Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How To Speak Thai

Nikki and I both learned enough Thai to get by while we were out there. Thai is a complicated language and is hard to represent using the roman alphabet, but in our case we only cared about speaking it, as I'm sure you do, so the phrases below are presented phonetically.

I had intended to learn a new expression every day, but after learning 4 I realised that I now had all I needed. You too can be as competent a Thai speaker as Nikki and I with these simple phrases. To be polite in Thai, each sentence ends with "Krap" if you're male or "Kaa" if you're female. If you want to be rude you can just cut the "Krap".

The fourth Thai phrase we learned was how to say "hello". Some of you may think this silly, surely it should be the first Thai phrase you learn, well, you're wrong, there are three far more important phrases.

The first Thai phrase we learned, was "Kop Koon Krap" for me and "Kop Koon Kaa" for Nikki. This means "Thank you". Thank you is more important than hello because you use it more often. You may say "hello" when you first walk into a pub, but you'll say "thank you" many times throughout the evening.

The second phrase we learned was "Ka Roo Na Song Sing Krap", which was definitely the most important phrase we learned. Again, Nikki needed to use "Kaa" on the end. Let me break this one down for you:

"Ka Roo Na" - Please
"Song" - Two
"Sing" - Singha beers

This phrase works like a charm. Upon hearing it, bored waiters and waitresses tired of foreigners drinking all their beer suddenly become friendly and outgoing.

Now, the third phrase wasn't one we used very much, so you don't really need to learn it as long as you're happy to repeat yourself. Waitresses would bring us beer and say "Kop Koon Kaa" and I would feel that saying "Kop Koon Krap" back was not sufficient, so we learned "Ma Pen Raa Krap", which means "You're Welcome".

Finally, it was time to learn "hello", so we could announce ourselves when walking into a pub. Hello is "Sa Wat Dee Krap", or, as you know by now if you're a girl "Sa Wat Dee Kaa". This pretty much completed our education. Now we could walk into a pub, say hello, order beer, thank the wait staff for taking our order and then respond to them for thanking us for drinking it, that, my friends, is what I call fluency.

You now know all the Thai you're ever going to need for a successful holiday to that wonderful country. Ma Pen Raa Krap.


Jen said...

"Oh yeaaaa. Jack speak Thai. Don'tchya Jack?"

Jen said...

"So what de crap" means "hello" ? ? ? That's easy! Love it!

Ian said...

You're a girl, so you don't get to say crap.

So what de kaa for you.

alex said...

Ah, but what about when all that beer takes its natural course and you need to go. What's Thai for, "I say old chap you wouldn't be an utter gent and direct me towards the lavatorial conveniences perchance... krap"?

Ian said...

That would only be necessary for lightweights such as yourself. Nikki and I had no need.