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Thai Words Taken From Other Languages


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#1 brahmburgers

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Posted 2006-12-14 09:32:50

I've heard they're called 'tap sap' in Thai. That would be a good word to take from Thai language to adapt to English, because English does not have a nifty little word for "foreign words adapted to English" In other words; 'tap sap' could become a tap sap embraced by the English.

#2 In the Rai!

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Posted 2006-12-14 09:46:17

I've heard they're called 'tap sap' in Thai. That would be a good word to take from Thai language to adapt to English, because English does not have a nifty little word for "foreign words adapted to English" In other words; 'tap sap' could become a tap sap embraced by the English.



I do know that there are many many many words (borrowed words) in the Thai lanuage. I am not sure of a list. I would like to see one if availible.

I am sure our in house language gurus Rikker, Meadish and Richard W would have alot better idea than me. :o

#3 Rikker

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Posted 2006-12-14 10:55:11

We have more than one word for it in English, but "loanword" (or "loan word" for those anti-compoundists out there) is perhaps the best of them. You can also call them borrowings or loans.

It sounds like you're most interested in the most recent loanwords. Regarding a list: you can buy ทับศัพท์ dictionaries, but they're never going to be comprehensive, and they will mostly focus on newer loans, so that might be useful for you. I have a small one that is interesting to flip through.

If anyone is interested, I'll pontificate on the nature of loanwords and borrowing, and try to talk about various languages which have loaned words into Thai. My dictionary is at home, so I'm sure to make mistakes. I expect Richard W and Meadish (and everyone else) to correct me. :o

Loanwords are constantly being acquired in every language, and Thai is no exception. It's also multidirectional. There are many, many layers of borrowings, because it's always been going on. Thai is so chock full of loans of varying antiquity. Very fresh loans will still "feel" foreign to Thais, that is, they are recognized as foreign borrowings. After a number of decades or centuries they will become so commonplace that people without the education necessary to recognize them might not know they aren't native words. Trying to speak Thai using only native Thai words would be like trying to speak English using only Germanic words. It can be done, but if you aren't consciously trying, you can't get a whole sentence out without a borrowing of some sort.

Khmer: Thai is chock full of Khmer loans, but they're old enough that most Thais will probably deny on principle that Thai borrows words from Khmer :D. Examples include such common words as ตำรวจ (and ตรวจ, from which it is derived).

Pali/Sanskrit: The learned, technical, and religious vocabulary is overwhelmingly Indic, coming from Pali and Sanskrit--but Indic loans are are so overwhelmingly common even in spoken Thai that I can't even begin to suggest a list. Anything religious or royal or educated, but again, that's just the start of it. I think many might be Indic borrowed by way of Khmer, too, but I don't know much about that.

Chinese: There are some probably very old Chinese loans into Thai such as ม้า and I suspect กว้าง and แล้ว, the numerals สอง to สิบ are definitely from Chinese (I'm not sure about หนึ่ง, and zero comes from Indic), and plenty of other familiar words like โต๊ะ, เก้าอี้, or ยี่ห้อ, and then also lost of newer loans which are clearly of Chinese origin to most Thais, things like เฮงจุ้ย (feng shui, exhibiting the characteristic Hokkien f > h sound change), as well as lots of food names like ก๋วยเตี๋ยว and หมี่. Other words are Chinese kinship terms which still have connotations of Chinese-ness: ตี๋, หมวย are common nicknames for people who "look" Chinese (or otherwise are Chinese), and my wife's grandfather (who was from Sua Tow and emigrated) is called ก๋ง despite the fact that no one besides the oldest surviving uncles really knows any Chinese, etc. Bangkok was estimated at something like 1/2 or 2/3 ethnic Chinese well into the 20th Century, as I recall.

English: Obviously there are just oodles of English words in Thai nowadays. They're new enough that many speakers don't accept them as sufficiently Thai yet, and it seems someone or other is always decrying the use of English when speaking Thai. Give it a few decades. The majority of English words we see being canonized in the Royal Institute Dictionary are technical terms, I think. And while there are some great new Thai words like เครือข่ายใยพิภพ (which includes some Indic in it, incidentally), I'm sure that อินเทอร์เน็ต (or อินเตอร์เน็ต) or the abbreviation เน็ต [เหน็ด] (as in ร้านเน็ต and เล่นเน็ต) aren't going anywhere anytime soon, if ever.

Portuguese: I read สบู่ (soap) is supposed to be from Portuguese, but I don't know of anything else off the top of my head. Some of the earliest (the earliest?) traders to visit Siam were Portuguese, so they've had a presence in Thailand longer than some other European nations.

French: There is some French in Thai, including words like กงศุล (consul).

Other: Famously (and despite the many alternate folk etymologies), ฝรั่ง comes by way of Persian, there are obscurer words from Javanese, Malay, Hindi, etc.

Edited by Rikker, 2006-12-14 11:00:40.


#4 Johpa

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Posted 2006-12-14 11:08:54

It is hard to get overly excited about loanwords when linguists are still arguing, arguing being one of their favorite pastimes, over where to place the Tai languages amongst the major language family groups.

#5 Rikker

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Posted 2006-12-14 11:16:52

True.. I'm not sure where the majority of Thai scholars fall on this issue, either. Anyone know? I know the กำชัย ทองหล่อ book หลักภาษาไทย is still popular and in print (50 years later) with its claims of the "obvious" relationship between Thai and Chinese, which nobody in the larger linguistics world buys anymore, it seems.. What is the general reaction to the Austro-Tai superfamily hypothesis these days? I can't claim to know much about it all. I'm much too inexperienced for that.

Edited by Rikker, 2006-12-14 11:18:08.


#6 wilko

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Posted 2006-12-14 13:06:45

i can't read thai script so I don't know what your examples are ,

however Thai for bread seems to come from the French "pain".... "khanom pang" forgive the attempt at spelling...

and what about "CHECK BIN" which seems to be a combination of the US word "check" and the British word "bill" both meaning the same thing....and by coincidence comes in a "bin".

#7 grtaylor

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Posted 2006-12-14 13:26:59

and the reverse?

I was asked by a Thai friend if there are any Thai loan words in English. Couldn't think of any . . .

G

#8 Rikker

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Posted 2006-12-14 13:53:42

thai2english.com can take care of all transliteration needs... you can paste my whole post there and it will highlight the Thai words so you can hover over them and get a transliteration and definition.

Call me lazy, but it's better even than me transliterating myself because it allows you to select your preferred transliteration scheme. :o

#9 Rikker

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Posted 2006-12-14 14:04:35

and the reverse?

I was asked by a Thai friend if there are any Thai loan words in English. Couldn't think of any . . .


There certainly are among the ethnic-Thai native-English-speaking populations of the United States, and I suspect even among expats in Thailand.

But in generally known English? Nah. Maybe someday....

#10 rak sa_ngop

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Posted 2006-12-14 14:05:46

and the reverse?

I was asked by a Thai friend if there are any Thai loan words in English. Couldn't think of any . . .

G

Siamese as in siamese twins or cat ??

Probably won't be too long before "check bin' enters the English language as its much easier to say than "can I have the bill please".

#11 In the Rai!

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Posted 2006-12-14 14:50:49

and the reverse?

I was asked by a Thai friend if there are any Thai loan words in English. Couldn't think of any . . .

G

Siamese as in siamese twins or cat ??

Probably won't be too long before "check bin' enters the English language as its much easier to say than "can I have the bill please".



how about "same same" sure they are English words but you often hear peolple using it like this back home now.

#12 meadish_sweetball

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Posted 2006-12-14 17:05:23

Names for famous Thai dishes such as tom yum and pad thai may be on their way to achieving loan status - they dont have any standard translations, so...

#13 brahmburgers

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Posted 2006-12-14 20:57:33

The word 'geek' in English means 'oddball' - could this be a Thai word adapted in to English?

Also, the word 'burut' in Thai means 'big man' ...could this have led to the word 'brute' in English?

Anyhow, the feedback is appreciated.

#14 Rikker

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Posted 2006-12-14 22:21:23

From etymonline.com:

geek
"sideshow freak," 1916, U.S. carnival and circus slang, perhaps a variant of geck "a fool, dupe, simpleton" (1515), apparently from Low Ger. geck, from an imitative verb found in North Sea Gmc. and Scand. meaning "to croak, cackle," and also "to mock, cheat." The modern form and the popular use with ref. to circus sideshow "wild men" is from 1946, in William Lindsay Gresham's novel "Nightmare Alley" (made into a film in 1947 starring Tyrone Power).

brute (adj.)
c.1460, "of or belonging to animals," from M.Fr. brut "coarse, brutal," from L. brutus "heavy, dull, stupid," an Oscan word, from PIE base *gwer- "heavy." Before reaching Eng. meaning expanded to "of the lower animals." Used of human beings from 1535. The noun is from 1611. Brutal in the sense of "cruel" is from 1641; earlier "rude, stupid" (1510); in the original animal sense it is from c.1450.

What you have there are vague semantic and phonetic coincidences, that's all. Thai has many words (through Indic loans) which are cognate with English words because of the Indo-European connection, but there's really no contact between the two languages through which words from Thai could get borrowed into English, apart from (as Meadish rightly points out) menu items at restaurants.

Very clever observation, though, Meadish, about pad thai and tom yum. My mother, who has been to Thailand twice but doesn't speak a word apart from hello/thank you, calls it tom yum, because there's no easy or standard equivalent. Before I ever knew anything about Thailand I'd heard of "mee krob," which of course I later realized was หมี่กรอบ.

#15 Khutan

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Posted 2006-12-14 22:52:54

I understand the great Australian (maybe New Zealand) race horse Phar Lap which was said to mean lightning is the dame as the Thai word for lightening

#16 In the Rai!

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Posted 2006-12-14 23:13:40

I understand the great Australian (maybe New Zealand) race horse Phar Lap which was said to mean lightning is the dame as the Thai word for lightening



Hey great point (except for even mentioning Phar Lap and Kiwis in the same sentence)

Yes it does .The name Phar Lap derives from the shared Zhuang and Thai word for lightning[1] (Thai: ฟ้าแลบ fa lɛ̂p, lit. 'sky flash') courtesy of Wikpedia

Never ever even thought about the corralation... :o :D :D

#17 meadish_sweetball

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Posted 2006-12-15 17:34:36

The person who named the horse knew what he/she was doing - even without knowing the Thai connection and meaning it makes you associate to speed - 'far leap/lap'...

#18 s.sophon

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Posted 2006-12-16 14:52:20

Lots of words are from Khmer, because Thai sacked Angkor Wat and took many Khmer scholars.

The original Siamese is from Yunnan and they probably speak laos with some kham muang before Khmer influence.

Age - Ayoo

Institution - Salaa

etc, many others

#19 Niloc

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Posted 2006-12-16 15:08:20

Phar Lap was the greatest racehorse ever known in Australia, he was shot in the US by some maniac to stop him becoming the greatest racehorse in America too.
His stableboy was a Thai and when his trainer was looking for a name, he asked the stableboy for a word which would mean he was the fastest, the boy came up with Phar Lap.

The horse was stuffed and for many years was exhibited in a glass case in the Melbourne Museum, when I was a boy we used to beg Dad to take us to 'Phar Lap's stable' for a day out.

#20 In the Rai!

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Posted 2006-12-16 18:06:25

Phar Lap was the greatest racehorse ever known in Australia, he was shot in the US by some maniac to stop him becoming the greatest racehorse in America too.
His stableboy was a Thai and when his trainer was looking for a name, he asked the stableboy for a word which would mean he was the fastest, the boy came up with Phar Lap.

The horse was stuffed and for many years was exhibited in a glass case in the Melbourne Museum, when I was a boy we used to beg Dad to take us to 'Phar Lap's stable' for a day out.



Thats interesting isnt it.. all this time and I had no idea the name was Thai. Well there you go!
Thanks Niloc for the roots of the name. As a kid I would of loved to have been able to go and see him, but unfortunately quite a few too many years late. :o

#21 Oswulf

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Posted 2006-12-16 18:54:56

and what about "CHECK BIN" which seems to be a combination of the US word "check" and the British word "bill" both meaning the same thing....and by coincidence comes in a "bin".


Actually, "check" here means "inspect", as in the British English "check the bill".

#22 Johpa

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Posted 2006-12-17 06:46:47

Lots of words are from Khmer, because Thai sacked Angkor Wat and took many Khmer scholars.

The original Siamese is from Yunnan and they probably speak laos with some kham muang before Khmer influence.


There were probably several migrations of Tai people into present day Thailand who originated to the north. One of those groups migrated into the Central Plains and became the Siamese whose language evolved into Central Thai. I am not a historical linguist although, if memory serves me right, Marvin Brown of AUA fame did some early work on the various Tai languages spoken in modern Thailand and their asscoiated migrations of Tai folks. The earlier migrations would have included the Shan and thus their nickname the Tai Yai, or greater Tai, as they did not remain dominant for long. And as a footnote, in general, the original language is usually preserved more towards the farthest from the point of origin, so Central Thai may be closer to what the original migrants spoke than Lao or Kham Muang.

One of the largest area of Khmer is upon the Royal language, ratchasaap, but some have recently sugggested that this is a relatively modern creation. The other common words of Khmer origin are, as an earlier poster noted, those with the infix /am/ as in tamruat.

I see that the current thinking towards the larger parent language group for Tai languages has been swinging back to a Tai-Kadai association, meaning that the Tai languages are more genetically related, rather distantly I should add, to Indonesian, with the ancient split occuring on Taiwan where one group became island and coastal loving seafarers and the other moving orginally westwards to the mainland and becoming rice farmers. But the debate seems to change direction every generation or so and as my college Thai professor use to say, if you go back far enough you can make just about any historical linguistic claim you want.

#23 Oswulf

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Posted 2006-12-17 09:49:37

meaning that the Tai languages are more genetically related, rather distantly I should add, to Indonesian


I'm curious. What do you mean by Indonesian? Is this Bahasa Indonesia (which I thought was simply a version of Bahasa Malaysia, with the spelling tidied up a bit)? Or is it one of the other languages used in Indonesia, such as Javanese?

#24 johnh101

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Posted 2006-12-17 10:04:20

I believe there is a book available which details 600 words of English origin which are now in common usage in the Thai Language.

#25 Rikker

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Posted 2006-12-17 13:09:37

I'll give a bit more detail on the book I have:

พจนานุกรม คำทับศัพท์ ภาษาต่างประเทศ
ISBN 974-7451-15-8

It's 4"x6", 55 baht, 236 pages. There is a section for each different language, listing words from that language used in Thai. The sections are:

English - 128 pages
Khmer - 29 pages
Chinese - 21 pages
Javanese - 14 pages
Malay - 7 pages
French - 4 pages
Arabic - 4 pages
Japanese - 3 pages
Talaing (Mon) - 2 pages
Tamil - 2 pages
Persian - 2 pages
Hindu - 1 page

Each page has 10-15 words. The "English" section is ludicrously beefed up with tons of proper nouns, like names of countries and--get this--the names of the Thai provinces. How can they claim ยะลา is ทับศัพท์ from Yala? They list every Thai province in the English section. That's just silly. There is also some inventive (read: false) etymologizing, such as putting โกดัง in the English section, as being from "godown," when both โกดัง and godown are actually from Malay gudang, as best I can figure.

Oh well. It's 55 baht.

Edited by Rikker, 2006-12-17 13:10:25.






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