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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Jay here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Thai questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: What’s the difference between คะ khá and ค่ะ khâ?
As you may already know, ครับ khráp and ค่ะ khâ are used after sentences to add politeness. In this lesson, we’ll focus only on the female version, ค่ะ khâ. In Thai writing and speaking, there are two tones and spellings of this word. Depending on the tone, we use the word differently. It’s very simple and easy to understand, so let’s begin.
The first tone and spelling of this word is คะ khá (with high tone). This is used when you want to ask questions and to address someone formally. This includes not only when you say the question out loud, but also in writing. This is only valid for female speakers. I’ll give you some examples. คะ khá can be used in sentences like อะไรนะคะ à-rai ná khá (“pardon?”), ไปไหนคะ bpai năi khá (“where are you going?”), or when calling someone formally, like คุณคะ khun khá (“you”) คุณครูคะ khun khruu khá (“professor”). This is extremely important in writing as if used wrongly, the reader might presume that you’re not competent in the language.
Now moving on to the second tone and spelling of the word, which is ค่ะ khâ (with falling tone). This is the most general and basic form of the word. Again, this is only valid for female speakers. ค่ะ khâ is used in general sentences such as answering something or agreeing to something. For example, สวัสดีค่ะ sà-wàt-dii khâ (“Hello”), ขอบคุณค่ะ Khaawp-khun khâ (“thank you”). You might use it when agreeing, like ได้ค่ะ dâi khâ (“Yes, sure”) ใช่ค่ะ châi khâ (“Yes”). Notice how when I say it, the tone is quite different from the word used to ask questions, คะ khâ?


Pretty interesting, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
Bye! สวัสดีค่ะ (sà-wàt-dii khâ)