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Thai Language Connectors: Starter Pack

Thai Language Connectors

Language Connectors for Thai learners…

Anthony Lauder (Fluent Czech on YouTube) is the Mr Rogers of language learning. In part due to his dry wit, his knowledgeable videos are a doddle to watch.

Also a fan of How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately, Anthony put together an invaluable list of intermediate level phrases described on his site: Conversational Intimacy Connectors and the Connectors Starter Pack.

Conversational Intimacy Connectors: Conversations need to flow. Conversational intimacy connectors help establish and maintains that relationship (so the listener feels better connected to you) as well as getting over the “urm” moments that make people uncomfortable.

When I came across Anthony’s list of connectors I just KNEW I had to have it for Thai. Problem is, not many would be capable of successfully translating the connectors from English into Thai. I’m certainly not! Actually, out of my circle of Thai speakers (native and not), only a few would feel comfortable translating at that level.

Carefully looking around (and asking opinions to be doubly sure) I approached Yuki from PickupThai. Yuki has wonderful English skills (she’s more switched on than I am and her grammar rocks). She also teaches real Thai (not Thai teacher Thai).

I can’t tell you how chuffed I was when Yuki agreed to spend the huge chunk of time needed to not only translate the entire list, but to record it as well. I owe… I owe…

Disclaimer: There are almost 500 connectors (448 at last count) that have been translated from English to Thai. And with some being difficult to translate there are sure to be a couple that people won’t 100% agree with. It’s just the way interpretation goes. So if you have differing opinions, do please let us know. We are open for consideration (but no promises).

1) The target audience is educated Thais (for the most part), with the materials being slightly formal in scope. And 2) an * before the phrase means there is no equivalent expression in Thai but it sounds more or less ok anyway. And 3) please don’t freak out, there’s a pdf with transliteration.

And now to the Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack…

Anthony’s Connectors Starter Pack has 100 connectors (a sample from each subject). And being manageable, that’s the one we’ll start with. Later posts in the series will be one subject per post.

A few tips from Anthony: I practiced these phrases dozens (maybe even hundreds) of times until I could say them automatically, without having to put any effort into thinking about them. Then I studied each one in depth, and thought hard about it to think of real-life situations when it would be used. At first, I used imaginary situations, until I felt that I associated a given connector automatically with those situations.

Connectors help smooth the way without resorting to stuttering and stumbling. Some are there to give you thinking space, so’s you can come up with something appropriate (or not) to say. For the descriptions below I’ve pared down Anthony’s, but if you need longer explanations you know where to find them.

NOTE: The audio files below are for females but the downloads are both male and female.

Opening Connectors…

Opening Connectors are responses to questions. They give you needed time to mentally form your actual answers.

Thank you heartily.
ขอบคุณจากใจ

Note: Literal meaning: “I thank you from the heart.”

That is such a good question.
นั่นเป็นคำถามที่ดี

That is a difficult question.
นั่นเป็นคำถามที่ตอบลำบาก

Once upon a time, long ago…
กาลครั้งหนึ่งนานมาแล้ว…

Note: Only used in tales and stories.

Filler Connectors…

Filler Connectors also give you time to come up with something to say (and are far better than stuttering your way to results).

*Understandably…
อย่างที่ทุกคนเข้าใจได้

Frankly speaking…
พูดตามตรงนะ…

Between you and me…
บอกแล้วอย่าไปเล่าต่อให้ใครฟังนะ ฉัน/ผม…

Anyway…
อย่างไรก็ดี…

Well then…
อืม ถ้าอย่างนั้น…

Apologising Connectors…

Mistakes in our target language are a given. I can name more than a few gaffs, and that was before I moved to Thailand! When that happens, just insert an Apologising Connector, then change the subject right quick.

Don’t be upset, but…
อย่าโกรธนะ ผม/ฉัน…

Note: “But” in this sense is not commonly used in the Thai language. You can just start saying what you need to say without saying “but.”

It was a slip of the tongue.
ผม/ฉันเผลอพูดผิดไปเท่านั้น

I said it that way by mistake.
ผม/ฉันไม่ได้ตั้งใจพูดแบบนั้น

ผม/ฉันขอโทษที่
I am sorry that…

Qualifying Connectors…

Some Qualifying Connectors soften statements, and apparently help to avoid coming off as an arrogant know-all.

To tell the truth…
เอาจริงๆแล้ว…

I presume that…
ผม/ฉันเดาว่า…

I hope that…
ผม/ฉันหวังว่า…

In my opinion…
ตามความคิดผม/ฉัน…

If that is true…
ถ้าเป็นเรื่องจริง…

Agreeing and Disagreeing Connectors…

The Agreeing and Disagreeing Connectors take you beyond the often erroneous ใช่ /châi/ and ไม่ใช่ /mâi châi/ (yes/no) answers beginners respond with.

One hundred percent.
แน่นอน(ร้อยเปอร์เซนต์)

Without question.
แน่นอน

Exactly / Exactly right.
นั่นแหละ / ใช่เลย

Most certainly.
ถูกที่สุด

Without a doubt.
อย่างไม่ต้องสงสัย

Elaborating Connectors…

Elaborating Connectors work similar to the Agreeing and Disagreeing Connectors in that they expand short replies.

*To be more precise…
ถ้าจะให้พูดแบบเฉพาะเจาะจงก็คือ…

And what’s more…
แล้วอะไรอีก…

*While I am already talking about it…
ขณะที่ผม/ฉันกำลังพูดเรื่องนี้…

I would like to emphasise that…
ผม/ฉันขอเน้นว่า…

Should I explain in greater detail?
ให้ผม/ฉันอธิบายให้ฟังละเอียดกว่านี้ไหม

Quoting Connectors…

Quoting Connectors are there to feed our gossip gene. I’m kidding. But I’m sure you know what I mean.

She said something like…
เขาพูดอะไรประมาณว่า…

Recently, I heard that…
เมื่อไม่นานมานี้ ผม/ฉันได้ยินมาว่า…

Switching Connectors…

Switching Connectors are wonderful because you can use them to change subjects to ones you have enough vocabulary for.

*Now it occurs to me that…
ตอนนี้ผม/ฉันนึกได้ว่า…

By the way…
อย่างไรก็ดี…

I have an interesting story about it.
ผม/ฉันมีเรื่องราวที่น่าสนใจ(มาเล่าให้ฟัง)เกี่ยวกับเรื่องนี้

And besides that…
นอกจากนั้น …

Oh, I nearly forgot…
โอ้ ผม/ฉันเกือบลืมไป…

Closing Connectors…

Closing Connectors are just that – phrases to help you close out a conversation.

That is all there is to say (with that, that is everything said).
นอกจากนั้น ผม/ฉันก็ไม่มีอะไรจะพูดแล้ว

That is all for now.
วันนี้เท่านี้ก่อนแล้วกัน

Note: Literal meaning: “That’s all for today.”

To sum up.
ขอสรุปที่พูดมาทั้งหมด

Note: Literal meaning: “Let me summarize everything I’ve said.”

*And there (in that) is the problem.
นั่นไงปัญหามาแล้ว

Note: Literal meaning: “And there comes a problem.” A response used after someone says something that you think is or will be a problem. Note that it’s not very common.

I hope it is only a question of time.
ผม/ฉันหวังว่าจะเป็นเรื่องของเวลา

Passing Connectors…

This is another Connector I’m sure you’ll use often. When your head is threatening to explode from speaking in a foreign language, or you just want to give someone else a chance to share their views, use Passing Connectors.

Can you tell me please…
คุณบอกผม/ฉันได้ไหมว่า…

*Would you be interested in us talking about something else?
คุณอยากให้เราพูดถึงเรื่องอื่นไหม

And what do you think?
แล้วคุณคิดว่ายังไง

Downloads: Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack…

Files updated: 27/3/15

Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack (with transliteration): Pdf 395kb
Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack (without transliteration): Pdf 395kb
Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack: Audio (Male) 4.9mg
Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack: Audio (Female) 4.8mg
Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack: Audio (Female-singles) 4.1mg

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

More Thai Language Connectors…

Coming up in this series will be the rest of: Opening Connectors, Filler Connectors, Apologising Connectors, Qualifying Connectors, Agreeing and Disagreeing Connectors, Elaborating Connectors, Quoting Connectors, Switching Connectors, Closing Connectors and Passing Connectors (in that order).

Cheers! Catherine & Yuki

Yuki Tachaya, Web: PickupThai | YouTube: PickupThai | twitter: @PickupThai

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24 Comments

  1. Cat and Yuki,

    This is about as good as it gets. Thanks for all the hard work. One could almost define “fluency” as being able to use these connectors. Great work.

  2. Thank you Hugh. It’s been a lot of work, with more yet to come, but it’ll be worth every bit of it.

  3. Thank you so much ..

  4. There are lots of treasure pieces, audio files and texts on Catherine gorgeous web pages, but this one serie will be one of the most important to find on any Thai learning site.
    Thanks to Catherine and Yuki (a lot of work for translating: interpreting and recording ! [BTW who did the male voice ?].
    That will perfectly complement the Glossika Thai 3 courses i’ m working with (I’ m still in the 1st one).

  5. Thank you Yossi and Bernard. I’m excited about being able to use the materials as well!

    Yuki did both recordings – I love her voice (it’s very clear).

  6. Do you mean she did the male voice ? In fact, when I ear back to some audio I got on her web site, that’s really possible ; she has quite deep voice, time to time. And she likes to play with (I remember a funny video where she was playing a drunkly farang who wanted to sleep on the “very same bed” as her…, it was the famous all around the web “เหมือนกัน / เดียวกัน lesson) :).

  7. Yes, she did the male voice as well. That gal has talent :)

  8. Great work! THank you girls! ขอบคุณจากใจ

  9. Thank you everyone for your appreciation and support. Catherine is the best! :) This project would not have been possible without her.

  10. Jørgen Nilsen

    March 26, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Great! I started on a project like this a while ago, but it kind of died out because of loads of other things to do. One of the ways I collected these connectors was by using software to analyze a 1 million or so large corpus of Thai spoken language. I still have the files though, so I can have a look and see if have have some connectors you are missing. But it is still a mess.

  11. Jørgen, wow. I would love to see what you’ve come up with! This project is so very interesting.

    Yuki, I’m just the coder – can’t code without the goods :)

    Michel, you are welcome. It’s been a lot of work but great fun!

  12. Catherine and Yuki, I am overwhelmed with joy at what you have done here. Thank you so much for undertaking this work of translating my connectors to Thai.

  13. Anthony, what a pleasure it is to have you here. Working to put together this list has been an exciting journey. I can’t wait to try out the connectors for myself! Thank you so much for giving us permission to use it.

  14. Thank you khun Anthony for such a complete list of useful connectors :)

  15. Update: A suggestion was made to have pdfs without transliteration (great idea) so I’ve uploaded one for this post.

  16. Cohesive devices like this are an important part of improving your fluency, but they have to be phrases that people actually use. Who on earth says ‘Thank you heartily’ to open a conversation? I’ve never heard anyone say that. I fear that a lot of these expressions would just make you sound ridiculous. It would be good if someone could slim it down to the expressions that Thai people actually use.

  17. Mathew, if you read the post it says “Please note that we are dropping any connectors in the original list that are not common in Thai. An * means there is no equivalent expression in Thai but it sounds more or less ok anyway.”

    And while the English might not be common (to you perhaps) the Thai is useful.

    “I thank you heartily” is used in my group btw but I don’t recall hearing it in the US.

  18. I put the question of “Thank you heartily / ขอบคุณจากใจ” to Yuki. She’s quite busying rushing to finish a project so I’ll just share here. Note: I explained to her that I do use “I thank you heartily” (I have a number of older, formal relatives in the UK) and it went from there…

    You don’t say “thank you heartily” in everyday life conversation, do you? But you say that in special occasions, I believe? If so, in Thai, it is the same. Like, if your mother is sick and you are not available to be with her but someone else offers to help look after her for you. After your mother has recovered, you might want to use this phrase to thank that person because it’s something you truly appreciate. But in practice, people would tend to express their appreciation in a longer speech, not just a short phrase, for example “ผมขอบคุณคุณจากใจจริงๆที่ช่วยดูแลแม่ให้ผมตลอดมา”.

    I think the problem is not about sounding common or sounding natural in Thai or not but rather whether people will get to use this or not. For people who don’t speak Thai fluently, why would they need to know things that are only used in specific or limited occasions anyway?

    So basically, there are almost 500 connectors. Some will be suitable for beginners, while others, only advanced students would use, and then not all the time.

    Suggestion: Just take the connectors you know you’d use and don’t worry so much about the rest. When Yuki has time we’ll number/grade the connectors but it’s not going to happen this week. She worked her butt off to get this list out and now has to attend to other pressing matters.

  19. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart” is the American version.

    No, it’s not the everyday thank you but is not uncommon in the right situations.

    Like this one. I do thank you all, Catherine, Yuki, and Anthony, from the bottom of my heart. This is so useful, impossible to get elsewhere, and obviously so much work. So generous!

  20. We don’t necessarily have to shy away from phrases just because they are uncommon. As long as it’s good Thai and appropriate to the conversation, it can be great fun. Give ’em something unexpected every now and then. Gets their attention and usually everyone ends up laughing, including me.

  21. Of all “intimacy connectors,” laughter is the best one.

  22. Thank you gaelee. I too believe that laughter is one of the best intimacy connectors. Especially in Thailand, where people are more open to smiles and having fun.

  23. Update: Yuki noticed there were a few phrases I forgot to update (in our rush to get this live, I noted them in the spreadsheet but not the files). They’ve been corrected and uploaded. Apologies.

  24. Thanks for also uploading the file without the transliteration! Looking forward to the next group of connectors. Are you guys still taking suggestions for connectors?

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