Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: How many ways can you say “I” in Thai?
Nantanee: And what makes them different?
Michael: At ThaiPod101.com, we hear these questions often.
In the following situation, Thida Thongtong has just struck up a conversation with her new neighbor, Karen Lee in the hallway. Thida asks Karen what she does for a living, and Karen replies,
“I’m a blogger. And you?”
KAREN LEE: ฉันเป็นบล็อกเกอร์ แล้วคุณล่ะ? (chăn bpen blàwk-gôoe láaeo khun là)
[DIALOGUE - THAI ONLY]
KAREN LEE: ฉันเป็นบล็อกเกอร์ แล้วคุณล่ะ? (chăn bpen blàwk-gôoe láaeo khun là)
THIDA THONGTONG: ฉันเป็นครูสอนเทนนิส (chăn bpen khruu sǎawn theen-nít)
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
[DIALOGUE - WITH TRANSLATION]
KAREN LEE: ฉันเป็นบล็อกเกอร์ แล้วคุณล่ะ? (chăn bpen blàwk-gôoe láaeo khun là)
Michael: “I’m a blogger. And you?”
THIDA THONGTONG: ฉันเป็นครูสอนเทนนิส (chăn bpen khruu sǎawn theen-nít)
Michael: “I’m a tennis instructor.”
Michael: Note how both Thida and Karen use the pronoun,
Nantanee: ฉัน (chăn)
Michael: to refer to themselves. This is a basic and common way to say “I,” and it can be used in just about every situation. There are more ways to say “I,” that suggest various levels of formality. They’re also sometimes gender-specific, but if you are unsure which one to use,
Nantanee: ฉัน (chăn)
Michael: is the safest one and can be used in both formal and informal situations.
Michael: Now let’s take a look at the more formal pronouns. First is the gender-specific forms of “I.” If you’re male, you can refer to yourself as
Nantanee: ผม (phŏm)
Michael: or
Nantanee: กระผม (grà-pŏm).
Michael: If you’re female, you can refer to yourself as
Nantanee: ดิฉัน (dì-chăn).
Michael: These are often used in very formal situations, such as when giving a formal speech or talking to your boss. In a job interview, for example, you might what to say “I have a bachelor’s degree.” If you’re a man, that’s
Nantanee: ผมจบปริญญาตรีครับ (phŏm jòp bpa-rin-yaa-thrii khráp).
Michael: But if you’re a woman, that’s
Nantanee: ดิฉันจบปริญญาตรีค่ะ (dì-chăn jòp bpa-rin-yaa-thrii khâ).
Michael: There is one more formal pronoun,
Nantanee: ข้าพเจ้า (khâa-phá-jâo).
Michael: This is mostly used in official announcements from the government or the royal family. The degree of formality has to be really high. For example,
Nantanee: ข้าพเจ้าขอมอบหมายให้ทำสิ่งนี้ (khâa phá jâo khǎaw mâawp mǎai hâi tham sìng níi.)
Michael: means “I assign you to do this.” It’s a sentence the prime minister would likely say to a member of his staff. On the other side of the spectrum, there are informal pronouns, such as
Nantanee: เรา (rao)
Michael: and
Nantanee: เค้า (kháo)
Michael: here is one more pronoun, a very informal one.
Nantanee: กู (guu).
Michael: This one will be used when talking to close friends only. It can be hard to use properly, and is best avoided by Thai beginners.
Michael: Let's review. Respond to the prompts by speaking aloud. Then repeat after the Thai speaker, focusing on pronunciation.
Do you remember how Karen Lee says,
“I’m a blogger. And you?”
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Nantanee as Karen Lee: ฉันเป็นบล็อกเกอร์ แล้วคุณล่ะ? (chăn bpen blàwk-gôoe láaeo khun là)
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Nantanee as Karen Lee: ฉันเป็นบล็อกเกอร์ แล้วคุณล่ะ? (chăn bpen blàwk-gôoe láaeo khun là)
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
ฉันเป็นบล็อกเกอร์ แล้วคุณล่ะ? (chăn bpen blàwk-gôoe láaeo khun là)
Michael: And how Thida Thongtong says,
“I’m a tennis instructor.”
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Nantanee as Karen Lee: ฉันเป็นครูสอนเทนนิส (chăn bpen khruu sǎawn theen-nít)
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Nantanee as Karen Lee: ฉันเป็นครูสอนเทนนิส (chăn bpen khruu sǎawn theen-nít)
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
ฉันเป็นครูสอนเทนนิส (chăn bpen khruu sǎawn theen-nít)
Michael: Now, one last insider hint. Though we covered seven ways of saying “I” in Thai, there are still many more! For example, sometimes people will use their personal name instead of “I.” The choice of pronoun depends on a situation, or its formality, and on the relationship between the people involved in the conversation.
Michael: Great job. Now you know how to say “I” in Thai.
Be sure to download the lesson notes for this lesson at ThaiPod101.com — and move onto the next lesson!

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