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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 are some basic question words in Thai?
Learning to ask questions in Thai can be very beneficial for you. It’ll help you build up your language ability and can help in your everyday life in Thailand. Today, I’ll teach you some very useful words for asking questions in Thai.
Just like English language, in Thai we have different words for “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how.” If you’re familiar with the English form, it’ll be very easy to learn these in Thai. There’s only one minor difference in usage.
These question words in Thai are อะไร (“What”) à-rai, เมื่อไหร่ (“When”) mûuea rài, ที่ไหน (“Where”) thîi-nǎi, ทำไม (“Why”) tham-mai, ใคร(“Who”) khrai, แบบไหน(“How”) bàaep năi, อย่างไร(“How”) yàang rai, and finally บ่อยแค่ไหน (“How often”) bòi kâe năi.
Grammatically, when asking questions in Thai, we put most of these words at the end of the sentence. There are two exception words. We put อะไร àrai and ทำไม tham-mai at the beginning of the sentence. For example,
ทำไมเธอถึงวิ่งตอนเช้า (tham-mai thooe tĕung wîng dton-châo) “Why do you jog in the morning?" เธอไปกับใคร (thooe bpai guuap khrai) “Who are you going with?”
We can see that in the first sentence, ทำไม tham-mai is used at the beginning of the sentence to ask question. However, in the second sentence เธอไปกับใคร (thooe bpai guuap khrai), ใคร khrai is used at the end to ask “who?” If we cut out the word ใคร khrai in this sentence, we'll get เธอไปกับ…(thooe bpai guuap) "She goes with…." This can be changed to a general sentence just by adding a name or noun at the end. For example, เธอไปกับสมคิด thooe bpai guuap Somkid. Thus, by adding ใคร or ที่ไหน, เมื่อไหร่ will change the sentence to a question.
For example, มึงกินข้าวที่ไหน (mueng gin khâo thìi nai “Where are you eating?”) คุณจะไปเมื่อไหร่ (Khun ja bpai mûuea rài “When are you leaving?”)


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