Friday, July 4, 2014

Thai (and Chinese) Visual Dictionary Part 1: Marine Mammals

     Unlike my previous post, in this post, I had to draw the animals instead of taking pictures; it's quicker this way than going outside and take pictures of the actual animals. :) Anyway, I added the Chinese words because I REALLY love the way the compounds were made. 

1. Dolphin. The Thai word seems to be from Malay lumba-lumba "dolphin". The Chinese word literally means "sea suckling pig". I wonder why. Is it from mereswine in English?


2. Porpoise. For those who don't know, the nose of the porpoise is flat when compared to that of a dolphin. The Thai word is a loanword from English. The Chinese word literally means "mouse dolphin". This is probably because porpoises are smaller than dolphins.


3. Seal. Unlike sea lions, seals can't stand on their two front limbs. The Thai word literally means "water cat". This is because seals look somewhat like cats. The Chinese word literally means "sea leopard". It's super interesting given that "cat" and "leopard" are related animals (feline).



4. Sea lion. As in English, both Thai and Chinese words literally mean "sea lion". 



5.Walrus.  The Thai word is a loanword from English. The Chinese word literally means "sea elephant". This is probably because of the tusks.



In case you need the texts:
  1. dolphin = โลมา = 海豚 = ลูกหมูทะเล
  2. porpoise = พอร์พอยส์ = 鼠海豚 =โลมาหนู (ลูกหมูทะเลหนู)
  3. seal = แมวน้ำ = 海豹 = เสือดาวทะเล
  4. sea lion = สิงโตทะเล = 海獅 = สิงโตทะเล
  5. walrus = วอลรัส = 海象 = ช้างทะเล

--special--
I didn't want to add whale initially because the Chinese word is not a compound. But after looking at the components of the character (鯨), I noticed that it is made up of "fish" 魚 and "capital city" 京 (as in Beijing). So I suppose the literal translation of the character is "capital city fish" which in Thai is ปลาเมือง (or ปลากรุง or ปลาเวียง).



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