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DavidHouston

Sentence Structure

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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.

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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..."

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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

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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.

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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

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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."

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

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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)

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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! ?!

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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

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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".

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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

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BANGKOK 20 October 2017 19:28
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