Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Walk" in SW Tai Languages Are Actually Related

By merely looking at the words for "to walk" across different Tai languages, one may conclude that they are different. The word for "to walk" in Northern Thai is เทียว (เตียว) tiaw, in Thai it is เดิน dəən, in Lao it is ຍ່າງ (ย่าง) nyaang, and in Shan it is တဵဝ်း téw or ပႆ pǎi. However, if we examine these words more closely, we will know that they are all related.

The word for "to walk" in one language may mean something else related to walking in another language. The word dəən in Thai is an exception since it comes from Khmer daə (spelled dər) "to walk." Regardless, Northern Thai tiaw and Shan tew are related to Thai เที่ยว thîaw and Lao ທ່ຽວ thiaw which mean "to travel, to visit". The word nyaang in Lao is related to Shan ယၢင်ႈ  yaang and Thai and Northern Thai ย่าง  yâang and nyâang respectively which  mean "to take a step." The word pǎi in Shan is related to Thai and Northern Thai ไป pai and to Lao ໄປ pài which mean "to go." Thus, although a word in a Tai language can mean "to walk", it may mean something else in other Tai languages such as "to travel", "to take a step", or "to go"

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