Practical Thai Conversation

Sawasdee Krap!

Good day class, today on Wit Blogs we’re going to try something alittle different. Last weekend was our latest meeting of the Thai Language Meetup here in DC. The previous month Oop one of our members went back to Bangkok on business but before leaving asked if he could bring back anything for us. Bad move knowing me!

It was an effort but I did resist giving him a laundry list of stuff to bring me back if he could. I was looking for a couple of books though, The Judgment by Chart Kobjtti and Time by Chart Kobjtti and Marcel Barang. These are english translations of his two books that I’ve found online at this Thai book and magazine website.

*Shameless plug* The reason I’m bringing them up here is in case someone on Thai-blogs can help me get copies of these two books without having to pay upwards of %110 the cost of the books just to ship them! Oy! Peing mahk mahk!

Oop didn’t have a chance to do much shopping back home in the land of pu ying suay let pu chai lor ผู้หญิงสวยและผุ้ชายหล่อ so he couldn’t find the books but he did bring me back something cool hence the topic of this weeks lesson plan, er blog. Everyone paying attention class? Good! There just might be a test plus sooner or later I’m bound to say something funny, Murphys Law y’know 😉

Last Sunday at the Meetup Oop and I, well, finally met up and he gave me what he bought for me in Thailand. It was a DVD for learning Thai by Benjawan Poomsan Becker this was so cool and a really nice surpise too! This had been on my shopping list of ‘must buys’ from Richards online bookshop Buy Thai Books along with lots of other goodies for awhile. But seriously, knowing this compulsive shopper anything that is Thai can be a ‘must buy’! Oop even got the DVD for only 450 Baht (about $10 US) which is pretty cheap. Sorry Richard, but don’t take my picture off the wall as your number one customer just yet!

The DVD plays 10 different scenerios or chapters. Thai and farang ‘actors’ talk you through basic situations you might hear in everyday conversation in Thailand, hence the name of the DVD. Each chapter is divided into two parts, the first is at normal speed for Thai. The first conversations are pretty basic so you can get your feet wet but the speakers talk at ‘bullet’ speed so if your not familar with Thai much at all you blink and everything is all over. Your left scratching your head still trying to follow the first sentence! Not to worry though in the second part the conversation is repeated again but at a much slower, sometimes waaay slower, pace for folks to follow along. To help the DVD also has subtitles for the second part and you can choose from the feature menu what subtitle you want, English, romanized Thai or Thai script. The chapters hit some basics like Greetings and Introductions, Asking for Directions and Taking a Taxi- part I and II, Asking for Personal Information, In a Thai Resturant, among others.

Nope, this image is not part of the booklet sorry!

The disk also comes with a companion booklet with a pronunciation key to consonants, vowels and learning your way around the 5 tones. Each conversation is also printed out for you to read along and includes a Kam-Sap คำศัพท์ (vocabulary list) of words and expressions for each chapter. The DVD is shot on video so the quality is a bit amateur-ish but still lots of fun, especially the second parts!

The ‘characters’ speaking are all at ease and sound smooth and professional with their bits especially the farang John in two chapters who is not only very fluent but bullet quick! He doesn’t speak Thai he machine guns it! Jing Ler! If you get the DVD watch him though because for a pink skin he not only knows the lingo but you can see how well he knows the Thai ‘Wai’ custom, as well as, when ‘to wai or not to wai.’ *Shameless Plug* number II.(Sorry)

The best, and funniest, though is the second part. They repeat the conversation but this time instead of talking to each other they talk directly to the camera and get really, really close to it sometimes. They also over enunciate some which is pretty funny to watch. Although if you were smoking some of the ‘funny stuff’ (which I know nothing about, honest, besides it was only once in college) you would be seriously tripping to watch this, like whooooa Dude! I had to show it to my faen and we had a right fun time laughing at all the exaggerated bits! The next day at work I told my boss Nott about it and my imitations must have been dead on because we howled about it for ten minutes until tears were popping out our eyes! I know some folks were looking at us like we were nuts and maybe needed to go lie down awhile.

I thought I’d copy down for you the first conversation on the disk so you can get a taste. I also included in a few places my own translation. Not to try to out do Mrs. Beckers work but I have my own theory about teaching Thai. I call it True Thai Translation, or T3 for short. In short my theory is if you translate word for word what is spoken in Thai you can begin to understand basic sentence structure and understand how easy it can be to communicate in Thai. You realize how few words you would need since Thai is not junked up with a lot of stuff like English! Plus you can learn to predict how to compose a sentence in Thai as you go along. You still have to deal with learning Thai idioms and such but it’s a start. Wanna see? Let’s take a look, here is the first chapter from the DVD for you. As the chapters go along they get longer and more complex but it’s all cool! Some of these I know easily enough to translate word for word so for now I’ll skip the more complicated ones although this might be a good blog in itself.

Chapter One

Greetings and Introductions


tak-taai la na-nam-dtua

su-paa: sa-wat-dii ka
สุภา: สวัสดีค่ะ
Supa: Hello

john: sa-wat-dii krap. sa-baai-dii mai krap
จอห์น: สวัสดีครับ สบายดีมัยครับ
John: Hello. How are you?
T3: Hello. Comfort-good-yes? (see what I mean?)

su-paa: chun sa-baai-dii la kun laa bpen yang ngai
สุภา: ฉันสบายดี และคุณล่ะเป็นยังไง
Supa: I’m doing well and how is it going with you?
T3: I-comfort-good-and-you-already-is-still

John: Pom gaw sa-baai-dii. khawp-khun krap
จอห์น: ผมก็สบายดี ขอบคุณครับ
John: I’m doing well also. Thank you.

su-paa: john, nii som-sak, noong-chaai koong chan ka
สุถา: จอห์น, นี่สมศัก, น้องชายของฉันค่ะ
Supa: John, this is Somsak, my younger brother.
T3: John, is-Som-sak, younger-brother, mine

john: sa-wat-dii krap. phom chuu john. pom maa jaak a-mee-ri-kaa krap
จอห์น: สวัสดีครับ ผมชื่อจอห์น ผมมาจากอเมริกาครับ
John: Hello. My name is John. I’m from America
T3: Hello. I-name-John I-come-away-from-America.

som-sak: sa-wat-dii krap. yin-dii tii daai ruu jak krap.
สมศักดิ์: สวัสดีครับ ยินดีที่ได้รู้จักครับ
Som-sak: Hello. Nice to meet you.
T3: Hello. Good-at-can-know-you.

john: chen-gan krap
จอห์น: เช่นกันครับ
John: Nice to meet you, too.

som-sak: kun john maa-tiao muang-tai ruu krap
สมศักดิ์: คุณจอห์นมาเที่ยวเมืองไทยหรือครับ
Som-sak: Are you visiting Thailand, John?
T3: You-John. Come-visit-coutry-Thai-or?

john: chai krap
จอห์น: ใช่ครับ
John: Yes, I am.

som-sak: kun ja yuu muang-tai gii wan krap
สมศักดิ์: คุณจะอยู่เมืองไทยกี่วันครับ
Som-sak: How many days will you stay in Thailand?
T3: You-will-to be-country-Thai-how many-day?

john: bpra-maan sip wan krap
จอห์น: ประมาณ ๑๐ วันครับ
John: About 10 days

som-sak: kaw-toot krap. pom dtong bpai gawn na krap
สมศักดิ์: ขอโทษครับ ผมต้องไปก่อนนะครับ
Somsak: Excuse me. I have to go now.

john: cheen krap.
จอห์น: เชิญครับ
John: Please go ahead.

su-paa: leeo jer gan na
สุภา: แล้วเจอกันนะ
Supa: See you later.

som-sak: krap. kun John, chook-dii na krap
สมศักดิ์: ครับ คุณจอห์น โชคดีนะครับ
Som-sak: O.K.! Good luck, John

And there you have it, study hard because you never know when I might spring a pop quiz on you haha. Anyone else think of some good translations following my theory? Suggestions always welcome except maybe suggestions on where I can stuff it 😉

As it is the DVD is a good buy for the education and entertainment value. Since this is only Volume One I hope there is more to come. Maybe if I get the whole set I win a free trip to Thailand, do ya think? And if the second part gives you the giggles too much (like me) just do what I do at work, slip on the headphones and close your eyes so all you do is listen, just don’t fall asleep! Till next time..


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