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The Speak Thai Slang iOS App

The Speak Thai Slang App

The Speak Thai Slang iOS app…

The idea for the Speak Thai Slang app came from my own growing interest in learning more “street Thai” and efforts to approach the way regular Thai people actually talk, and not sound so much like a walking textbook. I especially started to get more interested in slang when I realized that I could barely understand half of what my Thai friends were posting on Facebook, despite having studied Thai in the classroom for several years.

The one thing you won’t find anywhere in the Speak Thai Slang app are the polite endings ครับ /khráp/ and ค่ะ /khâ/. The easiest way to make something in Thai sound less uptight or formal would be to drop these endings and replace them with something like จ้ะ /jâ/ for statements or จ๊ะ /já/ for questions. These are the ending particles of choice to use if you are flirting with someone. On the other hand, if you are trying to sound cool or tough, then you need to use ว่ะ /wâ/ for statements or วะ /wá/ for questions. Your Thai friends will of course be shocked, possibly offended, and quickly point out to you how rude you sound if they catch you using วะ /wá/ despite the fact that they might use it often themselves and probably hear it on TV dozens of times per day.

Slang is kind of a broad category. So I included in the app stuff like expressions you’d make when you stub your toe, or what you’d say if something really cool and trendy caught your eye. Then there are lots of insults and fighting words that are just fun to know, but hopefully you’d never find yourself in a situation where you need to use them. Far more useful and practical are some of the phrases that can be said in dating situations. And then, of course, no slang app would be complete without a colorful list of terms for certain parts of the human anatomy.

My first version of the Speak Thai Slang app was actually too raunchy for the iPhone, and so specific references to the “dirty deed” have been left out of the current version. But I can share a few with your readers here in the interest of language learning. Thai has quite a few different ways to refer to doing “it”. Probably the most common is the verb เอา (ao), which also means “to take” in general use. Other, more potent verbs, in increasing order of vulgarity, are: ปี้ (bpîi), เย้ด /yét/, and ซี่ /sîi/. A much safer euphemism, often used by married couples, is ทำการบ้าน /tham gaan-bâan/, which translates as “doing the homework”.

Ryan Zander,
Nagaraja Rivers
Two Minute Thai

Speak Thai Slang…

Speak Thai SlangSpeak Thai Slang - Nagaraja Rivers
Price: $2.99
Updated: Aug 30, 2012
Compatible with: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

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13 Comments

  1. Great app! I got it a few weeks ago. BTW, you misspelled เหี้ย (m-f’er) haha

  2. Thanks for catching that typing error. I see now it has the wrong tone marker. Should be เหี้ย not เหี่ย. This app has been difficult to get updates through, so it might take awhile for it to get corrected inside the app.

  3. Ryan – The app is a great idea but I’m not too sure if it’s a suitable one in the wrong hands. Someone really should have a good grasp of Thai and Thais very different ways of thinking before using this one. A wrong word or phrase could cause a whole load of trouble.

    Have you any plans to bring out Speak Thai Slang for Samsung models because I could get a lot of fun using some of the tamer phrases which are included. I’ve no plans to stub my toe but I have been know to jar my knee after drinking one or two sherberts.

  4. “Someone really should have a good grasp of Thai and Thais very different ways of thinking before using this one”

    Ah yes – a followup Thai course explaining the different scenarios would be an excellent idea.

    Btw: Ryan recently launched a new learning Thai site: Two Minute Thai (I’ll add it to his sig).

  5. Thanks for adding the link to my new site.

    I guess I’m assuming most people have enough common sense not to use swear words in the wrong situations. If not, I can’t be held responsible.

    This is actually the app that is motivating me to expand into the Android platform, due to the greater freedom over content there. And when I do, the Speak Thai Slang on your Samsung Galaxy is gonna have a lot more dirty phrases, I promise.

  6. Justin Travis Mair

    September 14, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Fantastic! Don’t know what else to say?

  7. Ryan,

    I purchased the app and was pretty disappointed with it. Some of the recordings are clear but most have a background buzzing sound. I can still hear the word or phrase but it is distracting. Another technical issue is that after playing an audio clip I have to wait about 5 seconds for it to reload before it will repeat it. Every other app I have will replay immediately. It’s not a huge problem but it’s another example of this being below the quality of other apps available. Also, for the word “Darling, Swwety” (sic) there is audio, but no script. It is just a black screen with the play button.

    I bought the app for the random slang, dating, expressions, etc. much more so than the curse words, but unfortunately these sections are pretty weak. Mostly just common words that anyone who’s been studying for more than a few months will already know.

    Hopefully some of these issues will be addressed in further updates.

  8. Sounds like a great app IF the users understand the perils and pitfalls of using “slangy” Thai at the wrong time.

    That knowing when and when not to “lip off” or speak “coarsely” is a must have bit of wisdom to possess. I’ve seen too many foreigners get in “over their heads” by using slang Thai when their grasp of regular Thai isn’t all that hard core.

    Still it sounds like a useful tool to have in ones arsenal.

    FWIW: That phrase ทำการบ้าน is pretty “out of trend” anymore. Plus the way it was explained to me, it was mostly used by last generations kids (who are now adults with kids) talkin’ when their parents or older people were in earshot.

    Mostly I hear มีอะไรกัน, or เรียบร้อยแล้ว in casual conversation. Once in a while with older people I hear เล่นเรื่องบนเตียง (quite figurative huh?) I’ve also heard the term “hit-n-run” ชนแล้วหนี used by teenagers for a one nite “hook up”, in fact it’s surpassing the old stand by “slash and discard” ฟันแล้วทิ้ง.

    I’m all for foreigners sounding more like real Thais than the way we’re taught in Thai language schools. I think sometimes the teachers try to teach us Thai the way they “wished” it was spoken rather than the way it really is.

  9. Thanks for the comments and criticism. I’m aware of the bug with the phrase “Darling, Swwety”. The typo causes the program to not match up with anything for the next screen. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get an update with a fix to go through, unless I relent and take out all the profanity, which in my opinion would make the app very tame and lame. There is already a lot that I had to leave out as it is. All the more motivation to get started working on an Android version.

    Oh, by the way, the correct sound for “Darling, Sweety” should be ที่รัก /thîi-rák/.

  10. So there won’t be any updates for the Apple version? Any chance of you offering a refund then? This app is pretty poor “as is”.

  11. I’m trying to update it, but the updates aren’t getting approved, despite the update fixing the bug. You have to contact Apple directly to get a refund. Developers aren’t involved in the process.

  12. On the topic of Thai slang, I just put out a short video about online slang: Facebook Chat Slang – Two Minute Thai

  13. “Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get an update with a fix to go through, unless I relent and take out all the profanity, which in my opinion would make the app very tame and lame.”

    I’d be interested in an app with slang only, no cussing. Lame isn’t always a bad thing :-)

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