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

Thai Style

Feeling Like a Thai Introduction…

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

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

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

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

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

Feeling Like a Thai: Don’t be Sad…

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

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

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

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

More examples:

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

Note:

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Examples:

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

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

Expressing one’s feeling by using a state noun…

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

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

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

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

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

More examples:

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

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

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

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

Expressing one’s feeling by using an abstract noun…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kruu Jiab is a Thai language teacher, an author and translator. She is known for her detailed and clear explanations that leave no questions unanswered. Jiab believes in self improvement, thinking outside the box and contemplates her students needs. She has written nine books on learning Thai language and trained over 800 Thai language teachers

4 Comments

  1. How do you express condolences in Thai? I’ve had a couple of Thai people tell me how sad they and other Thais are because of the death of the king. What would be an appropriate response? Thanks.

  2. เสียใจด้วย : Sĕar~Jai Dûai = be sad + also = (I) feel sad for (your loss, etc.)

  3. Can kor-tod also be used for “excuse me”? As in, when someone is standing in your way, or when you want to ask someone something?

  4. Kor~Tod is used to make an apology in any situation e.g. Sorry., Excuse me., I beg your pardon., Pardon me., … apologies., … apology, etc.

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