Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Promiscuous Women Are Gibbons in Thai

Photograph by Joe Petersburger, National Geographic
"Whores and gibbons have something in common."

In Thai, "gibbon" (cʰa.nii, ชะนี) is slang for promiscuous women, AKA (excuse my language) whores, sluts, or skanks. 

Why are these women compared to the apes? One explanation might be from the way Thai people interpret the sounds gibbons make. The onomatopoeia for the gibbon's cry is pʰǔa (ผัว). Interestingly, pʰǔa happens to be a homophone of the Thai word for "husband" or colloquially "a man whom one sleeps with". Thus, it is not surprising why promiscuous women are often referred to as "gibbons". They have something in common after all, at least according to Thai people. Both the women and the gibbons are always calling for a man! 

This creates another question: What are promiscuous men who sleep with men called? Unfortunately, I do not have an answer to this. I suppose they are probably called "gibbons" too. If you have this information, do share with us.

Gibbons are apes in the family Hylobatidae. They are widely in Southeast Asia. Gibbons are sometimes called the lesser apes.

Click on the video below to hear the sounds that gibbons make.

And compare it to the Thai onomatopoeia in my Thai Animal Sounds video that I made a while back below.

What do you think? 


Wayan's kaos said...

Interesting. Discussed it with my wife this morning, and it seems that Thai have many words like this which involves animals. We could come up with:
โคแก่ - old cow - โคแก่ชอบกินหญ้าอ่อน - old man who likes young women - old cow likes to eat young/soft grass :D
หัวงู - snake head - translated as womanizer in one dictionary, but my wife said it could be used for both sexes. Not sure though.
ปลาไหล - from the song with the same name, the female character is portrayed as "an eel" - she is having an affair it seems
แมงดา - horseshoe crab? - pimp - a man who lives off of the income of a woman/women/prostitute
หนูตกถังข้าวสาร - someone able to marry a much richer person if I understand this correct. Not sure if it can be used for both man and woman. A rat falling in the rice container.

They are related to relationships or promiscuous behaviour. Maybe you could elaborate on these a bit. Im not sure if I got them right. Some are obvious, but why is แมงดา a pimp?

Alif Silpachai said...

Thank you very much for your comment.

It seems like you can read Thai so I'll post the answer that I found on the internet in Thai: "โดยธรรมชาติของแมงดาทะเล แมงดาตัวผู้จะเกาะหลังแมงดาตัวเมียตั้งแต่ยังเล็กจนโต โดยแมงดาตัวผู้มีขนาดเล็กกว่าแมงดาตัวเมีย และจะหากินอาหารจากที่ตัวเมียหาได้ หากหลุดจากหลังตัวเมีย แมงดาตัวผู้ก็จะตายในไม่ช้า แมงดาตัวผู้จะเกาะหลังแมงดาตัวเมียจนโตและผสมพันธุ์ มักพบแมงดาตัวผู้เกาะหลังแมงดาตัวเมียตามธรรมชาติ หากเอาแมงดาตัวผู้ออกจะเห็นแผลที่กระดองด้านหลังของแมงดาตัวเมียเพราะตัวผู้ เกาะตลอดเวลาจนเป็นแผล คนไทยจึงมักเรียกผู้ชายที่ไม่ทำมาหากิน แต่ให้ผู้หญิงหาเลี้ยงตนว่า "แมงดา" เกาะผู้หญิงกิน"

Source: http://guru.google.co.th/guru/thread?tid=350d5f29fa6554ac

According to this answer, essentially male horseshoe crabs stay on a female horseshoe crab throughout their lives. The females find food. The males won't survive without the females. So, male horseshoe crabs are always dependent on the females. This is thus similar to pimps and hos (excuse my language again).

I actually don't know a lot about the animal. I've never seen one in California.

Wayan's kaos said...

Thanks for the explanation. Was traveling to Thailand the day you answered, so only got to read and not reply. I guess I wont see any แมงดา here, at least not the animal type ;), since I stay in Surin far from the sea.

Alif Silpachai said...

No prob. Have fun in Thailand! :)