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AARRGGH this pesky language
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  1. #1
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    panic AARRGGH this pesky language

    I know this thread will have been started many times but I'm new to this thing and just have to relay some of my frustrations.
    I've been living here just about a year now and have picked up a little bit of Thai. The book Thai for Beginners and this whole Paknam site have been invaluable but I still struggle with the tones which I can accept, although sometimes I ask for something ie one of my fav dishes pad kapow pla muk and in 95% of places this is readily made, the other day I asked someone for it where it had been recommended to me so I started with just "Sawadee krap...pad kapow....krap" this was met with ugh so I repeated and again ugh and a sideways look and a laugh and she walked off, another woman came over so I asked again...."Oh pad kapow!" she replied, just like I'd asked for it. What do you think the other woman thought I was saying
    Again I went to food hall in one of the malls but didn't know the Thai name of what I wanted so hopefully asked for it in English, no joy, so I asked for the number in Thai....sip sam. The woman looked at me and pointed to the board at something else, no, then another one, no. Finally she looked at me as though she couldn't be bothered and pointed to number1, then 2 and we went through the whole charade until she pointed to what I wanted...and it wasn't tasty!!! Ho hum.
    On the plus side we had a taxi ride and had a proper if limited discussion on Thaksins merits (or lack of) with the driver in which we were all complicitly understood.
    I think sometimes Thais see a farang and decide that whatever they say they will not understand them
    I'm sure everyone has this experience now and then but it's good to have a rant about it

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Kroo
    I know this thread will have been started many times but I'm new to this thing and just have to relay some of my frustrations.
    sometimes I ask for something ie one of my fav dishes pad kapow pla muk and in 95% of places this is readily made, the other day I asked someone for it where it had been recommended to me so I started with just "Sawadee krap...pad kapow....krap" this was met with ugh so I repeated and again ugh and a sideways look and a laugh and she walked off, another woman came over so I asked again...."Oh pad kapow!" she replied, just like I'd asked for it. What do you think the other woman thought I was saying
    Funny you should pick that example, because it's one of my favourite dishes and the pronunciation is difficult. People will variously say kapow, gapow, krapow, kaprow and even graprow. Pla muk is also difficult to say clearly.

    Did you say kor/ow/dtong karn before saying "pad kapow pla muk" so the person serving knew a request for a particular dish was coming next?

    Bottom line is you need a mai bpen rai attitude to people having difficulty understanding you.

  3. #3
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    I have seen it when walking with foreign friends. I understand them when they speak to shopkeepers or vendors. But, sometimes the shopkeeper will refuse to listen. They look at me very scared and ask for a translation. The only tip I can give is start with "sawatdee khrap". Take it slowly so it clicks in their brain you are speaking Thai!
    Support the forum and chat rooms and buy computer software and books for learning Thai at www.BuyThaiBooks.com

  4. #4
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    so happy!

    Once I tried to order a duck salad at Gotcha Pub as they have a really good one there. They didn't understand the word duck, and I knew how to say salad but not duck. So I took my hand and make a duck bill gesture and made a quack quack noise. After they laughed at me a bit, out came a salad with ducks beaks in it! I had seen this dish once before in the countryside and realized how the mistake was made.

    I also had the hardest time getting a teddy bear with some flowers I ordered once. Acting like a grizzly bear doesn't translate well into the word "teddy bear" as much as it makes a bunch of Thai people laugh at you.

    Paa saa Thai dee gwaa paa saa gai.

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