Thursday, July 10, 2014

Binturong in Thai and Lao


Binturongs are native to South and Southeast Asia. So they might be a great topic to talk about with your Tai speaking friends. 
The Lao words are เหง็นหางขอ (ເຫງັນຫາງຂໍ; "hook-tailed civet") and เหง็นหมี (ເຫງັນໝີ; "bear civet")
The Thai words are หมีขอ (ໝີຂໍ; "hooked bear")  and หมีกระรอก (ໝີກະຮອກ; "squirrel bear").

Although both Tai languages do not have the same words, they make use of the word "hook" (ขอ) and "bear" (หมี).

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Five elements (wǔ xíng): Thai-Lao-Northern Thai

According to this source, "gold" in Tai languages is a loanword from Middle Chinese (kim). I wonder if "wood" "fire" and "earth" are also loanwords. The initial consonants seem to match quite well.

If Thai didn't borrow words from Pali and Sanskrit: snow

If Thai didn't borrow the word for "snow" from Pali, the language may use เหมือย for this word-just like what some other Tai languages do, including Shan, Tai Lue, and Tai Dam. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

If Thai calqued Chinese words: Mayonnaise

The Thai word for "mayonnaise" is "mayonnaise", clearly a loanword, but it's pronounced with a Thai accent, while in Chinese it's 蛋黄酱 (蛋黃醬) which literally means "egg yolk sauce". I like that the Chinese name is so much more informative. (For a while I didn't know that mayonnaise had eggs) So if Thai had calqued this word from Chinese, it would be "ซอสไข่แดง". (note that egg yolk in Chinese is literally "yellow egg" while in Thai it's literally "red egg")




VISUAL DICTIONARY: English-Thai-Lao-Northern Thai-Tai Lue-Shan


* In Tai Dam book is "พับสือ (ปับสือ)" "pap sue". 






Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pink in Different SW Tai languages

Pink in English comes from the flowers called "pinks" in the genus Dianthus.

Here are some words for "pink" in Tai languages:

1. Thai: สีชมพู (lit. "rose apple color")
This word may be a calque from Malay: merah jambu "red rose apple"
2. Lao: สีบัว (lit. "lotus color") ສີບົວ
It seems that the word is specifically derived from the lotus flower which sometimes can be pink.
3. Northern Thai: สีออน (etymology unknown; if you know the answer please let me know) สีออฯร
This word is dying out in Northern Thai. The Standard Thai term is used instead.
4. Tai Lue: สีข่อง (etymology unknown; if you know the answer please let me knowสีข่อฯง

5. Shan: สีข่อง (etymology unknown; if you know the answer please let me know)

6. Tai Dam: สีลาว (etymology unknown; if you know the answer please let me know)



Friday, July 4, 2014

Thai (and Chinese) Visual Dictionary Part 2: Mammals

In case you missed the first part, click here

I tried my best to make a distinction between the alpaca and the llama in the drawings. 

1. Alpaca. The Thai word is from Quechua via Spanish and English. The Chinese word literally means "sheep camel" which makes sense because alpacas are distantly related to camels but they also look like sheep. 


2. Llama. The Thai word is from Aymara via Spanish and English. The Chinese word literally means "big alpaca" (even more literal: "big sheep camel").


In case you need the texts:
  1. Alpaca = อัลปากา = 羊駝 = อูฐแกะ
  2. Llama = ลามา (sometimes ลามะ and ยามา) = 大羊駝 = = อูฐแกะใหญ่


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