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Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: Yes/No Question Patterns

Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary to learn Thai

Yes/No Question Patterns…

In this latest posting we will use the vocabulary from the High Frequency Thai Vocabulary List to work with Yes/No question patterns.

Please note that there are many many Thai question patterns and as usual we are only going to give examples of a few of the more common ones here. If you have questions on other question patterns that we haven’t covered please drop a comment and we’ll try to answer it.

Yes/No Thai and English Question Patterns Differ…

English Yes/No question patterns usually begin with a “be” verb (Are you …?, Is she …?), or a “do” verb (Does she …?, Did they …?), or a sentence followed by a tag question (She …, doesn’t she?, We …, didn’t we?).

Sometimes we simply raise the tone of our voice at the end of a sentence. This causes even a simple English sentence to become a question. “He’s here.” Becomes “He’s here?” when the final word gets what in Thai would be a rising tone (Never say that English doesn’t have tones.)

One reason so many speakers of other languages have difficulty forming Thai Yes/No questions is that they retain the English way of using rising tone endings. Doing this in Thai doesn’t make for question, it simply makes the final word a rising tone, which may change the final word’s meaning and may or may not be comprehensible to the listener.

Question Words…

Thai makes Yes/No questions by ending a sentence with a question word. The two most basic Yes/No question words are:

มั้ย and ใช่มั้ย

Most Yes/No questions have basically the same pattern. Yes/No questions can be asked about an activity (verbs) or an attribute (adjectives).

Pattern 1 (Simple Yes/No Questions):

verb + question word
ไป + มั้ย
or
adjective + question word
สวย + มั้ย

Pattern 2 (Tag Questions):

verb + tag question words
ไป + ใช่มั้ย
or
adjective + tag question words
สวย + ใช่มั้ย

Examples for all Yes/No questions…

The Patterns change depending on the tense we are using.

Present or Past (and sometimes future):

คุณไปมั้ย
Are you going? Did you go?

คุณไปใช่มั้ย
You’re going, aren’t you? You went, didn’t you?

พวกเขาหิวมั้ย
Are they hungry?

พวกเขาหิวใช่มั้ย
They’re hungry, aren’t they?

Future:

สมชายจะกินมั้ย
Is Somchai going to eat?

สมชายจะกินใช่มั้ย
Somchai’s going to eat, isn’t he?

พวกเราจะสนุกมั้ย
Are we going to have fun?

พวกเราจะสนุกใช่มั้ย
We’re going to have a good time, aren’t we?

Past (grammatically the present perfect tense):

พวกเขาเคยเห็นมั้ย
Have they seen it?

พวกเขาเคยเห็นใช่มั้ย
They’ve seen it, haven’t they?

แฟนเคยอ้วนมั้ย
Did your girlfriend/boyfriend used to be fat?

แฟนเคยอ้วนใช่มั้ย
Your girlfriend/boyfriend used to be fat, right?

Answering Thai Yes/No questions…

Sometimes it is almost if the Thai language just wants to make it hard for us. In the case of answers to Thai Yes/No questions we normally never use “Yes” or “No” (with the exception of tag questions).

In English if we ask “Are you going?” We answer “Yes, I am.” or “No, I am not.”; “Is he handsome?” we answer “Yes he is?” or “No, he is not.”

We often hear speakers of other languages answering a Thai Yes/No question with “ใช่” (Yes) or “ไม่ใช่” (No). And most of the time this is incorrect.

Answer Pattern (for simple Yes/No):

Positive answer (yes) – use the verb from the question
Negative answer (no) – use ไม่ + the verb from the question

Question: คุณไปมั้ย
Are you going?

Answer: ไป – “Yes, I am (going).” or ไม่ไป – “No, I’m not (going).”

Question: พวกเขาหิวมั้ย
Are they hungry?

Answer: หิว – “Yes, they are (hungry).” or ไม่หิว – “No, they aren’t (hungry).”

Question: แฟนเคยอ้วนมั้ย
Did your girlfriend/boyfriend used to be fat?

Answer: เคยอ้วน “Yes, she used to be (fat)” or ไม่เคยอ้วน “No, she has never been (fat).

Answer Pattern (for tag questions):

Note: A simple ครับ or คะ is usually sufficient for a “Yes” answer to a Thai tag questions but we have given the other ways to answer them below.

Question: สมชายจะกินใช่มั้ย
Somchai’s going to eat, isn’t he?

Answer: ใช่ “Yes he is (going to eat).” or ไม่ใช่ “No he isn’t (going to eat).”

Question: พวกเราจะสนุกใช่มั้ย
We’re going to have a good time, aren’t we?

Answer: ใช่ “Yes we are (going to have fun).” or ไม่ใช่ “No we aren’t (going to have fun).”

Yes/No Exercises (answers below)…

Interpreting question patterns – How would you interpret the following?

คุณสนุกมั้ย

คุณเคยเห็นเขามั้ย

เสร็จแล้วใช่มั้ย

เขาจะเรียนมั้ย

เธอจะมาที่นี่มั้ย

เธอสวยใช่มั้ย

คุณง่วงนอนมั้ย

เขาเก่งใช่มั้ย

Creating Complete Thai Questions…

Render the following into Thai.

Is Somchai sleeping?
You’re going to school, aren’t you?
Are the children hungry?
Did she buy the skirt?
They are having a good time, aren’t they?
Have you ever been to Vietnam?
Are you full (satiated)?
They were angry, weren’t they?
Now answer the question you just created.
Challenge Question…
Render the following into Thai and then answer the questions.
She is going to study English, isn’t she?
She isn’t going to study English, is she?

Here are the answers to the questions…

Interpreting question patterns:

Are you having fun?
Have you ever seen him?
It is finished, isn’t it?
Is he going to study?
Is she coming here?
She’s pretty, isn’t she?
Are you sleepy?
He’s smart, isn’t he?

Creating Complete Thai Sentences:

สมชายนอนมั้ย

คุณจะไปโรงเรียนใช่มั้ย

เด็กหิวมั้ย

เธอซื้อกระโปรงมั้ย

พวกเขาสนุกใช่มั้ย

คุณเคยไปเวียดนามมั้ย

คุณอิ่มมั้ย

พวกเขาโกรธใช่มั้ย

Answers to the question you created:

สมชายนอนมั้ย – นอน or ไม่นอน

คุณจะไปโรงเรียนใช่มั้ย – ใช่ or ไม่ใช่

เด็กหิวมั้ย – หิว or ไม่หิว

เธอซื้อกระโปรงมั้ย – ซื้อ or ไม่ซื้อ

พวกเขาสนุกใช่มั้ย – ใช่ or ไม่ใช่

คุณเคยไปเวียดนามมั้ย – เคยไป or ไม่เคยไป

คุณอิ่มมั้ย – อิ่ม or ไม่อิ่ม

พวกเขาโกรธใช่มั้ย – ใช่ or ไม่ใช่

Challenge question…

เธอจะเรียนภาษาอังกฤใช่มั้ย

เธอจะไม่เรียนภาษาอังกฤใช่มั้ย

The term ใช่มั้ย can be used in both “She isn’t …., is she?” and “She is …, isn’t she?”

Answers:

Note the answers using the same words will mean the opposite depending on which question is being answered.

เธอจะเรียนภาษาอังกฤใช่มั้ย

ครับ/คะ or ใช่ – Yes I am going to study English.
ไม่ใช่ – No I am not going to study English.

เธอจะไม่เรียนภาษาอังกฤใช่มั้ย

ครับ/คะ or ใช่ – You are correct. I am not going to study English.
ใช่มั้ย – You are incorrect. I AM going to study English.

Vocabulary used…

Verbs:

depart; go: ไป
drink; eat: กิน
look (see): เห็น
learn; study: เรียน
come: มา
purchase (buy): ซื้อ

Nouns:

skirt (garment): กระโปรง
school: โรงเรียน
child (young person): เด็ก

Adjectives:

angry: โกรธ
hungry: หิว
enjoy: สนุก
corpulent (fat): อ้วน
complete (done, finished): เสร็จ
attractive (beautiful): สวย
dozy (drowsy); sleepy: ง่วงนอน
able (good at); adept (proficient, brave); clever: เก่ง
full (from eating): อิ่ม

Others:

already: แล้ว
used to: เคย

High Frequency Thai Vocabulary downloads…

High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: download
Yes/No Question Patterns Audio: download

Hugh Leong
Retire 2 Thailand
Retire 2 Thailand: Blog
eBooks in Thailand

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Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: Adjective Pattern Sounds

Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary to learn Thai

Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: Adjective Pattern Sounds…

As promised, here are the sound files to the Adjective Patterns post. Apologies for it taking so long but I packed away my notes (spring cleaning a condo is a pain) and had to redo them. Many ta’s go to Khun Phairoa for coming to my rescue at the last minute!

Remember, if you want to follow Hugh’s explanations in full both in the post and in the comments, go to: Adjective Patterns.

And as before, the downloads for the audio files and the spreadsheet for the High Frequency Thai Vocabulary are at the end of this post.

Pattern 1: Noun + adjective: หมา + ใหญ่…

The first pattern is a simple noun with a describing adjective.

หมาใหญ่
A big dog.


หมาสีขาว
A white dog.


หมาดุ
A vicious dog.


Pattern 1a: Negative adjective patterns: Noun + not + adjective…

All adjective patterns can also be negative.

หมาไม่ใหญ่
The dog isn’t big.



หมาไม่ใช่สีขาว
The dog isn’t white.


หมาไม่ดุ
The dog isn’t vicious.


Pattern 2: Classifiers for nouns: Noun + classifier + adjective…

Thai nouns have classifiers. Classifiers are usually used when counting nouns but can also be used when describing them too.

หมาตัวใหญ่
The big dog.


หมาตัวสีขาว
The white dog.


หมาตัวดุ
The vicious dog.


Pattern 3: Be: Pronoun/noun + be + noun + (class) + adjective…

The verb “be” (เป็น) is not usually used with Thai adjectives but can be used in sentences.

มันเป็นหมาตัวใหญ่
It’s a big dog.


มันเป็นหมาตัวสีขาว
It’s a white dog.


หมาโน่นเป็นหมาตัวสีขาว
That dog over there is a white dog.


มันเป็นหมาดุ
It’s a vicious dog.


Pattern 4: Verbs: Pronoun/noun + verb + noun + (class) + adjective…

Other verbs can also be used in sentences with adjectives.

ผมชอบหมาตัวใหญ่
I like big dogs.


ผมชอบหมาตัวสีขาว
I like white dogs.


ผมไม่ชอบหมาดุ
I don’t like vicious dogs.


Pattern 5: Which/that: Noun + ที่ + (class) + adjective (+ phrase)…

Thai can also use the equivalent of which/that when describing nouns.

Note: KP added a twist to the pattern: Noun + classifier + ที่ + adjective.

หมาที่ตัวใหญ่อยู่ที่วัด
The dog, which is big, is at the temple.


Or… หมาตัวที่ใหญ่อยู่ที่วัด


หมาตัวสีขาวอยู่ที่วัด
The white dog is at the temple.


Or… หมาตัวที่สีขาวอยู่ที่วัด


หมาตัวดุอยู่ที่วัด
The vicious dog is at the temple.


Or… หมาตัวที่ดุอยู่ที่วัด


Pattern 6: Intensifiers: Noun + adjective + intensifier…

Thai adjectives have “intensifiers”. Intensifiers are words that make adjectives stronger.

หมาใหญ่มาก
A very big dog (general intensifier).


หมาใหญ่จริงๆ
A really big dog (general intensifier).


หมาใหญ่เบ้อเร่อ
A huge dog (specific intensifier for “ใหญ่”).


หมาดุร้าย
An incredibly vicious dog (a double adjective).


หมาใหญ่ๆ
A truly big dog (repeating the adjective).


Exercise: Interpreting adjective patterns…

ฉันต้องการบ้านหลังใหญ่มาก
I want a very big house.


มันเป็นวัดสีขาว
It is a white temple.


หมาน่าเกลียด
It is an ugly dog.


รถของพวกเขาเป็นรถที่ช้า
Their car is slow.


ห้องนี้ไม่แพง ห้องนี้ถูก
This room is inexpensive. It is cheap.


Exercise: Creating complete Thai sentences…

เธอมีสุนัขสีขาว
She has a white dog.


ฉันต้องการห้องใหญ่
I want a big room.


รถเร็วจริงๆ
That car is really fast.


ต้นไม้ไม่ใช่สีเขียว
The tree isn’t green.


เธอซื้อดอกไม้สีแดง
She bought some red flowers.


วัดใหญ่จริงๆ
The temple is huge.


มันเป็นกระต่ายตัวเล็ก
That is a small rabbit.


มันเป็นงูเขียว
It a green snake.


เธอมีบ้านแพง
She has an expensive house.


รถสีแดงแพง
The red car is expensive.


Challenge question…

Below is Hugh’s version of the challenge sentence. Where’s yours?

หมาตัวใหญ่สีขาวดุร้ายและหิว
The big, white, vicious dog is hungry.


From the comments…

From Keith: Or could one say: หมาตัวใหญ่สีขาวดุร้ายก็หิวด้วย ?

KP suggested: หมาตัวใหญ่สีขาวดุร้ายแล้วก็กำลังหิวด้วย


Vocabulary from the High Frequency Vocabulary List…

Nouns (classifiers):

dog: หมา, สุนัข (ตัว)
rabbit: กระต่าย (ตัว)
temple: วัด (วัด)
house: บ้าน (หลัง)
car: รถ, รถยนต์ (คัน)
tree: ต้นไม้ (ต้น)
flower: ดอกไม้ (ดอก)
woman: ผู้หญิง (คน)
snake: งู (ตัว)
room: ห้อง (ห้อง)


Pronouns:

it: มัน
I (female)
: ฉัน
I (male speaker)
: ผม
you, she
: คุณ
they: พวกเขา


Verbs:

like: ชอบ
want: อยากได้, ต้องการ
have: มี
buy: ซื้อ
sell: ขาย
belong to: ของ


Adjectives:

white: สีขาว
black: สีดำ
green: สีเขียว
red: สีแดง
yellow: สีเหลือง
blue: สีฟ้า


Quality:

big: ใหญ่
small: เล็ก
vicious: ร้าย, ดุร้าย
kind: ใจดี
fast: เร็ว
slow: ช้า
tall: สูง
short: เตี้ย
expensive: แพง
cheap: ถูก
cute: น่ารัก
beautiful: สวย
ugly: น่าเกลียด
hungry: หิว


Using the High Frequency Thai Vocabulary List…

Below is the list so far, as well as the audio files for Hugh’s Adjective Patterns post.

High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: download
Adjective Pattern Audio files: download

Next up in the Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary series are Yes/No Question Patterns. If you are clueless and confused about how to respond to questions in Thai, it’s a gotta post, for sure.

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Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: Adjective Patterns

Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary to learn Thai

Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: Adjective Patterns…

Adjectives are words that describe nouns. Thai and English treat adjectives a bit differently. The word order is different. English uses adjective + noun as in “big dog”, and “white rabbit”. The Thai word order is the opposite, noun + adjective, as in “หมาใหญ่” and “กระต่ายสีขาว”.

Thai adjectives also do not use the “be” verb as English ones do as in “the dog is big.” But use the simple noun + adjective pattern as in “หมาใหญ่”. Thai adjectives in fact act very much like Thai verbs do.

There are many adjective patterns in Thai. The following are six common patterns. Simple examples are given here. You can use the vocabulary below to substitute in the patterns to make your own phrases and sentences. To get sound files recorded for your sentences, please put them in the comments of this post.

All the vocabulary needed is listed below in the samples from the High Frequency Vocabulary List (you can download the list here).

Pattern 1…

The first pattern is a simple noun with a describing adjective.

Noun + adjective
หมา + ใหญ่

Examples:

หมาใหญ่
A big dog.

หมาสีขาว
A white dog.

หมาดุ
A vicious dog.

Pattern 1a…

All adjective patterns can also be negative.

Noun + not + adjective
หมา + ไม่ +ใหญ่

Examples:

หมาไม่ใหญ่
The dog isn’t big.

หมาไม่สีขาว
The dog isn’t white.

หมาไม่ดุ
The dog isn’t vicious.

Pattern 2…

All Thai nouns have classifiers. These are usually used when counting nouns but can also be used when describing them. They aren’t required and if left out carry the same meaning as Pattern 1.

Noun + classifier + adjective
หมา + ตัว + ใหญ่

Examples:

หมาตัวใหญ่
The big dog.

หมาตัวสีขาว
The white dog.

หมาตัวดุ
The vicious dog.

Pattern 3…

The verb “be” is usually not used with Thai adjectives but can be used in sentences.

Pronoun/noun + be + noun + (classifier) + adjective
มัน + เป็น + หมา + (ตัว) + ใหญ่

Examples:

มันเป็นหมาตัวใหญ่
It’s a big dog.

มันเป็นหมาตัวสีขาว
It’s a white dog.

หมา(โน่น)เป็นหมาตัวสีขาว
That dog (over there) is a white dog.

มันเป็นหมาดุ
It’s a vicious dog.

Pattern 4…

Other verbs can be used in sentences with adjectives also.

Pronoun/noun + verb + noun + (classifier) + adjective
ผม + ชอบ + หมา + (ตัว) + ใหญ่

Examples:

ผมชอบหมาตัวใหญ่
I like big dogs.

ผมชอบหมาตัวสีขาว
I like white dogs.

ผมไม่ชอบหมาดุ
I don’t like vicious dogs.

Pattern 5…

Thai can also use the equivalent of which/that when describing nouns.

Noun + ที่ + (classifier) + adjective (+ phrase)
หมา + ที่ + (ตัว) + ใหญ่ (+ อยู่ที่วัด)

Examples:

(the following can be read “dog” or “dogs”)

หมาที่ตัวใหญ่อยู่ที่วัด
The dog, which is big, is at the temple.

หมาที่ตัวสีขาวอยู่ที่วัด
The white dog is at the temple.

หมาที่ตัวดุอยู่ที่วัด
The vicious dog is at the temple.

Pattern 6…

Thai adjectives all have “intensifiers”, words that make the adjective stronger. English has words like “very”, and “really”, and other general-use intensifiers. Thai also has general intensifiers (มาก, จริงๆ) as well as at least one specific intensifier for each adjective.

Sometimes there are two Thai adjectives that have the same meaning. When said together they also intensify the meaning (ดุร้าย is “quite fierce, vicious”; อ้วนท้วน is “truly fat, plump”).

One more way adjectives can be intensified is simply by repeating them (ใหญ่ ใหญ่, or ใหญ่ๆ).

Listen to how a native Thai speaker says repeated adjectives and you will find something interesting. Each one is said with a different tone. This is a case where the written tone rules don’t apply. It is why listening to a native speaker is the only way to get it right.

Noun + adjective + intensifier
หมา + ใหญ่ + มาก

Examples:

หมาใหญ่มาก
A very big dog (general intensifier).

หมาใหญ่จริงๆ
A really big dog (general intensifier).

หมาใหญ่เบ้อเร่อ
A huge dog (specific intensifier for “ใหญ่”).

หมาดุร้าย
An incredibly vicious dog (a double adjective).

หมาใหญ่ๆ
A truly big dog (repeating the adjective).

Exercise: Interpreting adjective patterns (answers below):

How would you interpret the following?

ฉันต้องการบ้านหลังใหญ่มาก
มันเป็นวัดสีขาว
หมาน่าเกลียด
รถของพวกเขาเป็นรถที่ช้า
ห้องนี้ไม่แพง ห้องนี้ถูก

Exercise: Creating complete Thai sentences (answers below):

Render the following into Thai.

She has a white dog.
I want a big room.
That car is really fast.
The tree isn’t green.
She bought some red flowers.
The temple is huge.
That is a small rabbit.
It a green snake.
She has an expensive house.
The red car is expensive

Challenge question:

Translate the following. Listen to your inner voice and create a sentence that feels right. There are probably lots of ways to say this. I’ll give my try below.

The big, white, vicious dog is hungry.

Samples from the High Frequency Vocabulary List:

Nouns (classifiers):

dog: หมา, สุนัข (ตัว)
rabbit: กระต่าย (ตัว)
temple: วัด (วัด)
house: บ้าน (หลัง)
car: รถ, รถยนต์ (คัน)
tree: ต้นไม้ (ต้น)
flower: ดอกไม้ (ดอก)
woman: ผู้หญิง (คน)
snake: งู (ตัว)
room: ห้อง (ห้อง)

Pronouns:

it: มัน
I (female)
: ฉัน
I (male speaker)
: ผม
you, she
: คุณ
they: พวกเขา

Verbs:

like: ชอบ
want: อยากได้, ต้องการ
have: มี:
buy: ซื้อ
sell: ขาย
belong to: ของ

Adjectives:

Color (all color words begin with สี, which itself means “color”, but the word สี is not required and can be left out).

white: สีขาว
black: สีดำ
green: สีเขียว
red: สีแดง
yellow: สีเหลือง
blue: สีฟ้า

Quality:

big: ใหญ่
small: เล็ก
vicious: ร้าย, ดุร้าย
kind: ใจดี
fast: เร็ว
slow: ช้า
tall: สูง
short: เตี้ย
expensive: แพง
cheap: ถูก
cute: น่ารัก
beautiful: สวย
ugly: น่าเกลียด
hungry: หิว

Answers to “interpreting adjective patterns”:

I want a very big house.
It is a white temple.
It is an ugly dog.
Their car is slow.
This room is inexpensive. It is cheap.

Answers to “creating complete Thai sentences”:

เธอมีสุนัขสีขาว
ฉันต้องการห้องใหญ่
รถเร็วจริงๆ
ต้นไม้ไม่ใช่สีเขียว
เธอซื้อดอกไม้สีแดง
วัดใหญ่จริงๆ
มันเป็นกระต่ายตัวเล็ก
มันเป็นงูเขียว
เธอมีบ้านแพง
รถสีแดงแพง

Below is my attempt at the challenge sentence: “The big, white, vicious dog is hungry”. Please add yours in the comments below.

หมาตัวใหญ่สีขาวดุร้ายและหิว

Here’s the High Frequency Thai Vocabulary download. The sound files for this post, along with any pertinent Thai sentences added in the comments below, will be in the followup post.

Hugh Leong
Retire 2 Thailand
Retire 2 Thailand: Blog
eBooks in Thailand

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Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: Double อยู่ Sounds

Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary to learn Thai

Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: Double อยู่ Sounds…

As promised, the sound files to the Double อยู่ post….

Did you notice at the top of this post where it says “by Cat & Hugh”? Well, that’s because the previous post, where it says “by Hugh & Cat”, Hugh was in the driver’s seat. Now it’s my turn.

To recap, in Hugh’s Double อยู่ post he explained: “The Double อยู่ construct is used to describe an unexpected or surprise action. Depending on how colorful you want to be, it’s interesting how this construct can be translated (or rather, interpreted) into English in so many ways”.

And as promised, it’s now my turn to share the sound files to Hugh’s post as well as the sound files to any answers in the comments. I’ve also decided to come up with a few answers too.

To give myself some breathing room, I’ll start by adding sound files to the phrases Hugh has already given as samples:

อยู่ๆ เขาก็ร้องไห้

Out of nowhere she just started crying.

อยู่ๆ ตำรวจก็เข้ามา

The policeman burst in unexpectedly.

อยู่ๆ ครูก็หยุดสอน

All of a sudden the teacher stopped teaching.

อยู่ๆ หัวหน้าก็มาหา

Without notice the boss came to see me.

อยู่ๆ เธอก็เรียก

With no warning she called (out to me).

How would you say the following in Thai?…

Keith picked up the gauntlet when Hugh asked, “how would you say the following in Thai?” And to keep him company, I joined in too (wish us luck!)

But before we start, here’s a tip from Hugh: “I find that in trying to solve most problems it is best to break them down into their constituent parts and solve the little parts first. That is how we wrote computer programs that were millions of lines long. It works that way with language too (as I learned teaching English). To show you what I mean, I’ve separated the first sentence for you.”

1) I was just hanging out when
2) he came
3) to see me

I was just hanging out when he came to see me.

Keith: อยู่ๆ เค้าก็มาหาผม

Cat: อยู่ๆ เขาก็มาหาฉัน

They came unexpectedly.

Keith: อยู่ๆ พวกเขาก็มาแล้ว

Cat: อยู่ๆ เขาก็มา

Unpredictably, the customer called (phoned).

Keith: อยู่ๆ ลูกค้าก็โทร.มา
Cat: อยู่ๆ ลูกค้าก็โทรมา

My friend moved in without giving any notice.

Keith: อยู่ๆ เพื่อนผมก็ย้ายมาอยู่

Cat: อยู่ๆ เพื่อนก็ย้ายมาอยู่(ด้วย)

The workman, without saying anything, took a break (rest).

Cat: อยู่ๆ คนงานก็หยุดไปพัก

How would you interpret the following?…

Interpreting was fun because Hugh made a point to mention, “be as colorful as you wish…”

อยู่ๆอากาศก็ร้อน

Keith: All of a sudden, the weather is hot.
Cat: I don’t know what happened! (The weather went to hell in a handbasket).

อยู่ๆนักเรียนก็กลับบ้าน

Keith: The students abruptly went home.
Cat: The students all ran away home! (Drat! I don’t know what I said to offend them).

อยู่ๆหมาก็ตาย

Keith: The dog just up and died.
Cat: The dog just up and died on me.

อยู่ๆประธานก็ยิ้ม

Keith: The chairman broke into a smile.
Cat: The president went from mean to smiling (and now I’m shaking in my boots).

What say you? Do you have a different interpretation?

Using the Double อยู่ patterns…

The Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary posts will be all about taking us out of our Thai language comfort zone. I was reluctant at first but after I got started it was quite fun. Thanks Hugh.

Using the patterns, here’s a few phrases I put together:

อยู่ๆ แฟนเขาก็โทรมาหาฉัน
I’m not sure why, her boyfriend called me.

อยู่ๆ ทุกคนก็ลุกขึ้น
Everybody stood up without a clear reason.

อยู่ๆ นายจ้างก็ ยอมให้
Man oh man was I surprised, the boss agreed!

อยู่ๆ หัวหน้าก็ไม่เห็นด้วย
I don’t understand why the leader didn’t agree (what’s going on?)

อยู่ๆ ตำรวจก็เรียก นักท่องเที่ยว ให้มาหา
Uh oh. The policeman called the tourist over (what’s up?)

And now to the comments…

When Keith brought up อยู่ดีๆ, Hugh replied, “อยู่ดีๆ is a good one. According to thai-language.com อยู่ดีๆ = everything was just going fine… (when suddenly and unexpectedly). อยู่ดีๆ can be used exactly like อยู่ๆ and means the same thing.

Then Mia chimed in with, “now I couldn’t get rid of อยู่ดีๆ or อยู่ๆ off my head. This remind me of a lot of Thai songs worth listening and practicing the use of อยู่ดีๆ or อยู่ๆ”

Example: อยู่ดีๆ

อยู่ดีๆน้องหาว่าพี่โกหก รู้มั้ยน้ำตาพี่ไหลตก เสียอกเสียใจน้องไม่ฟังพี่
Out of the blue, you are accusing me of lying.

Example: อยู่ๆ

อยู่ๆก็หายไปทนไม่ได้หรอกเธอ
Suddenly you’re gone, I couldn’t bear it my dear.

Using the High Frequency Thai Vocabulary List…

The High Frequency Thai Vocabulary List is still on the second ‘official’ version, with more edits to come. For those who haven’t downloaded it yet, below is the list. Also for download are the audio files for this post:

High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: download
Double อยู่ Audio files: download

Before I sign off, a megga thanks goes to Hugh for the great อยู่ๆ post, as well as Mia and Keith everyone else who contributed in the comments!

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Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary: The Double อยู่

Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary to learn Thai

The Thai Language’s Double อยู่…

To help you learn Thai, for the first Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary post we wanted to start with something a little more interesting than simple subject + verb + object patterns so we chose something fun: The Double อยู่ construct.

The Double อยู่ construct is used to describe an unexpected or surprise action. Depending on how colorful you want to be, it’s interesting how this construct can be translated (or rather, interpreted) into English in so many ways.

The Double อยู่ pattern is usually:

อยู่ๆ … ก็ …

อยู่ๆ: อยู่ อยู่. It’s a doubling of the word อยู่ (one of the many Thai “to be” words). Hope you got the pun.

ๆ: Whenever you see the symbol ๆ (ไม้ยมก /mái-yá~mók/) the word preceding it is spoken twice.

ก็: then (in time), also

Examples:

อยู่ๆ เขา ก็ ร้องไห้
Out of nowhere she just started crying.

อยู่ๆ ตำรวจ ก็ เข้ามา
The policeman burst in unexpectedly.

อยู่ๆ ครู ก็ หยุด สอน
All of a sudden the teacher stopped teaching.

Below are some English enhancements to the same sentences that an interpreter would use to add color to the Double อยู่ construct.

อยู่ๆเขาก็ร้องไห้
I was just sitting around, minding my own business, when out of nowhere she just started crying.

อยู่ๆตำรวจก็เข้ามา
I was just doing my thing when out of the blue the policeman burst in unexpectedly.

อยู่ๆครูก็หยุดสอน
The students weren’t doing anything when all of a sudden the teacher stopped teaching.

High frequency Thai vocabulary used:

เขา: she, he, him, her, they
ร้องไห้: to cry, weep
ตำรวจ: police, policeman
เข้ามา: to enter
ครู: teacher
หยุด: to stop
สอน: to teach

Using the Double อยู่ patterns…

To use this pattern we will need some words from the High Frequency Thai Vocabulary List.

Note on using patterns: Look at the pattern and replace the word descriptions with words from the list. Besure to check that the sentence makes logical sense. And remember, the word lists in this post are only a fraction of the 3,000 words of the High Frequency Thai Vocabulary List.

After doing these exercises go to the original list and practice some more. Later, when the patterns are ingrained in your head, add words you come across in everyday situations.

Samples from the High Frequency Word List…

Pronouns:

ฉัน: I (female)
ผม: I (male speaker)
เธอ: you, she
พวกเขา: they, them
พวกนี้: these people
พวกเรา: we, they, us, them, all of us

People:

หัวหน้า: boss
เด็กผู้ชาย: boy
แฟน: boyfriend, girlfriend, husband,wife
เด็ก: child
ลูกค้า: customer
ลูกจ้าง: employee
นายจ้าง: employer
ทุกคน: everybody parts, everyone
คนต่างประเทศ: foreigner
เพื่อน: friend
เด็กผู้หญิง: girl
โจร: robber
แม่ค้า: salesperson (female)
วัยรุ่น: teenager
คนไทย: Thai person
นักท่องเที่ยว: tourist
คนงาน workman

Verbs:

พักผ่อน: to rest
พูด: to speak, talk, say
มา: to come
มาเยี่ยม: to come visit a person
มาหา: to come to see someone
ไม่เห็นด้วย: to disagree
ยอมให้: to permit, allow
ย้ายมาอยู่: to move (in)
เรียก: to call (out)
ลุกขึ้น: to rise, get up
ร้องไห้: to cry, weep
โทร: to phone, telephone

Creating complete Thai sentences using the Double อยู่ pattern…

Pattern:

อยู่ๆ + pronoun/person + ก็ + verb (phrase)

Examples:

อยู่ๆเขาก็ร้องไห้
She suddenly began to cry.

อยู่ๆหัวหน้าก็มาหา
Without notice the boss came to see me.

อยู่ๆเธอก็เรียก
With no warning she called (out to me).

How would you say the following in Thai? (Tip: the needed vocabulary can be found in the above lists).

  1. I was just hanging out when he came to see me.
  2. They came unexpectedly.
  3. Unpredictably, the customer called (phoned).
  4. My friend moved in without giving any notice.
  5. The workman, without saying anything, took a break (rest).

Now go to the frequency list to see how many other logical phrases you can create using this pattern. And if you like, share them with us in the comments.

Interpreting Double อยู่ phrases…

How would you interpret the following? Be as colorful as you wish but please keep to the gist of the sentence.

อยู่ๆอากาศก็ร้อน
อยู่ๆนักเรียนก็กลับบ้าน
อยู่ๆหมาก็ตาย
อยู่ๆประธานก็ยิ้ม

Word List:

อากาศ: weather, climate, air, or atmosphere
กลับบ้าน: to go home
ยิ้ม: smile
ร้อน: hot (temperature)
หมา: dog
หัวเข่า: knee
ตาย: to die
นักเรียน: student
ประธาน: president, chairman
เจ็บ: to hurt, be hurt

Patterns to learn Thai…

Patterns are how words in a language are put together to make meaningful utterances. Becoming familiar with patterns is one of the basics to learning to communicate in any language. It’s especially so in learning Thai. In the future we will be exploring more patterns in Thai using the High Frequency Thai Vocabulary List. If you have a Thai language pattern that you would like to work with and learn more about, send it on to us and we will try to use it in one of our future posts.

Here’s the updated High Frequency Thai Vocabulary to download. The list has gone through many revisions but there’s still more to do.

Tip: The Double อยู่ followup post will include sound files. In the meantime, go to Does Your Computer Speak Thai? for instructions on how to get your computer reading Thai outloud.

Hugh Leong
Retire 2 Thailand
Retire 2 Thailand: Blog
eBooks in Thailand

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Introduction: Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary

Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary

Introduction: Using High Frequency Thai Vocabulary…

I’m proud to announce the High Frequency Thai Vocabulary series!

In a nutshell, whenever we get around to it, using a Top 3000 Thai Vocabulary List we’ll share patterns created via category. Hugh Leong (retirement blogger and Thai phrasemaker extraordinaire) will tackle the more complicated Thai patterns.

Note: There will be no transliteration included in this series. If you do desire transliteration, feel free to add the transliteration of your choice to the free pdf downloads offered in each post.

A recap on the top 3000+ Thai vocabulary list…

As explained previously, to create the list I started with Thai Frequency Lists.

Combining choice lists in a spreadsheet, I handed it over to programmer Mark Hollow, who then collated 17,000++ words down to 6000 (give or take). After adding the vocabulary from Essential Thai as a quality marker (thanks Jim!) a Thai teacher and I trimmed the list down to 3000 and a bit.

You can download the spreadsheet here: High Frequency Thai Vocabulary list

Note: As we work through the series the Thai vocabulary list will be tweaked – words added and deleted, categories refined – so expect updates in each new post.

Curious about how others gathered vocabulary used in their Thai courses, I went to Jim Higbie (Essential Thai) and Benjawan Becker (Paiboon Publishing).

James (Jim) Higbie: When I chose the basic vocabulary for the first part of Essential Thai I took an “organic” approach, that is I took words that Thais used in basic conversation – the words you would most often hear Thais saying. This is a good way to approach Thai because the language is very much attached to Thai culture and their discourse.

Benjawan Becker: I design the subject for each lesson first and then come up with vocabulary and sentences.

Good to hear! Just like Jim, we chose the most common words out of the tens of thousands found in the Thai frequency lists. And similar to Benjawan, each post will focus on an individual subject.

Please stay tuned for Hugh’s first post: The Thai Double อยู่.

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