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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 are some Thai exclamation and interjection words?
Thai exclamation and interjection words are quite unique and different compared to English. We have various exclamations and interjections to express emotions. Today, I’ll teach you some of the most used among Thais, so you can improve your Thai speech and sound more natural.
Let’s begin with the first one, which is best translated to “oh my god!” in English. In Thai, we say โอ้โห ôo hŏo. This is to show emotions of surprise and amazement. For example, โอ้โห อร่อยจัง ôo hŏo à-ràauy jang. (“oh my god! This is very delicious.”) In a negative context, such as when complaining or insulting someone, you might also use this exclamation. For example, โอ้โห ทำมาได้ไง ôo hŏo tham maa dâi ngai. (“oh my god, how could you have made this (suggesting it’s bad)?”)
The next exclamation is อ้าว âao. This also shows surprise but with a different meaning as compared to โอ้โห ôo hŏo. อ้าว âao is used in unexpected surprises or at a turn of events. For example, อ้าว ใครมาที่บ้านเนี่ย âao khrai maa thìi bâan nîia. (“whoa who’s coming to my house?”) You might use this term if on a Sunday when you hoped to stay home, with no disturbances from anyone, and someone unexpectedly rings your doorbell. The most similar meaning to English is “whoa.”
Now this next one is not an expression for surprise, but to express understanding or realization. This is อ๋อ ǎaw. This helps express that you understand what the other person is saying. For example, อ๋อ ทำแบบนี้เอง ǎaw tham bàab níi eeng. (“Ah! You do it like this.”) The most similar meaning expression in English is “Ah!” You can use อ๋อ ǎaw alone to mean you are listening and following what the other person is saying.
And the last one I’ll teach you is อืม uuem. This sounds quite similar to “umm” in English, but it has a completely different meaning. The meaning of อืม in Thai is to agree, similar to saying “yeah.” For example, someone asks if you want to eat fried rice. You can respond อืม ก็ได้ uuem gâaw dâi (“yeah, sure”). Just like อ๋อ ǎaw, อืม uuem alone can also mean that you’re agreeing or following what the other person is saying.


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