak (or) gesture, foreigners probably won’t understand.

Of interest:
ทำท่าทำทาง /tam tâa tam taang/: action, gesture
ส่งภาษา /sòng paa-săa/: to speak

Verse: เคยเดินดิน เครื่องบินก็ได้แต่เห็น ขึ้นไม่เป็น คงยากคงเย็นน่าดู
koie dern din · krêuang-bin gôr dâai dtàe hĕn · kêun mâi bpen · kong yâak kong yen nâa doo
I only walk on the ground. I only see the plane. I can’t get on, it’s really difficult.
(I’m an ordinary person. It’s really impossible for me to travel overseas).

Of interest:
คนเดินดิน /kon-dern-din/: ordinary people
คงยากคงเย็น /kong yâak kong yen/: might be very difficult

Verse: กะเสือกกะสน ดิ้นรนไปหา มันจนปัญญาน้องก็รู้
gà sèuak gà sŏn · dîn ron bpai hăa · man jon bpan-yaa nóng gôr róo
I try hard. I try hard to go see you. It’s impossible, you know that.

Of interest:
กะเสือกกะสน /gà sèuak gà-sŏn/: to try hard
ดิ้นรน /dîn-ron/: to try hard
จนปัญญา: impossible

Verse: จะเป็นผู้ดีต้องมีสตางค์ ไปเมืองฝาหรั่งคงใช้สตางค์เยอะเลย
jà bpen-pôo-dee dtông mee sà-dtaang · bpai meuang făa ràng kong chái sà-dtaang yúh loie
To be hi-so one must have money. To go to the west (America), (one) must have a lot of money.

Of interest:
เป็นผู้ดี /bpen-pôo-dee/: upperclass / hi-so (?)
เมืองฝาหรั่ง /meuang făa ràng/: Farangland

Verse: อเมริกา อเมริไกล จะไปยังไง ไอ้พี่ก็ยังไม่เคย
a-may-rí-gaa a-may-rí-glai · jà bpai yang-ngai · âi pêe gôr yang mâi koie
America is far. How to go? I haven’t been.

Of interest:
อเมริไกล /a-may-rí glai/: America + far

[ซ้ำ /sám/: repeat chorus]

Verse: แต่อเมริกา ไม่รู้หน้าตามันเป็นยังไง
dtàe a-may-rí-gaa · mâi róo nâa dtaa man bpen yang-ngai
But America, I haven’t experienced.

Isn’t that a snappy song? And with America’s President Obama recently in Thailand, timely, I’d say.

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Christy Gibson: If There Were No Men Left in This World

Christy Gibson: If There Were No Men Left in This World

Learn Thai with Christy Gibson…

Learning songs in your target language is an entertaining way to acquire new phrases and vocabulary. And fortunately for us, the talented Christy Gibson has kindly agreed to let me share her songs on WLT. Thanks Christy!

Christy Gibson is known for performing ลูกทุ่ง /lôok tôong/. Lookthung, sung from the heart, literally translates to ‘child of the fields’. And if you haven’t read them already, Christy and Jonas Anderson talk about Lookthung, their singing careers, and learning Thai in these two posts:

Expat Interview: Jonas Anderson and Christy Gibson
Successful Thai Language Learners: Jonas Anderson and Christy Gibson

When I came up with the idea to translate Christy’s songs, I asked Hugh Leong if he’d like to share the project. Thankfully, he agreed to help out. Not only is Hugh also a fan of Christy’s, but his translations are waaaay smoother than mine.

Hugh Leong: I find Luk Thung the most accessible Thai music for foreigners. The musicians are quite good, the music is very similar to American country music in theme, adultery, getting drunk, etc. And the shows they put on are lots of fun.

For our first post in the series, the decision was made to start off with ‘If There Were No Men Left in This World’ (ถ้าโลกไม่เหลือผู้ชายสักคน).

Christy Gibson: The theme of “ถ้าโลกไม่เหลือผู้ชายสักคน” is, in part, one that is familiar to the lookthung genre, but we wanted to give it a different twist. I wanted a song that didn’t end with the character feeling worthless, giving up, or just deciding to “live with the pain” or, as they say in Thai, “ยอม” or resign to fate. I wanted a song about a woman who loved, who felt pain, but who was also strong. In another of my songs, “เจ็บที่ไม่ได้เชิญ”, the woman was strong enough to let him go. In this song she’s strong enough to fight to hold on to him.

The song was chosen because fits the criteria (and not just because it’s my fav – ok, perhaps just a little). The catchy tune has clearly enunciated lyrics and a reasonable vocabulary count, delivered with a tempo slow enough for beginners to follow along without their heads exploding.

Btw: There lyrics have around 70 words, and 28 of those are verbs. Verbs are good.

If there were no men left in this world…

Before you dig in, here’s a quick way to hear the pronunciation when reading the lyrics: drop each sentence into Google Translate and click the speaker icon. The audio isn’t perfect but it’s close. And if you want to hear the sentences spoken at a faster speed, take out the spaces between the words.

If there were no men left in this world
ถ้า โลก ไม่ เหลือ ผู้ชาย สักคน
tâa lôhk mâi lĕua pôo-chaai sàk-kon

ถ้า /tâa/: if
โลก /lôhk/: world, earth
ไม่ /mâi/: no
เหลือ /lĕua/: to remain
ผู้ชาย /pôo-chaai/: men, man, male
สักคน /sàk-kon/: just one person

That man there – he is mine
ผู้ชาย คน นั้น เป็น แฟน ฉัน เอง
pôo-chaai kon nán bpen faen chăn ayng

คน /kon/: person, people, classifier for people
นั้น /nán/: there, that, those, used after a noun or pronoun to emphasize it as the subject of the sentence
เป็น /bpen/: to be, is, am, are, become
แฟน /faen/: husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend. When understood, he, she
ฉัน /chăn/: I, me
เอง /ayng/: only, alone, just

extra info:
แฟนฉัน /faen chăn/: my – the short version of แฟนของฉัน /faen kŏng chăn/
ของฉันเอง /kŏng chăn ayng/: mine
ฉันเอง /chăn ayng/: I, me

The one you are holding in your arms
คน ที่ เธอ กำลัง กอด เขา
kon têe ter gam-lang gòt kăo

ที่ /têe/: the, that, which, who
เธอ /ter/: you (spoken), she, her (poetic)
กำลัง /gam-lang/: auxiliary used to put the verb in the present continuous tense
กอด /gòt/: to hold, embrace, hug
เขา /kăo/: he, she, him, her, they, them

extra info:
กำลัง /gam-lang/ + กอด /gòt/ = holding (something at that moment)

Ask him and see; does the word “we”
ถาม เขา ดู สิ • คำว่า เรา
tăam kăo doo sì • kam-wâa rao

ถาม /tăam/: to ask
ดู /doo/: to see (understand the situation), see, appear, seem
สิ /sì/: particle used to show suggestion (“I suggest you ask him”), emphasis
คำว่า /kam wâa/: the word _
เรา /rao/: we, us, our

Mean you and he, or him and me?
เป็น เธอ กับ เขา • หรือ เขา กับ ฉัน
bpen ter gàp kăo • rĕu kăo gàp chăn

กับ /gàp/: and, with, together with
หรือ /rĕu/: or, isn’t it? (written)

If you are going to take the one who is mine
หาก จะ เอา คน ของ ฉัน ไป
hàak jà ao kon kŏng chăn bpai

หาก /hàak/: if
จะ /jà/: will, shall
เอา /ao/: take, bring
ของ /kŏng/: of, thing, possessions, goods, slang for illegal items (eg. drugs)
ไป /bpai/: to go, leave, shows direction away from the speaker

extra info:
ของ /kŏng/ + ฉัน /chăn/ = mine
เอา /ao/ + ไป /bpai/ = take

At least don’t say it was I who was cruel
ก็ อย่า หาว่า ร้าย แล้วกัน
gôr yàa hăa wâa ráai láew-gan

ก็ /gôr/: then, so, therefore, joins clauses
อย่า /yàa/: don’t, do not, never
หาว่า /hăa-wâa/: accuse, charge, claim, blame
ร้าย /ráai/: be cruel, bad, evil
แล้วกัน /láew-gan/: “Ok?” Used after the suggestion; particle used when suggesting a compromise or final plan of action, implies there’s no need for the listener to suggest anything else. “As you like” (idiomatic).

Losing anything else is unimportant to me
เสีย อะไร ก็ ไม่ สำคัญ
sĭa a-rai gôr mâi săm-kan

เสีย /sĭa/: to lose
อะไร /a-rai/: anything, something, whatever, what
สำคัญ /săm-kan/: be important, significant

Note: from the context ‘to me’ is understood.

But my man; I want him
แต่ คน ของ ฉัน • ฉัน ห่วง
dtàe kon kŏng chăn • chăn hùang

แต่ /dtàe/: but
ห่วง /hùang/: care about, be concerned about, think a lot about

Anyone would love her man
แฟน ของ ใคร • ใคร ก็ รัก
faen kŏng krai • krai gôr rák

ใคร /krai/: anyone, someone, person, who
รัก /rák/: to love

Anyone would be worried about him
แฟน ของ ใคร • ใคร ก็ ห่วง
faen kŏng krai • krai gôr hùang

No one would want to share him
แฟน ของ ใคร • ใคร ก็ หวง
faen kŏng krai • krai gôr hŭang

หวง /hŭang/: be possessive, jealous, can be both non-romantic (feeling between son and mother) or romantic (between lovers).

Be careful: ห่วง /hùang/ and หวง /hŭang/ are close in spelling but tone changes everything.

Don’t steal my man away
เธอ อย่า มา แย่ง ของ กัน
ter yàa maa yâeng kŏng gan

แย่ง /yâeng/: steal, snatch, grab, seize
กัน /gan/: one another, each other

There are lots of available men
ผู้ชาย ไม่มี เจ้าของ • มี ถมไป
pôo-chaai mâi-mee jâo-kŏng • mee tŏm-bpai

My first glance at this sentence made me smile: “There are a lot of men without owners”.

ไม่มี /mâi-mee/: not have, don’t have, there isn’t
เจ้าของ /jâo-kŏng/: owner, proprietor, proprietress
มี /mee/: to have, there is, to be available
ถมไป /tŏm-bpai/: lots of, abundant, plentiful, overwhelming

Why do you have to choose mine
ทำไม ต้อง เป็น แฟน ฉัน
tam-mai dtông bpen faen chăn

ทำไม /tam-mai/: why
ต้อง /dtông/: have to, must, need to

Please leave just this one for me
ขอ ไว้ สักคน แล้วกัน
kŏr wái sàk-kon láew-gan

ขอ /kŏr/: to beg, plead, ask, request
ไว้ /waí/: leave (allow to remain), keep, save, store
สักคน /sàk-kon/: just one person

Don’t force me to be cruel
อย่า บังคับ ให้ ร้าย เลย
yàa bang-káp hâi ráai loie

บังคับ /bang-káp/: to force, give an order, command
ให้ /hâi/: to become (aux), to let, have (someone do something), give
ร้าย /ráai/: bad, cruel
เลย /loie/: completely, totally, really, at all, intensifier, to go further

extra info:
Pattern: อย่า /yàa/ _ เลย /loie/ = Don’t do [something], begging

Please release him now
ได้โปรด ปล่อยมือ จาก เขา เสียที
dâai-bpròht bplòi-meu jàak kăo sĭa-tee

ได้โปรด /dâai-bpròht/: please
ปล่อยมือ /bplòi meu/: to release, set free, [release + hand = idiom]
จาก /jàak/: from, to depart, leave, go away from
เสียที /sĭa-tee/: at once, particle showing frustration that an action hasn’t already happened, to be defeated, conquered, tricked

I’m speaking to you nicely now, so don’t ignore me
พูด ดีๆ เธอ อย่า ทำเฉย
pôot dee-dee ter yàa tam-chŏie

พูด /pôot/: to speak, talk, say
ดี /dee/: to be good, nice, happy
ๆ: character used to indicate the previous word is repeated
ทำเฉย /tam-chŏie/: ignore, be standoffish, turn a cold shoulder to

extra info:
ดี /dee/ + ๆ = ดีๆ /dee-dee/ = nicely (is very good)

If there were no men left in this world
ถ้า โลก ไม่มี ผู้ชาย เหลือ เลย
tâa lôhk mâi-mee pôo-chaai lĕua loie

Then you can come and ask for him
แล้วค่อย มา ขอ · ก็แล้วกัน
láew-kôi maa kŏr · gôr-láew-gan

แล้วค่อย /láew-kôi/: then later (idiom)
มา /maa/: come, shows direction towards speaker, puts the main verb in present perfect tense

Giving thanks…

I would like to thank Christy for giving me the opportunity to use her songs for educational purposes, Hugh for translating the lyrics, and Thai Skype teacher Khun Narisa for coming in at the last hour to answer Thai grammar questions.

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ดึงดูดใจ: Thai Lyrics and Translations

Thai Lyrics and Translations

Thai Lyrics and Translation blog…

After falling for the catchy tune by Cham Cham Ramis, กรุณาฟังให้จบ /gà-rú-naa fang hâi jòp/, I found the Thai-English translation on a new (to me) Thai Lyrics and Translation blog, ดึงดูดใจ /deung-dòot jai/. Excellent! Translation sites for Thai songs are few and far between – many more are needed.

Aiming to feature ดึงดูดใจ on WLT, I shot off an email to Tahmnong, the creator of the site. The about page was a good start for a post but I wanted more (I always want more, yes?)

But, silly me, I assumed Tahmnong was a guy so added a tidbit so’s not to scare him off: The site name is tongue in cheek… not many women learn Thai ;-)

Seems I overlooked ขอบคุณค่ะ on the about page. Ooops. No ครับ – ค่ะ is a female polite particle.

Sending a laughing email back, Tahmnong (Melodie) was thrilled to answer a few questions about herself and the origins of her Thai Lyrics and Translation blog.

Melodie and ดึงดูดใจ…

You know, you are right. I know so many men learning Thai but only a handful of women. We’re a rare breed! ;)

Hmm, what else about me can I share? I am a girl, haha, in my mid 20s. An American-born Puerto Rican/Romanian who spent so much time in Thailand while growing up, I feel more comfortable there than anywhere else in the world.

My dad was in the air force stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War. He fell in love with the place so we were constantly going on vacations to Thailand whenever possible.

I also went my first year of college to Rangsit University before deciding a degree from an American university would probably do me better in the long run.

When I was younger, my Thai friends gave me the ชื่อเล่น /chêu-lên/ (nickname) Tahmnong (ทำนอง) since it’s the direct translation of my American name, Melodie (Spanish name Melodía), and it’s stuck ever since.

As a kid, I missed Thailand so much whenever I was back in America that I loved listening to music and watching movies and lakorns; they reminded me of the country.

Because of my love for Thailand, my desire to spend more time there in the future, as well as the lack of subtitles/translations for most Thai media, I started comprehensively studying Thai on my own in high school. I learned from books and practiced by subtitling interviews and movies and translating songs for fun.

With Thai music getting more world-wide attention, I decided to create Deungdutjai to share my many translations with the world. And in case anyone was like me, using song lyrics as a learning aid, the translations are line-by-line with romanization as well.

I love anything and everything to do with translation, the study and teaching of languages, and understanding of foreign cultures, especially Thai, so I’m always happy to contribute however I can with any kindred spirits.

Someday I’d like to expand my blog to song and album reviews as well, so more people can comment and share opinions and interactions. But, as my plate is rather full right now, I’m afraid of biting off more than I can chew. To at least keep my song translations updated daily, any sort of expansion will have to wait for the time being.

I’m currently living in California finishing school for one more year before I move to South Korea with my Korean boyfriend for a while. But there will definitely be plenty more vacations back to the Land of Smiles!

Tahmnong (Melodie)
ดึงดูดใจ: Thai Lyrics and Translation blog

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Keep Moving (เดินต่อไป): The Thai Flood Set to Music

Music of the Thai Flood 2011

The Thai flood set to music: เดินต่อไป….

For those of you who top up your language studies by listening to music, here’s a sobering Thai flood song, เดินต่อไป /dern dtòr-bpai/ (Keep Moving).

Written by: Mike Agana Sawatsewi, Sutthiphong Sombatjinda and Jaree Thanapura
Produced and arranged by: Jaree Thanapura and Michael Sawatsewi
Mixed by: Jeremiah P. Lipatapanlop

Thai flood photography by: Stephen Thomas, Bree Korkanok, Hedda Joy Tady-Tan, Jeremiah P. Lipatapanlop, Komol Boonpienpol, Leena Chanvirach, Ming Chartmeteekul, Pradon Sirakovit, Saran Singchoovong, Jill Brockelman, Pattricia Lipatapanlop, Mhong Puttharuk Putthiprechapong, Aoffy Vimolkiatkhajorn.

First up is the video with Thai subtitles, followed by an English version. The Thai-English lyrics come at the end.

เดินต่อไป /dern dtòr-bpai/ with Thai subtitles….

เดินต่อไป /dern dtòr-bpai/ with English subtitles….

เดินต่อไป /dern dtòr-bpai/ lyrics…

เดินต่อไป /dern dtòr-bpai/ (acoustic/ballad version)
KEEP MOVING (acoustic/ballad version)

VERSE 1

เมื่อวันพรุ่งนี้เดินเข้ามา
mêua wan-prûng-née dern kâo-maa
As tomorrow looms closer

มากับปัญหาที่ท้าทาย
maa gàp bpan-hăa têe táa taai
With its hardships and challenges

เส้นทางชีวิตไม่ง่ายดาย
sên-taang chee-wít mâi ngâai-daai
Navigating life’s road won’t be easy

ไม่เคยมีใครอาจคาดเดา
mâi-koie mee krai àat kâat-dao
With so much that no one could have foreseen

PRE-CHORUS

มันอาจจะล้มมันอาจจะแพ้
man àat-jà lóm man àat-jà páe
Though you might fall and feel defeat

ถ้าหากไม่ท้อทุกอย่าง ก็แค่พิสูจน์ตัวเรา
tâa-hàak mâi tór túk-yàang gôr-kâe pí-sòot dtua-rao
Don’t lose hope–in strife, we only prove ourselves

จังหวะชีวิตที่มันเร่งเร้า
jang-wà chee-wít têe man râyng-ráo
The beat of life, moving us along

บอกให้เราเข้าใจตราบใดที่
bòk hâi rao kâo-jai dtràap-dai-têe
Helps us understand and keeps reminding us that

CHORUS

เสียงเพลงยังดังอยู่
sĭang playng yang dang yòo
When the music’s playing

จงรู้ว่าเท้าเราต้องเต้นไป
jong róo wâa táo rao dtông dtên bpai
Remember to keep your feet moving

เมื่อหัวใจยังเต้นอยู่
mêua hŭa jai yang dtên yòo
As long as your heart’s still beating

จงคิดชีวิตต้องเดินต่อไป
jong kít chee-wít dtông dern dtòr-bpai
Know that life needs to keep on moving

VERSE 2

ไม่เคยไปไหนก็ไม่รู้
mâi koie bpai năi gôr mâi róo
Never going anywhere, you never see

ไม่มีประตูให้เข้าไป
mâi-mee bprà-dtoo hâi kâo-bpai
If there lies a door for you to enter

ผิดถูกอย่างน้อยได้จำไว้
pìt tòok yàang-nói dâai jam-wái
Whether wrong or right, at least you learn

ไม่อยู่ที่ใครอยู่ที่เรา
mâi-yòo têe krai yòo-têe rao
That it isn’t up to anyone else, but you

REPEAT PRE-CHORUS & CHORUS

CODA/BRIDGE

ไป… ไปเถอะไป …
bpai… bpai tùh bpai …
Go… go on and keep on moving

มันจะเจออะไร
man jà jer a-rai
Whatever it is you face

มันจะร้ายจะดีแค่ไหนต้องไป
man jà ráai jà dee kâe năi dtông bpai
Whether good or bad, you need to keep on

เราจะเป็น
rao jà-bpen
“What will become of us?”

เราจะทำได้ไหม
rao jà tam dâai măi
“Will we make it through this?”

คนที่รู้คนหนึ่งเท่านั้นคือเรา…
kon têe róo kon-nèung-tâo-nán keu rao…
The only one who can answer is you…

REPEAT CHORUS

เดินต่อไป…
dern dtòr-bpai…
Keep on moving

เดิน… ต่อ… ไป…
dern… dtòr… bpai…
Keep… on… going…

A special thanks goes to Mike Sawatsewi for sending over the English and Thai lyrics.

WLT’s 2011 Thai Flood posts…

I guess it ain’t over ’till it’s over.

Ayutthaya Underwater: Bangkok Now Bracing for Floods
Bangkok is STILL Bracing for the Thai Floods. Barely.
Thai Language Thai Culture: Primer on Thai Disaster Words
Thai Language Thai Culture: Basic Thai Flood Phrases
Bangkok Flood Info: Preparing for Floods in Bangkok
Thailand’s 50 Million Blue Whales Flood Bangkok
Karn.TV Cartoons: Flooding in Thailand
Thai Floods: FROC’s Highway to…
Thai Floods: 1000 Boats? Nope. Just 6 Boats Pushing Flood Water
Thai Floods: Returning to Flooded Ayutthaya
You are Invited to the Charity Cat Party!
Thai Scam Artists vrs the Heroes of Thailand’s Floods over.

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Chula’s Marching Song: John Brown’s Body. Thai Style

John Brown's Body. Thai Style

John Brown’s Body. Thai Style…

When Chula University’s marching video (shown below) hit twitter I was gobsmacked. My initial response was: “Words can’t describe how I feel watching that video…” I guess I just wasn’t sure if the parody was intentional or not.

On first impression I thought of the powerful USSR propaganda posters. But… not quite. On Facebook a friend mentioned the Chinese Revolution. Possible. But in the end, even though the three are similar, I’m thinking that the North Korean propaganda machine comes the closest.

Whatever the intended flavour, Chula is using a proven marketing style.

And USSR, Chinese Revolution, and North Korean propaganda aside, I went to bed Friday night with เดิน เดิน /dern dern/! rolling around my head. Yes, Chula’s marching video grew on me.

Translating Chula’s marching marketing video…

A great way to learn the Thai language is to translate Thai songs. Which I have. But as I’m sometimes clunky at translating Thai please leave any corrections, suggestions, and comments in the… comments. Trust me, I won’t mind (I welcome the help).

But before we get there… Chula’s video is sung to the tune of a popular American marching song from the American Civil War, John Brown’s Body. If you remember, the lyrics go like this:

John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave, mouldering in the grave, mouldering in the grave. John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave, his soul is marching on!

So now that you have the tune dancing in your head… here we go…

เดิน เดิน เถิด เรา /dern dern tèrt rao/
walk walk let us…

นิสิต มหาจุฬาลงกรณ์ /ní-sìt má-hăa-jù-laa-long-gon/
…uni students Chulalongkorn University.

Let’s march, march, students of Chulalongkorn University.

เดิน เดิน พร้อมหน้า /dern dern próm-nâa/
walk walk all together…

เพื่อ นำ ชัย มา จุฬาลงกรณ์ /pêua nam chai maa jù-laa-long-gon/
…in order to bring victory to Chulalongkorn

March, march, all together, in order to bring victory to Chulalongkorn.

ชโย ชโย จุฬาฯ /chá-yoh chá-yoh jù-laa/
hurray hurray Chula…

สถาน ศึกษา สง่า พระนาม /sà-tăan sèuk-săa sà-ngàa prá naam
…place education elegant royal name

Hurray, hurray, Chula, the elegant education place with a royal name.

ใคร จะ หยาม เกียรติ จุฬาฯ /krai jà yăam gia rá-dtì jù-laa/
anyone will look down the honour Chula…

เรา อย่า ยอม เรา อย่า ยอม /rao yàa yom rao yàa yom/
…we don’t allow we don’t allow.

Anyone who looks down on Chula’s honour, we don’t allow, we don’t allow.

เชียร์ เถิด เรา เชียร์ ให้ /chia tèrt rao chia hâi/
cheer let us cheer to…

ชิง ด้วย น้ำใจ เป็น นักกีฬา /ching dûay nám-jai bpen nák-gee-laa/
…compete with spirit be sportsmen

Let’s cheer to encourage the spirit of sportsmen.

เชียร์ เถิด เรา เชียร์ ให้ /chia tèrt rao chia hâi/
cheer let us cheer to…

บำรุง น้ำใจ พวกเรา จุฬาฯ /bam-rung nám-jai pûak-rao jù-laa/
…encourage spirit us Chula

Let’s cheer to encourage Chula’s spirit.

พลี เถิด พลี กาย พร้อม /plee tèrt plee gaai próm/
sacrifice please sacrifice body together…

เลือด เนื้อ เรา ยอม ยก ให้ จุฬาฯ /lêuat néua rao yom yók hâi jù-laa/
…blood fresh we allow give to Chula.

Everyone together, sacrifice to devote our bodies and minds to Chula.

จง มุ่งหน้า พา เอา ชัย /jong mûng-nâa paa ao chai/
do forward bring get victory…

ให้ จุฬาฯ ให้ จุฬาฯ /hâi jù-laa hâi jù-laa/
…to give Chula to give Chula.

Let’s go forward to bring victory for Chula, for Chula.

And in case you missed it, it won’t hurt my feelings if you leave corrections or suggestions in the comments below.

And now for the chorus in English…

The English is where Chula runs smack into a problem that comes with dictionary plucking.

I totally sympathise. Choosing the right word from a foreign dictionary is the bane of my life too! A word that had one meaning years ago will sometimes change over time, so unless you are a native, it’s often missed.

Chula’s English chorus:

March march along we sing a song we sing so gay.
March march along we sing a song for C.U. way.
C.U. will win again just as the same as previous day.
We will sing C.U. Will win! Will win!

The word in question is ‘gay’. And while generations of westerners have grown up knowing that gay no longer means lighthearted and carefree, the rest of the world might not have noticed.

Oxford Dictionary: Gay meaning ‘homosexual,’ dating back to the 1930s (if not earlier), became established in the 1960s as the term preferred by homosexual men to describe themselves. It is now the standard accepted term throughout the English-speaking world. As a result, the centuries-old other senses of gay meaning either ‘carefree’ or ‘bright and showy,’ once common in speech and literature, are much less frequent.

The word gay cannot be readily used unselfconsciously today in these older senses without sounding old-fashioned or arousing a sense of double entendre, despite concerted attempts by some to keep them alive. Gay in its modern sense typically refers to men (lesbian being the standard term for homosexual women), but in some contexts it can be used of both men and women.

When I discussed this subject with a Thai friend she didn’t understand the problem because to her, gay didn’t mean, well, gay.

As I was curious, I asked what Thai words started out with one meaning 40 years ago, yet have a totally different connotation today. I’ll save her answer for a different post but if you have any of note, please leave them in the comments.

Truthfully, I’m looking forward to coming Chula videos. Chula has the means and the talent, that’s for sure. And Chula, if you are reading, please pass my kudos to your talented performers.

BTW: Chula also has a wonderful C U Polka Boom Boom video. It also uses a few words that are not quite right but the energy and talent is there!

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