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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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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Thursday, July 3, 2014

VISUAL DICTIONARY: Some Thai and Lao words worth checking out

1. Shoes: รองเท้า and เกิบ

2. Giraffe: ยีราฟ and กวางคอยาว
3. Glass: แก้วน้ำ and จอกน้ำ
4. Light bulb: หลอดไฟ and ดอกไฟ
5. Clothes hanger: ไม้แขวนเสื้อ and ขอเกาะเสื้อ
6. Spoon: ช้อน and บ่วง
7. Chair: เก้าอี้ and ตั่ง
8. Scissors: กรรไกร and มีดตัด
9. Rose apple: ชมพู่ and หมากเจียง

10. Razor: มีดโกนหนวด and มีดแถหนวด



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