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#1 DavidHouston

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Posted 2008-12-04 14:53:16

From Lexitron comes the following sample sentence in the context of the vocabulary term "แบเบาะ":

เห็นภาพข่าวแล้วน่าสงสารเด็กแบเบาะที่ถูกพ่อแม่เอามาทิ้ง

I would like to make sense out of the sentence above by assuming the following translation:

"We see news photos and we feel sympathy for infants who are abandoned by their parents."

While I think this makes sense, I do have a question regarding the grammatical structure of the Thai sentence and for these I request your assistance:

1. The sentence apparently lacks a defined subject noun. In English this might bother us but in Thai is it safe to assume that Thais are not horrified if subject nouns are often assumed? One could use any English equivalent here, such as "When you see photos . . ." or "If I see photos . . .". Is this common Thai spoken phraseology?

2. ". . . แล้วน่าสงสารเด็ก . . . ". Once one gets past the initial subject, there appear to be two predicates, one beginning with " . . . เห็นภาพข่าว. . . " and the other ". . . แล้วน่าสงสารเด็ก. . . ". What has me confused is the apparent lack of parallelism in predicates. I would have thought that the second clause would read, ". . . แล้วสงสารเด็ก . . ." (". . . and we then take pity on infants . . .), using the same indefinite subject noun that we did for the first predicate. The use of the adjectival form, "น่าสงสาร" seems strangely jarring, in a grammar sense. Am I misunderstanding the difference between the transitive verb "สงสาร" and the adjective "น่าสงสาร"?

This is not a disguised attempt to criticize the author of the Lexitron sentence but to understand correct structures. Thanks for your help.

#2 mangkorn

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Posted 2008-12-04 15:41:18

I would think of it as a passive construction, using the verb infinitive: "To see...(is to feel) pity..." One can say that way in English, but usually uses the more general word ("one"), or the pronoun "you" in a passive sense, e.g., "When you think about it..." - the speaker may not mean you personally, but people in general, i.e., "When one thinks about it..."

Edited by mangkorn, 2008-12-04 15:46:40.


#3 kriswillems

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Posted 2008-12-04 17:17:12

In this sentence น่าสงสาร is used as a verb.

น่าสงสาร and สงสาร are both verbs and they both means to feel pitty.

The construction
verb + object + แล้ว + sentence

Is used a lot in Thai language. The sentence is a consequence/result of "verb + object"

อ่านข่าวแล้วเศร้าใจจัง
อ่านหนังสือแล้วเครียด

Edited by kriswillems, 2008-12-04 17:39:04.


#4 withnail

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Posted 2008-12-04 17:47:36

My initial thought was that the word รู้สึก was implied but ellipsed. I think I agree with kris but am now wondering quite what the differences are between น่าสงสาร and สงสาร are. I would have previously thought that only the later would work in the original example.

#5 mangkorn

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Posted 2008-12-04 18:21:40

I was going to take issue with Kris's statement that น่าสงสาร is a verb, rather than an adjectival form, but then I found this:

น่าสงสารม็อบจำนวนหนึ่งมาก ที่รู้ไม่เท่าทัน วาระซ่อนเร้น ของแกนนำม็อบเหล่านี้ - which one translation could be: "Pity the one portion of the mob who did not know about the hidden agenda of the mob's leadership."

There, it is used as a verb. If it came after the subject, it might be understood by English speakers as an adjectival form (แล้วแต่ใคร...). We know there isn't an exact one-to-one relationship between Thai and English as to what to call parts of speech, or it is at least open to argument, as we've seen here on this forum.

Perhaps Thai is just more flexible (than English, anyway), in word placement. The use of passive constructions may allow more flexibility in where to place such forms in a sentence and have the same meaning. English is more strict about construction, I think.

Of course, if I'm wrong about that, please be kind - I'm still trying to work it out in my own head. :o

#6 withnail

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Posted 2008-12-04 19:27:21

I often see what we might consider adjectives translated as the verb "be + adj" e.g. สวย = verb "be beautiful" I wonder then if the example uses it as a verb but the verb is 'be pityfull" rather than "pity" so it is refering to the situation rather than specifically the writer's emotions.

เห็นภาพข่าวแล้วน่าสงสารเด็กแบเบาะที่ถูกพ่อแม่เอามาทิ้ง

"When we see news photos then it is pityfull that there are infants who are abandoned by their parents."

Edited by withnail, 2008-12-04 19:50:17.


#7 mangkorn

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Posted 2008-12-04 19:42:35

I'd agree, withnail. Some call it a "predicate adjective," others call it a verb, others may call it something else...

#8 kriswillems

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Posted 2008-12-04 20:38:42

I wonder then if the example uses it as a verb but the verb is 'be pityfull" rather than "pity" so it is refering to the situation rather than specifically the writer's emotions.


I agree with that too.

If you look for น่าสงสาร on sealang they will say: V to be pitiful, pitiable, pathetic
If you look for สงสาร on sealang they will say: V to pity, take pity on, feel compassion for, sympathize with

exactly as withnail explains.

น่าสงสาร: This word should not be used with with an object, but I guess you can say น่าสงสารที่ (it's pitiful that)
สงสาร: This word should be used with an object (the object you sympatize with)

Edited by kriswillems, 2008-12-04 20:48:58.


#9 tgeezer

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Posted 2008-12-04 20:47:12

From Lexitron comes the following sample sentence in the context of the vocabulary term "แบเบาะ":

เห็นภาพข่าวแล้วน่าสงสารเด็กแบเบาะที่ถูกพ่อแม่เอามาทิ้ง

I would like to know,whether the assumption that all prose is gramatically correct is valid whether it be in Thai or English.
We understand more or less what the meaning is;
"It is very sad to see news picture of infants who have been abandoned by their parents."
That is my reading of it, น่าสงสาร เป็นวลีขยาย คำกริยา "เห็น" เด็กแบเบาะที่ถูกฯ เป็นวลีขยาย "ภาพ"
Which means เมือเราเห็นภาพข่าวเด็กแบเบาะถูกพ่อแม่ทิ้งแล้วทำให้เกิดความรู้สึกน่าสงสาร
I think! ?!

#10 mangkorn

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Posted 2008-12-04 20:53:12

น่าสงสาร: This word should not be used with with an object, but I guess you can say น่าสงสารที่ (it's pitiful that)


Perhaps that is the sticking point, alluded to by David. Kris writes "น่าสงสาร: This word should not be used with with an object" - but in the example sentence, it does appear to be used with an object: ... น่าสงสารเด็กแบเบาะ ...

หรือไม่ :o

#11 kriswillems

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Posted 2008-12-04 20:55:39

เมือเราเห็นภาพข่าวเด็กแบเบาะถูกพ่อแม่ทิ้งแล้วทำให้เกิดความรู้สึกน่าสงสาร

I think this sentence is not correct because in the construction:

x ทำให้ y

x should be an object. But in your sentence it's a "time".

#12 kriswillems

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Posted 2008-12-04 21:03:14

น่าสงสาร: This word should not be used with with an object, but I guess you can say น่าสงสารที่ (it's pitiful that)


Perhaps that is the sticking point, alluded to by David. Kris writes "น่าสงสาร: This word should not be used with with an object" - but in the example sentence, it does appear to be used with an object: ... น่าสงสารเด็กแบเบาะ ...

หรือไม่ :o

I think เด็กแบเบาะ ... is not the object in this sentence
There is a hidden ที่ or "that": ... น่าสงสาร ที่ เด็กแบเบาะ ... (It's pitiful that ...)
This "that" makes the rest of the sentence not being an object.

Sorry for my bad English.

#13 mangkorn

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Posted 2008-12-04 21:04:42

I would like to know,whether the assumption that all prose is gramatically correct is valid whether it be in Thai or English.


It is certainly true that many people speak and write in grammatically incorrect forms, especially in English. But that fact doesn't help a student of a new language to comprehend the proper way to construct sentences, does it? If that student comes to believe that no rules of construction matter, well, one can only imagine the results...

#14 DavidHouston

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Posted 2008-12-04 21:10:18

I would like to know,whether the assumption that all prose is gramatically correct is valid whether it be in Thai or English.


It is certainly true that many people speak and write in grammatically incorrect forms, especially in English. But that fact doesn't help a student of a new language to comprehend the proper way to construct sentences, does it? If that student comes to believe that no rules of construction matter, well, one can only imagine the results...

I know that this of off-topic, but, as for me, I would rather listen to and read the dulcet prose and complete sentences of a Barack Obama and Tony Blair than the colloquial and mis-spoken verbal flailings of a Sarah Palin or George Bush.

As for Thai construction, I am not sufficiently knowledgeable in this language to opine on correct expression, that is why I rely on you folks in this forum for assistance.

Thank you all again for your assistance.

#15 mangkorn

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Posted 2008-12-04 21:12:12

I think เด็กแบเบาะ ... is not the object in this sentence
There is a hidden ที่ or "that": ... น่าสงสาร ที่ เด็กแบเบาะ ... (It's pitiful that ...)
This "that" makes the rest of the sentence not being an object.


Fair enough. That makes sense. The implied ที่ seems to occur quite frequently in Thai, if I'm not mistaken.

Thanks to all for this discussion. :o

Edited by mangkorn, 2008-12-04 21:22:17.


#16 withnail

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Posted 2008-12-04 21:16:25

น่าสงสาร: This word should not be used with with an object, but I guess you can say น่าสงสารที่ (it's pitiful that)


Perhaps that is the sticking point, alluded to by David. Kris writes "น่าสงสาร: This word should not be used with with an object" - but in the example sentence, it does appear to be used with an object: ... น่าสงสารเด็กแบเบาะ ...

หรือไม่ :o

I think เด็กแบเบาะ ... is not the object in this sentence
There is a hidden ที่ or "that": ... น่าสงสาร ที่ เด็กแบเบาะ ... (It's pitiful that ...)
This "that" makes the rest of the sentence not being an object.

Sorry for my bad English.


I agree. I was going to also suggest a hidden comma, but either way.

Edited by withnail, 2008-12-04 21:20:16.


#17 mangkorn

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Posted 2008-12-04 21:39:34

I would like to know,whether the assumption that all prose is gramatically correct is valid whether it be in Thai or English.


Not to obsess on the point, but the OP's example came from a dictionary - one place where that assumption should be valid.

#18 withnail

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Posted 2008-12-04 22:44:37

I would like to know,whether the assumption that all prose is gramatically correct is valid whether it be in Thai or English.


Not to obsess on the point, but the OP's example came from a dictionary - one place where that assumption should be valid.


Does anyone have any background knowledge on Lexitron? If the examples are written for the purpose of the dictionary then I would agree, but if they come from some kind of a corpus then there is no guarantee here.

#19 tgeezer

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Posted 2008-12-04 23:01:36

เมือเราเห็นภาพข่าวเด็กแบเบาะถูกพ่อแม่ทิ้งแล้วทำให้เกิดความรู้สึกน่าสงสาร

I think this sentence is not correct because in the construction:

x ทำให้ y

x should be an object. But in your sentence it's a "time".


That is a good point. may be just take out the เมือเรา What I am trying to say is; "when we look at pictures of children who have been abondoned by their parents it makes us feel sad."
Would you like to have a go?
I see that ที่ is missing from my example sorry about that. I think one criteria which could and perhaps should be applied is that of ambiguity, If it is ambiguous then it must by definition be incorrect otherwise it is not communication, or am I just dreaming? that is why latin was so popular in legal dealings surely.

#20 tgeezer

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Posted 2008-12-04 23:04:18

I would like to know,whether the assumption that all prose is gramatically correct is valid whether it be in Thai or English.


Not to obsess on the point, but the OP's example came from a dictionary - one place where that assumption should be valid.


Does anyone have any background knowledge on Lexitron? If the examples are written for the purpose of the dictionary then I would agree, but if they come from some kind of a corpus then there is no guarantee here.


In tend to think the latter, in which case it could have come from the equivelent of the Daily Mirror!

#21 kriswillems

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Posted 2008-12-05 00:33:36

What I am trying to say is; "when we look at pictures of children who have been abondoned by their parents it makes us feel sad."
Would you like to have a go?

I am not sure, I am not English, but I think this sentence is also not correct in English. So, translating it to Thai will result in a sentence that is not correct.

I can translated two following 2 sentences:

Looking at pictures of children who have been abandoned by their parents makes us feel sad.
การดูภาพเด็กที่ถูกพ่อแม่ทิ้งทำให้เรา(รูสึก)เศร้าใจ

When we look at pictures of children that have been abandoned by their parents we feel sad.
เมื่อเราเห็นภาพเด็กที่ถูกพ่อแม่ทิ้งเรารูสึกเศร้าใจ

Edited by kriswillems, 2008-12-05 00:34:09.


#22 mangkorn

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Posted 2008-12-05 01:34:43

Touche, Kris. Your English is more correct.

#23 tgeezer

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Posted 2008-12-05 06:28:38

What I am trying to say is; "when we look at pictures of children who have been abondoned by their parents it makes us feel sad."
Would you like to have a go?

I am not sure, I am not English, but I think this sentence is also not correct in English. So, translating it to Thai will result in a sentence that is not correct.

I can translated two following 2 sentences:

Looking at pictures of children who have been abandoned by their parents makes us feel sad.
การดูภาพเด็กที่ถูกพ่อแม่ทิ้งทำให้เรา(รูสึก)เศร้าใจ

When we look at pictures of children that have been abandoned by their parents we feel sad.
เมื่อเราเห็นภาพเด็กที่ถูกพ่อแม่ทิ้งเรารูสึกเศร้าใจ


Excellent; a perfect illustration of splitting hairs and point scoring 'touche'. Has anyone wondered why, when there must be many people on this forum who could answer the questions, they do not? Those two sentences are the same as mine, the fact that you have written them to convey what you thought I was saying proves that. I think that the Thais who could help are put off by this, so we get 'farang teaching farang'. I retract what I said about ambiguity, now and will be a champion of the ungrammatical and ambiguous English.
Perhaps we could split the forum into sections Thai and English as she is spoken and Thai and English analyzed, perhaps just put a note in the header to distinguish between the two.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to say that and apologies to David for using his thread for my rant,; I really should let the forum be for English gramaticists, but I want to learn something about Thai not English grammer, without which I have managed quite happily for 60odd years.

It seems to me that the original says, 'Saw the picture on the news; pity able, those kids abandoned by their parents.'
น่า สงสาร is an adjective or adverb or whatever, but it stands alone in a way which สงสาร could not or perhaps it could. There is a verb too เป็น, but not written. Is this correct?

Edited by tgeezer, 2008-12-05 06:29:50.


#24 withnail

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Posted 2008-12-05 10:28:23

To be honest I don't feel that there is any point scoring going on here, just a few Thai learners trying our best to understand a language which we are not yet fluent in. When people are still learning English they can do this by reading grammar books and trying to see the rules they have learned applied in what they are looking at.

I'd love to do the same with Thai, but even a Thai native will tell you that these rules arent really discussed to the same extent they are in English. So until a Thai native speaker turns up and gives us their honest opinion we make do with what we've got. There are a couple of native Thai speakers who pop in fom time to time but I haven't seen them since this thread started so I have no reason to think they are ignoring it. Of those of us left not one of us are really close to this, but being a mix of English speakers, learners (and in my case teachers) we can try to look at the Thai examples using traditional grammatical terms.

It is no coincidence that the only two Thai grammar books I own do the same. I wish there were Thai grammar books similar to some of the English ones I own like ''Practical English Usage" by M. Swan for example. But, there aren't.

With regards to your previous examples tgeezer your English was fine but as I think kris noticed there is an 'it clause' rarely employed in Thai which he's removed in translation.

Re your comment about the verb เป็น I'm not sure where you think it goes but remember if Thais do use an "adjective" then they don't use a "linking verb" as they would when linking a "noun phrase".

e.g. ผมหล่อ
but ผมเป็นครู

Edited by withnail, 2008-12-05 10:36:17.


#25 kriswillems

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Posted 2008-12-05 11:59:19

Excellent; a perfect illustration of splitting hairs and point scoring 'touche'. Has anyone wondered why, when there must be many people on this forum who could answer the questions, they do not? Those two sentences are the same as mine, the fact that you have written them to convey what you thought I was saying proves that. I think that the Thais who could help are put off by this, so we get 'farang teaching farang'. I retract what I said about ambiguity, now and will be a champion of the ungrammatical and ambiguous English.
Perhaps we could split the forum into sections Thai and English as she is spoken and Thai and English analyzed, perhaps just put a note in the header to distinguish between the two.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to say that and apologies to David for using his thread for my rant,; I really should let the forum be for English gramaticists, but I want to learn something about Thai not English grammer, without which I have managed quite happily for 60odd years.


tgeezer,

I am sorry if I have offended you. My English is really not good. Withnail, who is a teacher, said you sentence was perfect. I just wanted to help. I incorrectly assumed that because things are not said this way in Dutch (my language) and Thai, they probably are also not said that way in English. I was wrong.

I feel like I need to follow English course because I am offending people while I have no intention to do so. It was also not my intention to score points, because if you read my answers in other threads about Thai language you can see I am wrong very often. And if you read my comments in other threads you can see my English is far below the level of the worst native English speaker. That's also why I said: "I am not sure". I just tried to give my opinion (which might be wrong).

My apologies.

Edited by kriswillems, 2008-12-05 12:17:43.






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