Language Corner (2)

Welcome to the second edition of Language Corner, your monthly guide to speaking Thai, brought to you by Insight English Cha-Am and

You would expect that using the words “I” and “You” would be very easy to master in any language; however in Thai this subject becomes a little bit more complicated. The use of the pronoun “I” is used sparingly, with most Thais rarely using it in daily conversation. The most commonly used pronouns are Phom and Dee chan which are used by males and females respectively. Khun translates as “You” but often the name of the person being spoken to is used instead.

The following pronouns are also commonly used and can be used as either “I” or “You” depending on the situation.

Phii – someone older or respected
Loong – an older but familiar male (literally – uncle)
Thur – a very close friend or partner
Thaan – a highly respected person
Nong – someone younger (often used with waiters/waitresses)
Bpaa – an older but familiar female (literally – aunt)
Nuu – a young child (literally – mouse)


A question you will hear again and again is “How are you?”. The formal version is “Sa-bai-dee mai khrap/kha?” or the informal Bpen yang ngai bang?

Practice the following dialogue between Parichat and David:

Parichat: Sa-was-dee kha Khun David. Sa-bai-dee mai kha? (Hello. How are you?)
David: Sa-bai-dee khrap. Khun la khrap? (Fine thank you. And you?)
Parichat: Mai dee ka, wan-nee, tam-ngarn yung maak. (Not good today. Work is very busy.)

Mai = No
Dee = Good
Wan-nee = Today
Tam-ngarn = Work
Yung = Busy
Maak = Very

Language Corner is brought to you by Insight English Cha-am.

For Thai Classes contact 032 – 470 681 and for on-line study visit

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